EPP: reading and structuring (a lot of) emails

Ok, let’s start and figure out what can be improved in zelfstudie.be. By doing an case study I’ll try to find out in 3 stages which new or modified features are wished by the members/students of zelfstudie.be

In the first stage I’ll gather all emails from the last years. From 19 July 2010 to 1 June 2014 this are exactly 4227 emails. After deleting spam, messages from Twitter, unsubscribes from newsletters 3234 emails are remaining. I somehow underestimated the amount of hours needed to read these mails.

By putting them in subfolders I can structure these questions, complaints, remarks, commercial offers and wishes.

The second step will be extracting the most interesting needs/wishes/questions and linking these to members who spent the most time on the website. These numbers are gathered by Google Analytics and on the other hand an own written script.


De Caluwé and Vermaak

De Caluwé and Vermaak (2004) present five fundamentally different ways of thinking about change, each representing different beliefs systems and convictions about how change works, the kind of interventions that are effective, how to change people, etc. They are labeled by color: yellow, blue, red, green, and white print thinking.


1. White-print thinking

The principle underlying white-print thinking is that the colour white reflects all colours. In other words, white-print thinking allows room for self-organization and evolution thinking. It denotes openness and this provides the broadest form to lead to the desired changes. This means that the change itself is also a permanent process. Aiming for change means removing obstacles, observing what is happening, analyzing and acting on feelings (internal security). Meaning is crucial in this way of thinking.

2. Green-print thinking

Green-print thinking is about the growth and development of the desired changes. It is about the ideas of people (with their motivation and learning capacity) by means of reflection, knowledge sharing and awareness. The result is not always predictable, as this depends strongly on learning capacity.

3. Red-print thinking

The starting principle of red-print thinking is the human factor. People must be influenced, attracted (for examples with the aid of rewards) and stimulated. HRM management, including HRM tools, are the key to accomplishing the desired changes. Here, it is mainly about responding to the soft aspects of an organization.

4. Blue-print thinking

Blue-print thinking is based on the rational design and implementation of the desired changes. It mainly concerns the controlling, planning and managing of the changes, so that the result is both predictable and clear. The intended changes are especially aimed at matter and form. Irrational aspects are subordinate.

5. Yellow-print thinking

Yellow-print thinking is about power. By managing interests and striving for feasibility within complex objectives, the desired changes are aimed at. The common interests are not always of prime importance and politics play an important role. By having power, the desired changes can be enforced. Obtaining balance is a continuous challenge.

More info can be found here (NL): http://www.leren.nl/cursus/management/verandermanagement/vijf-kleuren-om-te-veranderen.html.



DE CALUWÉ, Léon and VERMAAK, Hans (2004). Change Paradigms: An Overview. Organization Development Journal, 2004.


SWOT analysis

SWOT Analysis is a useful technique for understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses, and for identifying both the Opportunities open to you and the Threats you face.


  • What advantages does your organization have?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can’t?
  • What do people in your market see as your strengths?
  • What factors mean that you “get the sale”?


  • What could you improve?
  • What should you avoid?
  • What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
  • What factors lose you sales?


  • What good opportunities can you spot?
  • What interesting trends are you aware of?

Useful opportunities can come from such things as:

  • Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale.
  • Changes in government policy related to your field.
  • Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, and so on.
  • Local events.


  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
  • Is changing technology threatening your position?
  • Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
  • Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?


Change Models

There are different change models. I found 3 different models.

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

Step 1: Create Urgency

Step 2: Form a Powerful Coalition

Step 3: Create a Vision for Change

Step 4: Communicate the Vision

Step 5: Remove Obstacles

Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins

Step 7: Build on the Change

Step 8: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture


Some other change models:

Lewin’s Change Management Model

  1. Unfreeze
  2. Change
  3. Refreeze


The Burke-Litwin change model

1. External Environment: The key external factors that have an impact on the organization must be identified and their direct and indirect impact on the organization should be clearly established.

2. Mission and Strategy: the vision, mission and the strategy of the organization, as defined by the top management should be examined in terms of the employees’ point-of-view about them.

