martes, 2 de octubre de 2012

Organizational Analysis @ FIX University Campus

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Course Overview
  • Week 2 Welcome

    This week's class introduces some basic models of decision making, and Graham Allison's application of organizational theories to the Cuban missile crisis. This seminal work is what got me interested in organizational theories. I loved the way he provided a richer understanding of the case with each additional theory he applied to explain the phenomenon. His book on the matter is even more insightful and interesting. I hope his work becomes a model for you as we go through the course and the case materials.

    Also, for many of you peer assessment training will begin this week. I hope you enjoy reading papers that apply organizational theories to the cases described in weeks 2 and 3 of this course. If you did not sign up in time for the peer assessment training, don't worry, you will have another chance to sign up and complete it in week 4.

    Note: In an effort to control sprawl in the discussion forums, we are offering weekly forums on the lectures and weekly forums for general discussion. We'll monitor as many threads as we can, but we will focus our attention on the threads in the weekly forums that are up-voted the most. Also, please note I will try and start a thread each week in the lecture section by positing one of the core questions about the readings. Please feel free to start your own threads, and especially ones on the particular readings of each week. I will try to respond to those in my weekly screen-side chats.

    Thank you for your great enthusiasm and cooperation! I look forward to reading your thoughts!
    Sun 30 Sep 2012 9:41:00 PM PDT


    Hi Everyone!

    I really enjoyed reading your excellent discussion threads on the lecture material this week! I'll try and discuss some of them in my screen-side chat later tonight.

    (1) **Please remember to register for peer assessment training!** (see prior announcement)
    (2) Also, I wanted to let everyone know **we are leaving Week 1 lectures and quizzes up until next Friday** in case new students need extra time getting started.
    (3) We posted the in-video quizzes in stand-alone formats so people downloading the lectures can complete them - **Each week, you only need to do the in-video quiz OR the stand alone quiz** (and both are graded % complete, not % correct).

    I've been reading your discussion threads and am impressed with the quality of dialogue! Several of you have rightly remarked that it's overwhelming to keep up with all of them. I am told that's typical of a highly active forum in its first week.

    I have a few ideas on how to improve the organization of the discussion forums as we go forward. First, I will create a new forum for general discussion every week much like we have for the lectures (so "Week 2 General Discussion", "Week 3 General Discussion"...). That way we can drop old issues and topics so as to focus on current ones. If you have an old thread you want continued, then just summarize the prior conversation and restart it as a new thread. Second, I want to encourage everyone to use "Tags". Tags are basically keywords or topic-labels that you affix to your thread. If enough of us do this, then we can search by those tags to see all the posts concerning each topic of interest. Third, I will soon set up a new forum on "Shared Resources" where we begin some threads compiling information on various topics of interest: e.g., free case write-ups; other readings on organizations; etc.

    Organizationally yours,
    Fri 28 Sep 2012 9:48:00 AM PDT

    Register on the Peer Feedback System

    Hi Everyone,

    We’re excited to use the peer feedback system on Coursera so many thousands of students can submit and assess the quality of written papers. The system is new, and the interface may be a little clunky at first, so please bear with us!

    **Who should use the peer feedback system and attempt it’s assignments?**

    It’s only required for the advanced track students, but I think everyone should participate in the training period so they can read some example papers from weeks 2-3 that apply organizational theories to cases. Plus, becoming familiar with the grading rubric will help you learn what most people look for in a clearly presented argument. I think many of you will find it useful to see a well thought out set of criteria upon which to judge the quality of paper (it may even take some of the mystery away!).

    **How do I register to use the peer feedback system?**

    Go to the “peer feedback system” and begin the first assignment by entering your initials. Then stop. You are now registered!

    If you do this before September 30, then between Oct 1 and Oct 15, all the registered students will be asked to re-enter the first assignment so as to read and evaluate 4 or more papers using our grading rubric. The system should give you feedback stating how close your grades match those assigned by the instructors – you will need to accurately evaluate 4 papers but can go on to evaluate more if you’d like to see more example or get more practice. Then that’s it for the peer assessment training.

    **What if I forget to register?**

    If you don’t register before September 30, don’t worry. You will have a chance to do peer assessment training in weeks 4-6 when the first paper assignment is due. However, that means you will be asked to learn peer grading on 4 papers, then submit a paper, and then perform peer grading on 3 papers and your own – that’s quite a lot to do! That’s why we recommend you register to use the peer feedback system now and spread out the course tasks in smaller, manageable chunks.

    And if you decide you don’t want to write papers – that’s fine too – you can always complete the basic track requirements and still get a certificate. It’s all up to your interests and the time you have available!

    My Best,
    Wed 26 Sep 2012 9:38:00 AM PDT


    Dear All,

    Welcome to Organizational Analysis! Thank you for your enthusiasm and participation thus far. It’s remarkable just how international our class is, not to mention how many different study groups have already emerged!

