I am doing this challenge with four of my work colleagues at Otago Polytechnic as a group process, and we had our first meeting this week. The first thing we did was clarify our expectations for the process:
- it will have a short, sharp focus, with the emphasis being on output rather than process of writing;
- this is a group process that everyone must commit to;
- there will be approximately 2-4 hours homework per week, depending on what we have already written, and that will include editing each others' work;
- we will provide robust advice, support and feedback to each other;
- we will be respectful of each others' feedback, maintain confidentiality around the feedback and our reaction to feedback;
- we need to have an idea of what we want to write.
The second thing I was asked to do was to briefly tell the group what paper I want to write. It is no good thinking that you can write a paper from scratch in 6 weeks, so I have decided to write a paper based on the eMentoring project I led in Brisbane back in 2009 - I have the report written but have never got around to publishing it.
Starting with the conclusion
The third thing I was asked to do was to write down 2 - 5 key points that I want the reader to go away with. So here they are:
- A formal eMentoring program can be useful for people in rural/remote aged care work settings - they like it and it works, but they need help to do it;
- Other 'stuff' gets in the way of eMentoring that you have to attend to before you are able to get it to work - but you can manage 'stuff' if you know about it;
- If you get eMentoring right, it can improve people's work experience and practices – this is a guess from my project which must be looked at in greater depth in future research.
Our homework this week is to put those key points into a coherent paragraph of 150 and send it to each other by the next workshop.
Mapping information and argument
The second piece of homework is to map the information and arguments that lead up to these key points - this will eventually become the discussion section of the article. This piece of work should take up 1 - 2 pages. It need not be full sentences but may be bullet points and themes. Or I can use a pictorial mind map approach. This map also has to be sent to the rest of the group, and we'll look at them at our next workshop.
Virtual boot camp
I mentioned this project in passing and have a number of people interested in doing a similar thing online. So if you're interested in following, have a look at the wiki which I am putting together.
We will be having weekly virtual meetings that will hopefully replicate what I am learning in my face-to-face workshops, and where we can support each other. Our first meeting is on Tuesday 7th June 21.00 hours New Zealand - we will meet in this Adobe Connect meeting room: https://adobeconnect.op.ac.nz/bootcamp
I am still not sure how this will work in a virtual environment, especially for those people who follow on their own. I would suggest that anyone doing this challenge needs to find a critical friend who will help edit and give feedback.
Please let me know how you get on if you decide to follow this project.
Image: 'road trip journal'