Monday, October 5, 2015

"Collective decision-making, extended kinship structures, ascribed authority vested in elders, flexible notions of time..." (Barnhardt, 2002)

So I teach one other class this quarter, another new one for me called "Foundations of Information Management," to mid-career students on Friday late afternoon, for three hours.  I'm following most of the readings and many of the assignments created by my colleague, Michelle Carter, who wrote the original syllabus for the course and then updated it this year.

Bighorn Medical Circle, Wyoming

But for the first class I wanted to try something else:  to look at the very first forms of information management by indigenous people in this region.  I used two essays, recommended by Emeritus Associate Dean Cheryl Metoyer, herself a Cherokee.  I could not find an expert in this particular field to be a guest speaker, so I led the discussion myself -- and it actually worked out very well, with robust conversations around both readings.  There are 19 "mid-career" students in the graduate course, which means they already have some notion of how to create a conversation and then extend it.  The multiplicity of backgrounds will make this quarter very interesting.

In the third hour of class, we looked at the issue of email records retention, in part because it's in the news right now, but also because each of the course members works for an institution that has some sort of policy.  The Supreme Court ruled years ago that corporate email belongs to the company, not to the individual.  Because of the demand of our fractured work life, some find themselves forwarding corporate materials to their personal emails so they can work from home on the weekend or in the evening.  What kind of risk does this create for the company?

More on that later.  Let me finish by saying I have never had such a congenial group of students as those in these two courses this quarter.