Friday, 29 April 2011

Short week, but time enough for restructuring

A very short week, only working Thursday and Friday. It will be back to full pace next week though, as we start planning for putting lecture recording systems in the new teaching spaces being built on the sports oval.

The close liaison with the Audio Visual group, brought about by the demand for video of lectures, has proved too big a temptation for managers, and we've been rearranged (again). Now Jess and I (and possibly our two Moodle developers) will be formally aligned with AV and separated from the Flexible Learning members of our group. In these days of instant and infinitely re-configurable communications, I'd thought that physically restructuring was a rather 1960s way to deal with staff, and that groups can be set up and changed as required, without having to move seats and change reporting lines. Next month no doubt we'll do something else; will we get rearranged again to suit that change?

I'd like to sit our decision makers down and make them watch this TED talk by Clay Shirky, from 2005, when social media were just getting going. (The main message comes at around the 3-7 minutes mark.)

He advocates that we "put the cooperation into the infrastructure ... without regard to institutional models" - and he's right. I suppose the movers and shakers here will get this message eventually, but in the meantime we get moved and renamed every time we start doing something different. It's good for a manager's CV, but very bad for staff morale and productivity - and it makes me wonder if there's any kind of over all plan, or if this is just being made up as we go along.

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