A new project and some grounding principles

tl;dr: I was going to outline ‘Vodafone Create’, a project that I have been working on over the last couple of months but this post turned more into a compilation of my own ground rules of project design than into a project report.

I started out this year with the prospect of a couple of new developments. Professionally, the biggest step was that I quit my gig at the Hamburg University of Technology by the end of last year to shift my focus a bit. At that time, I was still hopeful that new beginnings at Leuphana University would occupy my worklife for most of the time. Those plans did not come through but I remain employed there with a 50 per cent position at the Digital School.

I always like to have one or two projects on the side (podcasting and occasional Virtually Connecting plus X) and it was by some lucky coincidence that another door opened while bigger visions and strategy at my university were being shredded.

I had been working as a freelance consultant / project manager earlier in my career and I never really shut that down completely even though my tax accountant – I am lazy and incompetent with my personal accounting, bookkeeping and the like, and giving this to someone for a fee might not be economically reasonable, but mind-soothing on many levels – hinted at the idea of shutting this down to save money and time at every occasion.

By the end of last year an acquaintance who now works for Vodafone Germany’s department for Learning and Capability Development got in touch. We started talking about my ideas and experience in the realm of connected learning, team and project based learning online, peer feedback and many other things. We talked about the ideas and concepts that were being developed at Vodafone Germany, latest achievements and some of the challenges they had. A consensus emerged that, by working together, we would both learn and move out of our comfort zones to some extent and we started to work on a concept for training and learning that would encompass technological developments, social and societal issues as well as ‘new’ management techniques, creativity techniques and team work. At some point we needed a project title: Vodafone Create. Continue reading →

Conscious online learning design?

I am cross-posting something that I have written for the Towards Openness project. You can find the original post here on the Towards Openness page.

This post started as a message exchange with Kate Green. Kate and I decided to go beyond text messaging and write a blog post instead. Find her post here.

After #OER17 Kate and I started to talk about the next steps for our project Towards Openness. This is something that we do in our free time and I think we both see the value in that. We get to make of this whatever we find helpful for ourselves and for the community around ‘open’ and learning. But this lack of a pre-defined direction or goal can make some choices a bit harder. A very pragmatic example: find a tagline for the website. This is not too important to many. And I see their point when they say that a tagline, a font, or a color scheme is just polish. But especially a tagline will always be noted and perceived, consciously or unconsciously. It is included in link previews, it appears in all sorts of ways. We didn’t have a tagline until about a week ago. And I thought “let’s fill that gap”. I sensed that this might be an opportunity to think more closely about what we mean to do with Towards Openness, beyond a vision. A tagline should not be more than 6-7 words maximum and, by then, we had not tried to project our understanding of Towards Openness on half a sentence.

So I thought a bit about this and suggested “conversations for conscious online learning”. I sent it to Kate and quickly added “design” after I sent it, so that it read “conversations for conscious online learning design”. Kate asked what I meant by conscious, reminding me of the importance to try and dissect what we mean by the things we say. And here we go. We texted back and forth and concluded that this is worth a blog post. So here’s my shot at dissecting what I meant with that tagline:

Continue reading →