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Ras Albert Williams

An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change (Part 4)

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Edited by Albert Williams, Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018, 13:01

Invitation to investigate the link between Social Learning Systems and Communities of practice and disaster risk reduction and recovery.

Greetings all,

Let me take this opportunity to wish each and everyone of you a happy new year.


With part two of TU812- Managing systemic change: Inquiry, action and interaction, under the bridge, and a heavily thumbed and lined Systems Practice: How to act in situations of uncertainty and complexity in a climate change world.  We turn our attention to to the wider involvement of the systems thinker in the inquiry into to Social learning systems and Communities of practice.

Although  I know that the submission date for TMA 03 is a few weeks away: March 22, 2018, Question 1 (b) asks us to reference sources, and provide evidence that a situation of interest that you have identified as in need of social learning has /is being discuss(ed) The question suggests that third-party perspectives could be obtained from one-one discussions, with family or friends, or in forums such as the module forum or among your peers in the workplace.

What we want to do

In light of this assignment, I am inviting fellow students who have previous experience of being a victim of a disaster, directly or indirectly; or who has been a volunteer in the aftermath or been involved with the management of resources to respond to a disaster. Alternatively, this post is for anyone who has a deep interest in environmental matters, particularly in discussing the issues around social learning systems  and Communities of practice as it relates to disaster risk reduction and recovery.

To begin, here is a graphical representation of the complex relationships between islands of the Caribbean, who share a common boundary of the Caribbean sea  and the atlantic Ocean geographically. However, the social history and development of each island or subsets of islands, within the Caribbean archipelago, could not be more varied on the question of  international relations, and colonial and post-colonial regulatory frameworks that governed how the British, French, Dutch and American governments responded during and in the wake the 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane season. In this scenario, we have many actors, including the survivors and the Caribbean diaspora. As well as a host of  humanitarian organisations and world bodies and agencies.


The Commonwealth of Dominica was struck by Hurricane Maria on the 18-19th of September, 2017 which was perhaps the worst North Atlantic hurricane season on record. I was born in the UK, and lived in Dominica between 1972 and 2004 during which time I survived  Hurricane David in 1979.

Two major hurricanes ripped through the Caribbean with two weeks last year: Hurricane Irma on September 6 which killed over 134 persons and caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Martin, Anguilla. the British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Cuba and Florida. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane almost totally obliterated  Dominica leaving over 96 persons dead or missing.


1 What lessons have been learned from this hurricane season?

2.What are your views on  climate-change?

3. Is there a case for the intervention of  Social learning Systems in the  Caribbean?

Final thoughts

Below is graphical representation taken from an IRIN News  article entitled Hurricane response: Caribbean disaster agency comes of age.

I decided to share this because it somewhat focuses the mind on on what we are discussing.  I sincerely hope that this thread will generate some discussion of the subject stated above in the days and weeks to come prior to our tutorial  on February 12 where I am looking forward to more guidance on getting to grips with the contribution of Sir Geoffrey Vickers, Donald Schön and others with this very illuminating aspect of managing systemic change.



A schematic representation of how European countries responded to hurricane disaster in the  Caribbean in 2017

                                                               A post-disaster map of Caribbean politics and aid status (IRIN. 2017)



IRIN. (2017). Hurricane response: Caribbean disaster agency comes of age. [online] Available at: https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2017/09/28/hurricane-response-caribbean-disaster-agency-comes-age [Accessed 30 Jan. 2018].

IRIN. (2017). Hurricane response: Caribbean disaster agency comes of age. [online] Available at: https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2017/09/28/hurricane-response-caribbean-disaster-agency-comes-age [Accessed 30 Jan. 2018].

Euan McKirdy, C. (2018). Dominica PM: Hurricane Maria ‘devastates’ island. [online] CNN. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/18/americas/atlantic-storms-maria-jose-lee/index.html [Accessed 30 Jan. 2018].

