OMD/MPII/MP Paper I Feedback

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Randy Fisher's Masters Project II

MA, Organization Management and Development, Fielding Graduate University, California (April 2009)

Randy Fisher (aka Wikirandy)

Paper Feedback


  • Remove "I" Statements
  • No sweeping statements
  • Early in paper - be more specific (i.e., going to take X theory and testing the validity of this motivation theory by comparing it to Y theory...research hypothesis early on)

* Erik Moeller no longer on the Board of Governors; he's the Deputy Director of Wikimedia Foundation

  • User growth benchmarks in WE, applied to an institution
    • propagate internal growth
  • Educators have a specific language - discovering that, is part of the relationship building
  • Motivators: corporate vs individual driving motivators
    • Education (corporate)
      • Reduce Cost
      • Increase enrollment (access)
      • Increase Quality
  • Individual (Academics)
  • ego
    • peer recognition
    • peer status - authors in peer reviewed journals
  • WE needs a peer review system that meets the needs of diverse (individual) cultures, and of the needs of organizations
  • two (2) forces - polarities
    • "It's a classic example of a SO system. One is feeding the other in ways that we didn't imagine." - Dec. 17, 2008 - WayneM

2008 Statistics

WE started the year with 2165 registered users and we now have 7012 registered accounts representing a growth of 220% for 2008!

2008 has been an impressive year for WikiEducator and I look forward to 2009 being even better!


L4C Performance Interventions


    • Email address confirmation, etc.
    • Nellie's Feedback page
    • Course Layout page
    • Build on Apprenticeship model
  • Day 2: Add User Name + Network with your peers (i.e., remove People I have trained page)
  • Day 2, 3: Start thinking about Structure, Organizing your pages
  • Outcome Measures
    • Reduce dropout rate = increase conversion rate from Newbies to Active Contributors (sort of)
    • Reduce frustration
    • Accelerate cycle of collaboration

Chapter on Complexity Theory & Self-Organising Ecosystems

Building a Sustainable WE OER Textbook Initiative

(referring to self-organising systems)

I think that the mass-collaboration approach which underpins peer-production models has greater potential for leveraging the benefits of self-organising OER systems (see: ) -- What's interesting about self-organising systems is the fact that its difficult to predict future benefits -- they emerge over time. Also, self-organising systems are also more responsive and can adapt more easily to changing needs. I also have a strong sense that the emerging approaches will be more aligned with the principles of mass-customisation ( ) as opposed to the more traditional model of mass-standardisation we have become accustomed to in the classical academic publishing model. In reality -- its still very early days in the world of mass collaboration and peer-production OER models in education. There is still lots that we need to learn...

  • Leigh's post: locally-devised solutions, - local ingenuity, Bolivia, Ivan Illich, etc.

At 2008//12//31 :05:52 AM, Randy's post to Phil, etc. re: Butterfly as the Official bird of the WikiEducator project. Tags: beauty, growth, transformation, metamorphosis, gentleness, creativity, wonder. web Response from Phil: The lesson we try to communicate with it is that without itself struggling, an organism, community, or organization, can not grow to become strong and beautiful. When we do too much for it, it withers."

Randy - Makes sense to me....there's a certain 'survival of the fittest, self-organising, complex ecosystem quality to your comment....I will long remember your perspective.... Retrieved December 31, 2008 from personal email correspondence, December 31, 2008. Re: Butterfly story

Apprenticeship Model

  • WikiSkills development
  • Online Facilitation
  • Other

(keep in mind scalability and sustainability)

Concept Review

For example, your concept review (kits 64 and 65) should compare and contrast what different authors have said about a given concept or hypothesis, in terms such as:

~ These two authors agree on most points, but they differ in their conclusions about X. The reasons they disagree are A, B, C.

~ This author’s findings disagree with mine, but his/her study was flawed by having such a small and biased sample (or by drawing on a research population from a very different situation than the one I am addressing; or …)

~ This author supports my point, but didn’t go as far as I am going in extrapolating her conclusions to start-up companies.

