Re-Start – don’t stop….

I can’t believe it’s already February – and 2007!
What happened to January?
Actually – I know where January went – it was consumed by a mash-up implementation I’ve been working on with the Headshift gang in London to produce a social software platform for the MentorNet program.
What’s MentorNet?
MentorNet is a 6 month mentoring program for young women entrepreneurs – partially  funded the Australian government (AusIndustry) and sponsored by Webex, Intercall, Headshift, and Atlassian. We’ve created a dynamic mentoring environment by combining synchronous sessions (webinars) with an asynchronous wiki based platform (using Confluence) where participants keep blogs, and develop their business plans on personal wikis – additionally providing each other with small peer group feedback.
Program 1 launched in Januray, and program 2 is starting early March – followed by a new program kicking off every month up to August 2007!

The challenges have been valuable experiences  – there are too many for this post… briefly though, they could be summarised into a few key issues:

       

  • planning information flow and aggregation at 3 levels: whole program, module (business skills education), and personal spaces
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  • thinking in wiki – not blog functionality (particuarly when I’m so blog oriented)
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  • trying to develop seamless interactivity for the participants – without overwhelming  them in technical explanations
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  • processes for running 9 parallel programs – starting 1 month apart
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  • expert presenters – requiring a mind shift from the "sage-on-the-stage" delivery mode, to provoking and engaging participants
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  • staying true to the underpinning education principles of the design: getting mentors aligned, getting experts aligned, and getting mentorees engage

But – MentorNet isn’t my main focus for 2007.
2007 is all about completing and submitting my PhD…. phew!
I’m officially on study leave – at least until August – and with that clear space it’s just about writing, writing, writing……
I’m acutally feeling rather energised by the prospect…. my work needs to be finished, it needs to be published, and I need to get out more!
I’m also going to be using a Confluence wiki to develop my thesis and will be reviewing how that process assisted the development of my work. My supervisor will also have access to this area and will have the opportunity to make comments  – and all of this will be recorded and archived. I expect the functionality of the wiki to be really valuable – not only from a structural perspective but also in the development of ideas into concrete concepts.

So – aside from MentorNet – I’m a student for 2007!
I have put on hold all other commitments, and I’m slowly practicing the 2-letter word – "No" – although it’s usually preceeded with: "I’m really sorry but….. "

There will be more posts as MentorNet evolves – and of course the PhD will feature regularly….
Until then…. here’s to mash-ups and thesis writing!

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