As most of you will be aware my PD project for this year was Coffeecourses – a completely different design to the standard workshop model of professional development. It’s been running for about six months now and I thought it was about time to take stock on it.

So. Stuff I like about it:

  • It’s completely open and anyone can come do stuff
  • Anyone can do whatever bits they like whenever they like
  • It’s not in an LMS

Stuff I don’t like about it:

  • I generate all the content. Really struggling with this aspect.
  • Content gets pushed at people (so it’s RSS instead of ‘unit materials’. I’m not convinced I’m doing anything different here)
  • It’s too hands-off – while I didn’t want to restrict or dictate how people participated, I think too much freedom in this regard has resulted in a few tumbleweeds
  • I’ve fallen into the trap of ‘topics to fix what I think is wrong around the place’ and ‘topics I think people want’ rather than ‘topics that might actually challenge people’ – content has really been a bit safe

I know that everyone got quite excited about it initially and I still like that I’ve done something that gets away from the standard workshop model, but these last few points for me I think are deal-breakers. A conversation with @s_palm and @daveowhite the other night about old wine in new bottles (which was about moocs but the principles still stand) rings a little too loudly here – have I really done something all that different? The format has changed, but is it really just talking at people in a chunked-up, asynchronous, RSS-delivered open way instead of in a room with a slide deck?

The choice I have now is whether I keep it going and tweak it, or scrap it and start designing something completely different (which, tbh, I am already doing in the back of my head). Thoughts?


Sarah Thorneycroft (@sthcrft) · September 5, 2012 at 1:46 am

Six months of Coffeecourses: <- Thoughts welcome.

Phemie · August 10, 2014 at 8:29 am

So….What happened with these?
I know Im like…meh…2 years behind (again…catching up on my reading! LOL) …but I am very curious about this as I am hitting the same walls here in my new job at CDU..and nothing is being done differently here, and I have been looking at these same models, and asking my self the question of ‘what is PD’ really? so I am very curious as to how things panned out for this, or what new adaptations came out of it?
Im toying with so many ideas around this “boat” opportunity and feel that seriously…something has to change in this PD world..otherwise why am I here?….

    Sarah · August 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    So they’re still a thing. I haven’t created a new course in ages so they just kind of sit there simmering away in the background. I’ve also just co-written a paper on what happens when you design new stuff like this then ask people what they think of it that was submitted to Ascilite. But they’re all still there for perusing at :).

Phemie Wright · August 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

I woUldale love to read that paper about designing stuff then asking ppl what they think…sounds like reading I can’t put down ( #nerdfridaynights).
Pre pup versions available anywhere?
also…at some other stage I would also love to just talk to you about the working in the whole pd world…cause man…It be cray cray! I’m going a bit bonkers atm. I try to be innovative, or perhaps better described as “effective in training staff” and I have to fight tooth and nail with the “officers” for its worth. Meanwhile the front line soldiers are dropping like flys or crying out for help…If only they knew what they didn’t know.!
*sighs exhausted*

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