Open Thinkering


Weeknote 48/2023

Charging our car (Polestar 2) at a service station

I thought I’d bash out my weeknote before cracking on with some MSc work this morning. But then, a wintery Sunday morning when family sporting activities are cancelled seemed like a good time to do things I’ve been putting off for a while.

So, after trudging through the snow to run on the gym treadmill, I’ve been updating this site’s PHP version from 7.3 to 8.2. Although it seemed to work fine on the backend, there was a ‘critical error’ on the front end, meaning I had to go through each plugin one by one until I got it back working.

Anyway, here we are at the end of another week. All things being equal, this time next weekend I will have been to Vienna for ePIC 2023 and will only have a four days’ work left this year. As suggested in my recent weeknote, a break would be more than welcome. Embarking on further postgraduate studies and moving house may both have been good decisions, but they coincided with half-term when we often head on holiday.

Also, after a very quiet September and early October, things picked up on the work front. We’ve kicked off a new project with the Digital Credentials Consortium, hosted by MIT, and are the midst of doing so with Toro Impact, a project of CSUDH. Another project with long-term partners Participate picked up steam with Community Conversations and work on the Open Recognition Toolkit. We’re talking to Badgecraft about helping them with their Cities of Learning network, to about some further work under the auspices of the Member Learning Group, to Greenpeace about some more work around digital leadership training, and to NCS about bidding for some work to review and map their services to young people.

The study I’ve been doing for my MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice is already beginning to have an impact on my client work. For example, I was talking to one person earlier this week about the difference between social learning and (traditional) corporate learning and didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. I drafted a blog post that I will probably still publish on the WAO blog, but then, later in the week, found the perfect way to explain what I was trying to get at after completing an MSc activity on DAD vs EDD.

Talking of my studies, I submitted my first Tutor Marked Assessement (TMA01) this week. It’s such a well put together module. I can tell by how motivated I am to work on it, and as you can probably tell by the number of blog posts I’ve written about it.

Question 2 of TMA01 asked me to reflect on a situation of concern and apply the PFMS heuristic to it. After some thought, I chose to discuss how and why we pulled out of buying a house a couple of months ago. I realised that the frameworks and models I use to be able to make decisions and maintain constant forward momentum in my day-to-day life rely on systematic (i.e. step-by-step, procedural) approaches. However, when I was called to make a decision which required a more systemic (i.e. holistic, interconnected) approach, I struggled.

I’m now into Part 2 of TB872, which is the first of two foundational Systems Thinking modules for MSc. I’d highly recommend it based on my experiences so far. I just need to figure out how to manage my studies over the Christmas period. I’m taking three weeks off work, so I should be fine.

It’s a bit of a relief that it’s now December. I can legitimately close down Thought Shrapnel for the year, back off from social media, and consume my own weight in mince pies. I’ll be 43 in less than three week’s time and, after going to a Christmas party for my daughter’s football team last night, for better or worse, I feel very much middle-aged…

Image: charging our car, a Polestar 2, at a service station (we can’t charge it at the property we’re renting, and using public chargers is both a hassle and an unnecessary expense)

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