The last section of this page Thoughts & discussion... includes a collection of various discussions, largely from our first days as a workgroup as we struggled to get a handle on what we should be doing. It seems to me that the discussions are concluded. I propose that the discussions be moved to a discussion thread on this talk page.
Agree -- I think this is the best way to keep the history of the early discussions.
Hello WE Workgroup members,
WE have completed what we set out to do (create a draft policy for Community Workgroups and submit to Council for approval). Council approved the policy on 13 Sept 2009. Well done everyone.
The first phase of our work is complete.
I suggest moving our 1st charter to the subpage Workgroup:WikiEducator_Workgroups/version 1 charter, retaining the main WE Workgroups page for the current charter (which will be a copy of version 1 with a new project plan).
Thoughts on this next course of action?
Does this workgroup have an on-going role? Or, is there some other group that continually monitors workgroup formation (e.g.) to check for duplication and cross-workgroup communication? Perhaps "many eyes" negates the need for this?
I don't think we've worked out how WE workgroups will work going forward. The immediate goal has been achieved. Thanks for the link to Linus' Law -- new idea for me. I think you are right that WE Workgroups isn't needed to check for duplication, etc. Hopefully the process creates an environment where "many eyes" will be effective. But I do see a continuing role for WE workgroups in helping groups--not sure yet what help might be needed or how it might work.
Could we correct the conflicting information under 1) "Approval of charter" and "Voting for the Charter" with your signature. It says due 1) by August 5, 2009 and the deadline is passed but the voting is still open. Tks,--Patricia 23:58, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Good catch. I added a note following the original due date indicating that the approval vote has been extended. I didn't put in a new due date, to avoid missing that one as well. I'll email the few participants who haven't approved the charter to encourage them to do so or indicate their points of dissension in a discussion post.
And you've got me wondering if strict due dates are less practical for use with a group of volunteers collaborating across time and space. Maybe we should have "aiming to be done by" dates. Hmmm.
Following are comments originally posted under "Thoughts and discussion from workgroup members" on the main page:
- For example,
- Announce the idea on the main WE list -- determine interest, is this a community problem/challenge etc.
- Set up a draft Workgroup page in the wiki (eg in the Workgroup namespace, listing of the workgroup on the community portal etc.)
- Invite volunteers to join. (The person setting up the workgroup should be listed as convenor and take responsibility for successful completion of the workgroups activities, tasks).
- Do we need to specify/recommend a minimum number of participants before "qualifying" as a workgroup?. If so, I'd say three members is a useful minimum. --Wayne Mackintosh 01:04, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- 2 people and up is a team. I agree that the person who started the workgroup sustain the initiative and in simple English, get things moving. --Nellie Deutsch 07:29, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
- You're right -- two people constitute a team -- however, two people don't necessarily represent community opinion. Also -- three people provide the opportunity to resolve a deadlock -- if two people fundamentally disagree -- it will be hard to achieve consensus. That's why I would advocate that we think creatively about how we can maximise opportunities for community participation in decisions which effect the WE family. Sure not everyone is going to participate -- but we need to think about what is fair and reasonable to ensure the future and ongoing success of WE without constraining our ability to move forward in productive ways. Assuming we get this right -- we're going to be streaks ahead of the game :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 08:56, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
- I agree with you, I only said that 2 make a team, but not a workgroup. I suppose, if there are about 10,000 members, we could see what a percentage of that would constitute a reasonable number of members of a workgroup. Perhaps 5-10 people would be an appropriate number. I suggest a voting system for whatever decision a workgroup makes. --Nellie Deutsch 09:08, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
- I think the issue is to decide on the minimum number for a workgroup --- my sense would be 3 members as the minimum -- with the maximum going up to however many registered users we have. Although that's wishful thinking :-). However -- I think that there are other mechanisms that we need to build into the process to communicate and encourage participation, eg posts on the WE list, minimum acceptable times for the community to respond etc. Community votes on every decision may be difficult to implement practically --- that said I'm not sure how we will decide on the issues requiring a community wide vote. Perhaps this is one of the mechanisms Council will need to consider in situations where consensus seems difficult to achieve. Not sure how we will decide this, but worth thinking about --Wayne Mackintosh 09:45, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
- I agree -- minimum 3 members make a Workgroup -- that is, a Workgroup that works on community wide policy, guidelines, etc. I think these Workgroups will play a critical role in creating a support network (technical issues, learning design, promotion, welcoming/integrating new members, ....) for the OER projects. I added a heading awhile back called "Supporting...Workgroups" cause it seemed to me that we need to think specifically about how to encourage participation and generally speaking, create an process that helps sustain a Workgroup.
- Another big issue is definitely decision-making. I think we are agreed that a Workgroup generally speaking uses the consensus model. I've never experienced a situation where a group didn't ultimately come to consensus, but I'm sure it happens. Interested to hear Councils thoughts on this. I'll make a new heading for "Decision making" so we can think about what a typical ongoing process might look like.
- Speaking as a council member -- I'm supportive of adopting a consensus model for work groups. The wikipedia guidelines for consensus are pretty good and now that these are licensed under CC-BY-SA we can copy these over (with proper attribution) and remix and re-purpose the guidelines for our context. In the event that the work group is unable to achieve consensus (unlikely -- but nonetheless possible) -- I would suggest that the workgroup should report on the difference of opinion and relative support for the contesting views, when submitting the draft to council for consideration. These differences may allude to decisions requiring a community wide referendum, and Council will need to decide if this is indeed the case. In this kind of scenario I suspect that there are two courses of action council could take. 1) Refering the document back to the workgroup with suggestions on how consensus may be achieved or 2) Setting up a community-wide referendum -- as in the case of the WMF community vote on licensing. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
- But what I've been wondering about most lately is communication among Workgroup members. It needs to be transparent and inclusive and be connected to the WE Workgroup page. What are the options here? See my post on the discussion page. Are we saying that these Workgroups (and just these community-wide policy, guideline groups) have to communicate inside WE?
- Lastly, I wonder if we should create a charter for this group. A chance to try-out the process as well as provide an example. If you think about this group in terms of the steps for intiating a Workgroup, WE are on step 4, create a draft Workgroup charter.
- I'd like to see the charter that you have, even if it doesn't seem like it's a good match. Could you create a link to it in your comment? I think I'll rework the headings above so that the charter is one of the first elements on the page. There are other arrangements (e.g., subpage), but seems like it would be best to put it up front. At least we can try it. --Alison Snieckus 23:25, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Following are comments originally posted under "Thoughts and discussion from workgroup members":
All are welcome to participate in this Workgroup -- just add your name to Workgroup participants above and join the discussion.
