Analysis, Discovery and Synthesis: ThemesGeorge | June 21, 2009
This post sets out a first take on our taxonomy: a preliminary set of themes which may be used to brief and guide Institutional Innovation project assemblies and benefits realisation project proposals and calls.
This post does not yet draw on the analysis of phase three projects.(Word version)
Emergent and given themes
We can identify bottom-up, emergent themes and top-down given themes which are shaping the work of the JISC Institutional Innovation programme. Emergent themes have been abstracted from project plans, discussions with project teams by the SSBR Analysis and Discovery teams, and at SSBR workshops. Given themes have been synthesised from Institutional Innovation documents and other JISC publications.
The broad theme emerging from the projects and characterising the Institutional Innovation programme is that of Open educational dialogue. This theme has two enabling sub themes Technical enabling practices and Social and cultural enabling practices. While I accept that this is a very broad stroke, it represents the real challenge for Institutional innovation. The given themes have a more rigid structuring influence, together they represent Institutional pragmatics. The given themes also do have emergent aspects. They are not fixed, but shift in a more abstracted realm which includes policy formation and the real political economics of higher education.
Open educational dialogue
Open educational dialogue is concerned with networks or communities for information sharing, which take a user-centred approach to learning and design for learning on all scales. These networks make use of user-generated content for learning resources, including novel audio & video resources. Assessment, feedback and feed forward is conceived dialogically for learning. Among the benefits of open educational dialogue should be improved student induction and retention in situated learning communities. Among the technical enabling practices by which open educational dialogue might be supported, projects are working on systems mapping, business analysis (BA) and work flows. Information aggregation practice and content syndication (RSS) are being implemented using increasingly open web services and service oriented architectures (SOA). While institutions are traditionally seen as being located in physical space, mobility and location-based services are increasingly re-articulating the relationships between people, space and institutions.
The other dimension, the top-down or given themes represent the means by which order is brought to, or structures educational practice along institutional lines. Institutional pragmatics may be resolved to nine categories:
- Learning teaching and assessment
- Research and development
- Business and community engagement
- Learning resources
- Institutional ICT services
- Physical estates and learning spaces
- Mobile, location aware and pervasive computing
- Green ICT
A problem posing approach
The open education dialogue and institutional pragmatics should not necessarily be seen as oppositional forces, though sometimes there may be tensions and conflict. It is better to see each as a means of interrogating the other. Each poses problems and challenges to the other but also provides means by which to implement real-world solutions that may help people and institutions to develop together in our increasingly complex world.