Thems the Breaks

It took today’s release of the Praxis Pedagogy Podcast’s newest episode to realize I hadn’t blogged about something big yet! Anne-Marie Scott and I were interviewed by host Tim Carson about a project that we are calling Check The O.L. in which she and I aim to get the stories behind how some of the most ground breaking online learning experiences have come to be.

If you happened to read an earlier post of mine entitled Let’s Get Explicit, in where I attempt to liken the potential of open educational practices to the constantly innovating and groundbreaking world of hip hop, you’ll see in this post that I’ve not only gone deep down this rabbit hole, I’ve also dragged Anne-Marie down there with me. Thanks for helping me dig, Anne-Marie!

Let me break it down with a list of revelations that slowly came to me as this project was formed:

  1. (June 2020): When you’re just sitting there, building courses all summer, your ears have a lot of free time to hear things. Like music!
  2. (Same time frame): If that music is hip hop, it puts me right into the flow I need to in to be quite productive.
  3. (July 2020): I want to know more about hip hop. I really loved it when I was little, but I seemed to forget about it for a good while and I need to get caught up! Maybe there is a book.
  4. (July 2020): There is a book! Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip Hop Junkies, By Brian Coleman. This book is dope. I love learning the stories about how these groundbreaking, innovative hip hop albums came to be. There are so many ways to make great hip hop.
  5. (Late July 2020): Oooh there is a sequel! I should read that, too!
  6. (Early August 2020): Hmmm. I kind of think that hip hop and open, online learning have some things in common.
  7. (Mid August 2020) I wish there was a book just like this but for innovative, groundbreaking, probably open online learning.
  8. (Also Mid August 2020) Hmm. Could I make that book? I should see if anyone else thinks this is a good idea.
  9. (Still Mid August 2020) Anne-Marie Scott thinks it’s a good idea so it must be. And she’s willing to help. LET’S DO THIS! LET’S MAKE A BOOK!
  10. (Late August 2020) I really dig how Martin Weller’s 25 Years of Ed-Tech is planning an audio version and a podcast about the book. We should do that too when we get to that point.
  11. (Still Late August 2020): We should do that first! Podcast our way into a book. LET’S DO THIS! LET’S MAKE A PODCAST AND THEN MAKE IT A BOOK!

And if we fast-forward to today, you’ll see that we’ve made some pretty good headway. We have a juicy list of online courses/ communities/ experiences to cover and we’ve released 5 episodes of the podcast, which have included Laura Gibbs’ (THE Online Course Lady) Indian Epics & Myth folklore , Bonnie Stewart’s #Antigonish2, Mia Zamora and Alan Levine’s #NetNarr, and Whitney Kilgore’s #HumanMOOC. Anne-Marie sees these things more clearly and easier than me, but I can assure you that some interesting common threads are beginning to reveal themselves as we go.

Next up is the release of our chat with Al Filreis on the long running MOOC known as #ModPo (Modern Poetry). This course was one of the most recommended to us, and we sure as heck found out why when Al blew our minds with meta-pedagogical delights. Stay tuned for that to be released late next week!

Grab the feed to the podcast here, keep them suggestions for courses to cover coming, and let us know what you think!

Gettin’ Air Top Ten

Stephen Hurley of VoicEd Radio, likely sick of me sending him new podcast recordings to release on his platform, recently upgraded his Spreaker account to allow me access to publish new episodes myself. An extra bonus is that I can now see the stats.

I was curious to see which was the most listened to episode of my main podcast: Gettin’ Air: The Open Pedagogy Podcast. And surprised at the answer! Not that I think the all time leader is not worthy. When it comes to shmooshing technology and learning together, he is probably one of the world’s best. No hyperbole in that statement. It’s just, you know, look at the list of guests! There are some big names on there!

So I took it to Twitter, to annoy people into guessing who it was at the top of the list. The suggestions were the ones I would have guessed, too! Maha Bali, Audrey Watters, Sheri Spelic, Bonni Stachowiak, Robin DeRosa. All absolutely fantastic guests, but not the number one. Not today anyway. Some of these episodes deserve more listens!

