Digitization...curiouser and curiouser

  • Posted on: 25 February 2017
  • By: John

There are many directions to go in pondering a topic as broad as "digitization". At the moment, I am specifically focused on the questions raised by Prof. Eric Tsui of the Hong Kong Poly Technical University in preparation for a Skype interview coming up soon.

The questions resonate with the standards-based content of the online course, Records Systems in the Digital Environment. Invited to develop a graduate level course for the University of British Columbia's then School of Archives, Library and Information Studies, I felt that the essential issues were philosophical and cultural, not technical. So, I designed a course that invited students to consider issues of ethics and practicality as implications of the digital workplace. This, I felt sure, could bridge the gap between the device-empowered world they inhabit and workplace realities. Along the way, myriad resources, many technical guidelines and international standards equipped participants with leading edge means to manage a complex and evolving digital environment.

Offered as a distance education opportunity, savvy students took to heart my caveat that distance education is more, not less, work for both the student and the instructor. In 2012, few were willing to risk their grade point average on an unfamiliar instructor, no matter how promoted by luminaries such as Prof. Luciana Duranti. But, with Luciana's support, I presented twice as part of other instructors' courses and secured a cohort for 2013. They were engaged, active and inspiring. Subsequently, the workload was revealed to be significant and it proved difficult to encourage enough students to take part to make the offering cost effective for the university--and it was certainly not so for me!

Nonetheless, the essential topic continues to fascinate--and trouble--leaders. The Information Systems Engineering (ISE) program of Hong Kong Polytechnic University has long made the connection between the technical means to manage content management and the efficacy of knowledge management. So, it was with pleasure that I said "yes" to invitation to explore a series of questions related to digitisation in the workplace.

Posts to follow will introduce those questions for further development.