Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Follow up on today's interview session

First - I screwed up. I didn't hit the play button to record the audio. So there is no recording of the session. That is really too bad because it was a good and lively session.

Second, there is learning by watching on how to conduct these things, but also note that there were some things that won't replicate in the other interviews. Every one of the invited guests today enjoys giving voice to their opinions. They couldn't have the job they do without that. But this meant that in some sense they took over the discussion and our panelists, who did a good job when they had the chance, talked much less than likely will be the case in the subsequent interviews. It was almost as if they interviewed each other. Some of that might happen next week with the Deans. After that it won't happen at all since there will only be one guest at a time.

Third, at various points I wanted to be one of the panelists to expand on their responses. So two quick things on that. There is an enormous amount of fear about using technology in projects, most of which reflects not understanding what is possible and what good use looks like. So much of the communication is about making people feel comfortable and educating them about risks as well as about possibilities. There is also an issue that users/clients don't understand the human effort involved and sometimes their expectations get out of whack for that reason. So, in part, some of the communication is for making expectations more realistic. Personally, I find that part hard - sort of the same problem as telling truth to power.

In spite of the lack of recording, I do expect the team that has done the interview to do a write up of the session, so we have some record of it. Timing-wise, there is no deadline for these things, but I will hold onto my evaluation of the session till that has been completed, some incentive for getting it done. And in the future, I hope the audience is anal enough to ask me whether the recording has started. Shared responsibility is best. :-)

One last point, I don't have a sense from where I was sitting how this worked for the students in the audience. If you'd like to comment about that, it would be useful. I'm not sure how much of this process we can tweak, but maybe there could be a small change if some problem were identified that is fixable.

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