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Ras Albert Williams

My Dissertation Research Diary: Proposal synopsis

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Introduction

Perhaps one of the most fundamental stages of working towards the MSc  Technology  Management is deciding on a subject area for investigation. At every stage of my academic career with the Open University, I have been exposed to many facets of the behind-the-scenes-working of the  computing and  IT sector, as well as the frontline services and technologies that are familiar at the user end of the production. 

Whether it is, for example, the behind-the-scenes-working of standards agencies that  govern the worldwide web, such as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)  or the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which are both international bodies responsible for assigning the protocols that  govern internet address and other protocols such as developing the architecture that makes the whole internet run as smoothly as it does crossing many international boundaries and various operating systems.  Or learning the intricacies networking as taught in Cisco’s CCNA  or delving into the depths in intellectual property and privacy.

In my postgraduate studies, I continued to increase in my understanding of the management of  technology innovation, and systems thinking, which are specialised areas of management, ideally suited to better able to survive in the evolving technological environment that businesses and governments alike have to deal with.  An example of how this can affect an online enterprise would be the introduction of  the new data laws under the General Data Protection  Regulation  (GDPR)enforced by the European  Union (EU) which at times prevents me from accessing some Caribbean websites. 

Nevertheless, I am excited to have reached as far as I have, and in this diary entry,  I will be looking at the context of the working title for my proposal synopsis.  So read on. 

Area of Practice (AOP)

One of the postures that I picked up from my study of  TU811- Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change, is to identify what is your chosen area of practice. This could mean, in what category is your profession, or what area of practice interests you. I see myself as as consultant with particular interest in disaster management and recovery. Like so many world leaders and humanitarian and research organisations have caught the vision of  the commonwealth of Dominica’s Prime Minister,  Hon  Dr Roosevelt  Skerrit, to rebuild his country after the ravages of Hurricane Maria last year, as the world’s first climate resilient nation. Dr Skerrit, has received two honorary doctorates for his advocacy against the effects of climate change, and persistently calls on the developed world to pay their dues towards small island states who stand to suffer the most as the world’s ocean warm and the hurricanes become more frequent and ferocious. 

As a hurricane survivor myself, as a youth, I experienced hurricane  David on August 29th, 1979, I am woefully cognisant what my fellow  dominicans have had to endure this past year, as the country continues to rebuild, and rehabilitate. The quest is to build back better, and the government has created the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica  (CREAD) to spearhead this effort.  

I am of the opinion that based on my current studies, that I can lend some useful insights towards this effort. Consequently,  my working title, of which I am awaiting feedback when my supervisor is appointed early next year is;

DIMINISHING UNCERTAINTY TO ACCELERATE THE EXECUTION OF CLIMATE-CHANGE ADAPTATION TECHNOLOGIES THROUGH A SYSTEMIC INTERVENTION TO STRENGTHEN THE INNOVATION STRATEGY, OF THE CLIMATE RESILIENCE EXECUTION AGENCY OF DOMINICA (CREAD).

Setting the pace; Setting the goal

As you are already aware, this  Dissertation Research Diary, is analogous to workshop where I can pound the raw data and rough ideas into shape before submitting them officially as part of any assignment due on the course.  In a sense, this is an opportunity to give my initially thoughts flesh and breath into them a life of their own as blogs in their own right.

(Fig 1) A spray diagram depicting some potential subject areas that may make it into the T802 Research  Project 

In figure 1 above,  I begun the process of identifying subject areas from the postgraduate modules studies. This gives me a good idea of some the ground  I will cover as seek to explore my chosen topic.

This dissertation will research the history of climate change adaptation in the  Caribbean region, with emphasis on Dominica, and how CREAD will effect the technology transfer of the technologies and processes that will transform Dominica’s infrastructure and landscape to achieve sustainability, and also give the island the resources to withstand severe natural disasters, which are common in this region, and to rebound quickly from their effects.

The methodology I propose to use to gather data for this project, will comprise of primary research utilizing telephone interviews, email and social media questionnaires in conjunction with secondary research which will comprise of collecting books, published academic papers and other dissertations on key words searches such as ‘Dominica and climate change’ and  Caribbean and  climate change adaptation.’  

My preliminary findings suggest that there is a gap in academic research on  Dominica’s vulnerability and climate change adaptation efforts in the past, and more recently after Tropical Storm Erica did so much damage to the Eastern part of the island in 2015, that whole villages had to be evacuated and relocated. Some of the rehabilitation work on the rebuilding of homes survived Hurricane Maria, but 90% of other structures did not.  

I will seek to explain how technology management and systems thinking can work together to inform the work of the CREAD to assess and implement measures to protect sectors, that are vulnerable to shock and or failure from natural and man-made disasters, such as Housing, Agriculture, tourism, education, health, transportation, telecommunications, air and seaport and utilities.

