20 minutes + questions Organisational Developers (OD) within HE have responsibility for supporting organisational-level development within their institutions. Senior members are involved with strategic-level decision making on organisational initiatives such as restructuring the institution, managing change, or introducing new policies and therefore can have direct impact upon enabling or disabling opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning, including with digital technologies.Anecdotal evidence suggested that many OD practitioners are not comfortable with digital literacies, leading to opportunities for the effective use of digital technologies to be missed or under-promoted, with a consequent detrimental impact on opportunities to facilitate new cultures of learning. Working with the Organisational Development in Higher Education Group (ODHEG) over the past two years, the anecdotal evidence has proved all too true. This presentation gives an insight into working with a group in which a significant number are unconvinced by the benefits that technology can bring to their working lives, or the wider learning culture. The author, supported by JISC funding, has sought to help the group gain confidence with digital literacies through a series of mostly face-to-face engagements, starting to incorporate some online materials.This presentation gives an insight into the processes of slowly and steadily encouraging the group to take a more positive view of digital literacies, which may help others working with resistant learners. The tide started to turn as the group grew to understand the impact that digital technologies could have upon their work role, with mobile devices and apps that supported logistics, connections via Linked In, and over half the group voluntarily attending a session on Twitter. We have now reached the stage where the group is being encouraged to embrace the idea of sharing their expertise through digital technologies, and anticipate that the group will, in the longer term, be able to contribute much more effectively to organisational take-up of digital literacy initiatives.
Want to highlight some of the presentation that I gave at ALTC the other week … it’s been hard work – enjoyable, but hard work trying to find where the digital makes sense of this group, and the two other things that JISC thought that ODHE could bring to the group: change management expertise to share more widely with the HE sector, and ability to help prevent ‘blocking’ at the senior levels of universities as you understood (and could hopefully share) what the digital could do within your institutions even if not do it yourselves..
We looked at how you functioned as a group, and the kind of demographics involved…
Rather than imposing a definition of ‘digital literacy’ on the group, we looked at what it might mean, which helped me to think about the angles you were coming from (although we also shared the JISC definition), and how we might make best use of my time… still interested that there was some sense that would be trying to replace everything with digital – which is def not what we’ve been trying to do – been looking for appropriate uses…
Prior to the first face-to-face session, we undertook a survey (Jan 2012) – (Clarify – an e-survey), which the majority of the group responded to (with the invitation coming from the chair of their group, and clarification as to what it would be used for… ). When asked what the term ‘technology’ meant, the group offered a range of explanations…the most repeated terms are featured above… devices from watches, computers to spaceships… Many of the responses focus upon the technological tools, in a mechanical sense, but the range of tools, from typical computers right through to spaceships is interesting, in that it demonstrates how aware respondees are that technology affects our whole lives, as one respondent put it ‘work or leisure’. The association with ‘the new’ could be interpreted positively or negatively, as ‘yet another thing to have to do’, to ‘great, a new opportunity’.
It was interesting that the majority of those thinking about digital literacy were thinking about it in a utilitarian way (which have also seen elsewhere – does it help me do it faster or better, otherwise I’m not really interested), with a focus on “technology” .. Throughout the past 2 years you may have noticed that I’ve tried to move the group away from worrying about “technology”, as it was turning people off from engaging, especially as there seemed to be a particular interest in social media, where we therefore need to concentrate on the ‘communications’, rather than ‘the technology’. (second event = cross)Importance of terminology – what terminology is help or turns you off – so what might we need to engage with to keep your attention?
Before the project started – anecdotal evidence suggested that many OD practitioners were not comfortable with digital literacies, and with many of those in the group in influential positions in HE institutions, opportunities for the effective use of DLs could easily be missed or not enthusiastically promoted. It was encouraging to see that the majority of users seemed confident in technology in the survey returns, although this was not always evident in face-to-face sessions (which is partly why I kept changing the goals of what we were going to be going to do … pulling back and back). Confidence, particularly in engaging with new (and ever changing) software is important in gaining digital literacy.
We gave the group 5 minutes (in discussion if they wish) a chance to think of the top 3 things they could see possibilities for using technology with (and what problem you think it solves), and top 3 fears they may have (what problems do we need to solve)? We then discussed the themes that had emerged (probably quite familiar to much of this group): FEARS: ‘Just a distraction’, ‘Overload’, ‘Apocalypse = it breaks’, confidence issues, wasted resources, losing ‘privacy’, and losing ‘people’POSSIBILITIES: Environment, efficiency, change, multitasking, learning new things, outliers, communications & networking, flexibility Curious if any of these have moved forward? DISCUSS!
