I was asked recently to write a guest blog post for the WCET Frontiers blog. WCET works in the practice, policy, & advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. The post spun out of Gettin’ Air being included in a list of recommended podcasts and I was happy to get the opportunity to reflect on why I enjoy podcasting so much.
Today I had 15 minutes with the fine folks at the University of Washington-Bothell eLearning Symposium hosted by the Office of Digital Learning, to tell them about some of the things that I do to enable the sharing of pedagogy. I’m hoping that in those 15 minutes I convinced a few to come here and read this post.
Because this is an attempt at telling them why. What’s with all this sharing?
Here are my slides in which I give the choice at the order we’d look at the three topics: The Open Patchbooks, Gettin’ Air Podcast, and The Ontario Extend 9x9x25. With only 15 minutes, I thought it best to focus on the what of things, to have a look at what these sharey places are, and then, if convinced that it’s indeed interesting, they might come here to find more out about why.
I was invited by The Office of Digital Learning‘s own Todd Conaway. Todd could easily give this talk himself, but he likes to enable others to share so he is probably reluctant to take the space. He is one of the big reasons I work the way I do. A few years ago as I began participating in the delightful ds106 I saw Todd out there doing what he does, what he enables others to do, and saw someone I wanted to be more like.
Anyway as I said, I spent the 15 minutes describing these projects. All of which are at their core about sharing. They include my own sharing of course, but my own thoughts are not at the heart of them. I’ve been trying to, like Todd, enable others to bring their ideas into the open mix.
I’m stalling on answering the question of why. I think I figured that I’d just need to start writing and the list of good reasons would emerge.
But the why might be too nebulous for a list. So bear with me, I think I might have a weird analogy here that works to explain what I mean. An analogy that involves zombies. Specifically the World War Z zombies that would make mountains of themselves to reach things together that they could not reach alone. Turns out zombies are in it for the community.
What I mean is that if you were to be so kind as to share some of your thoughts, ideas, wisdom, teaching tips.. anything, in a sharing place like the ones I’ve described, then you’ve left a piece out there that someone can use in the forming of their own mountain (a mountain of ideas this time, not zombies). You can leave pieces of mountain all over the place via blog post, tweet, conversation on a podcast, video chats, etc. You can show people the way to find more of their own mountain by sharing links to other posts, other people. It’s a mountain that we are all working to build while at the same time trying to summit. It’s too difficult to do it alone, so let’s do it together. And what we’ll do is we’ll each get somewhere we couldn’t reach before or we’ll see something from up there we couldn’t see before.
And while you’re offering up pieces of mountain for others, you can connect to theirs as you build yours even higher. After a while, we’re all a bunch of Himalayas. Who would have thunk zombies would make great community builders?
Anyway that’s my reason why I share: so we can all be a part of each other’s zombie mountains. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
After nearly two years of secondment, my time as a Program Manager at eCampusOntario is coming to an end. On July 2 I return to Fleming College as a Learning Technology Specialist.
Here is a rundown of experiences that I’m thankful to have gained, while in this position. I’ll keep it brief.
I got the chance to visit/connect with quite a few post-secondary institutions all over Ontario and beyond. And in doing so, one of the things I got to see were the many different takes on the “Teaching & Learning Centre”. They were always a little different, in name and in function. Custom made for their own institutions. Some of them were brimming with joy and excitement at the prospects of enabling learning experiences at and beyond their institutions. Those ones were obviously my favorites. Who made them that way? The people working in them and with them, of course.
I presented a lot. Made lots of slide decks. Both virtual and in person talks, inside and outside of Ontario. They were for conferences, Open Education Days, Teaching & Learning Days and so on. What I enjoyed most about these opportunities was the chance to bring ideas for supporting good learning experiences and spaces from one place to another. Or, more importantly, from one person to another. In each talk, if one person grabbed on to a new idea and even just kind of started floating towards it, that is a success to me.
I spent most of the two years working in our laundry room. But I could pack up and move everything to a new place at a moment’s notice. All I need for my mobile office fits in a backpack: laptop, mouse, phone, headset, good mic, second screen (USB plug in), power cable, USB splitter-a-ma-bob thing. Oh and I need Zoom, Zencaster, Slack, Twitter, Google Drive, coffee. The flexibility is very liberating and helped me realize that one can work very closely indeed with anyone, anywhere.
