The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Thoughts on future progress

Posted by Janet Finlay on September 26, 2008

On Monday we have a Planet Eluminate meeting. Unfortunately I’ll be in a car somewhere between Calais and Strasbourg and so even in this connected world will struggle to take part….  So if any of the team pick this up before the meeting – here are my thoughts on future priorities and where we need to go.

First and foremost we have our two day meeting coming up in October. The primary focus here is evaluation – opening our processes and outputs to scrutiny by experts in representating practice in general and patterns in particular. So far we have definite acceptances from Sally Fincher of the NTSF Share project and Helen Sharp of the Pedagogical Patterns project. Unfortunately Helen Beetham is unable to join us but would like to participate at a distance – will that be possible? My thoughts for the two days are that we have a Planet team meeting on the first day, particularly to work on organisational structure and scaffolding. Our guests will join us for dinner in the evening and on the second day we will have a half day patterns workshop for them in the morning, followed by their critique in the afternoon. We need to decide if we will ask them to complete case studies in advance – and if we will provide any structure to the critiquing session. It promises to be a very valuable event for the project I think.

Other things to sort out. The pattern/protopattern debate. I think the time has come to stop debating and just do it. My vote goes for a two stage process – what we have now is stage one – protopattern. Stage two will be a separate structure – the pattern (based on PLML is as good as anything and has the advantage of being the closest thing there is to a pattern standard). We need some scaffolding support (in the form of a series of questions I suspect) to help people move from one to the next. I am working on that when I get back for the CETL ALiC follow-on workshop which will be held on November 4th. I’ll have a proposal for the October meeting.

Sally Fincher’s structure as blogged earlier. What would be useful would be to record issues and questions on this at the Elluminate meeting and we will then look at adjusting the framework and mapping the existing patterns on to this. Again this is planned by the October meeting. In part answer to Steve’s point about decisions being much less ordered – absolutely agree – but the same is true of any design process and no framework maps directly onto the complexity of the real world (not even Alexander’s!). Maybe it helps to think of the organising structure as an abstraction of the decision process in much the same way a pattern is an abstraction of successful practice. We remove the mess of real life to help illuminate core issues.

I think those are the pressing issues for me – hope the meeting on Monday is productive!

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