As part of my Primary research,  I will not only target the key players in  Dominica and the region in regard to disaster management and recovery, but also of the key organizations here in the UK and Europe, that have played a major part  in Dominica’s ongoing recovery..


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Ras Albert Williams

My Dissertation Research Diary: The Preamble

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One would have thought, that after 6 years of being a mature, long-distance, undergraduate of the Open University (OU), which culminated with a BSc (Hons) Computing and IT in 2016, that at my age, 50+ that  I would have had enough of spending my hard-earned earnings, studying books, contributing to online forums and writing up exams. To the contrary,  after spending some quality time in deep reflection, I came to the conclusion, that a postgraduate qualification would be in my interest.

Here in the UK, I was also eligible to secure a postgraduate student loan to help with the costs, so discussing all with my wife,  I decided to take the plunge.  The Bible says, that an double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1: 8-10). Fast-forward to 2018, I have already completed 4 of the requisite modules along the MSc Technology Management  pathway, and here I am at the final hurdle: T802- The Research Project. T802 basically is a 60-point module, which is the longest duration of a module that I have read since beginning my academic journey with the OU.

The course runs from February  2019, all the way to April 2020. There are 4 tutor-module-assessments (TMAs), which is customary with the OU, but unlike all other modules that ended with a substantial piece of work, called a project of between 2,500-300 words,  T802, culminates with  a dissertation of no less than 10,000 words and no more than 15,000.

If you have been following my previous blogs here, you are perhaps familiar with the story of my journey at OU.  I decided to launch this particular blog to celebrate my graduation in 2016, to continue to write my reflections on issues and concerns to me in the computing and information and technology genre. You can have a look at past pieces published in the archive. Some are rewrites of projects that I have submitted for past modules throughout the years. While others are my musings on issues that I am concerned about. Below, is taken from a project  I completed for T848, Google’s Self Driving Car Project: A Critique of its innovative technology transfer strategy.Fig 2 EMA_ TRM

Google’s Self-Driving Car Project’s technology road map 

However, writing project logs, keeping copious notes, and contributing to wikis has always been a part of  OU academic life, but blogging really came into its own with studying TU812-Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction. Which was an excellent introduction to systems thinking. Writing a blog, was an integral part of studying this module.

The module team for T802,  have again encouraged postgraduates to keep a ‘Research Diary.  Hence, the launching of this new series of subjects: My dissertation Research Diary.  The choice of what form our diary should take was left entirely up to the student. So being a blogger, a published author, former journalist, a seasoned OU student and generally someone who enjoys a good writing challenge,  I decided to use my wordpress space as somewhere, where  I could discuss my thoughts and findings  about my preparation for the dissertation.

In addition to all the  other avenues available to me to bounce off ideas with other students in the forums or discuss issues with my supervisor,  I consider this is a valuable tool to revisit my past postgraduate modules, namely:

  • T848 – Managing technological innovation.
  • T849 – Strategic capabilities for technological innovation.
  • TU812 – Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction.
  • TU811 –  Thinking strategically: Capabilities for technological innovation.

These subject fields are important because, the topic of the dissertation is to be based on the core modules studied for this qualification.  In my case, the compulsory modules for the MSc- Technology  Management were,  T848 and T849. TU811 and TU812 comprising of my postgraduate diploma.

In closing, suffice to say, the task of preparing for this capstone module began many months ago. I am looking forward to bringing my experience of my undergraduate work, and my postgraduate thus far, to this research project.

In my next entry in my diary,  I will be exploring the context of my chosen research idea.  Consequently, you are invited to join me in this challenging, but exciting journey. Feel free to join in the discussion. Ask questions, write comments. One of the aims of a dissertation according to The Open University is that your findings must be of relevance to the wider scientific community, and be of interest to other stakeholders in your chosen sector.

Have a great day!

Hon Natty Dread

Reference

Dread, H. (2017). Google’s Self-Driving Car project: A critique of its innovative technology transfer strategy. [online] Hon Natty Dread reasons the environment, resilience and recovery. Available at: https://rasalbertwilliams.tech.blog/2017/05/22/googles-self-driving-car-project-a-critique-of-its-innovative-technology-transfer-strategy/ [Accessed 23 Nov. 2018].



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Ras Albert Williams

An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change (Part 5)

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Edited by Albert Williams, Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 10:38



Greetings friends, 

This installment of my blog: An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change will take the form of an invitation to join me in designing an initial inquiry into designing a Critical  Learning System for the Caribbean islands devastated  by hurricanes  Irma and Maria last year using  Dominica as a pilot. 

An invitation

A Critical Learning System for the Commonwealth of Dominica, in respect of land, water and development

Background

The Commonwealth of Dominica was struck by Hurricane Maria between the 18-19th of September, 2017 which was perhaps the worst North Atlantic hurricane season on record. 