There was a sense of frustration coming through the group (which has witnessed many changes in HE) that people are not really thinking about the how, the what and the why of the tools – just that they need to be used (an inefficient tactic) with little guidance (also observed in a previous project – the tools are purchased as the institution doesn’t want to be ‘left behind’, but then people are expected to work how to use them in their own time, with little guidance). One of the questions this led to framing within the group is do we need to know how to use the tools or do we merely need to encourage others to use them? Do we need to use all tools? [the Sainsburys]
Despite this frustration,A large proportion of the group had taught themselves, and it was encouraging to know that we had a group of people who can clearly be persuaded to engage with the technology, if they can see a need for a particular tool,and the group already gives the space to share that expertise, SO LONG AS this is still given space… “I'm mostly self-taught because the formal versions (above) are mainly really poor and I don't have time to fiddle with poorly designed on-line learning packages that tend to frustrate as they are not designed to answer specific issues.”“you just need the time to be able to experiment (and someone to advocate, encourage!)”
Most were simply learning at the point of need… had emerged in BODGIT project… “In times of pressure Altruism is unlikely to work. And Compliance will generate resistance and resentment. So the only really helpful approach is the Business case. But if the benefits to the individual are not obvious then even this driver is unlikely to work.” So this is what we’ve been trying to work with ..
This was what we were seeking to do at the national meeting in Bristol … look at the tools that you already find helpful and share amongst each other – be grand to see more of those shared on the site…
I try to choose the tools that will help me achieve what I need to do in the fastest possible time and in the easiest way. That is a mistake as the IT group only tend to roll out tools they get excited about instead of asking us how we would work with them and over what time period. The time it takes me to work out how to use the new tools often outweighs my enthusiasm to try them, and not in a ‘helpful’ language.
The majority of users appear to have good access to a range of technology devices, with an encouraging number having access to a smartphone. we did wonder about the question of how far Smartphones are being used to their full capacity. Many questions about persuading bosses as to the value of devices such as tablet PCs, and as we have seen with grandparents – the tablet device is so often intuitive, that it encourages people into using technology (we had played around with questions that people tend to be more digitally literate if they use the tech in their personal lives = gives a confidence to translate that into the digital world…).
..having been able to persuade their budget holders of the value to their work…
The three most used ‘professional’ tools are:E-SurveysGoogle DocsUniversity proprietary systemsThe three tools with highest awareness, but haven’t used are: E-PortfoliosPodcastingTwitterThe three tools that have been used professionally but are no longer being used:WikisVLE (Moodle/VLE)Podcasting/Virtual Classroom/Virtual Response SystemsIt would be interesting in further discussions to identify whether a change in role triggered the need to no longer use this tool, or whether the tool itself fell out of favour.
If you want to see the details… go back to this presentation online…
The group had an increasing expectation of being able to access technology on the move – most had accessed home institution networks and wifi, and personal homes, but fewer had positive experiences of other institutional access. Technology was acting as a stopping point as it was difficult to actually get on, with networks such as eduroam not always living up to expectations… where technology was getting in the way of busy jobs, it was building up into a resentment on using it.
6 minutes, so we probably won’t PLAY it, but worth a look to see what the group thought that they were getting out of it, although it took A LOT of encouragement to get the group to film (with me saying video-ing was new for me too – so we’re all learning), and the next time I tried, they all said “we did that last time” (not seeing that digital is really about an ongoing narrative) … but encouragement, intention to try, some interesting ideas that ‘digital literacy’ was clearly about being ‘forced’ to use technology, rather than about to learn how to use it well (which sometimes means don’t use it)..
At the next session I’d written an overview, and some ‘how-tos’ for some simple tools that I thought as senior managers would help them in their line of work (e.g. task management tool that allows delegation) – as not likely to enthuse about technology without help in gaining the benefits themselves. Senior managers can often be seen as a sticking point – talking about church diocese – e.g. social media policies tend to be written by those who are just scared & don’t understand how to use = a real block! Then called for the group to post-it note the tools that they used/for what, which we shared with the group – with the expectation that some would write something similar and share …
The group, fairly doubtful about Facebook, etc (seeing it as too much of a social tool), seemed to have a large number of LinkedIn users, so requested a group – which we set up… and a handful of people used it.. But we still weren’t getting big take-up!