3. Leadership: A study of the leadership structure of the organizationshould be carried out, which clearly identifies the chief role models in the organization.

4. Organizational Culture: An organizational culture study should seek information on the explicit as well as the implied rules, regulations, customs, principles and values that influence the organizational behavior.

5. Structure: The study of structure should not be confined to hierarchical structure; rather it should be a function based structure focusing on the responsibility, authority, communication, decision making and control structure that exists between the people of the organization.

6. Systems: Systems includes all types of policies and procedures with regards to both the people and the operations of the organization.

7. Management Practices: This would entail a study of how well the mangers conform to the organization’s strategy when dealing with employees and the resources.

8. Work Unit Climate: It is a collective study of how the employees think, feel and what do they expect. The kind of relationships the employees share with their team members and members of other teams is also an important aspect of work unit climate.

9. Tasks and Skills: This involves understanding what a specific job position demands and the kind of kind of skills and knowledge that an employee must have in order to fulfill the task responsibilities of that job position. It’s important to see how well jobs and employees have been matched.

10. Individual Values and Needs: This dimension seeks to explore the employee’s opinion about their work so as to identify the quality factors that will result in job enrichment and better job satisfaction.

11. Motivation Level: Identifying the motivation level of the employees will make it easier to determine how willingly they would put in their efforts to achieve organizational goals. This would also involve identifying motivational triggers.

12. Individual and Overall Performance: This dimension takes into account the level of performance, on individual and organizational levels, in key areas like productivity, quality, efficiency, budget and customer satisfaction etc.



Roles change manager

1-change4What are the roles of a change manager? Anyone involved in helping a team achieve something new becomes a manager of change. Depending on the type of change, a change manager may perform any of the following roles:

  1. Diagnostician (change initiator, researcher): he will begin by diagnosing what the real issues are, afterwards he will propose clear change goals
  2. Facilitator: gets others to basically accept the change and participate. To learn them new skills, play a new role or change a habit.
  3. Designer: he will design the change process
  4. Project manager (project director): he coordinates the activities of the different role players.Yet there is a difference between a project manager and director. The project director is in charge of the project manager. The project manager is in charge of the people who are doing the project. The project officer works in a support role and has a thorough understanding of the goals of a project and their company’s guidelines.
  5. Educator: he educates people what to expect from the change process.
  6. Marketer  creates the belief that participating in this change will be fun, rewarding, an opportunity to develop new skills, etc. To do so, he’ll advertise, arrange competitions, etc. The web designer creates the website. the Pedagogical Designer overlooks the pedagogy in the process of change. The Technological developer is responsible for technical matters.
  7. Inspiration Agent: he needs to integrate all changes that need to occur, support major change being made into a comprehensive change strategy.
  8. Monitor (evaluator): he regularly measures progress towards the change goal. What is working and what isn’t.



Examples: the application of a technology enhanced learning environment in your own teaching/work context

1/ Aspects of my professional practice

I’m related to TELIC in two roles: as a teacher at CVO and as founder of zelfstudie.be

As a teacher

As a teacher I use different TELEs. We are obliged to use Moodle as LMS (giving access to courseware, tutorials, screencasts, enabling collaboration by forums and blogs, settung up assessment and communicating to students)  and Webex in one specific group for distance learning.

I choose to use some WEB 2.0 tools in the classroom to increase collaboration or improve presentation: Facebook group, dropbox, etc. As a teacher I didn’t have the opportunity to choose the implemented TELEs Moodle and Webex. So doing research to the implementation is irrelevant. Doing research to the implementation of Dropbox and the Facebook group can be relevant to evaluate the user friendliness, satisfaction and pedagogical value.

As founder of zelfstudie.be

I developed Zelfstudie.be in 2000 and published all courseware on the site. Since 2006 people need to subscribe to courses (they aren’t open anymore) and for the moment the site has more than 17000 members. While subscribing, people can choose to get access to a course, when chosen with support of the author of the course. Zelfstudie.be is an own developed TELE in have the following responsibilities: developing the content, the functionality of the site, the marketing and giving support. Since june I chose to team-up with external authors and decided to outsource the development to my colleague, which changes my position to giving support and coordinating the authors and web developer. As founder of zelfstudie.be doing research is important to evaluate user friendliness, satisfaction and pedagogical value.