Oh and by being able to work mostly from home I could be there to drop off my kids at school almost everyday, right from day one of kindergarten for two of them. Our third was born during my time at eCampus, too. The privilege of being close by during her first year has been ridiculously delightful (and her comedic timing is coming along great because she started screeching like a banshee with a paper cut as I was writing that.) Hattie has already attended a conference, visited eCampus HQ, and co-hosted my podcast a couple times.
I started the Gettin’ Air podcast, which focuses on Open Pedagogy, while on secondment and I’m taking it with me. Podcasting is the best. You should do one, too. Every episode is a chance for me to get to know someone a lot more deeply than I already do and to share the fabulous work that they are doing as widely as possible. I’ve done 70+ episodes. That’s 70 people I know more about. 70 people I have experience working with. 70 more allies. Have a look at that list of guests. Holy crap, so many absolute heroes are working in Open Education. It’s ridiculous. I want to keep podcasting forever.
I don’t intend to crunch numbers here to show how much Ontario Extend has spread throughout Ontario while I’ve been around or anything. I’d just like to say that the Empowered Educator framework (by Simon Bates) that David Porter recognized as the thing to build our professional learning program around has afforded just a boat load of opportunities to connect with educators across Ontario and has sparked such excitement for sharing our teaching and learning sagas with each other. I can’t imagine a better outcome than leaving people a little more open to sharing and helping each other. Teaching higher ed does not have to be a lonely pursuit. Extend is something you can easily sink your teeth in to and there is more than enough to it to never gut full. I like to think of Extend as more of a professional learning lifestyle than a professional learning experience. One of my favorite Extend experiences was virtually presenting with Alan Levine to St. Lawrence College’s Learning Connections Conference. The conference was in Kingston, Alan was in Saskatchewan, and I was in DisneyWorld of all places lol. I did not anticipate that experience coming! Here are the slides if you’d like to see them.
There were four of us “PMers” (program managers) on contract/secondment to eCampusOntario together. I’ve written about how much I loved working with those other Slackers before. (I’m releasing this post today, with a week left to go at eCampus, because to day is the day that headquarters is throwing a farewell party for Peg and me). I so enjoyed the experience of working in the same digital hallway with them that I want to get a group tattoo with them. I’m thinking each of us chooses a Golden Girl which best represents ourselves. I call dibs on Rose.
And umm I got to work with Cogdog a bunch! ‘Nuff said. When you get to not only connect with one of your heroes, but also work with regularly and call them a friend. That’s some awesome 💩 right there. That emoji was just for you, Alan. I know you love them.
And to the rest of you lovely souls at eCampus HQ, you just keep doing what you’re doing, will ya?
These projects (The Open Faculty/Learner Patchbooks) started before I came to eCampusOntario, but I was thankfully allowed to keep them going during my time there. I think I felt at one time that these projects had an expiry date, had a time to shine and then maybe fade away. Now I think they are free to live on as long as possible. Like the podcast, I want to keep collecting these stories forever. What’s the rush? I’ll keep collecting the stories of how we go about our teaching and learning whenever they are ready to be shared. My final visit to a college as a PM at eCampus for the Georgian College #EdTechDays even lead to a fantastic new piece for the Open Learner Patchbook by Elaine Greenwood.
As I head back to Fleming College, I am curious and excited to see how I can use the experience that I gained back at my home institution. I also look forward to seeing eCampusOntario continue to bring openness and smart, critical thinking about technology in education to the masses of Ontario post-secondary educators and learners and beyond.
p.s. The featured image had this caption “two whales rushing into the water” which I think is hilarious because 1) those are no whales as far as my prairie-raised mind can see and 2) They are rushing INTO the water? like were they on the beach playing volleyball for a while? Hitting the snack bar? A six word caption that raises so many questions.
Last month I had the opportunity to let people know about The Open Learner Patchbook via the PressEd Conference. If you want to get your mind stretched open in regards to using WordPress in your pedagogy, check out each of the presentations, which have been curated in to moments here.
The Open Learner Patchbook is a very basic use of WordPress in comparison to the others. But still, I think it’s cool. Here’s my moment:
The excellent round of questions that arose from the Davidson talk made me realize that it is high time for the Open Learner Patchbook to have its Pressbook version (like the faculty patchbook already has) built so stay tuned for that!