- I´m opting to use the discussion tab for all my comments.--Benjamin Stewart 03:27, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- Hey Ben -- I too prefer the discussion tab for comments :-), that said there is divided opinion on the functionality of LQT -- so I respond where folk post their comments in the spirit of freedom of choice - --Wayne Mackintosh 05:58, 1 June 2009 (UTC).
- I understand completely...that's the beauty of working in an open and flexible community. I just wanted people to know where I was "hiding out" (smile).--Benjamin Stewart 12:15, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- I completely agree with the discussion tab for comments. The challenge comes in that LQT still doesn't manage the notification of new comments within a discussion thread with consistency. I still have situations where I am not notified of an addition to a thread I am involved or the notification seems to show up weeks later. -- Peter Rawsthorne 14:11, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
- So true, but at least all discussions that you participate in can be found in the My Watchlist page. You're not notified, but it does provide a place where you can see all discussions contained in the pages that you watch (i.e., listed in your watchlist). --Benjamin Stewart 13:53, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
- Would different "types" of workgroups have different minimum requirements, for example would a technology related workgroup encourage/require inputs from the WE-Tech group?
- I don't think I'd call it minimum requirements, but I do think that different workgroups will have different needs, certainly relating to user skills. I wonder if there are other categories of needs? How about setting up criteria for workgroups--Alison Snieckus 02:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- How about setting up criteria for community workgroups?
- Do we need to provide a platform/way or direction as to where a minimum of three people = workgroup (I agree with your suggestion, Wayne) can get together or do we leave this up to the people involved to figure out. I found that some people do not know how to do this and might appreciate some guidance. Maybe a sublink with suggestions??? Patricia Schlicht June 1, 2009 6:51 pm (PST)
- Patricia, (hope I understand your question correctly) --- I don't think we need a prescribed process regarding how people get together in forming work groups etc. Some folk may choose to use personal email, Skype, telephone or conversation in the corridor. However, I do think that it's important to list Workgroups that are addressing community wide issues in a central place, with fair and reasonable communication on the main lists telling folk about the active work groups. You're right, I do think that its very important to provide users with good information (even tutorials and training support etc.) in learning how things work in our community. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:20, 1 June 2009 (UTC) You addessed the point I expressed a bit unclear under your second point in your response. Thanks.--Patricia 02:42, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
- Perhaps a "cross-pollination" page could be useful? - Similar to an "issues tracker" but with the specific purpose of drawing attention to reporting documents/pages which are important for other working groups. K 00:51, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
- Should we develop different design templates which incorporates the major aspects of different subject areas such as for research, module development, handbook, guidelines, handout etc., to assure quality for these working groups, create a sub-link with templates to fit the different areas somewhere in the wiki? Patricia Schlicht June 1, 2009 6:57 pm (PST)
- Some sort of classifying of groups could help in addressing needs addressed in first bullet. --Alison Snieckus 02:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- I think this will become clearer once we know what a work group is -- and how they operate, and the tools we need to support them. Again, I think we need to differentiate clearly between work groups established for project-wide initiatives -- for example developing a quality assurance framework for WikiEducator, compared to an individual project author getting a friend to comment and or review the materials developed. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:32, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- One of the purposes of the workgoup is to facilitate communication. When a workgroup is formed, its founding members need to decide how to communicate. I don't think there is one answer for how to communicate, although my preference is on WE. Should there be a list of options, including pros&cons and examples that could be previewed? --Alison Snieckus 02:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- I Alison, I like the suggestion pertaining to options for communicating. That's a good idea. Apart from communication, I also think that transparency regarding process is very important for Wiki-wide changes. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:32, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- I also like the idea of adding comments to a page on WE as a means of communication. --Nellie Deutsch 09:11, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
- My concern has always been the technology by which we choose to communicate. While I am pro technology myself - I live in North America - somebody in a developing country for instance might have a harder time, struggling with low bandwidth, access or lack of sufficient electricity, to meet -let's say in an e-conference room- to discuss. Those participants are clearly disadvantaged and the gap is getting bigger with progressive use of technology, isn't it?--Patricia 02:54, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
- I Alison, I like the suggestion pertaining to options for communicating. That's a good idea. Apart from communication, I also think that transparency regarding process is very important for Wiki-wide changes. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:32, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not happy with how the skills table has worked out. I thought it would be a quick way to look over people's skills, but it seems overdone. (Note that this charter will be used as an example going forward.)
I propose deleting the table and adding the info about geographic location and number of wiki edits to the personal statements in the section above.
What do others think?
I agree -- the skills table is a little "overdone" and the syntax may prove to be too daunting for new wiki editors. Let's keep the barriers to participation as low as possible.
That said --the experience of trailing the skills table has refined our thinking.
Yip -- I vote for removing the skills table.
The idea that Community Workgroups should begin by creating a charter has been generally accepted (and tried out) by the WE community and a charter boilerplate is now available to help guide its creation. This group is now engaged in revising our WE Workgroups charter to correspond to the new charter boilerplate. In an effort to clean up the page I removed the following notes and pasted them below to help document the change process that is occurring for this document. --Alison Snieckus 18:15, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
(: The charter which follows below on this page reflects earlier thinking about what to include in a charter. We've developed a new template at the above link: Team Charter. Note that these new charter guidelines could be used by any group or team to create a working document for their group. The thinking is that the WE community-wide Workgroups will use this charter template along with a few additional requirements to create their charter. Given we are a WE community-wide WG, once we are agreed on the form of this general template, the plan is to update our WE community-wide workgroup charter on this page to reflect the new format. All feedback and comments on this template are much appreciated. --Alison Snieckus 14:24, 13 July 2009 (UTC))
(: The purpose of this Charter, apart from developing a Charter for this workgroup, is to model and trial the requirements for future workgroup charters --Wayne Mackintosh 02:50, 5 July 2009 (UTC))
I propose the following sections that make up a charter:
1. Objective (What is the purpose for creating the team?)
2. Workgroup facilitator (Will the team be manager led or self-managed? If self-managed, who will act as facilitator?) The facilitating role could be a shared responsibility, either consecutive or concurrent.
3. Skills required to achieve the objective – Notice that skills are listed as those that are needed, and not simply the skills of its members, which in most cases are already included in the userpage.
4. How will members be defined? Since members are open to join, will there be certain categories of membership?
5. Resources required to achieve the objective (i.e., grants, external expert assistance, etc.)
6. Boundaries – How much time will the workgroup be given to achieve responsibilities? How often are members expected to contribute?
7. Workgroup process – How will the members get the job done? When and how will the team meet? What are the expectations regarding participation towards the objective?
8. Securing equal commitment – Do members share a willingness to achieve the objective? What circumstances might limit the members’ ability to perform up to the expectations of others?
9. Resolving conflict – WE values. A frank discussion about potential discord. The two most common examples are those members who don´t “pull their weight” or do their fair share of the work, and those who tend to dominate the group.
