Alan Arnold (University of Canberra)and David Green (Flinders University)ACODE57 workshop “Sustaining eLearning Innovations: From Conception to Maturity”, CSU Bathurst 14 Nov., 2011This is a quick story about life-lessons of the authors’ being applied to implementing changes to our institutional approaches to the management of electronic assessments through Moodle.
Have you ever had this experience? Phone rings/email pings: "We need Lightwork (or Remarks)" or "We must have Turnitin" or "We need to change from Moodle to OpenClass". Take the focus off solutions or products and shift it to improvement of Electronic Assessment Management (or Academic Integrity, or ??). These are the problems that ACODErs need to solve.Taking advice from your Business Analysts isn't sufficient. They often know the trees. You have to *be* the business and know the forest. That’s us.
Spend time finding someone "like you" who you trust and who also has these challenges. It won't be hard. Find ways to work together. No University attracts or keeps students better than others just because it has better widgets.This led to the Flinders, LaTrobe, Massey, UC, USQ et al EAM collaboration.Invite the solutions providers into the tent early too - Lightwork, RemarksPDF, Pebblepad have provided feedback on our early EAM specs. Sharing these may have influenced their thinking.
Most of the time, something that works well for someone else will work reasonably well for you too. You'll never have enough time and other resources to tweak it to work perfectly for all of your punters. Convince your community to accept the gifts of others and move on. Unless you're agile, they may have moved on to their next problem anyway. UC staff will dance for joy at the gift of Flinders’ zip & up/download ‘em all assignment modifications.Remember epithet #2.
No university ever got rich making and selling our sort of stuff. Ever.If your idea or stuff is to have a life after you, others must be able to meld it to their needs and feed improvements back to you. You all win in this scenario. So, we will put EAM innovation back into open source Moodle core.
You'll be able to use it later for a purpose you haven't thought of yet. Others will too. Ensure that you build the APIs and web services glue/velcro and not just the product. Use or invent open standards toensure that your idea can be used in others' situations.As a result of sharing our EAM ideas, Lightwork andRemarksPDF are now actively investigating contributing to Moodle core rubric functionality, web services .. (and Bb, D2L??). Moodle HQ has now asked netSpot to refactor and improve assignmentfunctionality.EAM has been a catalyst for sustainable assessment improvement. That’s the right problem to have solved.
Some Strategies for Solving the "solving the wrong problem" Problem
Sustainable Innovation Episode IV: Strategies for solving the "Solving the wrong problem" problem. An Electronic Assessment Management case study in 5 epithets
1. When youre in the trees, taketime to find a picture of the forest.
2. Your special problem is almost never *that* special! A problem shared is a problem quartered.
3. Perfection is the enemy of the good. and Lifes too short.
4. In a fast moving world and ahyper-abundance of stuff & ideas, give yours away for free. It will have no sustained value otherwise.
5. To build something thatlasts, invest in the glue that holds it together.