Home » B822:Creativity, Innovation and Change » I work in an orchard

I work in an orchard

See below for my explanation regarding the orchard, an idea I develop as a metaphor in relation to tertiary education.

I have a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) to complete

These early mornings are me, I feel like an undergrad with an essay crisis. But I’m not, and there is no crisis.

I’m on the home straight

The word count at 5,000 is way over but I’m confident that if I treat the entire thing like an exercise in Tweeting that I can make all the same points, and more while being succinct.

I will resort to bullet points

How easy is that to mark?

The frustration for someone who shares so much of his thinking is that I won’t share the TMA. I may post notes, mind-maps, charts and images along the way but I’m not about to give others the chance to commit plagiarism, which I understand is a major problem.

Creativity, Innovation and Change (B822) has the potential, for me, of letting me figure out how to apply what I have gained from the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) in an innovative way i.e. how do you get ideas through. My context might be tertiary education, but could also be corporate learning, skills or training where there are bigger budgets, tighter briefs and close measurement of effectiveness.

As often is the case with these TMAs it frustrates me that I cannot demonstrate a fraction of what I have read, watched or listened to. That the block may have had 30 activities, but I can perhaps share four of these. I guess the tutor has to conclude that I could not express my thoughts, with the evidence provided, had I not done the work?

I’d prefer to submit an essay every week, or take part in an activity with the group every week, to know that through interaction I am being nudged along the right path.

Other reasons to get this out of the way: we pack to go on holiday tomorrow and last night I had to be rescued by the AA ten miles from home 🙁 The battery has to be replaced. This, fortuitously, happens before we leave, I wouldn’t like to be stuck in a motorway service station with kids, dog and clobber. Thumbs up to the AA who got to us in twenty minutes and fixed the problem in ten.

An orchard is my metaphor for the Open University

I started with a tree, which seemed apt as in ‘The Tree of Knowledge’ but from a business organisational stance I needed a metaphor that could translate. Metaphors do not have to be overly scrutinised to have the desired effect, but if an individual tree is a module then an orchard is a qualification and the fruit on these trees are the products that students pick. Each season a new presentation. Taking this thinking into the real world I have been spending time at a local Orchard in East Sussex that has had to diversify over the last twenty years and has done so successfully.

What do you think?

a) about the value of metaphor (big in H800)

b) about the metaphor I have chosen about the institution we all love?


  1. Fiona says:

    I like the metaphor of an orchard for the OU product! But is the OU itself the farmer tending to his crop keeping pests away such as fruitfly (competitors)? Is the OU farmer a GM crop grower? Or more of an organically-focused one? Different resources would be needed for the different approaches! Would you have different fruit for different OU business masters eg apples, pears or berries? And what type of variety eg Gala apples, big red American one or golden delicious? I guess once the orchard is harvested the students graduate that year? What happens after that? new seeds planted for new intake! But what about alumni? You got me thinking!

    • mymindbursts says:

      Thanks for this! It is but a metaphor. Visiting Middle Farm you find they do a fantastic trade in cider and perry. So where does this has a place in the scheme of things? You’ve been there, so you know what comes next. As a I start Block 2 of B822 I am looking to apply ‘creativity problem solving’ to a real problem.

  2. Fiona says:

    I think what i found interesting about metaphor is that it helps perception, particularly when shared with others. My b822 tutor was of the opinion that what you choose has a much deeper meaning than you may think. There were several good articles such as Sparrow and the one on being unconsciously clever in the Henry handbook that may help you.

    If we think of by-products of the orchard such as cider than maybe they are ways that the OU can diversify. Maybe by offering paid for seminars and weekend/week residentials that have no awards? I know the Judge school and Said offer executive mba/leadership courses in the summer for people that want a taste of mgmt thinking. On reflection, the real problem solving issue for tma 2 is minor, it is more about what you thought and whether things changed. Did the choice of techniques help your understanding? Etc. It is like a mini EBI.

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