I Got Nowhere But I Went Somewhere at #DigPed Toronto

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Digital Pedagogy Lab in Toronto. There were five intensive tracks. I chose to go for the Digital Storytelling track led by Chris Friend. I worried maybe I was taking the safe route by choosing a topic I’ve done some work in before. I think I kind of just wanted the chance to jump back on that horse.

When you see other track leads like Martha Burtis, Dave Cormier, Jesse Stommel, Sean Michael Morris and Amy Collier there’s some serious FOMO, even while you’re there. Chris was the most unknown entity of the bunch to me. I’m glad he is unknown no more.

Digital Pedagogy Lab puts us, the participants, very much in the centre of the “what are we going to do while we are together” question. The leads, therefore, cannot know  precisely what we’ll be doing. I imagine it takes a lot of courage to hop on a plane to another country to deliver a three day intensive session and not know exactly what bits of their expertise they will need.

So what did we do? We discussed our story ideas, worked them, focused together on things here and there that seemed to be shared needs or interests, spun our wheels, worked our ideas some more, shared our ongoing progress. In true open pedagogy fashion, Chris began and we built up a shared doc. (I’d share it here, but I am not convinced everyone in the group would okay that. I will update with the link if I can.)

We took some time to chat about what we might want to get out of the stories, what emotion we wanted people to feel, what purpose it would serve. Much of the time Chris spent one-on-one helping guide these stories out. Many digital routes were pursued.

Mine went nowhere.

It was not for lack of effort or anything but my cavalier attitude towards closing my laptop. I came in to the experience completely fascinated by one of the suggested readings, unphased that many of my fellow track members seemed to despise it with a passion. I wanted to do something kind of out there. Something that threw you in to the middle of the story not knowing much about what’s going on. I wanted people to feel “wonder”. My pursuit of wonder was even discussed live online in one of three wonderful Virtually Connecting chats during the event.

My secondment at eCampusOntario ends soon so I wanted my story to be about my experience, for the folks back at Fleming College. I am well aware that there is not enough there for “wonder” to be experienced. I mean, some folks may wonder where I’ve been but “wonder: the emotion” is not really on the table here yet. My shot at that comes from the incredibly enabling opportunities that open education offers. My story was meant to offer rabbit holes to the things/people/experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to work on or near for the last 2 years. Things which I believe have the potential for wonder.

So… it looks I like laid a very simple task out for myself: Provide a bunch of rabbit holes to wonder! I’d been a little bit enthralled lately by the idea of text based adventure games that Sidney Shapiro had been working on with his students, but learning Python was not in the cards just now… So I thought I’d go with a Choose Your Own Adventure format (since I’d recently done okay with the idea in a presentation format.)

Track mate Kendall suggested I try out Twine – an open source tool for telling interactive, non-linear stories? Sounds perfect. And it certainly was, except for their weird to me way of “saving” lol.

I concocted a story that involved a condition known as “Post-Secondment Frazzle” in which one has no recollection of ever being away. As I wander through Fleming College, I run into people I know who had had the same experience who would help me to find out what I’d been up to at eCampusOntario. This would ultimately lead readers to different rabbit holes (hopefully) of open education awesomeness as we worked together to cure my frazzle.

It was coming along, but still very much a work in progress. Not sure if any sense of wonder was imminent or anything. But then at the end of day 2 I closed my laptop without doing whatever Twine needs you to do to save but not call it save.

40+ passages were nuked. So I got nowhere. Back to the drawing board.

But, #DigPed, you definitely took me somewhere. You took me somewhere when Sean Michael Morris’s opening remarks dropped the mic and the gauntlet right from the get-go. You took me somewhere when Rajiv went extra personal, experimental (and fun) with his opening keynote. You took me somewhere when you left us to sit in our work for a while during workshop time. And you pushed me somewhere when Jess Mitchell didn’t let us go easily with the closing keynote.

Put together, it sent me on a path somewhere. And like Jess said, “completion is good for bridges. It’s not good for community.” I’ll be headed that somewhere for a while and I’m glad some of this somewhere is with you and everyone involved in all of this.

photo “ONTARIO-00368 – Colour my World” flickr photo by archer10 (Dennis) 198M Views https://flickr.com/photos/archer10/14656590048 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

We’ll Make It I Swear

Oh. We’re half way there. We are at the start of the second half of #ExtendmOOC. We are at the beginning of the Collaborator Module, with two more to go after this. There’s still a ways to go. But we’ll get there.

I love that people are going their own pace, coming and going. Doing it in short sprints here and there. Keeping pace or catching up in bursts. Every day I get notifications that there are badge applications waiting for approval. And every day they come from all three of the previously opened modules.

We understand that when your plate gets full, this thing that you didn’t pay for, that will always be there, might be the first thing to go when the going gets busy. We’re happy to still have a great amount of activity and that many of you come back in when your other stuff dies down a bit.

I’ve made a couple posts and comments myself:


My goal is to hit 2000 comments by the end. I’m not really going for quantity over quality. I’m going for both. I want to make sure everyone’s posts are heard, that anyone feeling stuck can get help, or to try to make some new connections between people (which EdX does not make easy!).

Over the last week or so, my commenting pace has lagged for various reasons, so this post is for me to tell myself out loud to get back in there and keep making as many connections for the mOOCers as I can, maybe to try to help someone push up another stair. The other half of the Parts & Service Department has been doing a stellar job of putting things in place as they approach (he’s building the staircase ahead while still climbing the steps with us).

I have run up the staircase in the image above. The second half is harder to keep pushing up all the way to the top. But that push and making it to the top is what you remember. I am looking forward to getting to the top of that staircase with you, checking out the view and seeing where we can go from there!

Photo:”Half Way To The Top” flickr photo by wburris https://flickr.com/photos/billburris/2239509431 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license