 Two major hurricanes ripped through the Caribbean within two weeks last year: Hurricane Irma on September 6 which killed over 134 persons and caused catastrophic damage on, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Martin, Anguilla, St Kitts, Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Cuba, Florida and Barbuda that was totally devastated and ALL residents had to be evacuated, leaving the island uninhabited for the first time in 300 years. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane almost totally obliterated Dominica leaving over 96 persons dead or missing, then went on to devastate Puerto Rico.

ARTICULATED VISION

Dominica is no stranger to natural disasters. Hurricane  David struck the island on  August 29, 1979.  On August 27, 2015, Tropical Storm (TS) Erika hit Dominica killing 13 people. Extremely violent weather caused numerous landslides and flooding destroying whole villages and swollen rivers washed away roads and bridges.

In our quest to to join in Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's vision to create the first climate-resistant country in the world, it behoves us to utilise and adapt every capability, human or technological innovation to build not only the infrastructure, but the human capital, that is both the participant and the beneficiary of such a noble enterprise. Our quest is to drive this vision to fulfilment, and make it sustainable for future generations.

What are Critical Learning Systems?

Metaphorically, a learning system already exists in Dominica. The government through its agencies and departments working in concert with third-party entities, such as Non-government agencies (NGOs) and friendly governments provides a basis for the exchange of goods and services and feed-back and feed-forward exchanges that inform the conduct of business in this situation of interest.

Briefly, how this network of organisations and governments differs from a 'Critical Learning system', is that the participants are aware that they are working purposefully within a domain or boundary towards the solving a problem through understanding:

  • how they are learning about a particular experience

  • what they are learning about a particular experience

and

  • how they are using the results: insights and findings generated by this introspection to address the present concern. In short, we are creating 'new knowledge.'

Land, water and development

The invitation to join this discussion is partly due to (1) a requirement of TU812: Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction's third tutor-marked assessment (TMA) in which I have been asked to seek third-party comments on my selected topic: Land, water and development. And (2) my own ongoing inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change

Even without formal training in systems thinking, I am sure that anyone who has followed the media accounts of the destruction wrought by the hurricanes in the Caribbean last year can make the connections with the topic of land, water and development.  The issues faced by the islands are are numerous as they are ubiquitous:

  • they are all small islands surrounded by water.

  • they depend on tourism and agriculture for their living. 

  • they are frequently buffeted by hurricanes.

  • damage to vegetation and housing stock is widespread.

  • Cleaning up and disposal of debris: fallen trees, household. appliances, destroyed cars and boats, concrete and galvanise is an ongoing problem.

  • The future is uncertain and complexity.

Nevertheless, the mood is hopeful and up-beat. Dominica's Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit is leading the charge against climate-change vowing to rebuild his island as the first climate-resistant country in the world. Initiatives such as the Clinton Foundation's Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery and entrepreneur, Richard Branson has set in motion a team to develop a Marshall plan for the islands. Humanitarian organisations and former colonial powers and world bodies have all pledged, in cash or kind to come to the aid of the struggling islands.

Have your say

With this brief introduction to the background of my invitation, I invite you to discuss what you think are some of the concerns that you may identify in regards to land, water and development. For instance:

  • The need for relocation of homes and business.

  • The dredging of silted rivers to prevent future flooding.

  • What of the future of the private sector

  • what of the the idea of a climate resistant country. What will this look like?

I am sure that you can see how nurturing a Critical learning system comprising of government officials, managers and middle managers in the private sector, as one set, and law enforcement and essential services in another. While we might even consider a residents and/or student's subset could be other choices.

Your comments and ideas maybe reproduced in my submission or appear in the TU812 module discussion forum.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and respond accordingly

RSVP

Photo credit CDEMA : Before hitting Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria struck Dominica, causing utter devastation.

For further reading

Cape Cod Chronicle. (2017). Maria, Irma Bring Long-distance Heartbreak, Helplessness: Locals Send Prayers, Aid To Loved Ones In Hurricanes' Path. [online] Available at: http://www.capecodchronicle.com/en/5239/chatham/2145/Maria-Irma-Bring-Long-distance-Heartbreak-Helplessness-Locals-Send-Prayers-Aid-To-Loved-Ones-In-Hurricanes'-Path-Storms.htm [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Dominica News Online. (2018). Former US President Clinton to visit Dominica. [online] Available at: http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/general/former-us-president-clinton-to-visit-dominica/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Dominica News Online. (2017). Housing sector receives massive blow from Hurricane Maria. [online] Available at: http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/general/housing-sector-receives-massive-blow-from-hurricane-maria/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

NBC News. (2017). 72,000 people live on Maria-hit Dominica. Its hospital's ICU is gone.. [online] Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/hurricane-maria-damages-dominica-s-main-hospital-leaves-war-zone-n803711 [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