    Moreover it’s great to see how crowdsourcing is helping us rapidly improve the course. With every comment and vote, you help us learn what works and doesn't work, plus many of you are making suggestions on how to resolve issues so we can address them in rapid succession!

    In response to your feedback we’ve made a variety of changes and updates to the course:

    (1) The grading policy has changed: you need not post a question / comment every week, but it’s recommended as we want to encourage participation and dialogue on the forums. Your participation requirement is to rate a question or comment each week. That way we establish a minimal dialogue and I have a sense of where the class wants more information.

    (2) Cleaner versions of the readings are posted: We worked hard to find cleaner versions of the readings and Pearson agreed to lighten the watermarking down to 15%. If you already purchased the readings, then you should be able to access the new and improved version without incurring additional cost.

    (3) On the readings more generally: please note they are *recommended* for participants in the advanced track and are not required. I erred on selecting the best references I could find, and then tried to work with publishers to provide them for free or to at least cut their costs. The agreements they offered were unprecedented, and especially with a course that entails so many different texts. However, I am sorry to say we couldn’t secure more affordable agreements. It’s frustrating because I know costs are great for students in developing countries. SIPX is now renegotiating the contracts with publishers so that future versions of this course are even more affordable for international students. But for now, our hands are tied.

    In the meantime, here are a couple suggestions on how to access the recommended readings:
    a. Select only what you need: I recommend you view the video lectures and decide which week you are most interested in writing a paper or learning more. Then try and find a way to access those readings either through SIPX or via solutions offered in the forums.
    b. Find another means to access the content: Some of you are finding ways to access the readings from where you are and are willing to provide this information to your peers. Even one student offered to buy another student’s packet! I greatly appreciate these gestures, so please post those solutions on the forum and up-vote them so they go to the top of the list.

    Again, many thanks for your feedback and comments. Please keep them coming - we’re eager to offer you the best learning experience we can!

    Best Regards,
    Mon 24 Sep 2012 4:41:00 PM PDT


    Welcome to Organizational Analysis announcement page!

    I recommend students begin by exploring all the tabs on the left side of this page. There you will find an overview, a description of course requirements, readings, lectures and descriptions of peer grading.

    Massive open online courses are very new, and we're attempting to pilot features that improve the online learning experience further. In particular, we are attempting to bring a social science and humanities course to the online environment and preserve some of the experience of carefully reading, writing, and discussing shared materials. To this end, the course is the usual length of a Stanford class (10 weeks), and the readings have been made accessible to everyone and at the most affordable rate we could acquire. In addition, we are piloting peer grading so that many thousands of persons can write papers, consider the quality of their peers' arguments, and receive constructive feedback on their own work. We are also asking everyone to participate heavily in the forums so that participants enter a dialogue over the ideas presented in the course.

    As with all new ventures, there are certain to be problems along the way. We'll work hard to quickly address all of them, and we are most appreciative of any and all help participants can offer.

    Last, I just want to say that I think the context of massive open online courses afford us a new learning opportunity -- one where the greatest resource is the crowd-sourcing of information rather than the material I am able to offer on my own. To this end, I hope everyone feels free to contribute to the course wiki in ways that help us compile your knowledge about organizations. For example, one simple idea is to catalogue summaries of the readings so persons unable to purchase them can get a better sense for what they cover. Another might be to create an open online case library and video library that can be used for the instruction and study of organizational phenomena. I think it would be a great triumph if we can use the collective knowledge of course participants to develop a knowledge resource we can leave behind for persons interested in organizations more generally.

    So let's begin!
    Sun 23 Sep 2012 9:25:00 PM PDT


    I am Daniel McFarland, Professor of Education, Sociology and Organizational Behavior at Stanford University, and I am delighted to be your instructor for "Organizational Analysis." There are additional graduate teaching assistants - Emily, Charlie and another Dan - who will frequently visit the class forums and introduce themselves.

    I hope that by the end of this course, you will have a general sense of organizational theories and how they can help you better understand and manage organizational problems. This week, I will introduce you to the concept of an organization and offer a conceptual framework through which you can recognize their modes of variation. Organizations are everywhere and they widely differ. Moreover, many of our social problems are organizational in nature. This is why we need to study organizations and to take courses on them – all so we develop a better understanding of the world we live in and how to better manage it.

    The Coursera site for this course will open late Sunday evening, after which I hope all of you will go to the discussion forums and introduce yourself to this huge community of fellow learners. You'll also be able to access the course materials and begin viewing the first week's lectures.

    Looking forward to ten great weeks of reading, discussing and learning with you about organizations!
    Daniel McFarland
    Thu 20 Sep 2012 6:25:00 PM PDT
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