The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

CETL ALiC meets Planet

Posted by Janet Finlay on November 7, 2008

On Tuesday John and I facilitated a second Planet workshop for the CETL ALiC (Active Learning in Computing) fellows – the intention being to help them identify patterns that are shareable from the wealth of material and experience they have been gathering over the past three years. Dissemination is vital to ALiC and the project is keen to develop a pattern collection to represent the findings of the project.

The Planet team have agreed on a three workshop model for supporting pattern collection. Workshop one will look at cases (stories) and seek to draw out the key elements: the challenge faced, the success factors, the solution. Workshop two will take protopatterns developed by the facilitators and review and revise them into (hopefully) more complete patterns. Workshop three will focus on use and will attempt to address challenges brought by contributors using the patterns through the organising structure.

We held a workshop one for ALiC earlier in the year. This first workshop considered case studies and led to a much richer understanding of the actual activities. However the cases proposed were very detailed and covered an entire workpackage, making it difficult to identify successful practice. In this workshop we therefore asked the ALiC team to identify specific incidents of successful practice within their cases, which were then discussed and mapped onto a pattern template. It is therefore probably best thought of as a “workshop one and three quarters” – beyond a “workshop one” but not quite into the full extent of a workshop two. Each group identified several protopatterns and started to flesh out the detail. John and I will now develop these further, looking for connections with existing patterns and other evidence, in preparation for our next workshop – a full workshop two – in December.

For me one of the most useful outcomes of this workshop was the feedback on the template which we used to scaffold the pattern elicitation. This was based on the proposed pattern form and included all elements together with some explanation of what was needed for each. Two observations were made. Firstly, although all the pattern elements were included, we only ever used a subset in the discussion and in a particular order: problem, solution, context, then name and diagram in either order, then evidence. None of the other sections were useful in the discussion. Secondly, the use of the “P” word in the explanations was unhelpful – the ALiC team were focusing on their case stories – they didn’t have a pattern yet – so they suggested rephrasing to focus on the story.

So the good news is the scaffolding worked really well – I will revise it in line with the observations made above and will make it available on the wiki for others to use.

Looking forward to the next workshop with this group!

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One Response to “CETL ALiC meets Planet”

  1. […] CETL ALiC meets Planet […]

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