ReliefWeb. (2017). Tropical Storm Erika - Aug 2015. [online] Available at: https://reliefweb.int/disaster/tc-2015-000119-dma [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Rubin, M. (2018). Dominica’s PM posted frantic Facebook messages as Hurricane Maria tore the roof off his home. [online] Quartz. Available at: https://qz.com/1081501/hurricane-maria-dominicas-prime-minister-roosevelt-skerrit-posted-live-facebook-updates-as-the-hurricane-hit/ [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Rosenbloom, S. (2017). After Maria and Irma: Caribbean Tourism, Island by Island. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/travel/maria-irma-caribbean-tourism-island-by-island.html [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].

Virgin. (2017). Creating a Marshall Plan for the Caribbean. [online] Available at: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/creating-marshall-plan-caribbean [Accessed 7 Mar. 2018].



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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.

Introduction

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.

Background

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.

Questions

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.

Regards

Albert

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)

 

References 

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 3)

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An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change (Part 3)

Introduction

Hello again reader. It is time for another update on my quest to become a systems thinker. This is the third installment of my blog,  An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change. today, I review my studies of part one of the study guide. As you may have read in my previous blogs, this module is concerned with equipping the aspiring systems thinker with the transformative tools and concepts which will give him/her the capabilities to participate effectively in ‘situations of interest’, especially in those circumstances that involve systemic disruption.

Change is inevitable

As a society and an individual, there will always be events that evolve around us for better or for worse. Changes that may impact us at the domestic level–a change of circumstances, for example, being made redundant. Conversely, you may be caught up in as an immigrant in the shifting borders of the European Union, or even recently experienced  a natural disaster such as a major hurricane.  Again, whether the transformation is seen as systemically desirable’ or ‘culturally feasible’ will depending on whose perspective the ‘wicked problem’ is been seen from. The decisions that informs  an employee who has to face being unemployed will be different in scope, compared to the board of directors of  a large company that has hit rock-bottom and is being liquidated.

Be a Reflexive system practitioner

In ‘systems language’ through training, our ‘practice’ visualises challenges as opportunities to learn from, as in a ‘learning system and’ an opportunity to conduct a ‘systematic inquiry’ as a way of managing the change, as well as a form of ‘social learning’ such an exercise will include listening to,and collaborating with all stakeholders. It will require the setting of boundaries around a ‘situation of interest’ which is fundamental to the understanding systemically a complex issue.

Another conceptual tool I have learned  from  Part One of the Study Guide for this module thus far, is to appreciate ‘systemic practice as a ‘relational dynamic’. This is heuristically demonstrated by the P, F,S, M model

P- Practitioner

F- Framework

M- Method

S- Situation

Finally another tool that is taught in TU812, is the use of a ‘learning contract. A table that  identifies  and grades in terms of priority, those skills and capabilities  that one wants to develop on the way to transformation to a systems thinker.

 Refining my Systemic inquiry

As an update to my journey so far of the TU812-Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction,  I  have successfully submitted and passed, the first of three  tutor-marked-assessments(TMAs).  The first TMA was based on my understanding of Part one of the study guide, titled, ‘Creating the starting conditions for your study,’ which according to my tutor for TU812, Question 1 was concerned with the historical and social settings with which I as a systems practitioner comes to a situation of interest.  Q2 sought to test my understanding of the Frameworks as taught in  TU812 and Question 3  was to learn what Methods I deployed to put these frameworks into effect in a situation of my choosing.

Part two of the study guide is called, ‘A systemic inquiry into systems practice’. Among the learning points are: to teach important  ‘key systems concepts used to manage systemic change; learn the various approaches towards systemic practice, as well as how to engage in designing a systemic inquiry and the ethics and critical learning that goes into creating a learning system.

Ray Ison, the author of Part two of the Study Guide in Activity 2.4 asked students to write our reflections and comments  in our blogs and/or module forum any issues, concepts and claims made by him in Chapter 10 of  his book, Systems  Practice: how to act in a situations of uncertainty and complexity in a climate-change world. 

The main take away thought for me in Chapter 10  is that it is important to note that the (Ison 2017) claims that systemic inquiry is social technology primarily concerned with coming to terms with uncertainty. He states that when the inquiry involves a number of persons, this is regarded as a systemic co-inquiry. He adds that one of the main benefits of a systemic inquiry is that is provides a mechanism or framework that enables the practitioner to place the situation of interest within a a definite frame of reference.

