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Understanding Distinctions of Worth in the Practices of Instructional Design Teams

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Abstract

In this article we report our research into the concerns and other matters of significance for members of instructional design teams. Specifically we studied how members of a design team depicted the quality of their own motives while participating in team pursuits. This is a type of self-evaluation known as drawing distinctions of worth. Our research took the form of a case study, focusing on an instructional design team at a university in the United States. Based on interviews with team members and observations of their work, we developed an account of our research participant’s distinctions of worth organized around three themes: (a) distinctions of worth could guide their decision-making more than did the goals of the project; (b) competing distinctions of worth could be difficult for them to reconcile; and (c) their distinctions of worth could be accompanied by unanticipated costs. Overall, these themes reflect that distinctions of worth were a real aspect of our participants’ team involvement, and not merely their subjective responses to situational factors. This has implications for those managing teams or otherwise helping teams improve, which we discuss. We also discuss how research into instructional design teams that only focuses on external dynamics team members experience, and not on factors such as their distinctions of worth, cannot fully account for what it means for people to contribute towards team outcomes.

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High-quality online courses can result from collaborative instructional design and development approaches that draw upon the diverse and relevant expertise of faculty design teams. In this reflective analysis of design and pedagogical practice, the authors explore a collaborative instructional design partnership among education faculty, including the course instructors, which developed while co-designing an online graduate-level course at a Canadian University. A reflective analysis of the collaborative design process is presented using an adapted, four-fold curriculum design framework. Course instructors discuss their approaches to backward instructional design and describe the digital tools used to support collaboration. Benefits from collaborative course design, including ongoing professional dialogue and peer support, academic development of faculty, and improved course design and delivery, are described. Challenges included increased time investment for instructors and a perception of increased workload during design and implementation of the course. Overall, the collaborative design team determined that the course co-design experience resulted in an enhanced course design with meaningful assessment rubrics, and offered a valuable professional learning and online teaching experience for the design team.
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The idea that the human world contains moral properties, that is, moral values and goods, raises a fundamental challenge to the prevailing methodological paradigm in psychology, which is connected to a problematic metaphysical worldview that excludes values from the world. In contrast, this article conceptualizes the human world as a moral ecology; as a meaningful world with moral properties that present human beings with moral reasons for action. The concept of social practice is employed to understand the nature of moral ecology. Thinkers such as Aristotle, Heidegger and Dewey, who emphasize our practical dealings with the world as the basis of understanding, along with the perspectives on morality found in Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre, help provide the framework of moral ecology. The article concludes by addressing key problems related to the nature of psychology, relativism and identification of moral properties and practices.
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Hermeneutic phenomenology sets out to describe human beings as they show up in “average everydayness,” prior to high-level theorizing and reflection. From this standpoint, human existence is found to be meaning- and value-laden, and so in need of interpretation in order to be properly understood. The description of everydayness leads to a critique of the “substance ontology” presupposed by many natural sciences, and instead characterizes a human being as an “event” or “life story” unfolding between birth and death. Working within this approach to understanding humans as events, the philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) gives an account of what he calls an “authentic” (literally, “proper” or “owned”) individual. This account gives us a distinctive way of understanding what it is to be a “person” in the fullest sense of this word. A person, on this account, is an individual who can assess her primary desires in the light of “higher” or “second-order” motivations concerning what sort of person she wants to be. As a participant in a social context, she is indebted to the historical tradition of a community for her possibilities of self-interpretation and self-evaluation. In a social context, she can be a “respondent,” answerable for what she does. And she is equipped to be an effective moral agent in facing situations demanding decisions. An authentic individual or “person” has a kind of freedom that makes meaningful choice possible.
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Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of self-managed work teams in government organizations. The article discussed three distinct indicators to organizational effectiveness: participant satisfaction, goal attainment, and system resources. Design/Methodology/Approach Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). Data were collected from a national survey of 176 city government employees from 24 American cities. Findings Both self-management and teamwork were positively related to resource attainment. The study also found that teamwork related positively to job satisfaction as well as team performance. In addition, both self-management and teamwork were indirectly associated with team members’ job satisfaction through team resource attainment. Implications The central implication is that self-managed work teams can improve the effectiveness of organizational practice. However, the effect of self-managed work teams varies in terms of different indicators of effectiveness. Teamwork is a more powerful tool to increase organizational effectiveness than the self-management factor. Originality/Value The most significant contribution of this study comes in the investigation of complex causal relationships among the effectiveness indicators and factors about self-managed work teams. These findings offer a more realistic model of how self-managed work teams achieve effectiveness.
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Participational agency is presented as a conceptual account of human action, volition, and possibility. Rooted in hermeneutic and narrative traditions, this view differs from other theorizing about agency (and most psychological theorizing in general) in that it makes no effort to explain human action by virtue of reified constructs. As an alternative to traditional theorizing in this area, participational agency is defined as meaningful engagement in the world and treats the experienced meaningfulness of practical human activity as its central feature. The concept of meaningful engagement is clarified through the presentation of four related themes—situated participation, existential concern, dispositional action, and narrative orientation. Finally, the author offers several implications of this view of agency for theory and research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)