10. A project plan – to do list; who will do what and when; a schedule of activities with person responsible and due-date.
11. Evaluating and learning from the process – How will members know what mid-course corrections need to be made to the process or plan? How will members measure progress? What can members learn from the experience about how not only to make workgroups better, but future workgroups as well.
This is a modified version found in Thompson et al. (2000, pp. 70-72), "Tools for teams: Buildling effective teams in the workplace", and I think it serves well with what WE is trying to accomplish with the establishment of charters. Instead of viewing a charter as a static document, it becomes more useful if it’s treated as a “living” document that matures over time. However, the more of these items that can be determined from the beginning the better, in my opinion.--Benjamin Stewart 05:13, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Wow --- thanks again for your contributions. It would be great if you would consider adding your name to the list of participants on this group. In response to the suggestions from Thompson et al, let's evaluate how well we're doing:
- We have a statement of Aims and objectives -- so that's covered
- We have the roles of convenor specified including the option to co-opt co-convenor(s). By nature wiki's are self-organising. For example -- you are not listed as a participant of this group, but your inputs are contributing to the refinement and quality of this group :-)
- mmmm -- yes I think we need to be more focused on the listing of participant skills as they pertain to the task of the workgroup. Perhaps the subheading of required skills should be placed before the listing of participants?
- As an open community I'm not sure whether we should go down the path of defining categories of members -- this risks excluding the range of volunteers on which our community depends. Ultimately --- its the quality of the outputs which count, not the qualifications of the participating members. Here I see that the Community Council has a responsibility in assessing whether policy guidelines are logical, will contribute to the development of WE taking into account the skills and experience of the workgroup participants. If the proposed guidelines are of poor quality they should be referred back to the work group.
- We have a section which considers resources -- so that's covered
- Regarding timelines -- I think milestones and corresponding dates should be specified in the charter. These time frames need to be determined by the workgroup taking into account the scheduled meeting dates of Council.
- Regarding the questions of workgroup process -- I think the workgroup should decide these parameters -- After all the work group is responsible for getting the work done :-)
- Securing equal committment -- well that depends on the individuals involved -- wiki's typically rely on the efforts of volunteers and its been my experience in WikiEducator that the majority of participants act in good faith in the interests of the project.
- Resolving conflict --- the WP guidelines on consensus provide a solid foundation to work from --- that said, I think that we should think about the refinements that are necessary and appropriate for our community.
- Yip -- we need to work on developing a clear project plan with corresponding milestones and ideally specify this in the guidelines. I think that its also important to think about reasonable and achievable targets. This relates to your earlier comment about the ability of members to contribute.
- Evaluation and reflection is very important -- I think we have this heading, but haven't spent time populating this section yet.
Ben -- these are very valuable suggestions and I think we're on track to getting many of these covered in the draft guidelines. As a wiki, the charter will always be a dynamic document as in the case of this workgroup :-).
1. We have a statement of Aims and objectives -- so that's covered (Great.)
2. We have the roles of convenor specified including the option to co-opt co-convenor(s). By nature wiki's are self-organising. For example -- you are not listed as a participant of this group, but your inputs are contributing to the refinement and quality of this group :-) (Perhaps this is an issue of semantics, but if “convenor” means one who facilitates the process of achieving group goals, then fine. At first I took the term “convenor” to mean simply one who assembles meetings. I think this facet of a charter is essential because without it, the workgroup is more likely to work in a less-productive way.
3. mmmm -- yes I think we need to be more focused on the listing of participant skills as they pertain to the task of the workgroup. Perhaps the subheading of required skills should be placed before the listing of participants? (Ok, but I think we should focus on articulating the skills needed to achieve the objectives first and then simply have members sign up if they feel they have or wish to develop those skills. I don´t feel that including the experience/skills of each member in the charter is a material factor in whether group objectives are met. If someone wants to know the background of the members, they go to their respective user page.)
4. As an open community I'm not sure whether we should go down the path of defining categories of members -- this risks excluding the range of volunteers on which our community depends. Ultimately --- its the quality of the outputs which count, not the qualifications of the participating members. Here I see that the Community Council has a responsibility in assessing whether policy guidelines are logical, will contribute to the development of WE taking into account the skills and experience of the workgroup participants. If the proposed guidelines are of poor quality they should be referred back to the work group. (I agree, this facet could probably be removed.)
5. We have a section which considers resources -- so that's covered (ok)
6. Regarding timelines -- I think milestones and corresponding dates should be specified in the charter. These time frames need to be determined by the workgroup taking into account the scheduled meeting dates of Council. (Ok, just to clarify though…I´m proposing a charter framework that can be used for all types of WGs. When you mention “Council”, are you referring to all types of WGs?)
7. Regarding the questions of workgroup process -- I think the workgroup should decide these parameters -- After all the work group is responsible for getting the work done :-) (Exactly, that’s why I´m advocating that it be part of the charter. What I´m proposing is not that we develop one particular charter that is to be applied by all, only the sections of the charter (i.e., objectives, workgroup facilitator(s), skills/experience that will contribute to achieving objectives, resources required, boundaries, process, resolving conflict, project plan, and evaluation). The point is that each workgroup is expected to fill out this (or some other) format with the hopes of achieving a greater level of success.
8. Securing equal commitment -- well that depends on the individuals involved -- wiki's typically rely on the efforts of volunteers and its been my experience in WikiEducator that the majority of participants act in good faith in the interests of the project. (I agree, but I think articulating this within the charter and within the context of meeting particular objectives promotes a higher level of obligation and communication on the part of its members. If I enter into a new workgroup and I look at their commitment statements I have a good feeling as to whether I would like to be a part of that WG or not. It’s not a contract, it’s just communicating one’s own commitment level to the group. It also helps in addressing group expectations that if aren´t met later on, can cause conflict.) – segue…
9. Resolving conflict --- the WP guidelines on consensus provide a solid foundation to work from --- that said, I think that we should think about the refinements that are necessary and appropriate for our community. (I agree, and perhaps this section could include a link to the WP guidelines. But there is something about having members communicate how they will resolve conflict before the conflict exists. We can just tell members to read the guidelines, but I don´t think it carries the same weight or importance.)
10. Yip -- we need to work on developing a clear project plan with corresponding milestones and ideally specify this in the guidelines. I think that it’s also important to think about reasonable and achievable targets. This relates to your earlier comment about the ability of members to contribute. (Yes, it’s related but this section is more specific, as when teams use a Gantt chart to organize work. And again, I´m only proposing that this be a section in the charter where group members decide themselves)
11. Evaluation and reflection is very important -- I think we have this heading, but haven't spent time populating this section yet. (ok. Probably in this same section would include the process of how to update the charter itself as well.)