Sure thing, Jesse! Now keep in mind that these are the stats for downloads of the podcast. Gettin’ Air is also a radio show on, and I don’t have those stats. An episode may have had a decent showing of live listeners when it was broadcast. Who knows? I do believe there is some weird luck going on in the timing of the release sometimes. It’s like a game of Plinko sometimes. This would all be moot if everyone just listened to every episode. OK?

So let’s see that list!

  1. John Stewart: Assistant Director for the Office of Digital Learning at the University of Oklahoma
  2. Chad Flinn: Student advocate and Open Pedagogy enthusiast
  3. Audrey Watters: Writer at Hack Education
  4. Jim Groom: Co-founder of Reclaim Hosting
  5. Jesse Stommel: Founder @HybridPed @DigPedLab
  6. Catherine Cronin: Ireland’s National Forum for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  7. Lee Skallerup Bessette: Learning Design Specialist at Georgetown
  8. Sheri Spelic: The Edified Listener
  9. Mia Zamora: Associate Professor of English and Director of the MA in Writing Studies at Kean University
  10. Frances Bell and Anne-Marie Scott: The FemEdTEch Quilt

There you have it! The list will likely need to be updated once Robin DeRosa’s mom gets in on this, so stay tuned!

And tune in soon for new episodes from Valerie Irvine and Tim Owens! As always, if you are interested in being a guest on the show, I’d love to set something up (even if you’ve been on before!). Get in touch!

Photo by Joshua Golde on Unsplash

Gettin’ Air with Bryan Mathers

The release of last week’s episode of Gettin’ Air came with bonus material… A new logo! I’ve loved Bryan Mathers’ work for a long time. My laptop is covered in work he’s done with the likes of Reclaim Hosting, Audrey Watters, OpenETC … just to name a few. I wear his work on my belly often in the form of my Hack Education t-shirt. His stickers are also on my tablet, my bike. It even makes our mini van a little cooler than it already is. So to have some Bryan Mathers art as a logo for Gettin’ Air is just like… you know…. frickin’ awesome. I have considered getting it tattooed on my person. Check out all his work here, and consider how valuable his process could be in any number of projects you work on.

Have a look through the Twitter Moment below for links to the things we chat about in the episode as well as some other responses shared after the fact. And if you’d like me to send you a sticker, shoot me your address in a Twitter message.

Gettin’ Air with Karen Costa

Karen Costa (@karenraycosta) is a faculty development facilitator specializing in online pedagogy and trauma awareness in higher ed. We chat about some of the things she has learned in working with and supporting thousands of faculty from around the world. Karen also reveals what the 100th tip for creating great educational videos would have been were she not limited to 99 in her book 99 Tips for Creating Simple & Sustainable Educational Videos.

Here is the episode.

Here are the shownotes via Twitter Moment:

Gettin’ Air with Remi Kalir

In a fit of extreme efficiency, it only took me 110-ish episodes to work out a good workflow for collecting and sharing some show notes for an episode of Gettin’ Air: The Open Pedagogy Podcast.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Record a podcast episode with someone awesome. Remi Kalir fits that bill perfectly.
  2. Set a time with the also awesome Stephen Hurley at VoicEd Radio to broadcast the episode. Make sure your guest is available to listen at that time.
  3. Listen to the broadcast and, with your guest, tweet out links to all the stuff you talk about with the hashtag #gettinair.
  4. Be thankful that Jonathan Lashley also listened and tweeted along so that it didn’t feel like you were tweeting to no one.
  5. Check with Stephen Hurley to see if anyone is listening. Find out that people are listening in far off places like Alabama!
  6. Keep tweeting the things we chat about.
  7. Slap all those tweets into a Twitter Moment (see it below)
  8. Slap that Moment into your blog, categorize it and tag it with ‘Gettin’ Air’ and here we are!

Let’s Get Explicit

How can I explain it? If you’re all down with OEP (Open Educational Practices), I think that it’s time to make one thing clear… we’re a bunch of wannabe hip hop artists and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ll take you frame by frame it.