IN. 2017)


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Ras Albert Williams

An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change (Part 1)

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Edited by Albert Williams, Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017, 03:43


My academic journey with the Open University (OU) began in October 2010. I was first introduced to the OU while I was a union, and health and safety representative for the  Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) which is the trade union representing the workers at Tesco Extra where I work. Besides attending numerous workshops for new reps, I  completed a series of home-study courses produced by USDAW on topics such as pensions, collective bargaining, democracy.  At the end of the course, I was posted a leaflet introducing me to the Open University if I was interested in further opportunities for self-improvement. I enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Computing and IT because of my fascination with digital technology and information communication that had begun to gain momentum in all spheres of human activity since the era of web 2.0.

In December 2016, I completed my undergraduate studies, and attended my graduation ceremony at the Barbican in march 2017.  But for sometime leading up to the end of my undergraduate studies, I had been considering continuing with a master’s degree to specialise in a particular field. My choice was a MSc in  Technology Management.

Albert Williams (BSc Hon) Computing and IT

In November 2017, I began my postgraduate journey towards a MSc Technology Management with the Open University program starting with T848- Managing Technological Innovation. I have since followed this, T849- Strategic capabilities for technological innovation.  These two modules constitute the compulsory component of the requirements of the postgraduate certificate in Technology Management.  



My trajectory into understanding systemic change

TU812-Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction, is the first of two optional modules needed to earn a postgraduate diploma in technology management. I formally begin the module on November 1st, but the distant-learning  materials and student home website have been available since October 5 when my books were delivered by  royal mail. By this time, it had been 15 days since Hurricane  Maria, a category 5 storm had devastated Dominica–my homeland. 

The learning objectives of Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction are to develop your Knowledge and understanding of the traditions of systems thinking with a view to developing  vital cognitive skills for use in practical and/or professional situations such as:

  • inspiring innovation and/or creativity
  • providing leadership
  • positions where you have to work across boundaries (internal or external)
  • having to engage others in what you are doing (i.e. building stakeholding) either within or external to your organisation or project
  • developing new policies that will affect a wide range of people
  • managing change of some form or another
  • project or programme development and/or delivery
  • participating in or managing multi, inter or transdisciplinary research
  • interdepartmental working parties, groups, committees
  • policy development or implementation
  • working more effectively with your colleagues and communities in developing your practice.

Extracted from the Open University 2017

Blogging my way through TU812

One of the required activities for this module is to use some form of blogging tool to capture your learning on the subject by the use of a blog or journal. The entries you provide are to analyse module concepts, post initial reaction and to challenge your thinking as the module progresses and according to the  Open University, ” to [Prepare] a learning contract based on systemic changes you wish to manage”

To this end, I have decided to use my blog here on wordpress,  as the principal entry point for my thoughts and reflections, then distribute them by sharing with  myOpen University blog, TU812 forum  and other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. 

Systems Practice: How to act 

In situations of uncertainty and complexity in a climate-change world


 Resources used in TU812 

My preparatory reading of the textbook resources and module website thus far, has given me great insight, and an appreciation of the need, for professionals with specialised skills, not only in innovation and technology in general, but also with knowledge of systems-thinking that can think through complex problems and guide towards an appropriate response.  

One of the biggest challenges facing mankind today, is the threat of mankind-induced climate change that is having an adverse affect on the world’s climate , and is being blamed for catastrophic natural events such as the ongoing North Atlantic hurricane season which has seen large-scale devastation of many islands in the Caribbean this year, including Dominica. 

 Next time

In my next blog,  I will be looking more deeply into module concepts. For a start, Ray Ison and Chris Blackmore, two of the authors of the textbooks,used in the course are also responsible for writing the study guide and themselves are deeply associated with The  Open university for many years. 

In addition, I will also go deeper into what it is that  I, first will get out from the course, and 2, what it is  I hope to do with my newly-found knowledge. 

According to the requirements, this journal is to be updated periodically. So until next time, please read, like and share as you join me in my quest to get to grips with managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction. 