2/ Information and techniques and methods of research in my area of work

I always have been wondering which is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, so I did some research.

Qualitative versus Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is by definition exploratory. It happens in an early phase.

The objective is to gain understanding of underlaying reasons and motivations. Usually small number of non-respresentative cases are used. The data collection happens by unstructured or semi-structured techniques (in-depth interviews, group discussions, etc) – mainly verbal data than measurements. Data analysis is non-statistical (analyzed in an interpretative manner, subjective, impressionistic or even diagnostic). The findings are not conclusive and cannot be used to make generalizations. It can be used to develop an initial understanding and therefor qualitative research happens in the beginning stage of the implementation of innovation or change.

According to Acaemia.edu, there are 3 common methods of data collection:

  • unstructured interviews
  • focus groups
  • participant observation

Laerd.com states that”Classic routes that you can follow include autoethnographies, case study research, ethnographies, grounded theory, narrative research and phenomenological research”.

Pros and cons:  orau.gov

Quantitative Research

Qualitative research is conclusive. It happens in a late phase.

The objective is to generalize results of a sample to the population of interest and to measure the occurrence of different views and opinions. The data collection happens by structured techniques (questionnaires, telephone interviews, etc) to a randomly selected public. The data analysis is in form of tabs (numbers and statistics). The findings are conclusive. It can be used to recommend a final course of action.

According to laerd.com, there are 3 types of quantitative research:

Replication-based, data-driven and theory-driven dissertations.

Pros and cons:  orau.gov


Figure 1 – Jarrett Library

Ethnographic research

The examples of ethnographic research in the Hollan et al paper drew my attention. Ethnographic research is also known as participant observation, in which the researcher lives within the setting and among the people he studies. provides richly detailed, descriptive portraits of other cultures, groups and institutions. Researchers gather data through participant observation, interviews and documents. A misconception is that ethnography needs to be associated with studies of exotic cultures. It can also applied in other settings, including for example studies of education. More specifically to study the use of TELEs in my class of unemployed web designers or seniors (+60 year olds).

Some important subjects for research

On school level:

  • which courseware do already exist? Digital versions or not?
  • which TELEs do exist? Free or not?
  • what functionality is needed, on different stages (school board, administration, teacher, student, etc)?
  • will TELEs attract new students (people on large distance, people who aren’t able to engage on one specific moment due to work, etc)?

On student level:

  • is the TELE easy in use
  • how well is the TELE implemented in the course (amount of usage)
  • do TELEs improve the student’s results (grades)?

Tools versus methods

Build in tracking tool in Moodle, Eye tracking tool, Google doc to gather information, interview of some students

Tools used in Quantitative research:  

Quantitative research starts with a testable hypothese (a theory can give a goal to be evaluated). Surveys (mail, street, telephone, internet surveys) and questionnaires are central tools in quantitative research. Focused and directed questions are asked at people. Demographics (data about age, sex, etc) provide more data to be used in an analysis. It creates a context. The data from suveys and questionnaires and demographic research is compiled and analyzed in a deductive, objective manner.

According to NSU, there are three rules for quantitative Research Questions:

  1. They Begin with “How”, “What”, or “Why” and can NEVER be answered by a simple Yes or No
  2. Specify the independent and dependent variables
  3. IF your questions deal with connections among multiple variables, you will again – use relate or compare – just as you did in the purpose statement

Methods for Qualitative methods:

Qualitative research uses three methods of data collection:

  • interviewing: in-depth, one-on-one, focus-group
  • artifact analysis: written text, objects
  • observation

In the interviewing and observation part, the researcher is the “tool”. Gathering all data is subjective and value-laden.

