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Wiki backup: collaboration style

Last year, my wiki went down at dougbelshaw.com/wiki. For reasons too boring to go into, I was unable to resurrect it. This made me sad, particularly because there was some stuff on there that didn’t exist anywhere else.

After a brief period of mourning, I got on with my life. Noel De Martin, however, decided to do some digging via the Wayback Machine, and found several pages, which I’m copying-and-pasting to my blog for posterity.

What follows is a snapshot of my ‘Collaboration style’ page from October 2016.


This page is influenced by Peter Drucker’s excellent short book Managing Oneself and the section of Gwern Branwen’s website on his own collaboration style. Although slightly tangential, I’ve also always found Buster Benson’s Codex Vitae a useful thing to return to on occasion.


Right now, I’m 35. I was in formal education for 27 of those years, and had an employer for 11 of them. I’m now a consultant and everything I do is what comes under the broad umbrella of ‘knowledge work’:

Knowledge workers have high degrees of expertise, education, or experience, and the primary purpose of their jobs involves the creation, distribution or application of knowledge. (Thomas Davenport, Thinking For a Living

The problem is that this means that it’s difficult to know how to fit into the big picture. Here’s how Peter Drucker puts it:

[M]ost people, especially highly gifted people, do not really know where they belong until they are well past their mid-twenties. By that time, however, they should know the answers to the three questions: What are my strengths? How do I perform? and, What are my values? And then they can and should decide where they belong.

[…] [K]nowing the answer to these questions enables a person to say to an opportunity, an offer, or an assignment, “Yes, I will do that. But this is the way I should be doing it. This is the way it should be structured. This is the way the relationships should be. These are the kind of results you should expect from me, and in this time frame, because this is who I am.” (Peter Drucker, Managing Oneself)

In other words, you should always be on the front foot. Don’t accept other people’s expectations, but (as Socrates exhorted) we should know ourselves well enough to be able to accept or reject work based on introspection.

The person who has learned that he or she does not perform well in a big organization should have learned to say no to a position in one. The person who has learned that he or she is not a decision maker should have learned to say no to a decision-making assignment. (Peter Drucker, Managing Oneself)

Using these two examples as an initial lens, I do enjoy taking decisions when I feel like there’s been a proper process leading to that point. I certainly do not enjoy working within large organisations. I dislike hierarchy and bureaucracy intensely. I’m also quite different in terms of emotional make-up at different times of the year. As an ambivert, I find that the more extroverted side of my personality comes out between the spring and autumnal equinoxes, and for the other half of the year I’m more on the introverted side. I guess this can be frustrating for people who assume (or expect) consistency.

Elsewhere, Drucker mentions that another important question to ask oneself is, “Do I perform well under stress, or do I need a highly structured and predictable environment? I find this a false binary. While I don’t appreciate arbitrary deadlines (usually a function of an oppressive hierarchy) I structure my own fairly predictable environment. However, I mix this up by frequent flights into serendipity in both my reading and travel, as well as taking fallow days where I’m purposefully ‘unproductive’. These ‘Doug days’ as I’ve come to call them, are the reason I strive to work a four-day week.

Even people who understand the importance of taking responsibility for relationships often do not communicate sufficiently with their associates. They are afraid of being thought presumptuous or inquisitive or stupid. They are wrong. Whenever someone goes to his or her associates and says, “This is what I am good at. This is how I work. These are my values. This is the contribution I plan to concentrate on and the results I should be expected to deliver,” the response is always, “This is most helpful. But why didn’t you tell me earlier?” (Peter Drucker, Managing Oneself)

I’m strong on values and don’t like them compromised. I set great store by my logical approach, although I do try to temper that with empathy. The thing that I cannot stand more than anything in co-workers (and, indeed, my children) is when it’s obvious that the other person isn’t trying their best. There’s always cases where there’s genuine reasons for soft-peddling, but most of the time I expect people to bring their A-game.

My contribution to projects is often to problematise (assumed) simplicity, or to do the reverse – to simplify the complex. In this, I bring to bear my undergraduate philosophical training, as well as my postgraduate studies around ambiguity and metaphor. I find that we as humans think primarily through metaphor, even when we don’t realise, and don’t realise that there are different types of ambiguity.

Knowledge workers in particular have to learn to ask a question that has not been asked before: What should my contribution be? To answer it, they must address three distinct elements: What does the situation require? Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? And finally, What results have to be achieved to make a difference? (Peter Drucker, Managing Oneself)

The difficulty in working in a field like edtech is that (as I argued in a recent post) it’s not really a coherent field or discipline. As such, it’s difficult to see where the boundaries are, and therefore what needs to be done. I suppose I bumble along as best I can using my knowledge and skills, but I certainly think there’s many of us who would benefit from adding scaffold around us.

