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The differences between the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MA ODE) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) module already strikes me. In the MAODE programme the expectations are that students come from a wide range of backgrounds, interests and positions; this is the case. The MBA however, by its very nature, draws from people in business or organisations who are managing other people. Might I suggest that this is Sandhurst for the officer class, rather than the ‘intellectual mixed bag’ of the MAODE and its cosmopolitan stance.
The MBA is designed to be applied from day one, both from a learning point of view, but also to give immediate value and relevance to the manager and the organisation for whom they work.
Am I being disingenuous to say ‘manager’ before ‘student’?
The MAODE is entirely online; perhaps the Institute of Education Technology (IET) have or had a point to make. They make it well, after 18 months and three modules with a book, CD or face to face tutorial or residential school I feel wholly content with the approach, even some bonding with fellow students with whom I am in touch through social networks (this blog, others, Google+ and Linkedin).
I am preparing for our first tutorial.
I have joined and contributed to a general and a specific forum. I have listened, four times now, to an audio, podcast-like, business ‘radio interview’ on the importance of creativity in the modern, flourishing organisations. I have read the first two chapters of Block 1 (and could well be a few weeks ahead of myself … or not). I have also read three out of the four books offered as additional reading. I have also, finally, stumbled upon the relevance of the Media Book and its background notes to the audio.
I commend the mixed media.
I value the effort required to extract understanding from text, discussions and audio. I have stumbled upon further bits and pieces (largelly because of a desire to see the speakers). I have taken notes almost entirely into iWriter on an iPad and bounced this into this blog where it is titled and tagged and as often as not left thus as I use this platform as a fail-safe e-portfolio.
(the B822 tag aggregates everything from the module, additional tags, such as TMA1B822, for example, will in due course help identify content I wish to pull together for the assignment. I would historically have used relational database software Filemaker Pro to do this. Having it online allows me to pick up on whatever computer/device comes to hand. I am currently at my son’s PC. Yesterday afternoon I was at my wife’s laptop. I often work from the iPad. I may pick up on my own laptop outside office hours evenings when away from home. I could just as well be in the local library).
It strikes me how different my notes and thoughts are regarding the content compared to the notes provided. This has to be because of the value put on the individual’s context. This is informed further because I happen to be on Jury Service. I’m starting to see the books, audio and forum as witnesses. The course chair as the Judge, the barristers as truculent students for or against what they are being told!
Making the case
Whilst a debate, very weakly in my opinion, is sometimes used to winkle out the arguments (academics in all my experience fail totally to stick to their side of the argument, both parties inevitably sitting on the fence) I wonder if a trial as a learning experience (or metaphor) has merit?
As a juror the trial is directed entirely at us.
Though passive in court, there is collaborative learning/sharing in the Jury Room. Is this the unmoderated social learning forum?
Coming from the MAODE my interest is in learning design. Entering the MBA I am stepping back into the shoes of a producer, a role I have played professionally for decades. I reassures me that one commentator, Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter talks of the Hollywood ‘Effect’, the idea of project-based practices in business, that like a movie, are resourced, with a clear outcome, then run by a producer, who has to assemble a team, make the case for funding, the schedule, cost, manage and motivate through to completion. I can relate to this.
The next question has to be, who am I in the production team?
I cannot be the producer, director, writer, technician, runner, executive producer, client yet working in social media the division of roles, even into producer, writer, designer, programmer, PR expert are not always apparent.
Here, the ‘applied learning’ approach could offer immediate suggestions.
Returning to the prospect of a tutorial
We laughed in the MAODE to discover a fellow student or two attending while propped up in bed with a laptop on their knees. Others in from the garden or sipping wine. Certain modes of common courtesy and manners will mean that we are dressed and washed, and at 10.00am drinking nothing stronger than coffee. It is a 90 minute drive. It is unlikely that I will meet these people outside this circle. Are we any more or less likely to meet online as a result?
Whilst each of the MAODE modules begins with an ice-breaker, I presume that his tutorial, or seminar, serves this purpose.
My desire is to learn. And to understand how best to impart knowledge and see it put into practice.
Increasingly I am understanding the role of intrinsic motivation, of guiding, nurturing and supporting others rather than Sergeant-Major like telling people what to do when to do it, or equally, like an intellectual, presuming that my opinion carries more weight than another’s. I am especially interested in the point of view of young people, teens and twenties because of their youth.
All thoughts of Generation X and Digital Natives has been well and truly debunked by academic research
I am not playing to their digital experiences and internet/interactive, rather I am interested in their exuberance, openness, hunger, habit of pulling in ideas and information at the click of their fingers and running with that, points of view that a previous generation may have to wait days to extract physically from a library book or journal.