Archive of thoughts and discussion from June 1-July 6 - Process

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Following are comments originally posted under "Thoughts and discussion from workgroup members" on the main page:


  1. 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?
Added a few thoughts over on the talk page -- some are replicated, but trying to generate a check list of requirements for communication. --Wayne Mackintosh 02:19, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
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.
--Alison Snieckus 22:39, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Go for it, Alison. I have a team charter available that I have used with online teachers for collaborative research papers. I don't suppose that would fit this group, or would it? --Nellie Deutsch 23:03, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
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)
Alison, here is the learning team charter template used at the University of Phoenix for team collaboration. --Nellie Deutsch 08:53, 6 July 2009 (UTC)]]
ASnieckus (talk)02:55, 6 August 2009