to infinity and beyond?

claire rPending goodbyes…

Yesterday, I had my last local management committee meetings (LMC for short), whats one of them? Well for the non KTP crowd, its pretty much a progress report on how the all the elements of the project is doing.  What project?.. well…. I have a cool job, I get to come up with new and exciting ways for everyone to learn about Geevor using electronic resources, and the main part of my job is to create a new elearning resource for Geevor, something I have had no experience in before, so I was really thrown into the deep end!  Along the way I’ve been a researcher, mining historian, public archaeologist, facilitator, designer, photographer, project manager, trainer, mineral collector, archivist, developer, floor cleaner, communicator, web geek, ideas stealer, marketer, presenter, tea maker, cake baker and general nerdosaurus.

I knew my elearning project at Geevor was coming to end, but it didn’t really hit until yesterday that I’m going to be leaving, and the likely hood is that I wont see people who worked on the project with me again.  Sad times.  Despite my rants and raves about the project to many an individual, and every possible thing that could of gone wrong,  going wrong, I have loved every single minute of the project, and wouldn’t change any of it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Working with the team at the University of Exeter and with Geevor has been a very rewarding experience and I have learnt a lot. I must thank everyone for working through a difficult project and surpassing the original outcomes , how well that has been achieved is yet to be established, only the users will be able to tell….. By the by…. The final elearning website goes live AUGUST 17th!

I must point out the efforts of the ELearning and Communications team up at Exeter, their work has been outstanding with the resources and time available.  Their support, advice and putting up with my constant ‘can we do this?’ and ‘what about this?’  and ‘Ive been thinking about doing this awesome thing….can we do that?’  has been exceptional, and without this the project could not have been completed to such a high standard.  Its amazing what you can achieve with blood, sweat, tears and copious amounts of tea and cake.

As it was the last meeting we were looking at the objectives and whether these had been achieved in the timescales.  To be honest its been two very short years! Its flown by, and theres so much I would still like to do (mostly involving changing completely how I went about doing some elements of the elearning –hindsight is a blessing and a curse!) there as so many things I would like to improve and develop and really the launch is just the beginning, it’s the base line for Geevor to do some wonderful work and really get out there to as many people as possible!

So, its got me thinking about sustainability and sustainable development.  What happens when the funding stops? When the project ends? When the support dissipates? When the project advocate leaves?  How to you ensure that the website (or whatever it may be) becomes a core part of the organisation’s operations? How do you embed something which is such a drastic change to the way things have been done before or ‘done in the past’.  In essence how do you change the culture and make it stick? Can you take things to infinity and beyond when you leave a project?

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5 Responses to “to infinity and beyond?”

  1. Janet E Davis Says:

    Such projects are always at least a year too short. The more I do, the more I think that any project involving volunteers & development of new online resources needs 4 or 5 years to embed and build up sustainable practices (& where necessary, funding).

  2. Well done on achieving so much in such a short time Claire! As you say, hindsight is a great thing, but I’m sure you can learn from it and apply it to your next project. And you can make sure Geevor learns from it too. Your enthusiasm is so infectious that I’m sure Geevor will do its best to look after and maintain your legacy! Good luck with the last few weeks!

  3. Excellent post, Claire, and if you get answers to the questions in your last paragraph do let me know and I’ll nick them for my PhD! It’s a knotty problem but you’ve identified the heart of it: it’s not about resources per se, though people often talk as though sustainability = resources = funding. It’s about drawing the links between what your resource does and what the organisation is all about in such away that the decision-makers who decide on future priorities for resourcing, and the human resources that are needed to keep it going, all understand what it offers and can make a balanced, well-informed choice about how to go forward (ideally, be inspired by it).
    Obviously this should all be set in motion right at the inception of a project, with the objectives being clear and justifiable, but you point to a particular problem that I don’t really know a solution to, when a resource’s guardian or champion leaves and it is orphaned. I can think of lots of examples here of that happening (as can Rhiannon, I’m sure).
    Anyway, I look forward to August 17th to see just what you’ve been up to! Enjoy your remaining time at the end of the world, Jeremy

    • Thanks Jeremy,
      (and to Rhiannon and Janet too)

      Planning for sustainability should be a key part of any project strategy. it was part of my project from the begining. The plan was always to launch the website early and then to tackle the challenge of sustaining what had been developed and more importantly getting those in organisation infected with enthusisasm and excited about the possibilities the project could produce. but things just dont happen like that in the real world. deadlines change, people leave, disasters happen….and now the launch is at the end of the project will little time to do anything else.
      hopefully i have enthused and bribed people with biscuits and cake enough and someone will adopt my elearning baby. Also i’m not trying to ‘big’ this elearning project up by any means, i dont think its in any way comparable to the big guns (elearning suites brewing -very Jealous of MoL) but its a start. and its a first for a little known mining musuem or indeed any industrial heritage site, that i know of. Fingers crossed Geevor will grab hold of it with both hands and continue to develop and explore the potential.

      • Claire, you’ve made huge changes to to the way everyone at Geevor thinks and operates and I’m sure that this will mean that your poor orphaned baby will be adopted and cherished. I’d like everyone reading this to know how much we have appreciated Claire’s work here – you will be missed! as a leaving present, we are arranging a special trip into the deepest depths of the mine – I’m sure this will generate a bit of blogging!

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