One of the hallmarks of being a systemic thinker is the ability to not only place within a frame or a boundary, but to be reflective about the entire process of engaging with systemic change. (Ison 2017) describes this as ‘reflective learning’ or as he explains, ‘ it is the thinking about thinking, doubting about doubting learning about learning and (hopefully) knowing about knowing’

In section 10.2 Ison delves into ‘ The Opportunity for systemic  inquiry.’ As I mentioned above,  systemic inquiry is a way of managing systemic change characterised by complexity and uncertainty. This type of systemic  inquiry he says is different from  other forms of  inquiry that as he compared to, such as ‘appreciative inquiry, ‘action inquiry’ ‘first, second and third person inquiry , ‘networked systemic inquiry’

 

References


Ison R., (2017). [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Systems-Practice-How-Climate-Change-World/dp/1849961247 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2017].

 


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An inquiry into my systems practice for managing systemic change (Part 2)

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Edited by Albert Williams, Thursday, 16 Nov 2017, 20:50

Introduction

Hello again reader. Here is an update on my latest academic quest with the Open University (OU). Today, I present my findings, reflections and musings concerning my studies thus far on my journey of discovery of this fascinating discipline of Systems thinking and practice. This  this the second installment of my series of blogs entitled, An inquiry  into my systems practice for managing systemic change I began on October 22, 2017.

Prior to the commencement of my reading of the TU812- Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction module material, all I knew about systems mapping was that it was a way of illustrating how various components of a ‘system,’ for instance, general  practitioners within the National Health Service (NHS) related to  the overall whole. I had been introduced to the concept in one or two previous module I have studied with the OU.  Particularly, in T848- Managing Technological innovation of which technology road maps and system maps were a feature of managing technology within an innovative environment.

Specialised terminology

The field of systemic is inquiry is loaded with a host of ‘systemic qualifiers’ of which underscores the seriousness with which ‘systemic practitioners’ are embedded, and with which such terminology aptly defines their understanding of this highly specialised way of thinking. Indeed, Ray  Ison, who I mentioned in my blog of October 23, who is one of the authors of the module’s study guide and author of the textbook, Systems Practice: How to act in situations of uncertainty and complexity in a climate-change world has introduced me a new way of looking at the world, and how the interconnectedness of things, people and places is the foundation on which this academic discipline rests.

Assuming that you, like me, have no prior knowledge of systemic thinking, the title of the course mentions,  ‘systemic change’ and hints at ‘systemic enquiry’. Academics who are involved with systemic enquiry, are said to be conducting ‘systemic practice,  or as mentioned above,  ‘systemic practitioners’ When there is an obvious aberration from a desirable outcome,, it is said to have  been a ‘system failure’. The course team make a distinction between ‘systemic’ and ‘systematic’.

Other terms that  I found that unique to this way of thinking  and that are introduced in part one of the study guide are: terms like ‘social learning systems’ and ‘systems of interest’ and so on. Terms and phrases like ‘praxis-based approach’, trajectory diagrams and ‘learning contracts’, are new to me.

It is the expectation of the course team,  that my understanding of these concepts will grow as the module progress. No doubt, in 9 months time, when I revisit these blogs  I will realise a growth in my understanding and appreciation of ‘system thinking philosophy.

Home-study/ distance learning module

TU812, is a long-distance,  postgraduate module. It is an optional choice for a number of masters degrees. A feature of studying for a qualification with the OU module is the requirement to submit several  tutor module assessments (TMA) and End-of-module Assessments (EMA) which are submitted electronically using the OU system’s ‘Online TMA/EMA Service.

Besides reading the module materials and submitting the assessments, there are usually Self Assessment Questions (SAQ) and a number of activities included for the student to check your learning against the module learning objectives. Activities such as Activity 1.8 below.


Figure 1.0 My trajectory into TU812

The diagram in figure 1.0 above seeks to show the developmental changes that affected my decision to enroll on this module, since this module is concerned with managing systemic change. The diagram also is used as a visual aid to assist the me (the student) to be aware of the influences on that decision and what  I am hoping to achieve having studied the module.

Next time

In my next blog, I will delve more deeply into systemic thinking and the mindset of the systemic practitioner. In addition, I will explore how  I can adapt my newly found learning to addressing my concerns for disaster recovery in islands in the Caribbean devastated by  Hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.

References

Recovery, D. (2017). Disaster Recovery. [online] Dreamstime.com. Available at: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-disaster-recovery-red-pencil-circle-around-text-image53108852[Accessed 5 Nov. 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 5 Nov. 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


Introduction

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

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 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. 

References 

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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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.


Albert

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


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Press Release

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Rastafarian, Albert Williams Press Release Photo for his Graduation Ceremony Announcement

RASTAFARIAN, COMPUTING AND IT OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENT ANNOUNCES HIS UNDERGRADUATE CEREMONY AS HIS POSTGRADUATE STUDIES AND AIM ARE UNDER WAY


by Tempie Williams AIAAP MIAB

Media Contact: albert_tempie@yahoo.co.uk

Crawley, West Sussex – Local Resident , Albert Williams, 54, since 2006 has worked full-time as Night Security Guard and a member of Usdaw Trade Union since 2006, at Tesco Extra Hazelwick Ave. He announces, after a long hard 6 year Open University long-distance home-study academic journey, that at 10:45 am on Friday , 24 March 2017, he will Graduate receiving his Honours Degree at his Undergraduate Ceremony in London, Barbican Centre.


