My Experience: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution MOOC

I’m taking this course from Open2Study, an online learning platform, titled “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution,” which is offered from Dr. Andrew Heys at Macquarie University. The course is four weeks long and I joined two weeks late (oops), so I’ve had some catching up to do. In the past two days, I’ve completed the first week of the class.

In the first week (or 2 days, for me), I’ve learned about ways of thinking about conflicts and negotiations. The topic I was most familiar with was framing, since this is a direct corrolary to the idea of framing in linguistics. Most interesting so fa, for me, has been the discussion of two different approaches to negotiation. These two approaches depend on the kind of resources or outcome involved.

The first is a distributive negotiation, where there are a finite number of resources that must be allocated — everybody gets a ‘piece of the pie,’ so to speak. The other is an integrative negotiation, in which there is no ‘fixed pie’ of resources. In an integrative negotiation, there may be a kind of complex relationship to map out. Dr. Heys uses an example of two scholars who share a team of researchers. Scholar Joe is methodical and has a lot of long-term projects that require diligent attention of the research team. Scholar Ann has a number of flash insights or quick projects that require a lot of attention by the research team for a short period of time. In a distributive negotiation, one might conceive of the time of the researchers as a fixed pie – there are 4 of them who each work 25 hours per week, for example, and that would be 100 hours of research to split between Joe and Ann. That does not exactly work the best for this situation, since Joe and Ann have different needs at different times, so splitting the hours – when Ann might need all 100 in two days and none the rest of the time – is not the best approach for this negotiation. So in this case, an integrative negotiation may work, and Ann and Joe need to figure out how to expand their perceptions of the resources available. This may take the form of one of the researchers being better suited to Ann’s type of work, and so Ann has access to this researcher first, and Joe will only assign her projects that can be done at any time instead of requiring diligent, methodical attention.

I’m an out-of-the-box thinker generally, and I’m always trying to find other ways to solve problems. I’m never satisfied with “your half, my half” type of agreements except where they make sense. I like for things to work together as a system. That lends itself well to the integrative style of negotiation, but this course has given me a few ideas for ways to frame negotiations to better reflect this style.

A few notes about the platform to end this post – Open2Study is a nice platform with embedded YouTube videos, an interactive transcript, and a comment section underneath each video that looks to be the same for each module of the course. Each video is followed by a quick quiz which requires thoughtful consideration for each of the responses. Each module ends with an assessment of 10 questions in this class, and (at least for this course) the assessment was actually somewhat difficult and required a good mastery of the topics.

I also like how Open2Study has a personal ‘classroom’ for the user that shows you where you need to go and what’s up next in your classes. This is very helpful to keep track of things. The only drawback that I’ve found is that there is no available mechanism to speed up the videos. I like to listen to the videos at 1.5x speed, but that is not an option here because they are using embedded YouTube videos. While this does make me slow down and listen, I also regret not having the option available when I get to familiar content.

So that ends my first report about this course. I’ll check in again at the end of the course and share how the rest of the 4-week MOOC went.