Finalising the policy
I've reviewed the policy and completed a draft for the missing sections. In summary:
- Made a few minor consistency edits
- Changed the Technical workgroup requirement to 3 members including a sys admin plus the requirement to obtain a consensus recommendation from the full WikiEd Tech group before submission of a technical related policy
- Drafted a process for substantive revisions
- Drafted a section for evaluating & reporting on WorkGroup activities
Now off to tackle a draft report.
The changes and new sections look great. I made some wording revisions for style and clarity. Also, I wasn't sure at which step the Workgroup would make the revisions to the current charter, so I added this as a step.
I only had time for a quick review of the evaluating and reporting section, but I'm wondering if we should recommend reports on a regular basis along with requiring them to accompany a submission to Council. Once a Workgroup has drafted a policy or a set of guidelines, I can envision their continued work in implementing and evaluating the policy/guidelines, although they may not have any further outputs to submit to Council. Might the group prepare a report for each time the Council meets? On some other regular basis? Just some initial thoughts.
Thanks for your efforts in tidying the revisions -- they're really looking good :-)
mmmm -- Speaking personally -- I'm not a bureaucrat in the sense of requiring ongoing reports. If it ain't broke no need to fix it. I think there should be a requirement for a work group to prepare a report for Council when a new policy or amendment or revision is proposed, following the procedures we're recommending for workgroups. However, if there is no change or no amendments to existing policies, I don't see the need for regular reporting back to council. Only when a change or addition to policy is required.
In reality -- the wiki provides a detailed history of all activity and if any member of the WE community want to know what's going on --- they can check the history pages at any time. I see the report as a resource to provide a quick overview and reference point of activities pertaining to workgroups and corresponding policy changes, for folk who have not been directly involved in the workgroup -- rather than a hierarchical reporting requirement in the traditional sense.
You've got me thinking -- we don't have anything in the policy regarding how to dissolve a Workgroup once it has completed its task. Once the Workgroup objectives have been achieved there should be a formal dissolution of the group.
I totally agree that we don't want to just make regular reports a requirement. I see that my post suggests that. I think I suggested a solution to a problem and failed to adequately describe the problem to which I was offering a solution (it was late and I was rushing).
The problem to be solved is of a piece with your comment about formal dissolution of a Workgroup: how do Workgroups operate after the initial policy is submitted and approved. If policies and guidelines are "living documents in the sense that they get amended, refined and improved as community experience grows." (and I completely agree with you on this), then maybe all Workgroups continue in some fashion. We don't really say in the definition of Community Workgroups that they will have continuing work following the development of policy and guidelines, but I think Workgroups may be called on to implement the policy, provide guidance for a process and/or provide the stewardship of ever-evolving aspects of WikiEducator (e.g., the style guideline workgroup will be working on the style guidelines and their implementation and later revision long after the policy is endorsed by Council; the learning design workgroup is charged with the stewardship of the pedagogical templates, a resource that will likely evolve as WE evolves). But even if a Workgroup's work ends at some point, I think the group would exist in hiatus until needed, at which point WE would reconstitute it.
[Along these lines, a few weeks ago I added a row in the beginning table in the policy indicating that WE Workgroups created the policy and is charged with maintaining it. I added a similar row in the beginning table in the style guidelines policy.]
I wonder if we should refocus the report section, now titled "Evaluating Workgroups", with a new title: "Making a submission to Council" and be very explicit about what should be submitted and how to do it and leave the rest for later, when we see the kinds of Workgroups that exist and what their needs are in their continued work. I don't think any of the existing groups will be seriously impacted by leaving this for later.
Hopefully I've better communicated my thinking on this.
Hi Alison --
You have communicated very clearly :-) Good points and thanks for taking the time to clarify the points.
I think closure and dissolution of an workgroup that has delivered on the outputs is important. Wiki stress can be a challenge, yet at the same time I see the challenges and opportunities for more permanent workgroups. Clearly the style guidelines and Learning design workgroups are ongoing, whereas others will have a discernible point for dissolution once the tasks have been completed. We also need to be clear to prospective Workgroup participants in terms of what is expected in terms of the time commitments they are volunteering. This also raises the interesting question of resigning from a workgroup, and what happens when a resignation results in the workgroup falling under the required number of participants.
mmmm --- thoughts:
- Perhaps we need a further categorisation between permanent and "temporary" (not the right word) work groups (we could cover this in the definitions section and refer to relevant points in the body of the policy.)
- Under permanent workgroups -- we need to be clear that the workgroup must continue to remain a valid workgroup in terms of the minimum requirements.
- In the case of workgroups that have clearly defined outcomes and these have been achieved as in a policy that is approved and moved to the WE namespace - that the workgroup dissolves. We can think about procedures that when a workgroup is reconstituted for revisions that there is a requirement to contact original workgroup participants with an invitation to join. I think its important to have closure -- because peoples lives and circumstances change.
- We should develop a few guidelines on resignations from workgroups and what needs to be done if the workgroup doesn't maintain minimum required members.
"Making a submission to Council" is a much better heading as it explains what it is :-) I vote for changing the heading.
It seemed like we needed to say something specific about exactly how to make a submission to Council, so I added a bit before the Workgroup report write-up to describe what I thought the steps are. I feel like I shouldn't be making such substantial changes at this point, but I guess I feel more strongly that we should say specifically what to do.
Also I made a few changes in the report section. Hopefully nothing that changes the meaning.
Don't hesitate to revert these changes if you think we should submit what we said was the final draft.
I guess we can continue the conversation of what happens next for a Workgroup in our next round of work.
I've posted a note to the list advising on the 3rd and final draft of the policy and that the report is available.
I've requested final comments by 17:00 GMT 30 August 2009 -- which will give us time to prepare the final submission for the Council meeting.
Thanks all for your help in getting this job completed on time.