Systems Place Wiki?

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Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:41 pm

I wonder what people think of reviving the idea of having a wiki at systems-place.org?

The reason why I ask is that the comment by Graham Gibbs, that:

the Open University, for example, is "open" in very few respects. Students study a narrow range of pre-specified materials, usually in fixed order, starting at the same time, following the same schedule, submitting set assignments to the same deadlines, turning up to fixed tutorials and finally sitting an unseen exam on a fixed date, which tests the achievement of pre-specified objectives. That is not open learning.


....made me think that maybe we should pursue the idea of providing some truly "open" material for people to engage with, so that when it comes to actually taking the official courses, they will have a bit more flexibility. This is what the OpenLearn project has attempted to do, but to be honest, the level of activity on the site has been extremely disappointing. I think it has a lot to do with the level of control the OU still imposes on how the materials and the facilities on the site are used. Maybe we would have much more joy on systems-place.org (and we can even nick the good systems stuff that is already on OpenLearn!).

I also thought that the wiki would be useful to start developing Tom's idea on systems pattern language. We could, for example, start mapping out the different kinds of system/network architectures (e.g. aristocratic networks; egalitarian networks etc) and the different types of processes that each architecture would enable (e.g. balancing feedback; exponential growth; extinction etc).

One final potential use is to bring the earth wiki over from the official T214 website. I could then point each new T214 cohort directly to systems-place.org which should liven things up to no end! And possibly, I may even be able to leverage some funding from the OU for this.

I guess one practical issue is how much server space we have?
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:02 pm

the benefit of a wiki over an archive is that it develops and evolves and people can work with it. I like the idea that people starting in next years batch of T214ers get posted over here and get to see things happening, and can join in with them. this will only work if things ARE happening and there is something to join in with.
If however we open a 'wiki' here but it becomes a static archive and not a working thing, then i can't see any benefit from it. How can we create a wiki here such that it feels alive? See my posts about lack of people posting. would everyone here be willing and able to contribute to a wiki, or would they all go, 'oh, that's nice, there's a wiki there' and then stroll off again? Would it be a thing that everyone thinks someone else is taking care of, and in fact, nobody is? Would it just make a lot of work for neill keeping it tidy and shipshape etc?

i want to say hey great idea lets do it, [ so, i will 'Hey, great idea, lets do it' ] but i'm worried it won't actually work.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Chris Dann on Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:08 pm

I am going to put my point of view, which may not be to everyone's liking, but what would this wiki be about, or would it just be a wiki for the sake of it. I enjoyed making my entry on the earth wiki, because it was connected with the Environmental studies that was the reason i was doing T214, perhaps the most 'environmental' bit of T214, but a wiki without any specific purpose, would be a waste of time and space. I am not a great lover of wikis, I use wikipaedia with caution, follow up the references before using it as any sort of guide to fact, but a wiki just to get people to come to the forum seems pointless to me
Chris ;)
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:11 pm

ok one function of having a wiki over here ( aside from having an 'earth wiki' branch if anyone wanted it, or, any other specialist areas) is that over time, forum threads become difficult to travel through. While threads are live and being read and written to, it's easy to follow and look things up, but in say, a years time, things we are entering here, now, become lost. Some of this is great ( we'd be overwhelmed if we could read it all at once anyway) but sometimes it means things get lost that actually would be a useful reference. If we had a wiki we could add in to it things which came up in conversation in here or topics which came up, which then become a more encyclopedic reference rather than just a debate or discussion. Wiki entries can be continually adjusted to allow them to cross-reference each other. So for example if we started a conversation here about 'thinking traps' and then after a while we'd said some interesting stuff, we could make it into a wiki entry which latecomers ( eg, people joining the site three years later) could access in a way that the old discussion threads couldn't be.

And we could have specialist branches of it, eg 'systems and buddhism' or 'systems and chocolate' or 'saving the planet by systemically arranging your whole life' or whatever. If anyone wanted.

It will only work and be useful though if there are enough real contributors and at least one person willing and able to keep check on it, making sure links all work etc.. making sure it becomes a useful resource and not just collecting dust.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Pottyday on Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:25 pm

I like the idea, but also worry whether it will get the interest and a variety of people posting.

I don't know how much interactive stuff there is on T306, but T214 was definitely active and if students from both can be enticed to join in then it might be an interesting wiki?
"I am not young enough to know everything" Oscar Wilde.
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Neill on Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:35 pm

Hello Andrea!
Random thoughts on your first posting

... the earth wiki

I still do not know what the T214 Earth Wiki was meant to achieve. I did what I was told to without understanding why or seeing any effect. By adding a glaringly obvious mistake, which only one or two people said that they would have bothered to change, I effectively showed that there was little "collaborative" involved. People popped up, wrote the minimum necessary and disappeared again.

... point each new T214 cohort directly to systems-place.org ....

If the T214 forums are as active every year as last year then the students are not going to need any other forum. They will be busy enough following the course forums.

... to leverage some funding from the OU ...

He who pays the piper calls the tune. If the OU pays, the OU has a right to say what goes and what does not. At the moment a small telecommunications company is paying in return for a bit of consulting work on my part. This way we decide what to write.

... how much server space we have?

As much as we want. Server space is effectively free nowadays. The bit I do pay for costs me 10 Euro Cents/month/GByte (http://aws.amazon.com/s3/#pricing). So 0.000000001 Cent per byte/month.

have fun
Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Chris Dann on Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:10 pm

Teiana wrote:
And we could have specialist branches of it, 'systems and chocolate'

That's my kind of system :D
Chris
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:42 am

Neill wrote:Random thoughts on your first posting


Okay Neil -- I understand and mostly agree with your comments. However, most of them are directly or indirectly related to the Earth wiki, and I am more than happy to take this wiki elsewhere (but certainly not keep it within the OU -which is one of the main reasons why the activity did not seem to convey a clear purpose). I think the wiki will now live at http://www.wiserearth.org/.

I am still convinced that a wiki on systems-place could be a worthwhile experiment to try out, if only to try and see what people can come up with with regards to, for example, "a systemic investigation into why certain people have such a craving for chocolate" :-). Another potential use could be for people to expand on their T214/T306 framework/project idea -- it seems such a pity that after the tremendous amount of effort people put into their frameworks/projects, that they lie languishing in some dusty OU store room.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Andrea on Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:18 pm

Andrea wrote:....... the Earth wiki, and I am more than happy to take this wiki elsewhere (but certainly not keep it within the OU -which is one of the main reasons why the activity did not seem to convey a clear purpose). I think the wiki will now live at http://www.wiserearth.org/.


hmm -- I have just read the following paper:
http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/ ... eimann.pdf
And I am not even sure that the wiserearth wiki will be good enough. :-(

the frustrating thing is that every single university teaching systems thinking seems to be able to do some group model building apart from us!! And the fact that we're trying to do it at a distance is a challenge, but if Sydney can manage it, why can't we?!

Well, it's back to the drawing board for me... but if anybody can come up with some tips, they will be very much appreciated :-).

N.b. please don't say "give up" -- that is what the rest of the course team want me to do and I would love to prove them wrong 8-)
esse sequitur operari
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Re: Systems Place Wiki?

Postby Teiana on Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:44 pm

you need to write some software so it's a game. Then people might play it. Otherwise why would people bother. i mean, i like the concept of people working together, but if all you end up with is a model of the earth, how does that help? The one we tried to make in T214 didn't really do anything , did it. where's the fun?
H.R.H. 8-)
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