We had a delightful family day in Braidwood on Christmas Day.
There was joy, excitement, relief and contentment.
I hope that this is the atmosphere that pervades #UCSIA15 when it comes online on 23 February … and that a modest open online course might bring together a dispersed family interested in sport informatics and analytics.
I do live in a small town in rural New South Wales. My hopes for #UCSIA15 are prompted by the real sense of community in my town of 1200 people. I think it is a caring and sharing place with lots of time and opportunities for conviviality. I believe these characteristics do scale to open courses that celebrate playfulness and altruism.
We have limited access to high speed broadband in the town. As a result everyone engages with the digital world with an equal mixture of patience and frustration. I think part of my fascination with open asynchronous resources is based upon seven years of living in a rural community whilst pursuing a connectivist approach to sharing and cooperating.
Two posts over the Christmas period have encouraged me to reflect on my interest in sharing as a family. Both come from the Medium blogging platform.
Esko Kilpi wrote eloquently about Advanced Work on 22 December. He argued that:
The architecture of work is metaphorically still a picture of walls defining who is employed and inside and who is unemployed and outside. Who is included and who is excluded. Who “we” are and who “they” are. This way of thinking was acceptable in repetitive work where it was relatively easy to define what needed to be done and by whom as a definition of the quantity of labor and quality of capabilities.
In creative, knowledge based work it is increasingly difficult to know the best mix of people, capabilities and tasks in advance. Interdependence between peers involves, almost by default, crossing boundaries. The walls seem to be in the wrong position or in the way, making work harder to do. What, then, is the use of the organizational theatre when it is literally impossible to define the organization before we actually do something?
He suggested that:
The focal point in tomorrow’s organizing is not the organizational entity one belongs to, or the manager one reports to, but the reason that brings people together. What purposes, activities and tasks unite us? What is the cause of group formation? The architecture of work is a live social graph of networked interdependence and accountability.
Esko proposed that this is the time for Advanced work and our opportunity is “to see action within human relationships supported by our relationship with technological intelligence”.
I am hopeful that #UCSIA15 demonstrates this Advanced work through self-organising networks of people interested in, and passionate about, informatics and analytics.
The second post that encouraged my thinking was written by Ben Werdmuller on 27 December. I thought Ben’s post was an excellent discussion of personal and digital identity.
Ben observed that during a social gathering of friends he had not seen for some time:
Someone whose opinion matters a lot to me, and who knows me better than almost everyone, said that they kind of wanted to throttle my social media persona. It felt like a marketing campaign, and it so clearly wasn’t me.
This encouraged Ben to reflect and write about personal identity. He noted:
I don’t think it’s right to say that everyone on social media is motivated to promote themselves. We want to make friends; we want to find love; we want to learn from each others’ experiences. We crave real, deep, human connections that have nothing to do with our professional development or selling our wares. (Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it.) We want to share our feelings, our desires, the things that make us people, and not to get a “like” or to build followers or to make a buck, but to be alive.
He concluded that “I use the Internet to reach out to far-away people who mean so much to me. I hope they see some of me in the reflection”.
I am hopeful that the modesty of #UCSIA15 and the desired to connect with near- and far-away people does create the family feeling we experience during festivities.