Don’t Save a Thing For Later

My tanks aren’t empty, but I want to try my best to use it all up while I’m here.

I’ve been on secondment to eCampusOntario for two and a half months now. Its official end is March 31st, 2018. I know it could possibly go longer, But I want to work with what I for sure have to the best of my ability. I feel it’s time to make a concerted effort to extinguish all my resources, connections, and ideas while I’m here.

By that I mean I want to try to make and share out all the connections I can. Not just between myself and the people of Ontario’s Post-Secondary Education-isphere. I also want to help connect others together, connect people with resources, connect resources with resources.

eCampusOntario has a lot of cool stuff going on. I’m going to list a few of the things I’m involved with and beg of you to help me make some connections.

Let’s try to run out of ideas together.

The Catch – This is a “fortnightly” blog post. The idea is reporting on the technology-enabled learning things that the four eCampus Program Managers catch on to in their day to day program managering. It’s doled out in bite-sized categories. So, would you like to see something you are working on written about with levity and brevity and shared to all? Nominate yourself or your friend or an idea here > thecatch@ecampusontario.ca. You can see one of the recent issues of The Catch here.

Ontario Extend – These are resources that can help educators fill their buckets in the different areas of Simon Bates’ “Anatomy of the 21st century Educator”: Teacher (obviously), Experimenter, Scholar, Curator, Collaborator and Technologist. What I would love from you is your take on one of the activities to add to the Ontarioextend.ca site. This will help to help bring it all to life and leave a trail of participation for those that follow to learn from. It will also help to build a community of “Extenders” who like to dabble in this stuff. Call dibs on an activity here. You don’t need to have done the whole kit and kaboodle to add your take on something. You can also just email me tgreene@ecampusontario.ca to chat about it.

Gettin’ Air – Another way I’m trying to connect with the people who do the things we admire (namely open and/or technology-enabled learning experiences) is through a radio program on voiced.ca radio. The program is called “Gettin’ Air”.  Each episode I connect with someone to get them some air time to share a bit of their story. I have done two episodes so far and I really enjoy hearing about what people are up to, how they got there, and where they are hoping to go with their work. So, if you’re up for a 30 minute chat on the air (or recorded beforehand), I would love to chat with you! Email me and we can set up a time for a call: tgreene@ecampusontario.ca

Here’s a “rough cut” of episode 2, which is a chat with Dr. Aaron Langille of Laurentian University. We chat about his work with gamification and how he also plans to leverage open educational resources into that world.

As I said, I want to try to empty the tanks. Help me use up all the ideas and plans and connections we can and let’s see where it takes us. I hope to hear from you.

“Empty Empty” flickr photo by DaveFayram https://flickr.com/photos/davefayram/4744862344 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Don’t Tell Me What the Learners Are Doing

I want to hear it from them.

The Open Faculty Patchbook is an ongoing collection of stories by post-secondary educators about their teaching. It was meant to serve as a community collaboration of how-to-teach tips and tricks that can be patched together to form a sort of manual on how to teach.

What it became, however, was a bit different than that. It is a book and it is about teaching. There are a lot of great ideas on how to go about your teaching. That is for sure. There are some gaps. But what it is more than anything, I think, is an warm invitation to enter the community of open educators. The Patchbook itself got a number of educators to write about their teaching. Often for the very first time. It got them to think about their teaching and to think about sharing their teaching. And by putting it out there it has lead a few more to write about their teaching, adding new voices to the world of open educational practices. That is what has excited me the most about The Open Faculty Patchbook. We’ve only scratched the surface. There’s much more to hear.

What excites me even more, however, is that there is another, bigger surface to scratch: The learners. I’d wager that when you teach a course of 30 learners, the content is learned in 30 ways, despite your teaching methods.

I want to hear their stories. I want to see them writing those stories. I want to see that learners are thinking about how they learn.

So, I’m putting myself back to that moment with The Open Faculty Patchbook where we had the idea and were looking for a starting line. Jodie Black from Fleming College provided it by pointing us to the University of Michigan’s High Leverage Teaching Practices. That list of practices provided faculty with a nugget to build their story around. If they wanted, they could claim a skill and write about how they used it in their own teaching. Many ignored this list completely, with wonderful results. But it certainly helped get the ball rolling.

What is the learning skill version of that list? How and where shall we ask learners to share their learning? It’s already begun in Cairo.

