Collaboration, Design and Innovation

A nice quote for REACT comes from Campbell, Gibson and Grammlich (2005)

Like Albion & Gibson (1998), who maintain that individual faculty, sharing innovative teaching methods, can encourage others ‘to acquire the insights which will enable them to adapt their own practice’ (p. 1), we believe that faculty engagement in a design process provides a catalyst to change in understanding and practice. In fact, the sharing of experience through a social, relational process of collaborative conversation (Feldman, 2000) goes beyond the adaptation of practice to innovation, to the transformation of practice through innovation.

The resonance with REACT, or at least the future planned implementation of REACT, is with process

  • Get groups of staff, from diverse disciplines, wanting to develop elearning stuff together in REACT sessions
  • Structure the sessions around something like
    • Analysis – figure out what I want to do and what’s important
    • Design – figure out how I’m going to do it and evaluate it
    • Implementation – talk about how it’s going and what I might need to change
    • Analysis – talk about what happened and think about the next step
  • Have as the outcome from each session part of a REACT paper that is going to be finally published, well, at least submitted for publication.

As well as a diversity of academic staff, the sessions should have a diversity of support staff, including ICT, staff development, educational designers etc. This connects with the idea of connectivism. i.e. that knowledge is not resident in any one person, but in a range of people.

It also has connections with informal learning. In that the sessions would have worked into them a range of activities to maximise informal learning. i.e. minimise the formal talk head presentations, maximise ad hoc, informal discussion amongst attendees.

Might have to link this in with a prep session. A session intended to encourage staff to increase knowledge about themselves. Some components of such a session might include

  • Kiersey temprement tests
  • Learning styles
  • Cultural knowledge – i.e. a recognition that staff background and culture creates/comes with some baggage that needs to be recognised
  • Learning theory – connect all of the above with some basic learning theory. Not sure of this, but there is a need to attempt to provide participants with at least some common language.

Following on, another nice quote from the same source which summarises nicely the aim of the REACT sessions.

The purpose of conversation is to establish a community, the source of
power and meaning in society (Tannen, 1990; Minister, 1991). Lyotard
(1984) talks about the non-confrontational style of conversation that is in
contrast to a traditional, rational academic discourse. A design conversation,
possible in a relationship of mutual learning and trust, is one in which
‘nothing is at stake’ in terms of intellectual or moral authority. This powerfree
form supports and enhances the creativity of instructional design

And another

Conversation is
also a situated activity, as human activity is about striving to make meaning
out of the experiences of daily life, ‘to construct and reconstruct the
narratives of our experience’ (Goldsworthy, 2000, p. 101, after Bruner,
1990). By ‘writing ourselves into our own work as major characters’, we
challenge both ‘accepted views about silent authorship, where the
researcher’s voice is not included in the presentation of findings’ (Holt,
2003, p. 2), and the idea of instructional design as a rational, technical
process.

And still some more

Katy and Sue describe characteristics of communities of practice that
include negotiation, intimacy, commitment and engagement (Kowch &
Schwier, 1997) and cross ‘the boundaries of formal power and status’
(Heckscher & Donnellon, 1994, p. 142, in Kowch & Schwier, 1997). In
this view the instructional design process is supported in a community in
which values and knowledge become aligned through the mutuality and
reciprocity of conversation. The design conversation is a negotiation of
personally held views that integrate and scaffold both social and cognitive
domains (Fosnot, 1996), and in which ideas are shared as a ‘form of
cultural learning or collaborative learning’ (Ewing et al, 1998, p. 10). As
knowledge is personal, through conversation we are able to share personal
representations of identity, values and intentions that will enable the work
of design to proceed.

And some more

Kowch & Schwier (1997) note that the ‘sharing of ideas, however they
may be expressed interpersonally or technologically’ (p. 3) define a
community of mind. These communities are often found in academic
contexts, where researchers come together in conversation to ‘grapple with
a shared research issue or problem’ (p. 3). Bruffee (1986) characterizes
such patterns of conversations as connected knowing and a site for
constructing knowledge. This aspect of conversation reflects its centrality
as a cognitive process in which we work together to decenter, moving
beyond personally held views to construct new and expanded
representations (Fosnot, 1996).

Reference

Kath Campbell, Susan Gibson, Catherine Gramlich (2005). On Conversation and Design: A socially constructed practice. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. 14(1): 9-24

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