I missed the first half of class this module due to an interview and was only there for the activity, but I reviewed the slides in my own time and gained an understanding of the content. This week was about how technology plays a role in digital government as it’s important to remember that even though technology is important to digital governance, it’s not necessary and oftentimes looking and thinking about a problem in a critical way will lead to better service delivery than when systems are implemented for the sake of progress. That was the main theme my group came across during the in-class assignment.
We were given the task of looking at improving student access to faculty information and we had to construct a questionnaire to inform the administrators which platform and what tools we should be using. I know from some experience doing qualitative research that questions should be kept as open ended as possible in order not to influence people’s answers. For example, if you ask someone “what’s wrong with the system?” then you’re suggesting to them that the current system is bad and that it needs to be fixed. This may encourage them to answer more negatively and in a way that doesn’t reflect their true feelings about the system. Additionally, having open ended questions allows for the participants to identify their own issues and experiences regarding their user experience rather than accidentally forcing the participants to conform to the experience of the survey maker. This may, and often does, highlight the certain fringe instances where the system will fail, or identify design elements that were considered normal to the design team but were foreign and uncomfortable to use for the general public.
This module was particularly pertinent to me because this is a significant part of my new co-op position at Natural Resources Canada. My job will involve identifying the issues faced by stakeholders of the clean energy technology program, and their concerns may not be initially obvious. I hope that I can bring this into my work there.