Open.ac.uk. (2017). Distance Learning Courses and Adult Education – The Open University. [online] Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

Ras Albert reasons Information Technology. (2017). Ras Albert reasons Information Technology. [online] Available at: https://rasalbertwilliams.tech.blog/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

The Open University. (2017). TU812 – Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction – Open University Course. [online] Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/modules/tu812[Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

The Open University. (2017). TU812 – Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction – Open University Course. [online] Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/modules/tu812[Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].

Usdaw.org.uk. (2017). USDAW – Usdaw . [online] Available at: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].


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Ras Albert Williams

F36 MSc Technology Management update

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Edited by Albert Williams, Thursday, 12 Oct 2017, 09:04

Hi reader

The last time  i updated this blog was in March of this year. My wife Tempie. provided a brief overview of my journey thus far with The Open University, and my imminent commencement of a new era in my life, the pursual of a MSc in Technology Management.

In November, I begin the study of TU812- Managing Systemic Change: Inquiry, action and interaction

Modules that  I have studied thus far on the postgraduate program are:

I am already booked for the May.2018 start of:

I am on target to complete my MSc by 2019 with:

That is all for now.


N.B: I have since been granted professional  membership of the British Computer Society

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Ras Albert Williams

You have been awarded a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing and Information Technology

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 4 Dec 2016, 11:28

And so the moment that I had been preparing for for so long had arrived November 28th this week, to earn my degree. A journey that started in 2009, and finally arrived in 2016. Well, you can imagine the sense of achievement that my wife and I felt when the news from Open University  reached us that I had passed my final module, TM470- The  computing and IT project, and that I had been awarded a third-class, Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing and Information Technology. It may not be a distinction, but the knowledge and awareness of the world of computing and information technology that I have obtained,  has made me more not only more marketable in the market place, but given me skills for life to continue learning. As this fascinating field continues break new grounds, affecting every sphere of human existence. For me the next step is to continue this quest and follow on with a Masters. From  November 1st,  I have started post-graduate studies starting with T848, Managing technological innovation. 

I expect to complete all the requirements for the  F36 MSc Technology Management by 2019, which is not that far of a journey as was B62, BSc (Hons) Computing and IT . Furthermore the study skills that I have begun to learn during my undergraduate studies will continue to be sharpened, as well as my knowledge of things digital will continue to expand. The  MSc Technology Management, as the name implies, is a managerial module. Other modules in this 'taught' masters' build on the two compulsory modules: T848 and T849 Strategic capabilities for technological innovation, which  I am already signed up to, begins on  May 1st, 2017 and leads to a post-graduate certificate.

To wrap up,  I just want to say congratulations to all my fellow undergraduates who along with me must be feeling the same way  I am. I want to thank my wife, Tempie for her love and support of the last 6 years. Studying is a way of life in our household. My wife and I have many projects at various stages of development in our portfolio, and she also is a student of the Open University.

The next step for me then is to make up my mind whether  I should attend a graduation ceremony, and if so, where. Brighton or London?  For me that is a minor matter. I am too busy getting my head around  technological innovation. Moving up to post-graduate studies, is like moving up from primary school to high school. Especially in my present module--a  lot more options for online tutorials, and a lot more extra reading. As well as a lot more project/report type tutor marked assignments (TMAs) and end of module assignments, rather than an examination.

I want to end by thanking my Facebook family, friends, fans, family who all made my degree announcement on Facebook very special. 

This is all for now.

Have a great day.

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Ras Albert Williams

BSc Honours degree, post graduate studies...all systems go!

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Edited by Albert Williams, Monday, 17 Oct 2016, 09:20

Hi fellow Open University learners, and others who may read this.

Admittingly, it is has been quite a while since my last post  (Tuesday, 8 Sep 2015) Well a lot of studying has come and gone since then.Some of my study materail

A quick recap. I successfully passed  T325-Technologies for digital media and submitted my final Computing and IT project required for  TM470.

At the moment, I am awaiting the results of the project which will give me the 360 credit points that Ii need to qualify for my  BSc Hons in Computing and  IT.

Nevertheless,  I am starting a post graduate module: T848- Managing Technology innovation on November 1st, 2016, as /i technically already have enough credits for an ordinary degree!