Don’t tell us what the learners are doing. Don’t tell us what we think they should be doing. Help us get them thinking, speaking and writing about what they do to learn. Comment below with any links or suggestions you may have about finding and collecting these voices.

p.s. For non-Canadians. This song inspired the title of this post. 

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Gettin’ A Little Bit of Air

Gettin’ air is one of the all time exciting things to do in life. It doesn’t matter what you’re riding; you can try to get some air on it: Skateboards, roller skates, snowboards, skis, scooters, bikes. Heck, even just your feet count, according to parkour partakers.

The first time you get some air on something new is frightening and exhilarating. And you probably don’t get much, but it’s still great fun. You learn quickly that there’s only so much you can do about things while you’re in the air. It’s all about the preparation and lead up to take off and being ready to land.

I would argue the same holds true for getting some air time on the radio. You do your prep work, technical set up, have questions ready, research your guest… but when you’re on the air, you’re in the air. You can only make minor technical adjustments. You could totally crash. But you soar through it together with your guest. You enjoy the rush and hope you land softly.

With that being said, I’d like to introduce the pilot episode of a (potential) eCampusOntario radio program we’re calling Gettin’ Air, which will air on voiced.ca. We plan to give some air time to faculty and staff in Ontario (and beyond!) post-secondary who like to tinker with technology-enabled teaching & learning and/or open education.

In the pilot, you will hear me (with a low quality microphone) interview Jenni Hayman, eCampusOntario Program Manager (with a nicer microphone). You will also briefly hear my wonderful radio production and intervew tutor from voiced.ca, Stephen Hurley (who has an even better sounding microphone). I need a new microphone.

It’s our first little bit of air. Check it out and see how it lands.

If you’re interested in being on the show, let me know @greeneterry. And thanks to Calgary punk band Chixdiggit for having just the perfect song for this.

“Richmond BMX 3D Photos” flickr photo by Gamma Man https://flickr.com/photos/gammaman/12892016424 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Sheer Stupidity?

This is a story that has passed into legend. In other words, I can’t specifically remember who was involved or where it even came from. Maybe it never happened.

But the lesson remains the same. Take feedback and advice for what it’s worth, but you do you.

Picture two whitewater kayakers making their way down a raging river. One is a little bit ahead and sees what’s coming. It looks a bit daunting. The rushing waters are very loud so he has to shout back his thoughts on the proceedings.

“Sheer Stupidity!”

The other kayaker also has a bit of a view of what’s coming. It looks exciting. He knows he can do it. He sees his partner is shouting back. What he hears:

“Shoosty booty!”

Emboldened by his excitement and the nonsensical words of encouragement coming from his friend he shouts back:

“Yeah! Shoosty booty, baby!”

and heads down the raging river, over some falls, through the rapids for the ride of his life.

Maybe it was sheer stupidity, but it was definitely shoosty booty. If advice is shouted to you as you are navigating the waters, try to hear it. But also trust your gut, believe in yourself and go for it as you see fit. You may just have the ride of your life.

“Rapids” flickr photo by Dawn Endico https://flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/18309480 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Escape From LMS

I love the concept and the practices of Domain of One’s Own as a foil to the LMS. For students and for learning professionals. It’s empowering. It’s rewarding. It centres your work around yourself rather than it being all chopped up in different tools in an LMS. You retain full control of your work with a domain. If it’s work towards a credential, then your assessor comes to you. You don’t hide your work in some assignment dropbox or discussion board.

But have you tried explaining DoOO to someone who hasn’t even really had the opportunity to consider the infrastructure of where their learning is occurring? Most people, instructors and students alike, put stuff in the LMS because that’s the thing to put it in. They’ve had no cause, yet, to think about why it might not be the best set up for their own learning.

I hadn’t really yet come up with a succinct reason or way to try to persuade someone of the benefits of running your own domain for learning purposes. It wasn’t until watching the initial week 3 video for #OpenEdMOOC that it hit me; The first step is to try to show students why they should not be too happy about what happens to their work in the LMS. It’s nuked as soon as the course is over. Gonzo. The students are the ultimate “customers” for an LMS and it is designed to purge anything they do as soon as a course is rolled over. I say poo poo to that.

They don’t just lose access to the curriculum material, they lose access to their own contributions to that curriculum.