The one thing the group WERE all using was email, so we then tried a group email list, which had a flurry of emails, and the group was definitely the most enthusiastic about … allowing the group to email each other, rather than through the chair of the group!
At the third meeting I went to, we had an enthusiastic “yes” as we looked forward to starting with a blog, to which all members of the group could contribute once-twice a year, spreading the load, but giving everyone a voice, and a chance to demonstrate the value of the ODHE to themselves, and to their institutions. Such senior figures, with responsibility for change management, can help encourage others to become more digitally literate as they increase in confidence.
Knowing who you are trying to reach is REALLY important – we looked for a stakeholder statement … 1 sentence – e.g. Publisher = wants to sell books; HE marketer wants to recruit students…
A reminder of what you said you wanted… and the questions we looked at in the blog session…
The blog is now up and running, but with a committee, and a much smaller percentage of the group using it .. But they seem to be happy with that … think it’s OK to keep with the wordpress.com blog.. Need more ££/commitment from someone in the group if we’re going to move it across // happy with the pages? … - let’s come back to the blog later …
A reminder not to forget these … part of ‘the look’ of the site…
Having gone through all of those discussions, and was really chuffed to see so many join thevoluntaryextra session on Twitter … anybody using it more actively/given it a go? Any feedback on that?
At the next session, I wasn’t able to go to part of it, so we decided to take advantage of that do run a session on Blackboard Collaborate, which we borrowed from JISC … we ended up focusing mainly on getting the hang of a few basic functions… anybody seen more reason to use this, etc.?
Do you think this is a fair summary of what has happened over the past 2 years?
This is what I feel I’ve been doing, lookingfor opportunities that seem to fit the requirements – leaving lots of space for debate, not telling… the ‘social media way’ …
Covers a lot of digital culture, designed to take the fear out of using it – seen as the biggest sticking point for most… so useful for all, but with particular focus on those aspects that affect kids
Cindy to be the lead on what the group thinks is achievable with the blog going forward…
ODHE October 2013 (blog & end project)
SLOW & STEADY
WINS THE RACE?:
DR BEX LEWIS, RESEARCH FELLOW IN
SOCIAL MEDIA & ONLINE LEARNING,
CODEC, ST JOHN’S, DURHAM UNIVERSITY
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Images downloaded from sxc.hu or purchased from Stockfresh
THE PROJECT ENDS…
• Where did we start?
• Where have we gone?
• Where do you want to
I made some assumptions about the
terminology you used in this survey -
something in that?! I wonder how
many of us do that? Learning the
basics of when to use what tool
would be good and save hours
trying to use something where
another tool would serve better.
“many OD practitioners are
not comfortable with digital
As an older worker and a senior manager I have tried hard
to be enthusiastic and engage with new tools despite the
fact that most of them are not needed in my role. I am also
hugely frustrated at the lack of discipline in the use of
these tools by others and the tendency to drop face-to-
face conversations in favour of remote discussion. Tools
need to be fit for purpose and fit for the people using
them. The language needs to be simple and
understandable and the tools themselves easy to use and
reasonably obvious. My experience of 'technology' is that
it has added endless amounts of time to my working
day instead of making it quicker. It also provides me with
the greatest source of negative stress.
“I try to choose the tools that will help me
achieve what I need to do in the fastest
possible time and in the easiest way. That is
a mistake as the IT group only tend to roll
out tools they get excited about instead of
asking us how we would work with them and
over what time period.”
WHO TO CONNECT
• VCs & Influencers
• International Exchange
• What is our
• What are our
• What are the
‘actions’ we want
people to take?
• What ‘events’ do we
want to promote?
• What ideas for blog
posts can we
• What do you like?
• „Active‟ Posts
• Links to further
• What do you not
• Pop-Up Adverts
HAVE WE MOVED
• ‘Digital’ on the agenda for 2 years
• Blog online, regular content
• Tablet devices more numerous
• Simple tools/apps shared: more
open to suggestions
• Group in more regular content with
WHERE DO YOU WANT
TO GO NOW?
JUST TO NOTE:
We need to
see if the
• Look back at the
• Are they any we