According to The Zulu Nation, there are five essential elements of hip hop. In this post, I hope to describe each of them a little bit and then try to relay them into a metaphor for Open Educational Practices, or just open education in general. I am more of an expert in the latter than the former, but I learn more (and love more) about hip hop every day. As we’ll see, there are different roles to play in each of the elements. Some people are known for one over the other although everyone crosses boundaries, here and there.

1.  Lyricism (Rapping)

In hip hop, emcees are the ones rhyming on the mic. They smith the words, make the rhymes, and deliver it to you with rhythm and flow. There are absolutely endless examples of different, riveting ways to rap. Just listen to a few of the greatest rappers of all time

To me this is the easiest and most obvious category to relate to Educators. Our emcees are the faculty members, out in front of students, spittin’ hot content. It’s not just what they say, it’s how they say it. I mean yeah it’s definitely more what they say than how they say it, but sometimes it’s just a mixture of both. I mean, I would listen to any of Rajiv Jhanghiani, Robin DeRosa, Jesse Stommel, Jim Groom, Maha Bali or countless others talk about anything just based on how they deliver to be honest.

So who do you think are our Missys, Tupacs, Biggies, and Weezys?

2.  Turntablism (DJing)

Grand Wizard Theodore took a piece of equipment that was supposed to just need a little bit of your input to get started, and turned it into a dynamic instrument that could blow your frickin’ mind. The record player was made to just dutifully sit there and turn in clock wise circles after you carefully place the needle at the outermost part of a record. Grand Wizard Theodore thought “fuck that” and dropped that needle wherever he pleased, and manually took over just which way that record was spinning. It most surely did not say to do that in the manual. The results are that every single damn record ever made and ever will be made are now a portal to endless new sounds and new worlds. Just watch Mixmaster Mike do it here (start at around 1:45):

If someone could have a look at the LMS and do that with it, that would be great. I’ll wait.

That said, I’ll go right out and say first that the DJs/Producers of Education are the ed-tech folks and the instructional designers. There are folks in ed-tech who try to master, mess with and straight up own the technology like hip hop DJs/ producers have. Some of the results are absolutely mind blowing and I would love to see more and more and more of it. And then some more.

If you’re a faculty member looking for a DJ to make some tight beats for your content, find yourself a Martha Burtis, an Alan Levine, or a Tom Woodward to make the technology do just what you want it to do and not the other way around. And keep pumping out Open Educational Resources so we have more material to sample.

So who are the Large Professors, Dr. Dres, RZAs, J Dillas of Open Education?

3.  Breaking

Hip hop doesn’t care if your knees and back don’t want to dance. There’s a b-boy or b-girl inside of all of us ready to lay it down at the altar of hip hop. Sometimes, an altar is made of cardboard and the DJ leads the service. You don’t want to get raptured, so you better get to poppin’ and lockin’.

If all has gone well with numbers 1 and 2 in your work developing learning experiences, guess what? We all turn into a bunch of b-boys and b-girls for each other. I have never been a part of a community so supportive of each other, who constantly pumps each others tires by liking and sharing their work, making connections and just generally heaping praise all over the damn place. And you know why we can do it and want to do it? Because we know each other. Because we are open. And we want to get to know you, too.

So the next time you’re retweeting and liking the work of a fellow open educator, just remember that you are figuratively doing for your friends what Bag of Trix are literally doing below.

4.  Graffiti

Graffiti is a controversial inclusion as an element of hip hop, but there’s no denying that it shows up everywhere, and that it can be quite beautiful. If graffiti is a visual expression of hip hop, then maybe openly licensed imagery is the graffiti of open education.

Where would our emcees be at their lectures and keynotes without a slide deck full of some bomb ass (openly licensed) photos? And I’m going to put this out there that Alan Levine, also one of the listed great “DJs” of Open Ed is also its greatest graffiti artist. Just look at the 50 million images he’s put into the Commons on his Flickr page (actual count: 65547). Have look at your attributions on your slide decks and you probably have a cogdog in there somewhere.

Perhaps another side to the graffiti metaphor is all the annotation that we can put all over any page of the Web done via Open Web Annotation using tools like If that’s not tagging stuff up and adding our piece, I don’t know what is.

