OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page
This system has five major sections. The core of the system is made up of two large lists: a list of common conflict problems, and a second list of possible treatments for those problems. Each list has a short description of each problem and solution, and the title is linked to a longer essay describing the problem and solution in more detail. Linked to these problem and treatment essays are examples--which illustrate a specific case of the particular problem and/or treatment being described. (Often, one example will be linked to several different problems and treatments.) Links to related problems and solutions are also shown. Users who want a quick answer to a specific question should scan these lists of problems and treatments to find the ideas that most match their own situation. People who are taking the course or who want to get the "full training" will want to go through most, if not all, of the problem and treatment essays, as well as many of the examples.
In addition, the system has a number of background theoretical essays which are required reading for people taking the course, and are recommended for other users who are interested in a deeper understanding of conflict processes.
The fifth section is the resources and support services section. Here users can find bibliographies, a glossary, links to outside sources of information, and a variety of other user support materials.
The problem and treatment lists are divided into three parts. The first part involves problem definition--defining what the conflict is about (framing), who is involved, and what the context of the conflict is (scoping). Without an accurate understanding of the people and/or issues involved and how the conflict relates to other situations (past and present) it is very hard to confront any conflict in an effective way.
The second part looks at complicating factors that often make conflicts worse than they really should be and make them difficult to handle constructively, even if one takes care of all of the problems discussed earlier. These complicating factors include communication problems, fact-finding problems, procedural problems, and escalation.
The third part involves confrontation strategies. People involved in conflicts can do one of two things. They can withdraw from the conflict, or they can confront it in some way. When they confront it, they are trying to influence the situation in a way which will benefit themselves. They may do so in a variety of ways--they may use force, they may try to negotiate, or they may try to persuade the opponent to change his or her attitudes and/or behavior. Sections address each of these three topics as well as overall treatment strategies which combine multiple approaches.
There are many ways to use this system. You may skip around from link to link reading only those topics that are of direct interest to you or relevance to your immediate situation. This enables you to "customize" the information you receive to match your specific situation. Or you may go straight through, reading most or all of the information on all of the entries. While this takes much longer, it gives a much better overview of the nature of intractable conflicts in general and how they can be approached in more constructive ways.
To simplify programming, it is often necessary to go back to the previous screen to get the menu of other choices. To do this use the "go back" arrow on your browser.
To illustrate the kind of information contained in the program, this quick tour takes you to some of the sections which deal with communication problems attributable to cultural barriers. The tour starts in the on-line consulting menu. All you do is click on the links marked: **TOUR*
To begin click here.
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