The Ps Framework – using it to think about PLE implementation at CQU

Yesterday I gave a presentation at CQU titled “The Ps Framework: Mapping the landscape for the PLEs@CQUni project”. The slides are on Slideshare and the video on Google video and are embedded below.

The presentation is meant to help in the writing of a paper for ASCILITE 2008 conference (one of the reasons for the title). The purpose of this post is to reflect on the presentation and anything I didn’t cover which I need to.

The fundamental idea or argument of the presentation is that the making of decisions around the implementation of educational technology within an university is really, really hard. The quality of the decisions that guide implementation will have a direct impact on the quality of the implementation. The Ps Framework is proposed as an aid that can help improve these decisions. The Ps Framework is introduced and illustrated through some thinking about the factors that need to be considered in making decisions about the PLEs@CQUni project.

Video

Slides

How did it go?

Given the time constraints the presentation went much smoother than I thought. Some nice comments from folk that were there. The topic seems to strike a chord and be somewhat relevant. Putting the presentation together did help improve the quality of some thinking around the Ps Framework.

What follows is a collection of comments and reflections on the presentation which need to be factored into the writing of the final ASCILITE paper.

The comments include:

  • More work on some of the Ps components
    One of the fundamental foundations of the argument in this paper is that these decisions involve huge amounts of information. This was illustrated by simply not being able to cover all of the Ps components to the same level of detail. The Ps components of Past Experience and Pedagogy were not covered at all in the presentation and this was a 50 minute presentation. An ASCILITE presentation is likely to be not much more than 20 minutes. Some decision will need to be made about the depth and coverage of the Ps components.

    Perhaps focus on those which are not commonly considered. For example, Pedagogy may not get coverage in the paper because so many folk have already talked about it. Similarly, I need to not concentrate too much on process as I’ve covered it many times before including a 2007 ASCILITE paper.

  • Better representation of the Ps framework
    Currently the Ps Framework is represented by a collection of inter-connected circles as shown below.
    Current instantiation of the Ps Framework

    It’s a bit sad. Need a better look. The honeycomb approach Gene Smith has taken for social software (adapted from a user experience honeycomb by Peter Morville) offers some possibilities.

  • Better description of pre-implementation decisions
    One of the directions the paper took was to emphasise the problems associated with pre-implementation decisions. The idea being that this might be where the Ps framework can be useful. Need to give some thought to whether this emphasis is valuable and meaningful or not. If it is, then it needs to be explained and justified more clearly.
  • More pushing of the view that decisions made are not rational, more than just based on instinct.
    Slide 7 of the presentation makes the core point about why something like the Ps Framework is required. i.e. that most of these decisions are not rational, not informed. The current discussion isn’t strong enough, I feel.
  • Need for a definition of each Ps component?
    The presentation became more of a description of the thinking around the PLEs@CQUni project than an explanation of the Ps Framework. In particular, the description of each component of the Ps framework wasn’t always clear. There’s perhaps also a need to clearly summarise the perspectives of the Ps component considered.
  • Need a better quality video of “basketball passing”
    The basketball passing video used in the presentation didn’t have sufficient quality to be perfectly visible across CQU’s video-conferencing. Need to find a better quality video.
  • Should coverage of students and academic staff be separated?
    One of the key points under the Product component is that all participants are learners. i.e. that there is not a great deal of distinction between students and staff in the notion of a PLE. All participants have a PLE, it will be unique to each, but it should work fairly similar, they are all learners. Having made that point the People component then treats staff and students separately when there is great commonality.

    When talking about academic staff a lot is made of the fact that they are knowledge workers. One of the comments made at the end was that students are knowledge workers, just like staff. There are definite overlaps. Treating them separately may not be all that appropriate. Just how far we take this similarity.

  • More coverage/mention of professional staff and their impact.
    As part of the People component, little or no comment was made on the nature and influence of the growing cadre of professional staff which play an important role in educational technology.
  • Better integration of the ateleological ideas around purpose.
    Ateleological design is something I’ve written before and fits well with the purpose section. Need to cite myself a bit more and also work in the ideas, which is obviously more important.
  • Add the SLURL for the CQU Second Life island
    One of the slides uses the billboard from the CQU Second Life island. Need to point folk to it.
  • Probably need to more strongly critique the “best practice” movement.
  • Which may lead to an emphasis on the internal understanding of place rather than on the external aspect of the place component.
    The current Place component starts with some fairly traditional comments about the broader societal changes. To some extent this tends to continue the over emphasis on external factors at the expense of institutional factors. Which is a common downfall of many decision makers. Need to ensure that the Place component makes this point explicitly and implicitly in its design.

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