Again, my main point here is that we reach a consensus on a common charter framework that this and all subsequent workgroups are to follow. Each group may populate their respective charters in different ways, but that each section should be important enough to make it a requirement to be filled out or included as a link.
Ben and Wayne,
Great that we are mostly in agreement on this. Here's the points that I think are still in discussion, with my thoughts added in blue:
2. Workgroup Facilitator -- We have the roles of convenor specified including the option to co-opt co-convenor(s). By nature wiki's are self-organising. For example -- you are not listed as a participant of this group, but your inputs are contributing to the refinement and quality of this group :-) (Perhaps this is an issue of semantics, but if “convenor” means one who facilitates the process of achieving group goals, then fine. At first I took the term “convenor” to mean simply one who assembles meetings. I think this facet of a charter is essential because without it, the workgroup is more likely to work in a less-productive way. I think the we should change the term for the leadership role for Workgroups from convenor to facilitator. I think the term convenor has meanings that we don't intend. The term facilitator is much more readily understood to mean someone who helps the group reach its objectives.
3. Skills required to achieve the objectives -- mmmm -- yes I think we need to be more focused on the listing of participant skills as they pertain to the task of the workgroup. Perhaps the subheading of required skills should be placed before the listing of participants? (Ok, but I think we should focus on articulating the skills needed to achieve the objectives first and then simply have members sign up if they feel they have or wish to develop those skills. I don´t feel that including the experience/skills of each member in the charter is a material factor in whether group objectives are met. If someone wants to know the background of the members, they go to their respective user page.) I like Ben's idea that a person signs on to help if they feel they have or wish to develop those skills. And I like, even more, Ben's suggestion to harness the power of the user page. The WG charter lists the skills and people sign on. To evaluate if the current config of the group (which may change over time) fulfills the needed skills, evaluate skills of the group via group members user pages. And I think some people may feel less self-conscious and be more likely to sign on if they don't have to highlight their lack of relevant skill/experience directly on the page. So, I suggest removing the user statements and the two-way table. And maybe we should add # of edits to the personalinfobox -- so that it autoupdates.
6. Boundaries -- Regarding timelines -- I think milestones and corresponding dates should be specified in the charter. These time frames need to be determined by the workgroup taking into account the scheduled meeting dates of Council. (Ok, just to clarify though…I´m proposing a charter framework that can be used for all types of WGs. When you mention “Council”, are you referring to all types of WGs?) . I agree. I think the charter template should be written as a resource for all workgroups. Any specifics for community-wide WGs are included in the guidelines.
Ben's proposed framework is very well suited to what we are doing. I like the idea that the charter is a living document, that would be revised as the WGs purpose changes over time. It's really coming along well.
First of all, apologies for coming in so late.
I have been reading through the wealth of great contributions by all. Sterling job!! I will do my best to share some of my thoughts and observations, so here it goes. I apologise in case I respond to comments that were made earlier on, trying to catch up and hope that I can bring some new thoughts to the table.
In response to the comments made by Ben and Wayne, let me say the following:
1. Listing participants skills pertaining to the tasks of working groups: I agree with what has been said. Because we are an open community, we should allow a person, who wants to join because s/he thinks that s/he has something to contribute, the option to follow through. Does it matter what type of background or skillset a person has, if contributions are appropriate to and for the outcome of our desired objectives? I think requirements if any should be made general and based on good will of the incoming new workgroup member, time requirements should be indicated and I think we need a "Workgroup Buddy" kind of person who takes up the task to make the transition for the newcomer easier. This could be done on a rotational basis within the relevant working group, so one perosn doesn't get stuck with this all the time.
If we are talking about participants skills in general, maybe a short paragraph at the top each working group page would help, informing about expectations and commitments for and to a working group if people wanted to join the group or attend a course as true participants (minimum requirements).
More working groups/Facilitators:
We need new ideas and people to come in and we should decentralise our efforts and have for instance workshop facilitators work in teams of at least two (based on the size of the group [which we are doing], facilitating consecutively and concurrently, depending on what we are looking at, whereby the tasks should be more evenly distributed, so the overload on one person can be minimised.
I think we need a catalogue of distribution of tasks to be done when facilitating online (creation of another working group perhaps), and I am not referring to the facilitation guidebook on how to... The way workshops are run depend very much on the individual faciltiator(s) and technological expertises as each person has their own style when facilitating.
Boundaries: There is also a reference here on We values, overdominance, overzealousness, competitiveness (it suffrocates the others), and "not pulling "your" weight that needs to be looked at => WE guidelines Question is, where do you draw the line. What is enough, too much and what isn't and who is to tell?
For me flexibility is the key word, this within parameters that are designed to support the established processes, which we are looking at, if this makes any sense.
I also agree with Ben's suggestion to harness the power of the user page. I have been thinking about this myself. How could we find a creative way of using these pages more effectively, other than just using it for our own personal ideas, purpose and content. I would rather like to see them used in addition. Maybe another type of working group is required, for instance, for the compilation of expertises that are really hidden within these user pages, listing them somewhere by category or area of expertise, so when we are looking for people in specific areas with certain expertises, we have a pool of expertise to fall back on. These WikiEducators can be contacted and will not drown in the great mass of wonderful WikiEducators. We would be pulling them back in this way as well and can make them our strength. All this falls under the WE community Improvement working groups. Two ideas.
I reciprocate Peter's thoughts re not always getting email notifications, and/or receiving emails long after they were sent and I am on the system every day. Also not sure what to do about this.
Evaluation: How do we want to capture lessons learned? Surveys? is this enough? and how real is the result if we are asking more specific questions. Feedback pages don't always seem to work. People are apprehensive about saying something critical publically.
Let me stop here for now.
Patricia, Thanks so much for your thoughts. The discussion has been quite far-ranging. You have some good ideas that I don't think have been brought up yet. Here are my thoughts on various points:
"Listing participants skills pertaining to the tasks of working groups..."
- I think we are all in agreement on this.
"I think we need a "Workgroup Buddy" kind of person who takes up the task to make the transition for the newcomer easier"
- Good idea. Some of the Workgroups will (I think) require substantial effort with no end date. They may begin with the task of creating a policy, and then take on the role of implementation (e.g., the group that creates the policy to deal with spam morphs into group that implements the policy, including a portion that has day-to-day tasks). We will need a system to bring new people into a workgroup and get them up to speed. I will add this idea to the sustaining workgroups section of the guidelines.
"If we are talking about participants skills in general, maybe a short paragraph at the top..."
- I think we've got this in the charter.
"...we should decentralise our efforts..." and share the work among many.
- Totally agree. I'm hopeful that the implementation of Workgroups will do this -- 1-2 facilitators per group, without much overlap across groups (although likely overlap of members).
