I have spent about 9 months along with my several UW System Learn@UW Executive Committee colleagues having extensive discussions and scholarly debate about developing strategic directioning and vision for UW System academic and learning technologies. Our discussions led to the planning and launching of a UW System Roadmap Summit, which at a minimum feels like a success since many attendees felt as if it was needed and it should be happening on a more consistent basis (considering the last one was about 15-20 years ago according to reports).
|Roadmap Summit Pre-Event|
As the chair of this Roadmap process and one of the folks who felt strongly for developing a "plan" or at a minimum better understanding System needs to help us make better decisions about the acquisition of learning technologies, I invested a significant amount of time in this process. Rather than this plan be
"expert" drive or developed by a small group of people in a somewhat closed system/room, I wanted to make sure that we had rigorous methods and engaged stakeholders throughout the System. With that, I have a few reflections.
What was one thing you really liked?
I really loved seeing representatives from each and every campus in one room, but a small enough group where most still felt they could have a voice (we never wanted more than 75 people and physical limitations of rooms can be a good thing). Not only did we see diversity in the campuses represented, we saw diversity in the constituents. The attendees were Provost nominated for the most part, so we saw folks from all different divisions of campus. There was definitely an academic and faculty voice along with an IT and service or support voice. Interesting enough, sometimes resulted in some decent debate and opportunities for perspective taking. I am big on bringing together heterogeneous groups since the research tells us, they will lead to an optimal product in the long run (if 100 other contingencies are accounted for).
What was on thing you would have improved?
I worked very hard to make sure the agenda was active and interactive. I didn't want to focus on anyone person sharing more than 15 minutes. I wanted to value folks time to come together f2f, provide some time for sharing but not let it dominated, and focus our attentions on discussions and interactivity. We realized that folks wanted to share out, but this can be an abyss -- everyone wanting to share everything and be heard resulting in a lot of bored people in the room. Therefore, we pulled themes from survey data, interviews, and reports, and organized lightning round panels around these themes. I wish we would have planned more time for these panels to facilitate discussion about leveraging System resources to improve teaching and learning, scale support and services, and reduce costs. Moving forward, I would like to work to facilitate these discussions. For instance, about half of the campuses in UW System are working on Active Learning Classrooms, negotiating contracts separately, planning one-off evaluations, if at all, etc. I would be nice if we were working together to share in this knowledge and working together to maneuver vendors.
What was one thing that really surprised you?
Many of the folks mistook the goal of the summit to announce some decision regarding a move away from our largest learning technology enterprise systems, the Learning Management System, D2L. Many wanted to know when we were leaving or why we were leaving. Others felt that the Summit was a smoke shield or opportunity for us to get buy in to leave D2L. It seemed like many didn't truly believe we were just there to understand where we were and where we wanted to go -- as a System. There was and has been no decision made nor will their be without numerous others steps being taken.
|UW LaX Infrastructure Panel|
What was one this that hurts your heart?
There was some tension or misconceptions between IT and faculty at times. I wish as an organization, public servants, we could all take some time to perspective take and give folks the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best they can.
Below you will find more details as to the project (see Appendix A) and the Summit event (see Appendix B). Materials, including presentation slides, handouts, and notes, can be found on the wiki for the Summit at: http://UWSRoadmap.wikispaces.com.