Culture Change

Sometimes you change culture by forcing people to ACT differently, which may be easier than changing actions via culture change. See Pascale, Milleman & Gioja 1997, and their discussion of AARs — a very powerful intervention for getting ideas from employees.)

Go Deep

When I say “go deep,” I mean going into scholarly literature — published journals with peer-reviewed work, reporting on actual studies that have been carried out. Your book list is a good start, but books are usually extended essays, not real research. (See Fieldkit #61 — research is not an essay.)

Meta Learning (Term 1)

The Project as a Personal Experience

The best advice that I can give others, is that if you're cofused, disheartened, and within a phone call to Fielding of pulling the plug, then you're probably on the right track.

Doing a Master's research project is much like developing a slow and intimate relationship with an onion. You peel one layer, to marvel at its complexity and texture, and gain some confidence in your ability to detect and analyze what you can see, touch, taste and smell. Then you you peel the next layer (because it says so on your OMD 690 schedule), and it's a whole new, confusing and disorienting experience.

You let your emotions get the best of you – panic seems like a good option – but in reality, you're moving, well inching and lurching forwardlike (sometimes by falling back, or to the side)... to new level of depth and experience.

You're going to get lost on this Master's Journey, whether you plan to or not. There are just so many nooks and crannies: hypothesis, intervention, outcome measures, devil's advocacy – it's so tantalizing to go off-track, even if you don't want to. Your interest wanders, and your mind tries to rein yourself in, to no avail.

Thought Experiment (TX)

  • "It is important to make it clear that the TX (though experiment) is a hypothetical experimental or mental simulation, and not a real event that you are evaluating.
This should be spelled out in the:
  • abstract
  • introduction chapter,
  • opening
  • closing para

of the TX chapter itself." - Barclay Hudson

  • See Week 2 notes.
  • (Comment.gif: Post note to Barclay, about wording - TX Chapter itself.)

It's a discipline really: a discipline of the mind, of your heart in response to the metronome beat of an unrelenting class schedule.

Local Culture, Context

Local culture – tall poppy syndrome, etc. ~ Action research is highly contextual, and guided by a sense of time and place. Local history matters; local culture, opportunities and constraints are as important as abstract models of change. Action research needs to be conducted in place, in the context of partners on the ground.

Technology, Collaboration, fear and resistance

  • abstract
  • Chapter on Control Paradox and Paradigm Shift
  • Chapter on KT & SO - "open systems" and collaborative emergence
    • fear and resistance, and transition...

Under Methodology: New Users

An early indicator of user stress, anxiety and resistance is predicted to occur when Otago WikiApprentices (in the WikiEducator Wiki Skills Certification Framework) begin populating their hyperlinked User Pages: using their new wiki skills to edit their pages with text, hyperlinks, images, and multimedia. Anyone (i.e., administrators, facilitators and users) can view Users' contributions in real-time, as well as feedback and interaction on the wiki and in discussion groups.


See: See: - Journal Article

Week 8: Causal Paths

This paper helped me to remove alot of the clutter in my brain – getting in the way of clarity and a greater sense of where I'm going with this project. By writing down all of the contingency variables that I could think of, and then exploring some of the relationships and assumptions, I can now see why one could go on a 'safari', even if the Master's topic area seemed quite small at the outset. Furthermore, in this context, I have to be aware of these assumptions, while making deliberate, yet thoughtful decisions about what I am trying to explore, and why – and keep focused on that. Otherwise, I'm making a bigger mess in the playpen, and moving no further towards my goal.

While it has taken me awhile to get to even this stage – focusing now on McLelland's theory and using the causal path analysis approach, to explore the research statement: What motivates educators from learning organizations to provide free instructional and learning content on WikiEducator? ; the dependent variable is the provision of free instructional and learning content, and the independent variables are Need for: (1) Power; (2) Achievement and (3) Affiliation. In an in-depth research project, I can now see that focusing simply on one of those Needs would be plenty, let alone three.