Some guidelines of  NSU:

  1. Ask only a few general questions [no Yes/No questions] to permit participants to share information with you
  2. Ask questions that are neutral exploratory language that does not convey conclusions you expect
  3. Design and write 2 question types: Central Questions and Sub-Questions
  4. Questions often change between the Concept Paper and Proposal Stage… This is a “living” document.
Central Question Guidelines
  1. Begin with “How” or “What”. Avoid “Why” [this is a quantitative term that implies cause and effect]
  2. List the central phenomenon you plan to explore
  3. Identify the participants and research site

Schermafbeelding 2013-12-22 om 14.46.51

 Figure 2: Examples of qualitative research - excerpted from Creswell (2005)

3/ The wider educational context for the TELE

I focused on the effects of TELEs on learning here.

4/ Reflection on the design and impact of a TELE in your workplace, including techniques of evaluation and testing


  • Search tool: google scholar and SHU Library
  • Data gathering: google forms, surveymonkey
  • Overall: endnote
  • Bookmarking: diigo, scoop.it


  • How can the use of a Facebook Group improve collaboration?
  • How can we implement Moodle for enabling 100% distance learning (project Vschool)?
  • What are the benefits for the students by implementing Dropbox into lessons?
  • How can mobile learning be promoted at zelfstudie.be and which features need to be added?

My research would start with Qualitative research by one-on-one interview with 5 students.

Questions: -> how/what (avoid why!) – no yes/no questions - There should be 3-5 questions. 

  • abc
  • def
  • ghi

End with Quantitative research by questionnaire in a Google Doc or SurveyMonkey (I wrote a tutorial in Dutch).

Questions:   -> what/how/why - no yes/no questions

  • abc
  • def
  • ghi

Design and impact of dropbox in course Drupal Project?

Intro: 3 classes with students who already took the course (same course!, but without Dropbox). Assessment by practical thesis: developing a website.

testen via google doc van tevredenheid

resultaten die verbeteren, ruimere kennis (meten?)


Wiki task 3: What theories and literature exist that explain, predict, and/or guide the development and use of TELEs?

I need structure. I also mentioned it to Meri during a skype call. It approaches autism. Whether I teach a class, present stuff or learn: I need to structure things. My performances are also strongly determined by the amount of arousal (Yerkes and Dodson, 1908). The fact I’m INTJ (Introvert – iNtuition – Thinking – Judging) in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers, 1962) reveals I plan work to avoid rushing just before a deadline. Before studying TELEs, I need to bring some structure in the concept op “learning”, so I’ll take off from the starting point of “what is learning” and pedagogy, the different learning theories and the question “Does technology enhance learning?” before studying TELEs. Continue Reading


Reflect on two questions

1. What are the effects of learning environments on learning? (The learning environments themselves, but also what about the people controlling, structuring it? What’s the consequence of those who are in control?)

1// I think that well-designed TELEs can motivate people to learn.

2// People can learn at their own pace

  • Example 1: in CVO, we started project Vschool, a 100% distance learning project in which courseware and communication is enhanced by Moodle.
  • Example 2: in zelfstudie.be, people can study courseware, tutorials, screencasts in 100% distance learning – if needed with support from the author.

3// TELEs stimulate collaboration

  • Example 1: Since I created a Facebook Group, people started to solve other peer’s questions, even cross-group (!)
  • Example 2: Since I implemented Dropbox in my courses, students started to write and share own pieces of courseware (!)

Continue Reading


Distributed Cognition Theory – Hollan, Hutchins, Kirsh

Schermafbeelding 2013-12-09 om 12.23.36

I liked reading this paper. I seemed to be the most relevant to my own workplace, from all papers until now.


This papers offers an integrated research framework for human-computer interaction.

Let’s start with the definition of cognition. Cognition isn’t the same as “kennis” in Dutch, as Bram warned us. “Cognition is those process by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used.

Human information processing psychology was the dominant theory for over 20 years. Hollan et al propose the distributed cognition theory  as a theoretical foundation for human-computer interaction research and a fertile framework for designing and evaluating digital artifacts. It is tailored to understand interactions among people and technology.

An integrated framework for research combines ethnographic observation and controlled experimentation as a basis for theoretically informed design of digital work materials and collaborative workplaces. Continue Reading