"I think we need a catalogue of distribution of tasks to be done when facilitating online..."
- Not sure what you mean, probably because this is my first time facilitating online. Anything to help newcomers get up to speed on this would be very helpful.
"Boundaries"..."not pulling "your" weight ...WE guidelines. For me flexibility is the key word,..."
- I suspect these sections of the charter were originally designed for paid employees forced to work together to achieve some objective. WE are here by choice, which certainly changes things, but I'm not sure exactly how. Will be interesting to see how these sections are used by different groups.
"...harness the power of the user page..."
- I think we should revamp the participant section on our first draft charter to drop the skills table and maybe also the user statements -- we could suggest that users include a brief bio statement at the top of the user page for quick review when determining if a group's participants cover the needed skills. I think I'll put this issue into a separate thread.
"Maybe another type of working group is required, for instance, for the compilation of expertises ... WE community Improvement working groups. Two ideas.
- Two good examples of possible future Workgroups.
- Let's think how to create a communication method for this group that does not depend on email notification. Should we set up an alternative to the talk page?
- I suspect that evaluation will be another learning process. Hopefully we can benefit from what others have learned on this already.
I think the group is largely on the same page, conceptually....just need to work out the details.
Thanks again for taking the time to write out your thoughts. Appreciate your checking in.
--Alison Snieckus 01:40, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, Nellie. I´ll give it a shot. My rationale is stated above and will expect that not everyone will agree on what I propose. So I encourage everyone to continue this dialogue and to continue updating the charter until we reach a consensus as to what will work best for the WE community.
Ben, Wonderful. I look forward to the substantive discussion! Gotta go now. Be back later. -Alison
My display of the WikiEducator Workgroups page is not showing the edit buttons that usually display on the right at each header. Every other page that I've checked includes the edit buttons -- it seems to be just this page. Anyone else having this problem?
Hi Alison --
I found the problem --- the attribute to specify display of a pedagogical template within the TOC's has a bug -- it seems to interfere with the edit links next to the headings. We'll need to investigate how to fix this.
- I prefer to communicate here unless we decide to create a subpage of this one. --Nellie Deutsch 21:24, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
- My preference is to use the talk pages. I find the automatic structure (subjects, indenting, colors) easier to use. I know there are issues with the reply function not working, but if the watch/unwatch tab is turned on then it seems like all of the messages come through, which is probably what we would need if we are actively working on this. But I have to say, just answering this here, in the designated spot on our charter, is a good idea! Thanks Nellie --Alison Snieckus 23:24, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi to all interested in this WE Workgroup,
One of the parts we are suggesting to go in a Workgroup charter is an explanation of how the Workgroup members plan to communicate among themselves.
Do you agree that Workgroups should be deciding this up front?
If you think this is a decision that Workgroups should make during their forming stage, I'm wondering if we should provide some guidance as to communication options and their benefits/disadvantages. Of course, groups can choose any method, but successful communication is definitely one factor that contributes to sustaining work on a project and its ongoing success.
Is there a resource on communicating already on WE that we could point to?
Warm (it's finally summer here at latitude 40o N) Regards, Alison
Apology for the delayed response -- lots on my plate at the moment and preparing for an international trip.
I agree -- the charter should include a section on how the group will communicate. Rather than specify specific technologies, we can think about the criteria / checklist of requirements for the communication strategy, for example, we could specify that work group communications should:
- Be transparent -- i.e any member of the community must be able to read and access the communications
- Be open -- i.e. that any member must be able to contribute to the discussions. This also includes a requirement to use open file formats, in other words contributors should not be required to purchase non-free software in order to participate in the discussions.
- Be licensed as free content (i.e. CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA or published under a public domain declaration)
- all discussions are conducted in the same place, with clearly identified links to where the discussions are taking place.
I think the charter should also specify a suggested time line with reasonable and achievable target dates. In addition, I think their should be regular communications on the main list about progress -- possibly a short report -- maximum of one page on progress against the suggested timeline.
I also think the charter should include a very brief reflection on the skills / experience of the workgroup --- this is not to restrict participation of members who may not necessarily have relevant or appropriate experience --- but rather a mechanism to identify if a workgroup has any skills gaps so that we can recruit additional skills from our community.
I like the idea of having a bash at developing a charter for this workgroup --- this will help us identify the requirements for a charter. Incremental learn-by-doing --- the wiki way :-).
Wayne, No need to apologize.
Communication -- you're right, listing the requirements for communication is better than listing methods. Participants will have their favored communication methods and can evaluate them against the specs.
Outcomes -- agree that outcomes should have specified target dates.
Maybe your suggestion on regular communication to the main WE list is part of supporting Workgroups. One way to keep something going is to keep it visible.
Skills/experience -- implemented a 2-way table in our charter as a trial balloon.
The charter is started. Let's see where it goes and what we can learn (:-D.
Yip --- progress is looking good.
The skills table is a great start. Thinking a little wider here that is the skills specification for future workgroups perhaps it would be better to invite the volunteer members of the workgroup to write a succinct statement of their relevant skills pertaining to the workgroup -- no more than a sentence with a link to their userpage. So for example in my case I could write something like:
- Founder of WikiEducator, elected member of Council with governance, senior level management and leadership experience -- link to User page goes here.
In this way volunteers can identify their relevant experience and interests in a more flexible way and readers and reviewers can quickly scan the experience of the group.
Coming back to a point which I think you made earlier -- we should think about clarifying roles of workgroup participants:
eg Convenor / co-convenor -- responsible for:
- Convening and facilitating workgroup discussions
- Ensuring the development of a charter in accordance with the guidelines and recommended criteria
- Taking responsibility for regular updates on the main list
- Taking proactive initiative to ensure that volunteers are kept up to date (eg personal email, reminders of deadlines etc.)
- Prepare final submission of the work group proposal for Council (in the case of community-wide workgroups).
- Regularly visit the work group page
- Contribute to discussions and draft reviews of the workgroup outputs
- Aim to achieve consensus on relevant items
Other roles? Thoughts?
Your suggestion to have each participant include a short bit summarizing their relevant skills and experience was my first thought also. I even created a test layout, but wondered if a more concise display (2-way table) would be better.
I've got both versions included now (I reset your suggestion with the linked name first instead of last). Not sure both are needed -- it seems like overkill, but I'll leave it for now and see what others think.
Agree that we should include specification of roles. These are the only two roles that I can think of that every Workgroup would need. I'd suggest that Workgroups define additional roles as needed, recognizing that a role is a job that they want a group member to perform, not a set of skills.
I'll work on getting this info onto the page.
I took Wayne's first thoughts on process and added steps to reflect the earlier discussions (charter, commenting/annotation period, how many initiators does it take...). A few thoughts:
- Might be useful to describe a few Workgroups to help people see the kinds of issues/innovations that might benefit from a Workgroup.