Moreover, he received his qualification award letter from, The Open University in December 2016. And, an Invitation to attend his Degree Ceremony, from the Qualifications and Ceremonies Centre of The Open University. Having successfully completed 360 credits of study required, no more than 120 credits at level 1 and at least 120 credits at level 3. A 60 credit module is equivalent to a year's half-time study, and to succeed he had to pass a series of assessments throughout the year and a final examination or project. The credits rating reflect the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Albert Williams, was awarded his qualification and classification , on 31 December 2016 , Bachelor of Science (Honours) Degree in Computing and information Technology, Third-class Honours .


Furthermore, documented in an Academic Reference by The Open University , Assistant Director, Academic Services , Dr. Juliet Coleman, December 2016, highlighting some of Albert's range of valuable and transferable academic and personal attributes, demonstrated, namely are:

  • Communicating clearly and accurately in English,

  • Being aware of the requirements, knowledge and perspectives of others;

  • Developing logical thought and the use of clearly structured argument;

  • Critically evaluating information, arguments and assumptions;

  • Using information technology and information literacy skills to search for, exchange, process and evaluate information;

  • Framing and addressing problems, questions and issues.


Albert Williams, is now working towards a MSc in Technology Management that he intend to complete by December 2019. He started his Post Graduate Journey in November 2016 with Managing Technological Innovation T848. It is his expectation that his undergraduate and postgraduate studies will deepen his understanding of information communication technologies; entrepreneurship; legislation; innovation and many other subjects that he aim to utilise in his personal and professional career. Being the main breadwinner, taking care of his wife, Tempie Williams, 62, is also an Open University Student, with her own unique academic journey of achievements and her husband's number one supporter. They both share a varied array of other skills and talents and each are exceedingly excited about Albert's Academic Progression going Forward.


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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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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.

Regards

Albert

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T325-Technologies for digital media website opens today

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I am so excited. My penultimate module's website for T325-Technologies for digital media,along my path to earning a BSc (Hons) Computing and IT went live early this morning.

This module, https://msds.open.ac.uk/students/…/undergraduate/course/t325 is the final before the Computing and IT project https://msds.open.ac.uk/studen…/…/undergraduate/course/tm470

I am looking forward to sharing my newly-acquired knowledge, analytical skills and scholarship to addressing, not only information technology issues in the Caribbean, but developmental concerns of the third world.


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T324- Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies

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Okay, so it's time to  update my blog here on  OU. I have been busy getting a head start on my materials for my new module, T324- Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies. The module began on  October 4th, but  I actually received my books and audio/visual material a month before. Consequently, I have a good read of block one, parts 1-4, to familiarise myself with the territory to be conquered so to speak.

T324 deals with topics that its little brother T215 dealt with, so it I don't anticipate any major problems. There are some new formulae to learn though,to deal with.  and like all through this degree, there is always new mathematics to deal with.

In preparation for the module,  I also discovered or rediscovered, amateur radio, and my wife, Tempie and I decided to become members of our local amateur radio club. We have since signed up to do the foundation course in November, then to move on to the more advanced intermediate and full licence. The reason why I decided to give my self the added burden of studying  amateuer radio with T324, is because both seem to complement each other in terms of the studying to the wireless technologies.

Because the Open University is a distant-learning organisation, albeit with some day-schools and face to face tutorials,  I found the rubbing shoulders with the folks at the club, buying some equipment  and reading additional information on radio spectrum and the like, it make the OU teachings come alive, and also supplements my study for the Foundation exam.

Anyway, I'm rambling on... if you care to you could like my  Open University page on  

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/albertwilliamsBScComputingandIT?ref=bookmarks where I share more tits and bits on my study journey.

So until next time.

regards

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T216 CCNA Networking

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It is now a few weeks since the closing of  T216, and  I can now breath a sigh of relief.. For me, this module, was one of the most challenging. 

Since beginning my my studies for my  B62 -- BSc Hons Computing and  IT,  I had postponed sitting T216 twice, anticipating the level of difficulty this module might entail. However, having said this, I did not foresee that  that  I would be diagnosed with a life long illness-diabetes, midway of the course.

When the scheduled began in  October,  I was full of optimism, I knew that  I had done fairly well in  TM18, Microsoft  Technologies, so I thought that I stood a chance of working with the materials slowly and would master the materials to ensure a passable grade.

