E-Seminar No 1, 2007:
The State's Role in Private Sector Development in New Nepal
(February 15 - February 28)
Guidelines for Collaborators, Contributors and Moderators
Nepal Study Center (NSC) at the University of New Mexico conducts research, undertakes collaborative projects to promote research and education, and runs annual policy research conference, among other things. The aim is to help understand the underlying issues in development, democracy, conflict, and the environment as they relate to the Himalayan region and the countries in South Asia. Development is broadly defined to include health, education, environment, natural resource management, governance, equity, information technology, poverty, socio-economic strifes, and micro and macro economic activities.
To that end, it has developed an e-conference portal to conduct seminars on the internet within a structured environment. The idea is to bring scholars and interested participants from all over the world to a common platform for an informed deliberation. The first NSC/LDN e-seminar was conducted by the Liberal Democracy Nepal (LDN): e-Seminar No 1 2007 in collaboration with the NSC using this portal.
Scope of the E-Seminar Theme
The e-seminar topics need to have a broader policy implication, and the issue should be dealt in a thematically deep and rigorous manner. NSC expects collaborating scholars and experts involved in the e-seminar to 1) lead the discussion, 2) moderate and edit deliberations, and 3) be involved in the prepartion of the proceeding.
Interested parties can contact the Nepal Study Center for such collaborative projects. A typical e-seminar can last for about 2 to 4 weeks, and the final output is published as a proceeding in one of the two journals of the NSC (HJDD or LDNB). A basic structure and the ground rules are given below.
Basic Ground Rules and Logistics
Email Privacy: To avoid spam and also due to some requests, every effort will be made not to make the participants' emails public during or after the deliberation. Email address of the e-seminar members within the listserv group deliberation will be kept hidden. It is up to the e-seminar members to reveal their individual email address as a part of their name signature. We do require however that the deliberating members sign their submissions with the name and a line or two about the profession and/ or the professional affiliation.
Access to Papers and Seminar Deliberations: All the papers, comments, and deliberations from the e-seminar floor will be posted by the moderators publicly on the NSC’s e-seminar display and archival site.
E-seminar listserv etiquette: Participants are expected to be issue oriented, focused on the seminar topic, show civility, and be courteous to each other. The e-seminar discussion forum (within the listserv exchanges) may not be used for personal greetings and non-seminar related queries and other postings.
Role of Moderators: The e-seminar moderators will reserve the right to remove postings that are not relevant to the topic under discussion. Because of the amount of work involved, we encourage at least two individuals to act as co-moderators. Moderators shall make every attempt to post the comments/contributions at least once a day.
Moderators are required to maintain quality of deliberation by being alert and engaging. Moderators may also have to screen and/or edit the submitted comments especially during the second week of the floor deliberation before it goes for the public posting. Moderators also reserve the right to exercise their discretion and take actions, if necessary, to facilitate the smooth running of the e-seminar.
E-seminar Operational Structure
There are three phases in this e-seminar structure: initial preparation (1/2 weeks), deliberations (1/2 weeks), and publication of the proceedings (1/2 week). Some minor modification could be negotiated between the collaborating partners.
Initial Preparation (1/2 weeks)
Interested collaborating partners should contact the Nepal Study Center with 1) seminar topic, and 2) a tentative list of scholarly panelists. Prior to starting the actual e-seminar deliberations, presenter's papers are made available to discussants, and the discussants provide their comments before a certain deadline (typically in two weeks).
The length and the number of papers to be considered for the e-seminar deliberation will depend on the topic and the panelists. Apart from the individual papers, they will as an opening statement: (i) introduce the theme, (ii) lay out relevant issues and questions, and (iii) set the frame for the e-discussion. The length of the comments from the discussants is flexible, but needs to be crisp and focused on the presenter's presented theme and papers.
E-Seminar Deliberations (1/2 weeks)
Typically an e-seminar on a particular topic may last for up to two weeks. The deliberative phase can be broken into two sections.
Phase I: Interactive Deliberation
First week/Panelists: E-seminar begins with the simultaneous posting of the papers and the discussants' comments. (The requirement of simultaneity may be relaxed). The panel (presenters and the discussants) deliberates and provide rejoinders by using the listserv based email exchanges. The deliberated materials are collected, edited (if needed), by the moderators and made available for viewing. The deliberation can be confined to the panel members for this phase. Other registered participating members of the e- listserv group can view the discussions and take notes.
Phase II: Floor Discussion
Second week/Question-Answer from the Floor: The floor opens for questioning, and the e-participants are encouraged to present their views and ask questions for the panel. Engagement is voluntary however. The deliberated materials out of the e-seminar floor within the e-seminar listserv group will be edited for quality consistency and made available for public viewing.
During these two weeks, the moderators will regularly post contributions emerging from the e-discussion out on the web for public viewing, and they will also entertain submissions from others from around the world who may be following the e-seminar discussions on the web. (See: Access to Papers, Comments, & Deliberations)
The time frame between the phase I and phase II could be adjusted by the moderators. Typically by the end of the second week, the e-seminar ends. The listserv created for a particular e-seminar is disabled.
Publication and Dissemination of e-seminar proceedings (1/2 weeks)
A special e-seminar proceeding can be prepared by the guest editors (e.g., some members of the panelists), and may be submitted for publication in the Nepal Study Center’s e-journals Liberal Democracy Nepal (LDNB) journal, or Himalayan Journal of Development and Democracy (HJDD). But the quality of the proceeding must be assured by the e-seminar moderators and the guest editors. This platform will also try to archive past e-seminar deliberations.
How do I participate?
You can participate in the e-seminar in various ways.
1) You can send your name and email as an interested participant if you would like to raise a question, or make comments on the paper itself or on ensuing discussion. Your email, which will not be made public, and your name should be sent to Bishal KC: firstname.lastname@example.org, or the organizers by some preannounced date. It will be entered in a temporary listserv which will be deactivated upon completion of the seminar. Your participation within the e-seminar listserv deliberation is completely voluntary. Your substantial contribution and thoughtful writing could be displayed on the web with some editing if necessary (see: Access to Papers, Comments, & Deliberations)
2) Alternatively, you can check the seminar display board periodically and send your question and/or contribution to the moderator through a simple submission mechanism (see: Access to Papers, Comments, & Deliberations).
A Template for Submitting and/or Uploading Comments, Questions, or Daily E-Seminar Summay
Moderators and the contributing participants are strongly encouraged to follow certain format while submitting and/or posting their written contributions or questions. It will help organize the e-seminar materials for display for public viewing and publication. An example is given below.
E-Seminar Title: The Role of the Private Sector Development (PSD) in New Nepal
Subject: Hydropower and PSD
Contributor: Prabin Gurung, Program Officer, UNDP, Nepal
Date: February 19, 2007
(Insert text here.)