- Need to more fully explain the minimum requirements for the charter, would be good to provide an example.
- Provide a section describing communication options and minimum requirements
- Need a more detailed description of the review and commenting stage. What needs to be created/specified to support this process?
Look forward to your thoughts and comments.
That's a good start. I was wondering about the following point:
- "Submit the charter to the Council for evaluation...and approval?? (would like a different word -- something that indicates consent to move forward)."
This may be a redundant point in the sense that the Workgroup policy guidelines (once approved by Council & assuming we do this well) would provide the "authority" for establishing the workgroup. I think Council's role should be to ensure that due transparent process has taken place rather than exercising value judgements on the charter. Perhaps the step is to list the establishment of new Workgroup in a dedicated space in the wiki -- so that Council members (as members of the Wiki community) can contribute and comment on the proposal. Things we need to think about here:
- Council may not meet regularly enough to provide prompt feedback or "consent" to move forward. There is an idea posted by Peter to look at a continuous asynchronous council -- this would address the time issue. However, Council has not taken a decision on this yet.
- Council policy does cater for the establishment of an Executive committee to assist with day-to-day management issues, for example consents on workgroup charters -- but Council has yet to decide on whether an Executive committee will be established or not.
What do other folk think?
I totally agree that the Council should evaluate for process rather than value judgment of charter. Although, I'm also thinking that Council would evaluate for completeness. Probably need to specify criteria for evaluation.
The previous step is working on the charter; seems like the group needs a way to indicate to the Council that they are ready for a first review. Maybe the verb should be request rather than submit.
Interesting, how this process will need to mesh with Council process. Hadn't really thought about that.
Yip -- I can see we're on the same page here.
Ideally the development of community policy should be based on a consensus model and there is a tacit acknowledgement that Council are the stewards of community process. Thinking practically, I suspect that in most cases/scenarios consensus can and will be achieved by the community.
While we should strive for consensus, arguably there are situations where for example, tensions between consensus and practicability may arise, for example:
- Affordability -- e.g. proposals which would require financial resources which the community and/or OER Foundation do not have.
- Legality -- where consensus proposals cannot be implemented for legal reasons (we're not all legal professionals)
- Technical restrictions --- where consensus proposals relating to technology changes which for instance, create security risks or technological dependencies which are difficult to support (again we're not all IT professionals)
- Conflicting values --- for example, WE since its inception has subscribed to its interpretation of the meaning of free content under the free cultural works definition. So for example a consensus proposal to adopt the non-commercial restriction on the site conflicts with the core values of the project.
So thinking about criteria for evaluation we could propose, for example, that Council should apply the following criteria:
- Is the proposal affordable?
- Does the proposal meet legal requirements?
- Are there technical barriers to regarding the implementation of the proposal (this will be alleviated in part with the concurrent developments of the Technology policy workgroup
- Is the proposal aligned with the core values of the WikiEducator project?
- Does the proposal represent/or likely to achieve a consensus opinion from the community? (Some indicators of what we mean by consensus combined with the mechanisms to determine consensus would be useful.
Are there other criteria which Council should apply?
How this process will mesh with Council meetings etc -- is pragmatic, and whatever Council decides regarding frequency of meetings, the establishment or not of an Excom etc -- will be reflected and incorporated into the policy.
This is taking shape rather well -- I'll post a note on the main list encourage folk to take a look at the discussions and developments so far.
Agree that consensus model suits our needs perfectly. As you suggest, we'll need to work out the detailed process --the WP article on consensus decision-making could be helpful in this work.
My understanding of consensus model is that further discussion and rework is necessary whenever one or more people disagree. Your practicability issues will likely reflect Council members' -- who are all WE members --and likely many others' opinions such that the proposal would fail to achieve consensus if any of these were inherent problems. To avoid denials/failures/much reworking later in the process, I think we should include these practicality concerns in our charter specifications (as well as the evaluation criteria, as you suggest) -- have the Workgroup address these up front. As with good learning design, the specs grow out of the criteria for evaluation (Ben, I've been reading Wiggins and McTigue "Understanding By Design" that I learned about on your distance lang learning page :-).
Will think more about evaluation criteria.
Agree, would like to get some more opinions on these topics.
For example, Announce the idea on the main WE list -- determine interest, is this a community problem/challenge etc. Set up a draft Workgroup page in the wiki (eg in the Workgroup namespace, listing of the workgroup on the community portal etc.) Invite volunteers to join. (The person setting up the workgroup should be listed as convenor and take responsibility for successful completion of the workgroups activities, tasks). Do we need to specify/recommend a minimum number of participants before "qualifying" as a workgroup?. If so, I'd say three members is a useful minimum. --Wayne Mackintosh 01:04, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Because we will have different types of workgroups, I think an oversight committee (whatever we officially call it) should be responsible for setting up a workgroup regardless of the number of committed participants. The problem I have with requiring a certain number of participants before getting a workgroup going is that sometimes it just takes one person to get the ball rolling. He or she starts a discussion then another decides to chime in, and the process continues. Also, maybe one person is all that is needed to present a solution. After a review board looks it over, makes adjustments, etc. the process is complete. That is, let's keep it open to see how things work out. We can always change it later. I do think that some review board is needed to open, maintain, delete, consolidate, etc. workgroups making sure that they keep in close communication with the respective participants. This will help to maintain integrity to the process, but as I mentioned above will still leave it as flexible as possible for people to participate.
That's a very good point Ben,
It only takes one individual to come up with an innovative idea that will improve the way we do things. I'm all for keeping things open -- its a cornerstone of WikiEducator's success.
mmmm thinking out loud here --- perhaps the notion of three collaborators should not be specified as a requirement for setting up a workgroup but rather an indication of traction and refinement for a good idea before submitting to the WE Council for approval in the case of community wide decisions?
I think our "oversight committee" is the community (if you know what I mean). Our challenge is to design processes and systems which enable the community to function as the "oversight committee" before final approval --- Perhaps this means a minimum criteria checklist for the WE Community Council to ensure that the community has been adequately consulted, that the proposal is a good idea etc.
I believe the process needs considerable consideration. I know we have had initiatives started that seemed to have people engaged, interested and a shared agreement to importance. Yet the participation never materialized. In one important initiative it ended up being only two of us driving the initiative forward Quality Assurance and Review. In the end I wonder why this initiative never gained community participation. I believe participation is very important to "ratifying" new works. I believe our process needs to have an early step to gage community involvement. I don't see an initiative driven by one or two people as a community initiative. I don't have an answer for this, I just believe it is important to have a good cross section of the community involved early in the process, so not too much effort is applied before it gets to the "oversight committee". The other side to this would be to let one or two drive an initiative forward, have a quick process for "ratifying" the workgroup outcome with the knowledge that it then moves into a commenting / annotating state where it is open to periodic amendment... Sometimes works need to be almost complete before the community becomes involved. We are considering this commenting / annotation approach within our online legal publishing and it seems to be an approach that is gaining traction. Here are two good examples of commenting / annotating and existing publication;
I agree -- process needs careful consideration. I wouldn't offer a conclusive response to the challenges of community involvement and engagement in different initiatives, but I do have a few hunches.
