I am sitting here in Cincinnati, Kentucky (Yes, Ohio, the airport has left the state) waiting to go home after the 4 day intense almost boot camp experience of the EDUCAUSE Instructional Technology Leadership Program 2005. And the experience was more intense for the participants than us “faculty” presenters.
The vagaries of air flight have afforded me the pleasure of extra time in Kentucky as the remnants of Hurricane Dennis have apparently tossed off schedules, and my flight to Phoenix is delayed 2 hours. This following the late arrival of the flight from State College which offered the thrill of approaching the runway and 1q00 feet above the ground abruptly lifting back up in the air for another go round (something about “equipment timing malfunction”). But enough travel dribble.
Like most similar programs, I would argue the real benefit of the EDUCAUSE experience was the people met, the shared experiences, the contacts made, much less so the outcomes of projects and the program (“It’s all about the process” is a group joke). Long ago, it was my mentor in a leadership program, then Maricopa Vice Chancellor Alfredo del los Santos, who told me the real purpose of many activities is “just bringing people together for a good purpose”.
The institute was a first time pilot, and showed it in numerous ways. The participants were from a wide range of institution size, types of positions, and they were purposely mixed up in teams. Only one or two teams dealt with clashing personalities, and they did manege to work through them to a positive end.
For the agenda, there was way too much presentation, not enough structured activities, not nearly enough time for the teams to do projects (they were all staying up late in the night- I’ve not seen such a driven group before). The team project, about “Making the Case” for a large scale program of institutional significance, took a while to get started as teams struggled to identify projects. In fact, many of the final ones were a bit too similar, and having a large proportion of task driven technologists and instructional designers, they tended to spend more time than necessary on the presentations, graphics, etc. That said, I can hardly say I would do anything different then they did. We have posted a final list of team blogs and presentation/summaries— these eventually will find their way to an EDUCAUSE site.
But it did, I think, show that leadership and organizational change issues are messy, not a 1-2-3 instructional design process, and honestly, sometimes brutal. The institute will certainly undergo much change based on the experience and the feedback. Like may things design, it is always iterative.
Again, my hats off to a fantastic group of faculty colleagues I worked with and to some great people in the field who put up/endured the intense 4 day session.