To prepare for our meeting last week, all Praxis Program participants read the following pieces:
Bethany Nowviskie, “Where Credit is Due.”
Stan Ruecker and Milena Radzikowska, “The Iterative Design of a Project Charter for Interdisciplinary Research.”
Siemens, et. al. “INKE Administrative Structure, Omnibus Document.”
These links are also available here, but so that you, my reader, may easily follow my references (and explore for yourself) I resubmit them now. First of all, I would like to express my delight that, as Bethany put it in her blog post of the 24th, “we are using the Praxis Program to experiment with an action-oriented curriculum live and in public.” That emphasis on “live and in public” had me searching back through the above-posted materials, specifically Ruecker and Radzikowska’s piece, as I thought about my blog post for this week. I recall nodding vigorously and perhaps even whisper-shouting “yes!” to myself in the library last Monday when I came across this policy, under the subheading “Professional dignity”:
“We will attempt to keep communications transparent, for example, by copying everyone involved in any given discussion, and by directly addressing with each other any questions or concerns that may arise.”
The prioritization of transparency, here meant to ensure that members of the project maintain healthy professional relationships, sounds like an excellent strategy. I would love to see something similar in our charter: it seems like an easy and probably very effective way to reduce conflict and encourage mutual respect. But I become even more excited when I imagine the “everyone involved” to include the general public—that is, you, dear reader. Ruecker and Radzikowska’s paper continues as follows:
“This policy of transparency is another simplifying strategy. If too much back-channel discussion takes place, it can become very difficult for everyone to understand what decisions are being made and why, especially on a geographically distributed team.”
The audience for this blog could easily be described as a “geographically distributed team” of commentators and interested parties. Though the central Praxis Program group consists of local participants who are fortunately able to get together every single week for two hours, we are very interested in sharing what we do—whether it succeeds brilliantly or fails just as brilliantly—with you. I feel exceptionally lucky to have been selected to work with this talented and enthusiastic group, and desire passionately to make this kind of thing happen for other graduate students. What decisions are being made, and why? You, reader, should feel that you are able to answer these questions as we go along. I am sure that some kind of policy about public access was always intended to go into our charter, but here is my formal declaration of support for it. The more we put out there—the more publicly we do this thing—the better for our geographically distributed team. It might not always be pretty, but at least we’ll have a record of how, exactly, we got wherever it is we end up.
Last week, Jeremy called these blog posts “first-draft” components of the charter: it is a thrill to know that this is the beginning of our live and in public adventure.
Epilogue: Archiving was the other topic I wanted to write about, though with my relative newness to most things DH I felt less than qualified to do so in an intelligent way: I’m not exactly sure how it works. I would, however, like for us to talk about it as we consider what will go into the charter.