- We need to do a better job of educating and supporting our community in participation -- that is helping educators develop the skills and confidence in how this all works. Its quite daunting for newbies -- and its not only a technology issue. Open transparent collaboration is a cultural change for many educators working in the formal education sector.
- I wouldn't be too hard in judging the QA & Review project in terms of active engagement --- this is an innovative development that in hindsight, was a little ahead of its time. Nonetheless we have the foundations in place to take this to the next level.
Watch this space -- WE is beginning to rock in ways we haven't experienced in the past. Its a maturation thing -- mass-peer collaboration on the development of educational materials is an order of magnitude more complex than developing an encyclopaedia article. WE has very relevant experience in this field and we're building on our experiences. Three years ago WE had 1 registered user -- we're now on the threshold of 10000 registered accounts and learning by the day :-)
In response to your first bullet: "We need to do a better job of educating and supporting our community in participation" I propose that we add the section "Supporting Official WikiEducator Workgroups" to our guidelines. Not every Workgroup would need support, but it seems like the guidelines should describe a mechanism/criteria for regular evaluation of Workgroups, a process to identify a Workgroup that is struggling and then specific actions that the Council/community can take to offer support.
I have been very interested in online group work for many years. This page has evolved from work I did for my MS Ed. capstone project. I include group project work in all my online classes.
That's a very useful resource -- fortunately its licensed under a free content license so this work group can create a derivative work based :-).
Let's assess which points are relevant for the workgroups we have in mind and start developing the guidelines.
I think all comments to pages should be conducted in the Discussion tab only. Since comments will eventually be deleted and more than likely copied into the discussion tab later, making this a standard would simplify things in my opinion.
One of the purposes of the workgoup is to facilitate communication. When a workgroup is formed, its founding members need to decide how to communicate. I don't think there is one answer for how to communicate, although my preference is on WE. Should there be a list of options, including pros&cons and examples that could be previewed? --Alison Snieckus 02:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Alison brings up an important point. I think the way members communicate can be open, but I think that whatever information or decisions that are made should be included in the discussion tab of the wiki page (e.g. minutes to a meeting). This helps outsiders see the rationale as members pursue a common objective.
I'm also in favor of general comments belonging on the discussion page. Maybe one of our first tasks for this "figuring out workgroups" workgroup should be to decide how/where we want discussions to happen. My vote is to keep thoughts and discussion in the main discussion tab, at least to start.
So how do we make this decision? Our chosen communication method should (at a minimum): 1) enable us in sharing our thoughts/opinions/ideas, 2) support our collaboration in making decisions, 3) be transparent, and 4) encourage interested others to join in (or is this last one implied by transparent). I think our experiencing this decision process for our group can help us better envision how to help other groups with this ongoing struggle.
I would say that a group charter would be in order. A group charter would contain all the necessary information needed as to how the group would work, expectations, etc.
I like the idea that one of the steps for establishing a Workgroup be that the initiators (one or more community members or the subgroup members assigned from the Council) create a draft charter. Will see if I can outline a starting point for this on the page.
Clearly there are advantages to keeping discussions on the discussion page -- particularly from the perspective of tracking the history of the development of policy-like documents.
It's not easy (or appropriate?) to regulate something like wiki "etiquette" but also see the need to encourage transparent practice.
- I suggest that we consider including a subsection in the guideline for workgroups document on "preferred" communication channels; and
- In cases where discussion or ideas are located in spaces other than the relevant discussion tab, we could request that links to these discussions should be inserted on the discussion page with the proviso that only discussions (and relevant links -- eg a link to a post on the discussion list) will be taken into account for re-drafting and revisions.
Most WikiEducators would do their best to work within these communication guidelines.
I'm very challenged by this idea of using the current LQT based discussion pages within WE. I do not consistently get notification of changes additions to discussion threads. This makes it very difficult for me to follow a discussion, particularly when it is spread over multiple pages. I don't know if this happens for others, maybe I need a tutorial on using LQT, or maybe I need an account reset? I still get notification of new messages weeks after they have been posted. And I think it is an unrealistic expectation for me to check every page on a daily basis for new discussion items... --- next day --- I have just confirmed this as an ongoing problem. I added the these discussion threads yesterday and when I logged in again today I was NOT notified of Waynes comment back to me. The only way I found his reply was to go to the My Contributions link and then scroll through the list until I found the page I had edited. Then I followd the link and therefore the additional discussion. Is this a problem with my settings? Are other people having similar troubles?
Let's run a quick test -- please reply to this message. and lets see what happens. I get my notification messages on main pages, but haven't done a test on email notifications if I check the watch list on LQT.
I've checked the watchlist -- and lets see what happens.
Last edit: 06:55, 2 June 2009
WikiEducator identifies three types of workgroup: 1) Community workgroups initiated by WikiEducator members to improve the way we work. 2) Council workgroups established as sub-committees and/or working groups for specific purposes of the Council in accordance with the Open Community Governance Policy Project, and 3) workgroups established for the purposes of specific content projects in WikiEducator and do not fall within scope of these community guidelines.
[I'm not sure what you mean by "do not fall within scope of these community guidelines." Is this discussion not about project (content-based) workgroups? Before I got to this point, I was thinking that it did. --Alison Snieckus 02:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)]
:::: Hi Alison, mmmm -- I see that the wording is a little ambiguous. I think that it's important to distinguish Wikieducator-wide interventions from individual projects. One of the things I like about the wiki model is the freedom and minimal bureaucracy to get things done. For example, in my view there should be no "regulatory" requirements for a project developing course materials -- and these projects should be free to decide how they structure themselves. However, changes for instance to existing pedagogical templates that are used across WikiEducator or changes to main technologies we use, for example shifting the WE community discussion list to another technology platform would need wider consultation and agreed process. So in the case of individual projects -- I was trying to say that the policy guidelines for workgroups are not a community requirement. --Wayne Mackintosh 03:10, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I understand these three types as follows:
1) Community workgroups: Examples might include workgroups that are focused on WE training, how to form workgroups, Intellectual Property (IP) policies intended for WE members, etc.
2) Council workgroups: Examples include any efforts directed to the Open Community Governance Policy Project
3) General workgroups: Examples include WEducator projects related to specific educational content.
I would think that some oversight group (review board, committee, etc.) might be helpful in order to review community and general workgroups as well.