~George Siemens

Anyway, my point is that it’s all about the escape first. Talk about getting out of the LMS first before you hit them with DoOO as a place to land and build a home. In Escape From L.A. Snake wasn’t worrying about where he was going to build a home before he got out. He just needed to get the hell out of L.A.

giphy.gif
Snake Plissken thinks about the LMS

“Escape” flickr photo by Metaphox https://flickr.com/photos/lonelyfox/2961899020 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

Gift Is Forever

As a 13 year old going to his first rock concert, I did pretty well. It was the very first Roadside Attraction. Headlined and hosted by The Tragically Hip.

The first lines to come out of Gord’s mouth, that I witnessed live:

“Cold wind blowing over your private parts. I know a lack you’ve got and it makes a strong case for art”

~from “Lionized”

His words were always so weird, so smart, and so memorable. Someone should study whether or not obscurish words Gord used, like wherewithal, are statistically more used in Canada. I’d wager they get a little bump. I have been enthralled by his words ever since I first heard them.

To seal the deal for me forever, he even said my name in song.

Here’s the long version of the story: I got in to the Hip after Fully, Completely came out. Went to the Roadside Attraction. Was fully in. So the release of the next album, Day for Night, was my first to anticipate. I just so happened to also be getting my driver’s license soon before the release. There was one store, at West Edmonton Mall, opening at midnight and giving the first one away for free. I was allowed to drive with some friends to try to get that free copy. I ran a red light on the way. Didn’t even notice it. I wasn’t too good at driving yet and I was in a hurry.

We made it there despite my driving. I was first in line. I got the first copy of Day For Night in Edmonton. For free. Thanks HMV. Not such a big deal in world history, but a big deal to me.

The practice of getting a new album and carefully and meticulously going through the song list and listening to them one after another is one that I stopped doing years and years ago. Except for the Hip. I was still doing it for their albums right up until Man Machine Poem (what a great album to end off on btw). Obviously I did this with Day for Night as soon as I got home.

Hip songs are slow growers. I’m pretty sure no one likes them much on first listen. I don’t know at first that Grace, Too will still get me going 23 years later and that when Nautical Disaster comes on I just heard what may be their best song for the first time. I’m just listening to the words. Words like this that we all know now.

“It’s as faint as a sound in my memory

as those fingernails scratching on my hull.”

~From Nautical Disaster

And then the 9th song came on. It’s important here to note that my name is Terry Greene. “The Inevitability of Death” starts off. Upbeat. “Puffy Lips, Glistening Skin…” I listen through the chorus. I’m liking it. Let’s hear the next verse. Here it comes. First line:

“Terry’s gift is forever green…”

What? I just heard my name. Gord said my full name. In a song. My first silly reaction is to think I should change my middle name to “gift is forever”. I’m still considering it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what the line meant, but he said my name. To me, one of the most amazing coincidences of my life. I love this band, I love Gord’s lyrics, and he happens to use my first and last name in a line.

The fact that the line is in a song about the inevitability of death just adds a little sadness to this memory for me, but the chunk of line in the middle of my name, “gift is forever” now takes on more meaning. We will be able to hear his gifts forever. We will benefit from him for a long, long time. I am thankful for that.

It’s just a shame to lose this masterpiece.

image credit “” flickr photo by Moyia M.Pellow https://flickr.com/photos/mpellow/8469999934 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) lice

Mash All Night

#OpenEdMooc. Reasons for this post, as a “response” or as “adding to the discussion” on copyright and the commons, being the way it is:

  1. It’s very late
  2. I’m behind on my #OpenEdMOOC reading/watching
  3. The Cars
  4. Haven’t seen an #OpenEdMOOC GIF yet

The only thing I can do with copyright, especially this late at night, is mash it.

mashallnight.gifmashitup.gif

These three actual reflections on the week are so good. Please read them.

Opening the Citizenship Commons – Nate Angell

Don’t Gussy Up The Geese – Peg French

California Love – Lena Patterson

 

 

 

Open Passage

This is my kind-of, mini-reflection on #OpenEd17. The conference is still going though, so I am jumping the gun a bit.

Last year at my 1st Open Ed conference, I didn’t know anyone. This year, I am lucky to have lots of friends here. But open educators are open people. It hasn’t been this easy to make friends since grade 3. I even broke the toot barrier with my roomie, Ken Bauer, who I met at last year’s conference. I’m sure he heard it… I’m sure he heard them. I didn’t hear any from him, for the record.

But those unlucky souls who do not yet know about Open Ed do not know how nice it can be in our community. So they won’t come in without a pull.

