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January 30, 2006

Final Project Ideas for Pedro

So Pedro was a character (based on a true story...) in one of our recent case studies. He seemed excited about the ID project at hand, but jumped right in thinking about certain aspects of the project that posed the greatest challenges without seeming to respect a more rigid approach to the design. Jennie, the project manager, required first steps first and saw those challenges as things that could be tackled later or handled in a different way than Pedro wanted to try. Pedro seemed excited about the final results and whether the product would have similar success to the original (a face-to-face workshop that they were to put online somehow).

Asked in class, many (most?) of us identified with Pedro, basically admitting that we would think about some of the major challenges without holding ourselves to a more structured step-by-step approach to managing the project.

Where does this come in lately? Our current assignment is to come in to class with (an) idea(s) for our final projects. I was drawing a complete blank as I walked out of class. Then I made a mistake. I told my boss about this assignment. (I work in a department of the U dedicated in part to producing and disseminating educational materials.) I was immediately presented with several ideas that would fit at work as well as potentially work as a final project. Besides the implication that a LOT more potential work is now on the table at work (even if not used as a final project, but that should be fun !), I'm really feeling like my take on Pedro. All I can seem to see are potential problems with each idea (always the alliterative parenthetical pessimist) and I have the challenge of finding the parts that WILL work, or at least possibly take a more disciplined approach to one of them and see if the rest doesn't fall into place...

January 22, 2006

Reflection on the Jennie Davenport case study

I deal regularly, as part of my current job, with the task of translating materials for the web. Typically, the materials I need to translate are already printed documents, so the conversion is rather straight forward.

One of our case studies this week, however, is about the task of offering a rather emotional/personal type workshop on AIDS awareness for gay and bisexual men over the internet. My immediate reaction was to imagine a greatful introverted member of the public for whom the materials would be useful and informative, but not if attendance at such an emotionally charged (and inTERpersonal) workshop was required. This leads me to think of possibly moderated online discussions as a web-based alternative (anonymity being more possible if desired), but of course much of the impact delivered by the original workshops (small group discussions, led by trained experts, and "hot button" materials used to elicit reactions) would be very difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce.

I would probably want to hear from some members of the target audience how useful this format would seem to them, but I can also imagine that it would be a lot harder to identify/find/elicit responses from those who would appreciate the privacy given by an online version of the workshop. Not quite sure how to approach that challenge...

Preliminary thoughts

Re-reading a 'multiple intelligences' evaluation I took of myself as part of an ongoing career search, I was reminded that supposedly my notable strength was in the 'intrapersonal' area (ranking 180 of 200 possible points) and that my rock-bottom weakest (at 40/200) was in 'interpersonal' areas.

This is relevant only in that our readings this week focus partly on "learner analysis". To me, this means really working the inTERpersonal skills to best gather useful information about the target audience of an ID project, whereas I seem best equipped to handle this from an inTRApersonal angle; what would I need from a tool for it to be most useful ('good design')?

At the same time, not being a professional educator, but rather the son, grandson, brother, and spouse to people who are, maybe, just maybe I can find some role modeling on how to do some inTERpersonal learner analysis.