In retrospect, my journey into Computing and IT has been a great eye opener for me. The skills and awareness that  I have gained of the industry is enabling me to view my own many interests--literature, music, video/television, music, amateuer radio etc in new and fascinating ways.

T325 in particularly was so intriguing, that my wife and decided to pursue a 'foundation licence' for amateur radio which  I am proud to say that we passed. Radio technology and computing go hand in hand. Especially, the way that mobile phones are able to communicate wirelessly.

I also found the  computing and IT project a stimulating exercise. It was a lot of work, but preparing my chosen project,    An Information Technology Security guide for end-users: An overview of best practices to mitigate cyber-attacks at the front-end in an enterprise environment, with special emphasis on the implications of firewalls  was quite a challenging experience. One that led me to a deeper appreciation of the security aspects of information technology and even beyond. For this reason, I am also looking at pursuing the  CCNA certification at some point

However, right now, as I said above, I am preparing for the post graduate module T848- Managing Technology innovation.  For someone who is not even working in the industry, leaves me with a slightly over-inflated sense of pride that I can still hold my own with others who say that they work in this and that technology company. 

I would like to think that soon, or by the time  I have finished F36- Masters in Technology Management that I will be well placed to make my contribution to the sector. Both here in the United kingdom, and in the Caribbean.

To go any further without acknowledging the support of my dear  wife, Tempie, who also is an Open University student, would be a gross oversight. So thank you Tempie for all your support. I want to thank to my tutors of all the modules that  I have read, and last but not least, the Open University itself for being that great academic, long-distance, learning institution that it is.

What an opportunity this is, to self-fund my own tertiary education. The advantages to me to have a view of the bigger picture that a university education provides is the springboard for bigger dreams.

In closing, I am really looking forward to my post graduate studies.

So until next time

Take care everyone.



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Edited by Albert Williams, Monday, 11 Jun 2012, 08:22

I enrolled in this course to make up the 30-credit, free choice component for BSc (Hons) Computing and IT(B62). Although not been a novice on the subject matter, I found the experience overall satisfying. The camaraderie among students was excellent, and generally very enthusiastic.

T156 Digital Film School - October 2011 was a pilot module, and as such, being among the first students to road test the module, there are a few suggestions I would like to make. Before this, let me praise the course team for a well thought-out program of activities. Although it was a ten-week course, it dealt with many aspects of conceptualizing, shooting, editing and distribution of a digital video.

Students also had access to a 'film makers forum' and a 'social forum' where we discussed relevant subjects and answered each other's queries. The 'Open Studio' was a feature of the course website where, week by week, we posted our various assignments, and where fellow students could critique and rate your work. We were also introduced to other external websites of which one will find useful in future projects. There was only one computer-marked assignment and one end-of-module exam.

However, I'd like to suggest though that the course title was a little bit misleading as the module did not lead to an accreditation. Moreover, most students had little or no experience of using professional equipment, nor did the course include any school days or tutorials, so students had to make full use of the forums to ask questions. Many had very little knowledge of video editing software. Secondly, since the module introduced a wide aspects of film making, and did not have concentrations on any one subject, it could not really be a film school. I would suggest 'Digital Home Video' would be more appropriate, as the course does not prepare you for an industry, entry-level into commercial television.

Finally, as I said, overall the course was really encouraging, and you do end up with a body of work that you produced during the course that you can use as your portfolio in your future development as a film maker.

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Ras Albert Williams

Just taking a breather

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 22 Apr 2012, 16:41

This is what I like about the blog feature of the student home page.

When I've  been at my desk, head stuck in the laptop for about two hours or so, and I need to unwind; I don't feel like surfing off to Facebook, but more like keeping my mind on things OU. That is when I like to check in on my blog page. Yeah,  right here!

So, it's one of those times. Currently, I am working my way through the EMA of  TM128- Microsoft Server Technologies, feeling rather chuffed with myself that I managed to score a pass on the TMA average requirement for the course, and looking forward to doing that with the EMA to secure a pass on this challenging course.

