Strategic Change Management


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University of Cumbria presentation at the Making a Difference conference, 26th June 2008.

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Strategic Change Management

  1. 1. Strategic Change Management The Pathfinder experience at University of Cumbria 1
  2. 2. The context “ If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” – Giuseppe di Lampedusa Benchmarking revealed: • No VLE but strong investment in specialist technologies • Core technologies used confidently by tutors and students • Few advances in e-learning / e-pedagogies • Few e-learning materials available Challenges: • Staff workload changes • New staff competences & how to provide them • Doing this in a real-life situation involving students 2
  3. 3. The project plan and its rationale “ One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”  – André Gide The plan… • Develop one module on each programme for blended learning delivery • Use existing tutors and undergraduates as participants, with ethical awareness paramount Local and wider aims: • Support connections between HE and professional contexts • Support participants in developing e-Learning skills and capacities • Enhance learning for subject communities • Fulfil University of Cumbria’s mission to widen participation by adopting flexible learning in our distributed university 3
  4. 4. Coping with change “ It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” – Epictetus This brought its own challenges: • Project recognition - letting people know about what we were doing and why it mattered • Existence of new centralised units with designated responsibility for some elements of what we were doing • Resistance of some participants to some specific technologies • Sometimes slow responses to our requests from colleagues beyond the Pathfinder team (our urgent tasks not the same as theirs) During Pathfinder we amalgamated with another institution to set up a new university, and suddenly there was lots more expertise to go round. 4
  5. 5. Our secret weapon “ The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” – James Yorke Key features: • Based on a ‘New Academic team’ model incorporating a wide skills base (i.e. e-pedagogies; administration and project management; technological skills; research and evaluation) • Boundary-crossing, with a flexible, task-oriented structure • Responsive to participant support needs (both staff and students) • Capacity to give dedicated time in supporting project and participants In the new context, plans were often revised. The people who were ‘good at plan B’ were our e-learning research team, dedicated to Pathfinder’s success. 5
  6. 6. Pathfinder achievements “ Unless in communicating with it one says exactly what one means, trouble is bound to result.” – Alan Turing, on relating to computers We achieved most of its aims: • Everyone used the VLE, achieving their module learning aims • Participants developed e-Learning skills • Communications improved between learners and tutors, and contacts and resources could be accessed off-campus • Learning resources were developed, and recognized to offer efficiencies • Better communications were enabled with professional communities • Learners engaged in and set up their own collaborative forums to share materials and discussions The project plan was clear, well articulated and was a key strength. 6
  7. 7. The human factor “ It's not computer literacy that we should be working on, but sort of human-literacy. Computers have to become human-literate.” – Nicholas P. Negroponte We taught our technologies to: • Give us the visuals we wanted • Provide forums for our human interactions • Enable links to the wider world and its resources • Support teaching – ‘It’s not just me teaching, it’s Blackboard [doing the] teaching… taking pressure off me.’ (Tutor comment) 7
  8. 8. Change can be systematic and context sensitive “ I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso Future plans for sustainable innovation rest on: • Clear plans and rationales for e-learning, enabling colleagues’ informed engagement and collaboration • An implementation model that is systematic yet flexible, including safety and reality checks and ongoing evaluation • Boundary-crossing structures in place through new academic team model • Subject community needs remain at the heart of developments; Pathfinder evidence suggests these generate affordances of use elsewhere “ In his later years Pablo Picasso was not allowed to roam an art gallery unattended, for he had previously been discovered in the act of trying to improve on one of his old masterpieces.” – Unknown 8
  9. 9. Thanks • All the consultants we met from Benchmarking through to today - (especially Andrew Comrie, Paul Bacsich and Bruce Carter) • All our colleagues at Cumbria who helped • Tutor and student participants in the project • Cumbria’s Faculty of the Arts, for being ready to learn… Contact us at evolve @ 9