Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cultivating an agile workplace

This should have been great - Susan Metros, Tracy Mitrano and Carrie Wyndham - and the format was interesting but some of the content was a bit "top of head".
Background: Diana asked if they would present on net gen students but they thought that was soooo 2005 so chose to focus on what happens when those students become staff. It ran as a panel session, with Susan putting questions to the other two to unearth interesting topics. The questions were:

How does higher education compete with corporate entities in recruiting net savvy students/new workers? How do we retain them?

How do we prepare students for “life 2.0” - success in the workplace? What must our curricula look like? Should higher educational institutions either revert back to or initiate new required courses in the law, politics, culture and use of information technology resources?

How do we help the students and recent grads be successful in their new jobs and how do we help them forge career paths in our institutions?

Do our existing general education values map to the needs of a net savvy workforce?

How can we as employers prepare our existing (and more traditional) staff to accept and learn from this new breed of worker? How can we take advantage of their skill sets instead of squelching them?

Is there a place for social collaboration tools in the workplace? Should new workers modify their habits? What are the policy issues when new generation employees share work related information within their blogs, websites, and social collaboration spaces?

How do we navigate the “even finer” line digital tools have drawn between our personal and professional lives; public vs. private?

As a net gen new employee, what are the questions you are afraid to ask your employer?

What do you think about these? Comments welcome? I'll post more about what they said if you are interested - let me know. However, I really wanted to share Tracy's response to the curriculum question cos I felt it was thought provoking. Effectively that the C19th German disciplinary model of curriculum design has run its course and that we need to move away from this constraint as it is no longer sustainable. This could involve taking a global question and letting them construct the curriculum around that, establishing rules of the road through principles of citizenship (digital, ethical, educational). What do you think?


Louise said...

Oh - just a quick extra. Tracy talked about issues of privacy and ownership policies as an illustrative example (as you would expect) - but her message was clear:
We MUST be clear who owns what and how it can be used, and if we don't know we should go back to our institutions and resolve that issue URGENTLY! Also does the practice reflect the theory?

Eg - If a staff member published scholarly research undertaken within work on an open technology (eg blog/wiki) and a student (or anyone else for that matter) adds a comment to the site who owns the IP and what can be done with it?

gs said...

sounds like this raised some really interesting issues. i'm going to chicken out and not tackle anything, but a couple of additional questions spring to mind:

will considerations about recruiting/retaining net savvy students/new workers be any different to what's gone before? back in my day (young man...) it was fairly clear who would stick around for an early career in he, who had phd written all over them, and who couldn't wait to escape academia. we talk about blurring boundaries between he/society and virtual/real worlds - but will this really change the attractiveness (or lack of attractiveness) of a career in he?

Louise said...

That's not fair!! Haven't you got any easier ones??

I think you make some good points and I'm going to dodge them all by saying that (and I've only just realised this - d'oh!) when they were talking about new workforce - they were really talking about technologists, instructional technologists, administrators student support etc not academic staff (the GTA reference was very half-hearted) - so they were really focusing on people who are in the process of, or have just completed, undergrad or graduate taught programme. Does that make any difference? - not sure will think more

Kay said...

Great question about how do we use the DF skills of incoming staff to help move on some of our existing staff? We tend to think what support does the new staff member need to get up an running - and not look at what they can offer to others.
Theres definitely something worth exploring here.

Susannah Diamond said...

The idea (and reality) of a co-created curriculum is really exciting.

I've heard of lecturers (based in Oxford? US?) who start the course by asking students what they want to cover. Researching and negotiating the response to that invitation provides a fantastic overview of the subject area.
If we're talking about being student-centred, it's a good way to go.

Here's a couple of relevant-ish resources:
Brian Shultz paper

Report from Citizenship Education Review Group

Andrew Middleton said...

Kay - there was a session I attend at ELI about how incoming DN staff were changing the DN-DI game. I'll find my notes if you're interested. There was some quantitive info that may be useful...