Update! As suggested by Martin Weller, another amazing source of graffiti in the Open Education space is The Fabulous Remixer Machine from Bryan Mathers. Get in there and make some art for us!

Let’s have a listen to someone who began his hip hop journey as a graffiti artist, and then went on to become on of its greatest emcees: KRS-ONE.

5.  Knowledge

The last essential element of hip hop that we’ll cover here is knowledge of its history.

“Don’t come at it without being willing to learn and grow alongside it.”

I think we can all relate to that over here in Open Education. Avoiding the historical amnesia that Martin Weller refers to in his book 25 Years of Ed Tech is obviously a good idea, and a tack that helps you gain acceptance into the folds of both hip hop and the open education communities.

You’ll also find that as you learn from the people who share their experience of the history of Open Education or Ed Tech, like Martin, you can actually connect with many of them and build yourself into the networks.

Kendrick Lamar couldn’t make something this good with out knowing what and learning from what came before him.

So there you have it. In the midst of the pandemic, online learning is maybe having its biggest moment. If this is a fork in the road, I want to take the path that has more of the community, the innovation, the creativity, the control and everything else except probably the fat stacks of cash. We should follow hip hop’s lead and get as explicit with it as we can.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Tying The Room Together

This post is meant to be supplemental to two different professional learning sessions I’ve recently offered:

  1. Leave Room to Make Room, for the OLC Ideate Virtual Conference, and
  2. Creating a Course Podcast/Radio Show, for the Fleming College Virtual Teaching & Learning Week.

I think the two sessions feed each other, so why not make one blog post for the two of them? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The first session, Leave Room to Make Room (offered with co-host/kindred spirit Jonathan Lashley) was focused on discussing ways to cede control (and space) to the learners in online learning environments. As if by example, we did this by giving as much time to the participants as we could in a 45 minute space. We recorded mini podcast/radio interviews with participants, but we didn’t talk about HOW or WHY to make a podcast per se. We just used the idea of recording audio as an one example of leaving that space for learners to do something with course material.

The other session, Creating a Course Podcast/Radio Show, was focused more on how and why of it all (and to a completely different audience), offering up the tools and practices that you could use to enable students to make best use of their new space. But we didn’t get too much in to the (open) pedagogy behind offering up the structured space.

Now that the two sessions and their products exist, they can serve each other. The slides and recording from the latter can be offered up to participants from the former interested in digging deeper into using audio recording. The interviews collected from the former can serve as an example to those interested in the latter. (And perhaps offer a rabbit hole into Open Pedagogy)

And as the two entities come together in this post, I hope it all shows that there is great opportunity in online learning to offer up space and time for learners to just talk about course stuff and share it out to everyone to hear people talk about course stuff.

In preparation for the Ideate session, I thought it would be nice to collect some exemplars and then I got kind of carried away with it. I spun up a SPLOTbox (WordPress themes offered up from Alan Levine in his infinite generosity) to collect little audio clips. I put out a request for volunteers to help, hoping to pre-load the site with 3 or 4 exemplars heading in to the session. I ended up with 17 mini interviews from many of the heroes of the digital education road that we are traveling on right now. During the session itself, in order to model the idea of ceding control, we offered a brief introduction and spent the rest of the session recording mini-interviews with participants. Have a look at the slides here. Five fabulous souls volunteered, bravely doing it in front of 80 or so attendees: Katerina “From Space” Berezina, Katherine “Front Porch” Ridella, Dave “Long Pause” Goodrich, Angela “Darn Tootin” Gunder, and Karen “99 Tips” Costa. Here are their mini-interviews.

Favorite moments from the session included Jonathan’s wily Zoom backgrounds, multiple participants saying “LATER SKATER BYEEE”, and getting the idea of leaving space thrown back in our face in the form of an infinitely long, painful, drawn out pregnant pause from Dave Goodrich that left us shook (check it out starting at around 26:20).

A pointed comment in the chat came during the session that was something like: “And HOW do we put a podcast together?” and I thought, well I wish you could come to another session I have coming up! I guess that comment inspired this post, so thank you, pointed commenter!

