Workgroup types

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Hi Ben,

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.

Mackiwg (talk)15:35, 1 June 2009

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.

Bnleez (talk)16:00, 1 June 2009
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 10:05, 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)

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)

I'm also wondering how groups like Clusters of Interest and National teams, e.g., WikiEducator Mexico & WikiEducator India, relate to workgroups.

  • 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)


ASnieckus (talk)08:24, 2 June 2009

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.

Bnleez (talk)09:24, 2 June 2009

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 ;-)

Mackiwg (talk)10:22, 2 June 2009

Great to read this distinction. I do believe there is a clear and natural divide between what is community and what is governance. I think what is community can unfold as the working / project group sees best for their situation, communication approach, nationality, etc. I believe the governance needs to follow a consistent pattern as we really are accountable to the community in general and we need a consistent approach so understanding is eased. Consistency will also help with transparency...

Prawstho (talk)02:22, 3 June 2009

Hi Peter,

Agreed -- we need to be consistent in how workgroups operate, hence our attempt to describe and propose guidelines and/or policy for workgroups.

You're right governance is accountable to the community in general and in the spirit of open community governance, I think we must create avenues for community groups to convene and share in contributing to the governance of WE.

Mackiwg (talk)10:52, 3 June 2009

Yay, I'm understanding. I think my problem was that workgroup is defined much more narrowly than I first thought. Here's an example of how I now understand the difference between a "Workgroup" and a group that's working on a project. The newly established Workgroup:Learning_design is a workgroup because its charge is to oversee the development and use of pedagogical templates. Pedagogical templates are a core WE resource that impact nearly all of Wikieducator, thus necessitating that the group that oversees them needs to work under some sort of guidelines/policy/oversight. And because the "Workgroup" is called learning design, if other learning design resources come along, this would be the group to manage them. OK, I didn't see that bit before. In contrast, the Learning_Design Project is focused on learning about learning design, and creating and implementing potential resources/ideas to help the process of creating learning environments. It is this project/group that could potentially devise a new community-wide resource that would be passed to the learning design "Workgroup." This project/group evolves as interest ebbs and flows.

Workgroup has such a broad meaning that I think more needs to be said in the definition, in particular that this document refers only to the "Workgroup:" namespace. I think the definition could subsume the "types" section. Here's a suggestion.

Workgroup refers to a group of WikiEducators working together to achieve a common community goal: the development of guidelines, policies, and technology-related changes that will have a community-wide impact. Workgroups are organized in the "Workgroup" namespace. A Workgroup can be initiated by any member of the WikiEducator community and will be established as needed for the specific purposes of the Council in accordance with the Open Community Governance Policy.

I think, in conclusion, I agree with Peter that community groups are not the kind of "Workgroups" we are talking about. What's needed are groups to help govern, to be stewards and shephards, to draft policy and guidelines, in many cases initiated by the community and always with much community input.

ASnieckus (talk)09:48, 3 June 2009

Hi Alison,

Good refinement of the definition -- this has been a very useful discussion and attests to the value of collaboration in that more eyes produce better quality :-)

Peter makes a very important point --- in that Community governance is accountable to the community --- hence the importance for the community to have the freedom to convene workgroups that may ultimately lead to site-wide policy. The task of the Community Council, in my view is to ensure due process and transparency in the stewardship of our collective project.

At the same time -- we should encourage innovation, ownership and freedom for individuals and groups to self-organise around specific projects.

You're right -- workgroup does have a broad meaning -- so we need to get the definitions right in the policy guidelines for work groups.

Looks like we're at the point where we can amend the draft definitions and start thinking about process, how work groups are formed, how they operate and liaise with WCC. What are the minimum requirements before a workgroup can submit a proposal for consideration by Council etc.

Mackiwg (talk)10:47, 3 June 2009

Interesting thread. My current client is Continuing Legal Education BC and we were having a discussion regarding governance and the documents that describe the organization. The charter, mission statement, any of the founding documents, etc. As a governance committee we are bound to ensure what is described in these legal founding documents is followed. And if changes are required we go through due process to make the changes... Given the recent changes in WikiEducator becoming its own entity, shouldn't all members of the council read over all these new documents?

Prawstho (talk)20:52, 3 June 2009

I revised the definition of workgroup, revised even from my earlier suggestion in an effort to clearly define the narrow sense of the word in this instance. Am suggesting changing Workgroup Types to something else to avoid the delineation problem. It may be that the process differs for community-established and Council-established WGs, and we'll need to reinstate types. But thought it's worth considering Workgroup as one thing to start. I titled the revised section Establishing WE Workgroups...for now. Needs more thought on what else is required to make a workgroup.

ASnieckus (talk)15:23, 4 June 2009

Hi Alison,

I like the revised definition -- it works for me and is clear.

The concept of "Official WikiEducator Workgroup" is a workable concept -- I thought of the alternative of using "Sanctioned Workgroup", but it doesn't seem to fit the spirit of open communities.

One option to clarify this further is to add a definition for "Official WE Workgroup" as a Workgroup instituted and opertating under these policy guidelines -- I'll add this in the definitions. We can always modify and/or remove if necessary.

Changing workgroup "types" will also help delineate the problem. Let me think ....

Mackiwg (talk)15:44, 4 June 2009

OK -- with the addition of the "Official WE WG" definition -- we can now substitute each instance in the policy refering to an Official workgroup with the concept of "Official WikiEducator Workgroup" -- if you know what I mean :-)

Mackiwg (talk)15:49, 4 June 2009

I'll try out replacing with "Official WikiEducator Workgroup."

I do have one reservation --Official WikiEducator Workgroup is quite a long name. I wonder if it'd be easier for us if we defined the capital-W version of Workgroup to be the Official WikiEducator Workgroup, for the purposes of these policy guidelines.

Agree that we can reconsider later, time to move on.

ASnieckus (talk)12:57, 5 June 2009