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A single site action research study exploring the use of Mahara in a not-for-profit organisation

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Presentation by Andy Hollyhead (Birmingham City University) at Mahara Hui UK in Southampton, UK, on 10 November 2015.

Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5GF1gcebZ4

Published in: Education
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A single site action research study exploring the use of Mahara in a not-for-profit organisation

  1. 1. A SINGLE SITE ACTION RESEARCH STUDY EXPLORING THE USE OF MAHARA IN A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION DR ANDY HOLLYHEAD ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY
  2. 2. WHAT WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT • ABOUT ME – MY MAHARA JOURNEY • ABOUT ACCORDIAN • THE DREAM • THE REALITY • LESSONS FOR OTHERS
  3. 3. ABOUT ME • FORMER SCHOOL OF COMPUTING, MOVED TO BUSINESS SCHOOL IN 2010 • LEAD ACADEMIC FOR TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING AND TEACHING 2011-2013 • LEAD FOR THE CENTRE FOR INTERNAL AUDIT, GOVERNANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT 2013- • USED MAHARA SINCE 2009, SUPPORTING JON CURWIN (JISC PROJECT) • MAHARA STILL USED WITHIN UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING, BUT COVERAGE ACROSS THE UNIVERSITY IS ‘PATCHY’
  4. 4. ABOUT ‘ACCORDIAN’ • LARGE ‘NOT-FOR-PROFIT’ ORGANISATION BASED IN THE MIDLANDS • SOCIAL HOUSING, CARE AND COMMUNITY PROJECTS • NOT-FOR-PROFIT DOES NOT MEAN NO-PROFIT! • SURPLUS RE-INVESTED BACK INTO THE ORGANISATION • COMPLEX STRUCTURE, CONSTANTLY CHANGING
  5. 5. ACCORDIAN CONSIDERED THEMSELVES A LEARNING ORGANISATION
  6. 6. THE BIG IDEA
  7. 7. TECHNOLOGY REPURPOSING • USING A TECHNOLOGY FOR WHICH IT WAS NOT ORIGINALLY ENVISAGED • AN EXAMPLE OF TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM • “SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM”
  8. 8. THE PRACTICALITIES • NINE PARTICIPANTS, ONE YEAR, ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT • VOLUNTEERS SELECTED BY LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER OF ACCORDIAN • INFORMED CONSENT, RIGHT TO WITHDRAW • WHAT DID I ASK THEM TO DO? • CREATE A MAHARA E-PORTFOLIO • SHARE IT WITH ME • SHARE IT WITH THEIR MANAGER
  9. 9. PARTICIPANT LIST
  10. 10. SELECTION OF PORTFOLIO PRODUCT
  11. 11. TIME PASSED... ... ...
  12. 12. EXPECTATION V ACTUAL
  13. 13. THE FACTS • OF THE NINE PARTICIPANTS… • ONE WITHDREW FROM THE PROJECT BEFORE THE END DUE TO A FAMILY BEREAVEMENT • TWO LOST CONTACT AFTER THE FIRST INTERVIEW • ONE CREATED A RUDIMENTARY PORTFOLIO, DID NOT SHARE WITH ANYONE • TWO FURTHER PARTICIPANTS REGISTERED WITH FOLIOFOR.ME, BUT DIDN’T DEVELOP ANY FURTHER • ONE DISLIKED THE CONTENT OF SOME OF THE SHARED FORUMS • ONE COULDN’T GET TO GRIP WITH THE USER INTERFACE • THE REMAINING PARTICIPANTS DID NOT EVEN REGISTER
  14. 14. AN UNEXPECTED STRUCTURAL COUPLING
  15. 15. LINKEDIN ISSUES CURRENCY “I’VE GOT A LINKEDIN ACCOUNT, I WENT IN, REGISTERED AND DID ALL MY STUFF ON THAT AND I’VE NEVER BEEN BACK TO IT SINCE... I KNOW I OUGHT TO BECAUSE THERE’S SOME OUT OF DATE STUFF ON THEIR NOW, BUT IT’S JUST FINDING THE TIME, THE ENTHUSIASM, THE ENERGY TO DO IT REALLY” CONNECTIONS ENDORSEMENT
  16. 16. LEARNING ORGANISATION REVISITED • IT TAKES MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLY CALLING YOURSELF A LEARNING ORGANISATION TO BE ONE • “[FIRSTLY] THERE IS COHERENCE BETWEEN THE “TANGIBLE” (FORMAL) AND “INTANGIBLE” (INFORMAL) DIMENSIONS OF AN ORGANISATION; AND ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING GOALS ARE RECONCILED WITH INDIVIDUALS’ LEARNING NEEDS.”  (HØYRUP, 2004, P. 443) 
  17. 17. WHAT I LEARNED • TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM WILL ONLY GET YOU SO FAR IN (YOUR ONLINE) LIFE • KEEN MANAGEMENT INTEREST IN A PROJECT DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN YOU GET BUY IN • “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” NEEDS TO BE ROBUSTLY ANSWERED • “WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE ORGANISATION” – DITTO (SEE NEXT SLIDE) • REFLECTION IS NOT PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE FOR MANY PEOPLE WITHIN THE WORKPLACE • DOING A PHD IS HARD!
  18. 18. WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME, WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE ORGANISATION
  19. 19. LESSONS FOR OTHERS • TOP LEVEL MANAGEMENT SUPPORT IS NOT ENOUGH • SHOULD HAVE MADE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE PARTICIPANT’S DIRECT MANAGERS AS WELL • THE ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME’ AND ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE ORGANISATION’ HAVE TO DRIVE THE PROCESS. JUST HAVING ‘COOL’ TECHNOLOGY IS NOT ENOUGH • SIMPLY MAINTAINING CONTACT WITH INDIVIDUALS IS NO GUARANTEE OF ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECTS

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