Wiki backup: daily reading

Last year, my wiki went down at dougbelshaw.com/wiki. For reasons too boring to go into, I was unable to resurrect it. This made me sad, particularly because there was some stuff on there that didn’t exist anywhere else.

After a brief period of mourning, I got on with my life. Noel De Martin, however, decided to do some digging via the Wayback Machine, and found several pages, which I’m copying-and-pasting to my blog for posterity.

What follows is a snapshot of my ‘Daily reading’ page from January 2017.


Current list

Every morning, I read parts of books from the ‘Daily reading’ collection I’ve created on my e-reader. It currently contains these books:

All links take you to WorldCat, meaning you should be able to find if a local library has these in stock.

On the bench

Here are the books that used to feature on this list, and may return someday:

Meta

I’m very aware that this is a list of dead, white men, but these are just the books I’ve come across so far that are so helpful to me I’m happy to read them on repeat. If you’ve got suggestions of alternatives or anything to help widen my worldview, please do let me know! It needs to be the kind of thing I can finish and then start right back at the beginning again.

Join us tomorrow for the first Badge Wiki barn raising session!

The Open Badges community has been crying out for a while now for a knowledge repository. You know, somewhere where people can go and find out about how other similar organisations have implemented badge systems, read interesting academic articles and whitepapers, and just discover what’s possible with the Open Badges specification.

That’s why I’m delighted that We Are Open Co-op, with the support of Participate, are building out Badge Wiki.  This will be a community-powered project, meaning that it will only be as good as people make it. We’re providing the technical infrastructure and opportunities to pitch in, but we need people to write content, curate resources, and suggest updates!

Tomorrow is the first Badge Wiki ‘barn raising’ session, which we’re running in conjunction with the Open Recognition Alliance. Those who come along don’t need any previous experience with wikis. Nor do they need much knowledge about badges. All you need is a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get involved.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Join the Loomio group
  2. Register for a Badge Wiki account
  3. Join the barn raising session at 16:00 UTC tomorrow (Wednesday 26th July 2017)

Questions? Great! We’ve got answers. If it’s “will participants be issued badges?” the answer is “YES!”. Other questions below, please.


‘Barn Raiser’ badge image courtesy of Bryan Mathers used under a Creative Commons BY-ND license 

Badge Wiki: start of 30-day feedback period on Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of thinking about a project’s architecture of participation when encouraging contribution from a new or existing community of people.

In that post, I included a checklist containing eight points to consider. I think I’ve got another one to add: get your policies right by soliciting feedback on them.

We Are Open Co-op is currently in the first phase of creating Badge Wiki, a knowledge base for the Open Badges community. It’s a project made possible through the support of Participate.com.

As part of this process, we have to come up with several policies, perhaps the two most important of which are the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We decided to use the Wikimedia Foundation’s openly-licensed policies as a starting point, adapting them to our needs.

This has thrown up some interesting issues and considerations from an architecture of participation point of view. After all, if people don’t agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, they can’t use Badge Wiki. There are three important ways in which our draft policies differ from the original Wikimedia Foundation source policies:

  1. CC BY – we propose that Badge Wiki use a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license instead of the CC BY-SA license used on other wikis, including Wikipedia. Although we would encourage them to do so, we recognise that some people may not be in a position to share material they reuse and remix from Badge Wiki under an open license.
  2. Register to edit – we propose that, in order to edit Badge Wiki, you must have a registered user account, approved by an administrator. This is to prevent valuable contribution time being taken up by wiki vandalism, trolling, and other anti-social behaviours caused by anonymous editing.
  3. Real name policy – we propose that members of Badge Wiki use their real names on their profile pages, as well as provide a short bio. This is to prevent accusations of sabotage, given that the Open Badges ecosystem includes commercial interests.

You can access the draft Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for Badge Wiki at the links below:

You’re welcome to leave feedback on the posts themselves, in relevant Open Badges Google Group thread, or directly to us: badgewiki@nullweareopen.coop.

Thanks in advance for your participation and contribution. Remember, comments expressing support and broad agreement are as valuable as expert nitpicking!
Image by madebydot

A Community Alignment model

TL;DR: I’m working on creating a Community Alignment model (name TBC) that sets out some of the ways I’ve had success working with diverse stakeholders to ship meaningful things. I’ve started work on this on my wiki here.


