360 degree views


Screenshot 2016-06-09 11.02.33

Wednesdays are our ‘Digital Thom’ days when our small Health Law and Ethics COP meets to talk, try things out and enjoy good coffee. We used to meet on campus but have recently discovered an off-site café, very close by.

Meeting off site from the university has been a positive shift for us on many fronts. We get a tiny bit of exercise, making the 5 min trek across the road to the Little Wonder café. Meeting on Wednesdays is a great mid-week event often surrounded either side by a myriad of other work related activities and pressures. During that simple act of breaking away the short travel time reminds me that there is a real world out there; a 360 degree world, where the wind blows, it rains, and for a short time the pressures of the office are set aside. The walk over is just enough time to air a thorny issue or a chance to compare slow cookers or discuss the pros and cons of house renovations. The 5 minutes of time seems to distort and seem longer than it really is.

Distorted images were also on the agenda of this week’s COP meet. Thom introduced us to his new LG 360 Cam and we were able to be his guinea pigs as he tested it out. At first he couldn’t get the photos to save on his phone and then our first run testing the video the camera  was squarely focused on the decorative plant on our table, rather than us. I reminded Thom that things not working, of setting up things slightly incorrectly, were very reminiscent of our everyday digital practice. The ‘shame’ of getting things wrong was our frequent default position, but maybe not so frequently his! In that instance though – a 360 turning of the tables.

The 360 Cam technology reminds me of the importance of gathering the full ‘big picture’ view and what different angles bring to discussions and decisions. In our COP we are planning a ‘refresher’ session where in early semester 2 we will invite programme leaders and other interested stakeholders to a workshop where we will remind the programmes we serve of our current content but will also aim to invite them to contribute and help inform new directions for the content and delivery of our papers. Engaging others, seeking their views and valuing their input are all important components of our classroom (real or virtual) ethos but also highly valued considerations in terms of the way we plan and update and move forward with the delivery of our health law and ethics papers. We would be doing our students, their programmes, and ourselves a disservice if we failed to fully consider the 360 degree views of what and how we teach.

It was a lot of fun testing out the LG 360 Cam and as with other tools we could see its potential for engaging further with our students, but this week the main point of reflection for me was the reminder of the big picture, that things look different depending where we’re sitting and the importance of valuing diverse (and distorted views). The 360 degree concept gave me much to think about on the way back to the office –  and beyond.