Now I know it’s probably obvious, but I want to say it anyway. #OpenEd17, the real work of this conference starts now. I know you do this already. This is really just a message from me to me. A reminder to take it from here and pass it along. Or try to pass it along more anyway.

We all got some great tips, and tricks. Some ideas for new things to try. New resources we didn’t know about that are slicker than snot. We’ve recharged our excitement for Open Education. But it’s a little bit of preaching to the choir after a while. What’s more important to do next than going out and trying to convince someone who doesn’t know anything about Open that it’s something important?

It’s a lovely group, but let’s go meet more new friends now and tell them about this stuff.

The most effective activity at the conference, for me, was the speed networking during the unconference (Thanks, Rolin Moe, for cajoling us into it). Not only because I met so many people, but also I worked my “who am I and what is open to me” spiel 5 or 6 times and now I feel much more ready to say it to anyone. I have my open passage more readily available at the tip of my tongue. Now I’m more likely to pass it along.

So how about this idea? Anyone who prepared and delivered a session here in Anaheim, try to deliver the same or similar talk at another conference. One full of not-yet Open Educators. Or write a post about your time here, but make sure to send it to places away from us to colleagues who don’t follow Open Ed (and towards us, too. We still want to read it!). Have your open passage at the tip of your tongue, ready for anyone.

Whatever you do with what you took from these days, pass it along more so than pass it back to us. Let’s not stand in a circle and say what we’re saying back to each other again and again. Turn around and say it to someone new. Talk to some students! It might be kind of uncomfortable, like making a sales pitch. Try. Make sure to listen to what they say in return, too. It’s not passing the baton, it’s passing the salt and pepper. You probably already do this but I want to say it.

Maybe someone new will break the toot barrier with you at next year’s conference. Fingers crossed.

image: “saltshaker showdown” flickr photo by athrasher https://flickr.com/photos/athrasher/15746721477 shared into the public domain using (CC0)

Looking at Stars

We grow up watching our stars and wanting to be like them. We can see them because they have to do their thing in the open. Because we can see them we can try to do it like them.

When I’m a pro skateboarder, I’m going to skate like Tony Hawk.

When I’m in a band, we’re going to sound like Tom Petty 🙁

When I’m a writer, I’m going to write like Margaret Atwood.

When I’m a teacher I’m going to teach like… I’m going to learn like… Umm, how can I know who to look up to?

When people teach and learn in the open we can see those heroes of learning. Of all shapes and sizes. I’m going to learn like Maha Bali. I’m going to teach like Jesse Stommel. I’m going to speak like Gardner Cambell or Rajiv Jhangiani. I’m going to experiment and share like Alan Levine. I’m going to care like Amy Collier. Well, I’m going to try to be more like all of them, anyway. And I’m going to do it in the open, too.

That’s why open matters to me. I can find and follow the people I look up to, try to emulate them and get better in whichever direction or area I think best.

photo: “STAR” flickr photo by jylcat https://flickr.com/photos/jylcat/120110649 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Sliding In

A fantastic new opportunity begins for me this week. I’ll be joining the wonderful folks at eCampusOntario as a Program Manager! Three other PMs are already well into the work: Jenni Hayman, Peg French, and Joanne Kehoe. The program managers work to aid Ontario colleges and universities in the pursuit of great technology-enabled learning. I’m more than pumped to join this team and get in on some of the amazing work they’ve been doing. Get your coattails ready for me, friends!

I know a few little tidbits of what I’ll be focusing on at first. Including helping to extend the Ontario Extend project (is that meta-extension?). What I promised to do for eCampusOntario in my interview is shared below. They asked for a three slide presentation. I went for minimalism; only adding one main word to each slide and to highlight the areas of the Anatomy of 21st Century Educators that these one-word promises hit hardest.

I missed one very important word that supersedes the others. It may be implied, but here I want to make it explicit.

I will listen.

And I mean Chuck Pearson levels of listening.

This listening, writing, speaking and (community) building will happen on the Web, in person, and on the radio. By promising to do these things, I don’t mean to just do it by myself. I will share the spaces, in any opportunity that arises, with any educator willing to share stories, plans, and ideas. This can help us all have a shorter climb to the top.

I hope you’ll join in. I think it’s going to be a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to get started. Add a comment below if you want to connect.

“Slide…..” flickr photo by Jinx! https://flickr.com/photos/span112/2350360329 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license