But on towards the end of February,  i began to experience extreme thirst, thrush and blurry eye sight, which prompted me first to check my local Tesco optician. fitted with two pairs of specs, one for everyday use and one for reading  I thought that had solved the matter of the blurry eye. But the other symptoms persisted, and  I was forced to seek medical attention at the Crawley Hospital on  March 1st, 2014.

The diagnosis was diabetes provisional type 1. I as duly admitted to the reading Hospital that same morning to begin a course of treatment and consequently, finding  myself as in-patient for the weekend: hospital gown and all. I was devastated. 

STUDIES ON HOLD.

AS you might have guessed, it was not possible to maintain a focus on my studies, my TMA02  and 03 grades went flat. In addition to having to begin self-administration of insulin 4- 5 times a day, constant blood monitoring and to  disclose with my secret disability to my employer, and to the DVLA and car insurer, I had to submit a claim for special circumstances with the the  Open University. My tutor was very supportive, and assisted me with extended telephone and online tutorial in an effort to get me back up to scratch.

It is obvious to me now that I must have been suffering with concentration and possible of nervous related problem known to affect diabetics in the months leading up to the start of the module that all came to a head in March. But, lucky for me,  the  OU awarded me a Grade 4 pass...Well it saved my 60 credits to add to my 360 needed for my honours degree.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Nevertheless, I am so glad I persevered.I am still interested in doing the CCNA certification at some point in the future, and  I have learned a lot from my studies. Never mind the near crisis, that could have easily made me quit studying for good, feeling sorry for myself, and that this was the beginning of the end., 5 months down the line, I am feeling much better mentally. No more symptoms, but doctors told me then and now, that  I will be on medication for the rest of my life. I don't need to go into the complications that diabetics can face if their condition is not manged properly.

So only to add that  I am glad this is all over now, both the module and the diagnosis. I am preparing for  T234 now, Keeping a ahead in information and communication technologies. Here's hoping that I can raise my game, and get back on track.

 

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Farewell to M364 and T215

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 27 Apr 2014, 20:21

Hi all, 

What an interesting and challenging 9 months it has been studying this module. For some of us, we gappled with the challenges of doing two and even three courses at the same time.

In my case, I studied T215-Communication and information technologies (30 credits, Level 2) alongside M364- Fundamentals of Interaction design (30 credits , Level 3) Thankfully, there was no exam to sit.

My next course, starting in October,  is T216 Cisco Networking (CCNA) (60 credits, Level 2). The site is already open, so I am already getting my head around the various components. This module also ends with an exam in June, but at least, I will not be having to study two modules  the same time, which as you know involves two sets of forums, TMAs etc.

Anyway, after T216,  I remain three (3) more modules to complete my degree, BSc (Hons) Computing and IT

Feel free to share what your next module is, maybe our roads might meet again!

So until such time, all the best in whatever module you chose.

Regards

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TM128 Microsoft sever technologies- a most challenging module

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Edited by Albert Williams, Monday, 7 Oct 2013, 12:46

If you are new to networking or Microsoft products in general, as I was, then getting your head around the material for TM128 Microsoft server technologies will present a challenge. A challenge yes, but not an insurmountable one. 

Materials for this course are drawn from four main sources: (1)The CompTIA Network+ Study Guide (the Network+ book) by Todd Lammle;(2) Microsoft IT Academy Online Learning Program; (3) Microsoft's Official Academic course workbooks- Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration (70-642) and Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration (70-640) and Open University tutors and other resources.

You need to be dedicated to your studies and come to your own conclusions as to the best approaoch to study this fascinating subject. It certainly isn't for you if this is your first OU course, as you need to be positive that distant learning is for you and that you can cope with the challenge of studying in a virtual environment.

Albert Williams

Course starting: October 2011

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T156-DIGITAL FILM SCHOOL

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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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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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Cert Comp and IT (Open)

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Edited by Albert Williams, Saturday, 21 Apr 2012, 22:38

Well, I must say that achieving the certificate in Computing and IT was a challenge in its self, but one well worth the effort.

Studying M150 and T175, was my salvo entrance into the world of  Open University. I wouldn't say that I was not prepared for distant learning because  I was fresh out from a home-study course with  USDAW on trade unionism. I had also complete an International Correspondence School (ICS) in the USA in Journalsm and Short Story Writing and achieved a diploma in 2002, so I am well versed in distant learning ethics and attitudes.

But what is different about open University, is the vast array of resources that are available for students.

So here's to OU and continued success on the way to my goals

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LEVEL ONE COURSES: TIP TOEING INTO THE FUTURE

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Edited by Albert Williams, Sunday, 21 Aug 2011, 14:17

Here I am at the first leg of my Open University experience as an adult learner, nearly fifty years old taking that leap of faith into distance education.