This is a blog post version of my talk this morning at the Fleming College Spring Teaching & Learning Day. I spoke about how using Twitter can help you grow a professional learning network. And maybe a little bit about how PLN building is not a shmoozefest just for your own personal benefit. It can and should also be of service to others.
I only had 25 minutes, and I’m writing this before it happens, so here everything is in a more lasting format. What I hope happens is that we, the people reading this and those in attendance can hatch ourselves a nice, juicy PLN that leads to innumerable mutually beneficial connections.
For starters, here are the slides I used. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure situation here. As I lay this out in blog format, I’m going to have to choose the pathway for us. I hope that’s ok.
I choose to start with “Twitter is a Sauce”.
What I mean by that is that if your PLN is a stir fry, then Twitter is the teriyaki. The protein and veggies are friendly, shary people, communities, and organizations. It’s also things like podcasts, blogs, sites, courses, conferences, events and more. Twitter helps them stick together and turns them into something tastier and more fulfilling.
We don’t even need to take my word for it. Here in this post by Sarah Wendorf, as part of her work in the Ontario Extend mOOC, are no less than 18 ways, with awesome examples, how she uses Twitter to make that stir fry for your heart and mind. And many of those ways are not for Sarah’s sole benefit. Most of them offer her own expertise and ideas and access to her PLN in service to others. Saucy!
Okay, we are ready for our next path. I choose to go to “Sweet Tweetin'”
The Sweet Tweetin’ section is your basic “what exactly can we do with a tweet” 3 minute tutorial on how twitter works. I tried to find a couple of tweets with a lot going on so that we could break it down and see what can happen. I found this one which includes an original tweet with an image and a link, a quote retweet, tagged people, likes, retweets, a reply. This gives us plenty to look at. You can do a lot with a tweet.
A second busy tweet to look at is this one which included a Twitter moment (which represented a conference presentation that was held ON Twitter), some hashtags, another quote retweet and tagged people:
These were just examples of the things you can do. It didn’t hurt that the tweets themselves were about things I hoped were of interest to the attendees to check out, hopefully serving as an example of Twitter being saucy.
I guess now would be a good time to see what the No Problems Here choice is all about. Is that a herring?
I hope we survive this pathway.
Go check out slides 9-11 in the slide deck to see what happened there. It’s just a reminder that Twitter is not always sunshine and lollipops. Let’s go back and try again. “Working the Net” next okay with everyone?
Working the ‘net’ is seeing what we can do with our PLNs. What can we get out of it? What can we make it do? For starters, we can ask it for help:
I once asked two people in my PLN directly for some Open Education Slide decks to work with. What resulted was this collection of slide decks from about 30 fabulous people and orgs that advocate for Open Education. There are probably 1000+ slides to work with in there. Nice work, PLN!
I also wanted to show how you can offer access to your PLN to others. It will still benefit you to find out what your PLN can come up with for answers to a question posed by a friend. This one just took a quote retweet:
Look through the replies and follow threads and you’ll see that now McMaster has like 30 awesome books to order for their Teaching & Learning unit and that I am now part of a book club with some awesome folks in Oklahoma.
Okay now we have no choice but to head to “Follow”ship. What’s that?
“Follow”ship is a short fellowship in following people, in order to kickstart a PLN, right here and right now. I started by going over a few things that I have found via twitter that I treasure. You can check those out in the slide deck.
There’s nothing left to do now but make our PLNs grow by attacking this twitter list – PLN Kickstart List – with a whole lot of pressing of the “follow” button. The link takes you to the member list, so you can follow the heck out of everyone on the list that you’d like. DO IT!
The list includes any of those attending the talk in person that I could collect and anyone mentioned in any of the slides. I hope this list amps up a whole whack of networks. You want on the list, too? Ok! Pop your name in here.
I find that the PLN makes the work that we do less lonely, so I hope this talk and this post can serve to help you make some new connections that will work for all of us. I’m happy to connect with you.
Want to go deeper? Do today’s Daily Extend, today’s involves that same PLN Kickstart List and takes it a step or two further.
featured image credit:”Hatch!” flickr photo by chidorian https://flickr.com/photos/chidorian/173712147 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
Start a new game. Continue one you already started. Quit without even starting. These are your options when you enter a video game.