Well to say the least to hear students cry down one aspect of TM128 or the other was nothing new. I'm getting quite used to that now, since this is my 5th course. And I prefer to keep looking on the bright side, and how the  Open University is opening up my mind, if not doors to further career opportunities.

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that I am not working towards a BSc in computing and IT, but rather a doctorate. Yes, you heard me-- a PhD in some aspect of Computer Science, technology or design. You see, why just stop at a mere degree. Its like settling for a few A-levels and then dropping out of academia, just so that you can go out to the working life.

For me, if I am to really achieve my goals, I will either have to be a genius, like Mark Zuckerberg or really equip myself with as much intellect and training that  I can afford (meaning, paying my way through Open University) Seeing that I am already fully employed, financing my studies is not a problem, and will be even more so when  I've finished pay off for my vehicle. (I just had to throw that in there)

So, that's me, having a little dialogue with myself. Taking a little breather, to double-check that I still have the energy to go on with my studies. To date, I've passed

M150 - Data, computing and information




T175 - Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies

156 - Digital film school




by all indications will pass TM128- Microsoft Server Technologies, and starting B120-Introduction to Business in May. I think that it would not be presumptuous of me to say that I think I have developed a pretty, nice, little routine to deal with my study load, and have succeeded in adapting my study routine around my domestic and other personal commitments nicely, and feeling quite ready to tackle my level 2 and level 3 courses when they arrive.

Well let's hope so!

Through it all my wife, Tempie has been my main supporter, and source of inspiration. She already has a degree, and she is also an Open University Student, still studying courses.

It is when you have people like her in your corner, that makes you really believe in yourself.

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 21 Aug 2011, 14:15

Hello There!smile

Well, hello might be the appropriate greeting phrase since the reader of this blog, in all probability has never met the author, but let's hope that as the course progresses that we can become sort of virtual classmates.

My name is Albert Williams, I was born in the UK, but spent the better part of 32 years in the lovely, Caribbean Island of the Commonwealth of Dominica(not the Dominica Republic) where I was raised eating coconuts, bananas and mangoes, and dasheen, yams and sweet potatoes and flying fish. And bathing in lurk warm rivers and sees, and jumping up on Carnival Monday and Tuesday and doing all the things that Caribbean youths do growing up.

I am a mature students here at Open University, meaning that I am just over 18 years old(just kidding) actually, I am 48 years, 3 months and 20 days and ...young, and I am signed up to begin the M150 Data, Computing and Information module in a few days, working my way towards a qualification, in BSc (Honours) Computing and  IT which is a Bachelor of Science (that what BSc stands for), undergraduate degree.

Actually, I am not a bachelor, I am happily married. I am a published author of a few books of poetry, a book of short stories and had a stint as a newspaper and I have been a freelance contributor for as long as I can remember. I also dabble a bit in music, to be precise: reggae.

This year, my wife and I founded our cable network and television production company which although is in its infancy stages is bound for bigger things. Have you guessed it yet?...Yes that where pursuing the degree named above comes in. We believe that having a specialised degree in the subject we give me a hands on approach to things geeky around the office.

I am what some may called a self-educated Rastafarian, meaning, back in the 70's when Rastafarianism was spreading over the Caribbean like a wild fire, youngsters like took to the philosophy like a moth to a flame and many (of us) dropped out from employment and school and re educated I and I selves through the reasoning of Rastafarian elders and so forth and so fifth. I did manage to reach to fifth form, but that is far as formal education went. But what did save me was a love for literature and the English language.

I eventually did a correspondence course with International Correspondence School(ICS) in Journalism and short Story Writing from which I was able to hone and sharpen my writing enthusiasm and like they say the rest was history.

Besides building my company and writing a history of the Rastafari movement in Dominica, I am employed with Tesco, as a security guard. I am a shop steward/health and safety representative of USDAW and a certified first-aider.

To say that I am really looking forward to really getting my hair around this course and also the T175 Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies in February is the understament of the year...nay of the last century. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Here's hoping that you feel the same way too, and that we can all successfully complete the course(s) together.


Albert Williams

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