#ocTEL Week 5 on Leadership, Partnership and Equality

I am enjoying the ocTEL webinars this year although I have only watched two. Following some engagement in week 1 (I was on holiday in week 2 and 3) I have mainly been lurking around on Twitter and G+ (and a bit on the ALT course materials pages). But that is OK and rather strangely one of the major plus points of my engagement in ocTEL this year has been the creation of a reading group around the work of Bruno Latour, mainly with people who are not actually participating in the ocTEl course. This came about because I wrote a post about Latour and the problems of the TEL concept as part of my week 1 activities and twitter contacts picked up on it. So far the reading group is excellent and we are working our way through Reassembling the Social: An introduction to Actor Network Theory.

Students as Partners

It was great to hear from Ellie Russell (Projects Officer for The Student Engagement Partnership) about student engagement and how students can work in partnership with staff as well as students as leaders. One of the common questions when people talk about students as partners in education is about how can we expect students to be equal to staff who have many years of experience in teaching, curriculum design, subject knowledge etc? Ellie answered this really well in her presentation when she pointed out that you could understand equal partnerships to be about respecting each other view points and contributions rather than equal in terms of level of knowledge about pedagogy or subject area etc.

Leadership and change/project management

Professor Shân Wareing (Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Bucks New University) then did a presentation on concepts of Leadership using examples from the JISC funded UAL Digital Literacies Project. There were some great reflections and these are some of the points I took away:

  • You can’t provide training for everyone in everything (time, costs)
  • It is about culture change more than anything else – don’t let people get distracted by the technology
  • Let people define their own goals
  • People need to have a sense of agency and build confidence
  • Do public road shows in your organisation
  • Open consultation – hear what everyone has to say and respond to all questions
  • Be clear why you are asking but also that it is not necessarily a democracy in terms of decision-making
  • Have a clear sense of purpose – why are we doing this project/change as an institution?
  • Bring respect to people for their experience and knowledge – don’t underestimate local knowledge
  • Building partnerships take time, but lack of partnership carries a real risk of the implementation not being successful.

Obviously the above is very much my takeaways and any mistakes are wholly down to me, please go and view the recording at:

Blackboard Collaborate: http://go.alt.ac.uk/octel2014-week5-recording

Blackboard Collaborate session on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoRtC_cupvw

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