Just as my continuum of ambiguity is a fundamental part of how I approach life, so I’ve got a default way of working with communities. I’m working with City & Guilds at the moment and realised that it’s actually quite difficult to articulate something I take for granted.

As a result, I’ve started working on a guide to an approach that I’ve found useful for some kinds of initiative. It’s particularly useful if the end product isn’t nailed-down, and if the community is fairly diverse.

I’ve taken a couple of hours today to write the initial text and draft some diagrams for what I’m initially calling a Community Alignment model. Your feedback would be so valuable around this – particularly if you’ve been part of any projects with me recently, or have expertise in the area.

Click here to view the draft guide on my wiki

Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

Image CC BY-NC Pulpolux !!!

An update on ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

As regular readers of this blog will be aware, ever since finishing my Ed.D. thesis in 2012 I’ve been working on an iterative e-book called The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. I’m excited to announce that I’m planning to launch v1.0 on 27th June 2014.

This is an ‘iterative’ e-book because people have been able to buy into it ever since v0.1. You can find more about this ‘OpenBeta’ model here. Fundamental to the process is getting feedback from readers. I’m glad to say that you haven’t let me down, and the book is better as a result. Thank you for that.

The aim is for the e-book to be practically useful while not being shy about theory. People have said that it’s proving useful for use with trainee teachers and other undergraduates, so I’m glad it’s already having the desired effect!

My plans for getting to a v1.0 release of The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies are as follows:

27th May
Release v0.99 of the e-book. This will be textually complete and form the basis of a crowdsourced copyediting process that will take a few weeks.

27th June
Release v1.0 of the e-book. This will have benefitted from more eyes than just mine in terms of coherence and copyediting. Should they agree, these people will be given special thanks in the foreword. It will definitely be available in PDF, and I’ll work with people to get it available in ePub and Kindle formats.

Ongoing
I’m not the only conduit for ideas in this space, so I’m planning to follow the lead of people like Yochai Benkler and create a wiki to accompany the book. This will be structured in a similar way to the wiki that is a companion to Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks.


A few points to finish off.

  1. Now is be a great time to buy into the book. It’ll save you a couple of pounds compared to the price of v0.99 or v1.0 (you get the updates for free).
  2. This was never about the money. Yes, I’ve been able to pay recurring digital subscriptions from my Paypal balance instead of my credit card, but that wasn’t the aim. The financial element here was to get people to buy into the process early. Once this happened, I could ask for feedback – which I’m delighted to have received on a fairly regular basis.
  3. If you’d like to get involved with the launch, please do get in touch! Examples: the visual design of v1.0, translating the book into another language, or making Bitcoin payments a reality. I’m @dajbelshaw or you can email me at dajbelshaw@nullgmail.com.

A special thanks once again to those who have encouraged me and provided feedback over the last couple of years. You’re all very kind. We’re nearly there – just this last hurdle to clear!

More on this next week with the release of v0.99. 🙂

First Mozilla Web Literacy standard community call recording now available

Update: For the latest information on the Web Literacy standard work, head to http://mzl.la/weblitstd


Today we had our inaugural Web Literacy standard community call. I’ll not be posting the recordings of these here, but rather on a new blog we’ve created specifically for the purpose:

http://weblitstd.tumblr.com

Do join us next week if you can! You’ll always be able to find the latest details of the Web Literacy standard work on the Mozilla wiki. 🙂

HOWTO: Create a clickable tag cloud using Tagul

I’ve been asked several times now how I created the clickable tag cloud on the OER infoKit. To save having to explain myself lots of times (and to make others aware that it’s possible) I created this guide (be sure to click Menu/View Fullscreen):

One week until #GTAUK

This time next week the first-ever Google Teacher Academy in the UK (#GTAUK) will be drawing to a close. I’m honoured to be one of the UK-based Lead Learners (along with Tom Barrett and Zoe Ross).

I’ll be running the session on Google Earth, one of my favourite tools for learning and teaching. I’ve set up a wiki in an attempt to not only provide resources for delegates, but for the wider community. You can access and contribute to it at:

http://sites.google.com/site/gtaukge

(short URL: http://bit.ly/gtaukge)

#GTAUK: Google Earth wiki & ebook

I’m delighted to have been chosen as a ‘Lead Learner’ for the first-ever UK Google Teacher Academy on 29-30 July 2010. I’ve been asked to run the sessions on Google Earth and am very aware that whilst I’m certainly an enthusiast with some advanced knowledge, I’m certainly not an ‘expert’.
Continue reading “#GTAUK: Google Earth wiki & ebook”

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