Having set my eyes on a BSc (Honours) in Computing and IT, I now stand confident that I will pass both the introductory courses M150 Data , Computing and Information, and T175 Networked Living: Exploring information and communication technologies. both were compulsory courses for this chosen degree and will be combined into one course form 2011.

I already have my results for M150 which is a pass and very confident that I will follow this success with a pass in T175. I am already signed up for TM128 Microsoft Servers Technologies and B120 An introduction to Business Studies, and it goes without saying that I am very excited about adding these two courses to my development plan.

Just to make a few observations about OU style of teaching. I have found that the university, especially in T175 goes out of their way to encourage you to adopt a timetable and to make use of your blog space, as an aid for reflection and meditation on your goals. I have found blogging in this way as a very useful tool, in helping me to reaffirm my goals and to continue on my journey.

I must hastily add though, that I am not a big fan of the forums, particularly the module forums. Tooooooooooo much whinging goes on there, as if the persons who make it a point of hanging out their dirty linen in the public, have been forced to avail themselves of the opportunities that OU have to offer. As regards the Elluminate service, I am equally surprised that a the majority of fellow students do not make use of the opportunity and also do not come to the tutorials which re all supposed to be for their own benefit.

For us adults who, have returned to education after, in many cases, decades, one would think that there would be a greater show of appreciation for the chance to at least try to achieve a higher qualification. appears not to be the case. and with the expected rise in university fees next year, new students will find it ever more difficult to find the resources to pay for their education through traditional means.

The future remains to be seen whether university attendance figures grow or fall. There is even the notion being promoted by fatalists that it is a waste of time to pursue a degree. (WHAT!) For one thing knowledge is power, and education provides one with alternative ways of thinking and even analytical skills to work out life problems such as , should I seek to be employed? am I employable? or should create my own job and strike out as a entrepreneur.

In my book, being over prepared for opportunities that may arise in the future, is much better than not even being able to stand a chance, because your skill set is nowhere near what the employers are looking for.

Well this is my humble opinion, at least.

(522 words)

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Ras Albert Williams

MY OPEN UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE THUS FAR

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

I began my Open University journey in  October 2010. Excited as  I was to learn of the opportunities that OU had to offer. OU was brought to my attention when  I completed a five-part home study course with USDAW--the Union of Shop, Distributive and allied workers of which  I am a member and a shop steward.

It was surprising to me that the union had so much to offer. Being a Tesco employee, and a member of the union since 2006, it was only when  I completed the home study course on aspects of unionism, that I realised the enormous potential there is for one to advance their learning. The union actively encouraged you to sign up with OU via a leaflet, and my curiosity led me to the site. I was amazed by the amount of free resources there was to be had and the variety of topics that cold be studied at undergraduate and post graduate level.

Initially, I was looking for a subject that matched my interests in broadcasting, as my wife and  I had started a television production company borne out from our interest in video-sharing sites like youtube. But I had to settle for a degree in Computing and IT which to my mind would invariable prepare me for having a hands-on approach to dealing with technology as my company grows.

Consequently, after some research, I settled for the level one courses of M150  Data, computing and  information that began in October of 2010 and T175 Networked Living- Exploring information and Communication Technologies. I soon found out that the information that I was about to assimilate was deep, new and fulfilling. At first  I had to really make an effort to get into gear to absorb the new information that  I was being exposed to. My studies had led me to a new world: one that was fascinating and relevant to the world that I am living in.

Now, 6 months later, I am coming down to th end of my first module, M150, and looking back,  I can say that I have no regrets in rediscovering my student days. Having to put in at least 16 hours a week on my own time as a an individual in full time employment. I studied mainly on my breaks. As a night worker, thios suited me. I would make as best use of my daylight hours, particularly on a sunday when  I would do my TMAs or tutor marked Assignments.

Throughout M150, the areas that gave me most difficulty were those that  with javascript. i am resolving to re read units 7-10 during the summer along side my studies of T175. Speaking of T175, if you think that M150 exposed you to new information and terminology, then you are in for a shock with  T175. I love it. It's challenging, but oh so useful if you really want to get a grip technology used in the modern world, and if you like me want to go on to earn a bachelors degree in computing and Information technology.

Looking forward, I am confident that  I will pass my M150 and T175. I hope to start two new courses: TM128 Microsoft Servers in October, and T216 Cisco Networking (CCNA) in February. I aim to put into practice a lto of what  I have learnt, especially in T175 about the value of note taking and journal writing. not only because I feel I will need it, but as a means to keep my self motivated and focused.

Completing my degree by 2016 seems a long way off. But I think it will be work every day of study. I feel blessed that  I have found  Open University and that  I have this chance to open my mind to an area of life that I find so fascinating.

I would not hesitate to recommend  study with the  Open University to any one.

Albert Williams

 

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Ras Albert Williams

MY STUDY DIARY BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION

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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.

Sincerely

Albert Williams

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