I'm glad you picked up on this as well -- clearly we need to communicate more clearly on what we mean by a workgroup and the different types.
We'll need to pay careful attention to communicating this well in subsequent drafts.
Yes, we'll need a system of checks-and-balances" to assure that workgroups remain in their appropriate categories and that workgroup members receive the support they need to continue working in an orderly fashion.
Last edit: 11:05, 2 June 2009
I'm still struggling with the definitions of and distinctions between the types of workgroups: community, council and project. Ben's examples for community help, but I'm still not there.
- WE still need to get the distinctions clear -- and we can think about developing clear definitions in the definition section of the draft. For me its important to ensure that:
- Workgroups to develop policy and wikied-wide changes can be initiated by the community and the council, in other words that the establishment of workgroups is not restricted privilege of the Council.
- Council initiated and Community initiated workgroups operate under the same guidelines for transparency, approval processes etc.
- the workgroup guidelines/policy is not intended to restrict or stop groups forming to support individual projects. It would be unfortunate if a WE member used the workgroups policy as a "stick" to stop organic groups forming for individual projects --Wayne Mackintosh 21:51, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- WE still need to get the distinctions clear -- and we can think about developing clear definitions in the definition section of the draft. For me its important to ensure that:
Ben, You used the term "general workgoup" to refer to Wayne's proposed "project workgroup." Not sure if you meant to change the name. I wonder if this type of group might be better named "content workgroup" given the broad meaning associated with project -- on WE a project is very broadly defined, it doesn't need to be content-based. For example, the WE training effort is clearly a project. But we're thinking that the breadth of this group's effort (it's community wide) makes them a community workgroup. OTOH, maybe "content workgroup" is too narrow.
- mmmm the concepts of "project workgroup" or "general workgroup" are too restrictive and do not cover the range of clusters, country nodes, individual project groups etc. Perhaps we just need to say that other "groupings like country nodes, project committees, clusters etc are not covered by the "workgroup" policy. --Wayne Mackintosh 21:59, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- as suggested above -- I don't think the workgroup policy should attempt to cover all possible groupings -- that said, we need to be clear in our definitions in terms of what is covered and what is excluded. --Wayne Mackintosh 22:05, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Wayne, I completely agree with these guidelines being particularly focused on wikiEducator wide interventions and that individual projects organized around specific content are not bound to any particular requirements. But it seems to me that content-based workgroups may be struggling with some of the same issues as community workgroups. How to get traction to start and then how to sustain the momentum.
- Absolutely -- in total agreement :-)-- the development of training resources, guidelines, examples are very important in helping folk get started and is well aligned with our community motto -- Just try it, our community will support you. Just thinking that the workgroup guidelines/policy is not the vehicle to achieve these aims. --Wayne Mackintosh 22:05, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Sort of a bunch of thoughts bunched together here. The discussion (here on the discussion page) is definitely helping.
- No worries -- I responded in text :-) --Wayne Mackintosh 22:05, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I changed the name to attempt to make the distinction clearer, but let me explain another way.
Let's start with the council workgroups. I think this one is the easiest to identify because they involve only the council members. Initiatives of this type deal with specific initiatives that pertain to promoting WE, funding, etc.
Community workgroups (CWs) deal with how WEducators work and learn together. CWs focus on WE training and it can be improved, for example. CWs relate to HOW we work together as a community.
Workgroups established for the purposes of specific content projects are those Clusters of Interest, National teams, and groups of teacher-collaborators working on OERs for a specific subject matter or matters.
This is how I understand them anyway...I hope it helps.
Perhaps we need to be more specific to avoid potential confusion :-), eg --
- Community workgroups are initiated by the community for the development of guidelines, policies, and technology related changes that will have a community-wide impact (taking into account better forumulations :-) )
- Council workgroups are initiated under the authorities of the Open Community Governance Policy.
- Other clusters, committees, project groups and national WikiEducator nodes do not necessarily fall under the requirements of these guidelines.
We're getting better as we go along -- hopefully ;-)
Why not include on this page links to the various workgroups (as subpages) and then have the list of participants on each respective workgroup page.
That's a good suggestion -- but we have a chicken and egg situation here :-). These community inspired workgroups are the reason for thinking about better processes to ensure recognition and support for the implementation of their outputs. At the same time -- we currently don't have processes on place to do this :-)
Let's say that I sign up as a participant to this page...what would that mean? Since no workgroups have been determined, I would not know what I was signing up for. In other words, I view this page not as a workgroup per se, but as a proposal as to what a workgroup would look like (perhaps I´m wrong here). In contrast, let's say that you or someone else set up certain workshops - as subpages to this page) for different agendas needed to improve the WE community (i.e., WE training, IP policy matters, etc.). Then I would go to that subpage (i.e., workgroup) and sign up, knowing what I was getting myself into (smile). I don´t think it has to be overly structured necessarily to get started, just a basic format that would improve as we got more experience working in these workgroups.
I don´t know if this makes sense, or if I´m just missing the big picture (which certainly could be the case), but I'm all for supporting a "community inspired workgroup" and my explanation attempt is with this end in mind. I´m not sure at this point how many processes need to be put in place beforehand versus how many can be determined by the individual workgroup ("on the fly" so-to-speak).
Should we develop different design templates which incorporates the major aspects of different subject areas such as for research, module development, handbook, guidelines, handout etc., to assure quality for these working groups, create a sub-link with templates to fit the different areas somewhere in the wiki? Patricia Schlicht June 1, 2009 6:57 pm (PST)
All types of support that would facilitate working in groups should be linked to this page, but I´m not sure if having these templates would "assure" quality, although it would definitely help. Review boards (oversight committees, whatever its called) would complement all the support provided in this page. I hope that working in groups remains an open and flexible process that doesn't require mandatory forms, formats, or templates. Perhaps this is a naive perspective, but again, I would like to see how workgroups develop and then determine what is required or needed for additional support.
Do we need to provide a platform/way or direction as to where a minimum of three people = workgroup (I agree with your suggestion, Wayne) can get together or do we leave this up to the people involved to figure out. I found that some people do not know how to do this and might appreciate some guidance. Maybe a sublink with suggestions??? Patricia Schlicht June 1, 2009 6:51 pm (PST)
An oversight body would be needed to see that progress was being made and that workloads were being distributed appropriately. Knowing the objective and the workgroup members would be needed to determine if additional support was required.
Would different "types" of workgroup have different minimum requirements, for example would a technology related workgroup encourage/require inputs from the WE-Tech group?
My feeling is that perhaps we could determine this later on, after we have a chance to see how the workgroups develop. More than likely, workshops will be required to fall under certain categories which can help oversight bodies to do their job. In fact, oversight bodies might be considered another type of workgroup, no?