Now to that other session. It was the penultimate session of an 8-day, Wednesday to Wednesday, Virtual Teaching & Learning “Week” that Fleming College offered to its educators. Throughout the week we offered panel discussions with faculty, students, and student support staff, various “emergency pedagogy” workshops, and other sessions focused on specific tools like MS Teams, Echo 360 and H5P. And, you guessed it, podcasts!

Here are the slides again from the session. The simple goal was to talk a bit about the who, what, when, where, why, how of it all and then to do it for real in a mini-interview from start to finish with the same mini-interviews we used in the Ideate session so that attendees could see it happen live.

Another brave soul (Thanks Mary!) volunteered to, in front of a live studio audience, go from the Webex room that we were meeting in, to the recording space on Zencastr, to do the mini interview. Then a quick edit in Audacity, and publishing and sharing. You can see it in the recording here.

And thus, the two sessions have come full circle in serving each other to show how and why to make space for your learners’ voices. And maybe that is enough belaboring the idea that these two sessions are meant for each other. You probably got (or rejected) the idea like 14 paragraphs ago. Thanks for making it this far! I hope you get something out of it. And, so you know, the SPLOT lives on and is still taking your ideas if you want to add your voice. Go to this link to record yourself. Later Skaters, BYEEEEE!

Photo by Ana Flávia on Unsplash

My Conference Presentation About WordPress That Was On Twitter But Is Now on WordPress But is Actually My Tweets #PressEdConf20

Check out all the awesome stuff that went on in the #PressEdConf here!

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The Remote Possibility

The typical reader of my occasional blog posts is probably not so much the target of this one. You know this stuff. I’m writing to those students and teachers out there who don’t feel comfortable “going remote” and teaching/learning from a distance. And you may soon be forced to do so.

I want you to know that I absolutely love working remotely.

And I don’t think the idea of “pivoting” in person classes to online is really much different from a “regular job” switching to remote. We can do it and it we can enjoy it. I spent two years working remotely in my laundry room and would do it again in a heartbeat

Let’s talk about the benefits:

  1. You can wear sweatpants. Or your HufflePuff robes. Or an inflatable chicken outfit. The camera does not have to be on when you are in a live class or meeting.
  2. Click mute. Rip that burp/fart. un-mute.
  3. Camera off, mute… go get a snack or another coffee. No one knows or cares.
  4. The laundry gets the hell done.
  5. While you’re in that class or meeting, you can also much more blatantly also be in whichever back channels you’ve made for yourself and friends, keeping up with the real important details.
  6. The back-channels will be your digital hallway. Your shooting the shit skills will become innovative as all get out.
  7. Meetings become more collaborative. Don’t want to be the one speaking? Be the one fetching links to the things we’re talking about and copying them into the chat. Monitor the chat. Make connections.
  8. Your online classes can now have a lo-fi hip hop soundtrack if you like.
  9. Your ability, and your desire, to have quick meetings/chats with peers has gone way up. I’m far more likely to have an “in person” meeting digitally with a friend or colleague if I don’t have to go anywhere. And that person can be across the country. Maybe in like Mortlach, Saskatchewan or something.
  10. Got kids? You’re probably more in position to be flexible in school pick ups/drop offs and fulfill a few more of the million needs they have.

So you may find yourself digitally all over the place. In virtual meetings in Zoom/Webex/Skype. In collaborative workspaces in Slack/Teams/Discord. In your email inbox, LMS, on the socials. Lots of the time all those spaces at once.

Wherever you are digitally, you’re also right there where you can flip the laundry, pet the pupper, grab a free snack (just mute if it’s chips and salsa), turn up the heat, make eyes at your partner.

You’re not alone. The Digital People out there can help. They say things like this:

See you out there!

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

Extreme Quilting

I signed up to guest post for the OER20 Conference‘s blog in the lead up to the event running in early April in London. When an association focused on learning technology decides to have the theme “The Care in Openness” you just have to perk up, take notice, get in there and try to help hype that awesomeness.

I also got a little weird with it because I tried to turn a blog post into a live radio event. Head on over to the guest post itself here if you are keen:

photo by Giulia Forsythe of a piece made by Giulia Forsythe