Also, the analysis has helped clarify my thinking – and forced me to check my own assumptions. For example, I became involved in the WikiEducator community on the basis of a Need for Affiliation – connecting to a larger community of support....and over time, that has become a singular draw for many an educator. But in doing the analysis, and connecting to the interviews and debriefs I've had with other educators, I've come to realize that yes, this does occur, but it's farther down the line than the other Needs.

Now, I'm thinking that people join a wiki environment on the basis of a Need for Power, but not power in the sense of Zeus taking out a city --- more along the lines of an individual asserting his / her power over his/herself, and destiny. Recently, I read an article referring to a Pew/Internet study (Haymes, 2008) suggesting that:

"49 percent of Americans only occasionally use information and communication technology. Of the remaining 51 percent, only 8 percent are what Pew calls omnivores, “deep users of the participatory Web and mobile applications.” This presents serious challenges to anyone trying to implement technology for the broad user base a typical university or college represents. These challenges are not always apparent to the more technologically minded among us because our perception of technology differs from that of the average user. We usually belong to the 8 percent, while most of our users belong to the other 92 percent."

While I, Randy Fisher, may not see myself as very 'technology-minded' as Haymes suggests, I am certainly in the 8% of the people that he refers to – and thus far, I have assumed that. The path analysis has helped me 'check' that assumption.

Further, this lines up with feedback from WikiEducator Users who want to be current with technology and try out its various nuances and applications, in a safe environment. (We have received this feedback via training exit surveys and telephone interviews). Thus, while the safe environment 'includes' the community of support, the real reason that educators appear to be joining WikiEd, at this phase of its development, has to do with a greater sens of power over their own professional development. Next comes their sense of achievement, and in turn their belonging to a community of practice. These three needs being met, at different times with different emphasis, affect the quantity and quality of instructional content that is freely developed on WikiEducator.


Haymes, Tom (2008). The Three-E Strategy for Overcoming Resistance to Technological Change, in EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4 (October–December 2008)

onal contexts. Previous phases involved setting up the technologies, processes and initial content resources t

  • Figure 1: WikiEducator's Logic Model

duced Nellie to other educators in the WE Community, based on their mutual interests, so that they could work together on various projects, on the wiki.


ch ====


  • Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams. (2003) The Craft of Research. 2nd edition. University of Chicago Press.
  • Kotter, John P. and Leonard Schesinger.(2008) "Choosing Strategies for Change." Harvard Business Review, July-August 2008 [HBR reprint #R0807M]
  • Pascale, Richard, Mark Milleman and Linda Gioja (1997) “Changing the Way We Change. How Leaders at Sears, Shell, and the U.S. Army Transformed Attitudes and Behavior -- and Made the Changes Stick.” Harvard Business Review 75:6 (Nov 97), 126-139. [HBR reprint #97609]

== RF began thinking about how we could do a better job at linking people ~ by knowing more about their culture and pyscho-social reactions, to increase the likelihood of these connections taking hold. He also wondered how he, or another Community-Builder could apply these 'lessons' within a particular educational organizations to support greater collaboration - as, for example, Nellie is a trusted insider in her organization, far more than RF would be.

Assignment 1, Hudson 690

Research Question (variations - trying to get to the right question)

  • to examine the impact of a Community Builder (CB) on members' engagement with others and (collaborative) content contributions in a self-organizing community

Babbie, E. (2005) The Basics of Social Research. New York: Wadsworth (Third Edition—Paperback); ISBN #0-534-51904-0.

Brewerton, P. and Millward, L. (2001). Organizational Research Methods. Sage Publications (Paperback); ISBN: 0-7619-7101-7.

Fisher, Randy (2007). Randy Fisher's MA Paper on Self-Organization and Complexity, for Fielding Graduate University (OMD) Program