Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Modes of Seeking Collaboration


I recently gave a talk at the ELearning Africa conference entitled Virtual Scholarly Collaboration for Development. The presentation is available on Haikudeck (will embed or post link in the morning… Not working from Android at the moment – ok done)

Virtual Collaborative Scholarship for Development – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

It’s gotten me thinking beyond what I talked about. My focus was on different types of scholarly collaboration (for research, for teaching, for learning and for professional development – a subtle difference from “just” learning). This particular presentation focused on power dynamics in such collaborations and especially when they take place between someone from a more developed country/context and someone from a less developed country/context. Because… AFRICA.

But right now I am thinking also about how one goes about encouraging others to start thinking about collaboration. And am thinking of different modes and spectrums and also technologies that support you in different places depending where you’re at.

So for example… As someone seeking collaboration, you can be in either

A. Listening mode: reading what other people are writing, listening to presentations at events, or searching for profiles on LinkedIn or browsing hashtags on Twitter. People who are e.g. I assume journal editors probably do this for special issues if they don’t get enough submissions. The listening mode can happen in both an “ongoing” and “targeted” manner depending on what’s happening in your life at the moment and your needs/interests

B. Broadcast mode: this is like when you just blog it or publish it or present it (in a not-necessarily interactive way) at a conference. This isn’t in the sense of literally broadcasting “hey anyone wanna collaborate on this?” but in the sense of “this is who i am and what i am working on these days” kinda thing which allows others just to know what you do in case they are interested in collaborating. I could call this “open to invitation” mode but not “inviting mode”. This can have both an ongoing or targeted manner but its targeted manner is likely to be closer to inviting mode

C. Interactive Mode: this is when you actively respond to other people’s blogs or seek them out to talk after their presentations. Or when you make a point of asking folks to comment on ir blog and make ur blog conversational…or make your conf presentations interactive enough that people get a chance to talk with you during and after. This works great as an ongoing manner of being online or at conferences but can be done in a more targeted manner as well.

D. Actively Inviting Mode: this is when you target particular types of collaboration with particular people but can be broadcast or done privately ; if you’re often in interaction mode in an ongoing way, you may find it easier to target particular people without broadcasting but sometimes you will broadcast to cast a wider net..depending on what you really need

As you will notice I mentioned targeted vs ongoing manners of seeking collaboration. I think being interactive in an ongoing manner facilitates things for when you need to target people. Being a listener helps you know people and being a broadcaster helps others know you…. But being interactive ongoing makes everything go more smoothly as it opens doors both ways – helps ppl know they can seek you and helps you seek others… Both to know whom to approach/seek/invite/target and to more likely get a favorable response. For example..Coz i was in interaction mode with Jim Groom I learned that he moved to Italy and could therefore invite him to keynote for AMICAL conference in Rome this year (also coz i was in interaction mode with AMICAL organizers and could make that happen).

I am wondering if what I just laid out here is at all a useful framework (ugh i hate frameworks) or if it’s so obvious it’s actually ridiculous… Or if it’s obvious for us who are “connected” or good networkers but not so much to others. Or uhh if someone else has already said it and i haven’t noticed. Any feedback welcome. And this is an invitational broadcast mode post 🙂 but I will target some specific ppl if i don’t get enough responses 😉


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