Ontario Extend is not so much a video game as it is a healthy lifestyle choice for your pedagogical endeavors, but we are offering up all three of these options for the #ExtendmOOC that we are currently running. (3rd option strongly discouraged).
It is currently Day 71 of 91 originally planned days spent in the EdX LMS for this particular iteration of the Ontario Extend professional learning experience. 13 total weeks, one week for an intro module and then a fortnight for each of the 6 proper Extend modules.
280+ people made it in to the EdX workspace. 280+ people whose work life during the winter term could possibly be represented by this GIF:
There are not 280+ people actively working in the mOOC today. Far less, I’m afraid to say. This is par for the course with MOOCs. But we want to see if we can do something about that.
We’re going with the most overused tactic for trying to accommodate and include learners in a learning experience: We’re going to give you more time. A lot more time. We’re nearly doubling it.
What does this mean for you?
-If you’re “behind” but have still been chugging along at your own pace, it means you keep right on keeping on. You are the ones who press the “continue” button.
-If you signed up back in the fall but never got started because winter term came at you like a wrecking ball, you can start over, with us still here to help facilitate your experience. We will “reset” to help you through in May and June. You are those who press the “start a new game” button.
-If you’re thinking “what the heck is Ontario Extend?” first of all, watch this video, then pop your name in here and I’ll email you the details for kicking off the remOOC at the beginning of May. You are most welcome to join us. You also are hitting the “start a new game” button.
-If you’ve been keeping up with us and are just sitting there wondering what all the fuss is, you just do you and finish up so we have your examples to learn from. You are the ones who never turned the game off. You are allowed to rest sometimes you know.
The only question left is, what do we call this experience? Do the poll to have your voice heard.
If you have any ideas for how to help everyone with interest new and old in this experience, please comment below or email me at email@example.com.
Hope to see you in there!
UPDATE: We are holding a webinar about the Extended experience on April 24th at noon ET
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
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
Today in #ExtendmOOC, it is finally time to really get down to business. Module One is launched!
The week we spent getting to know each other in Module Zero has been just a wonderful, fun time seeing educators from all over the place, geographically and discipline-wise, get to know each other a bit. There have been just a boatload of responses from participants sharing where they are and what they do and what they hope to get out of this mOOC. I am happy to see participants willing to share their thoughts about how we’ve deployed things in the EdX platform as well as a great group going for the outside EdX free wheeling DIY route!
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of the Extend Modules as we begin the Teacher for Learning Module. I said this before, but I want to say it again: what an opportunity. An opportunity for all of us involved to gain a bit of each other’s experience, to borrow pedagogical ideas from across disciplines, and to hopefully make enjoyable connections to each other that maybe could lead to any number of positive future collaborations, beyond this mOOC.
On another note, please view the GIF below to see who is extremely grateful to have Alan Levine helping to guide this experience. He is working very hard to make everyone feel welcome and for having a lovely trail-head created and mapped for all the paths that may be taken by Extend mOOCers.
I feel incredibly lucky to get this chance to work with him on this project.
Here are my hopes for this module: That we see many different takes on what can be done with the upcoming Teacher for Learning activities, That we see many different routes taken to get there using many different tools, and that we hear some reflections and feedback on the experience. Oh and I hope some people join us on the Extend Radio Show!
I’d better get to work on my own responses! See you in there!
Take your time. Hurry up. Choice is yours. Don’t be late.
It’s almost time to come in. The Ontario Extend mOOC opens next week. Well, the lobby will be open. We will be hanging out in Module Zero, getting to know each other a bit and chatting about what to expect over the next 12 weeks. Your starting point is wherever you are right now. Come as you are.
Ontario Extend will help you fill up several pedagogical buckets. Some of these buckets of yours may be quite full already. Some may be less so. The labels on these buckets are: Curator, Collaborator, Technologist, Teacher for Learning, Experimenter, Scholar. Personally, I think my scholar bucket sprung a leak so I definitely need to revisit that one.
In Module Zero, we will chat about how to get warmed up and stretched out before Extending ourselves. We will chat about the quest at hand. We will hint at some side quests you may want to take as well. You can come and go as you please.
There are over 320 of us signed up so far. 320+ Educators sharing their time, energy, thoughts and ideas for 12 weeks.
What an opportunity.
What can we do with this time? That is up to us as we go, but one thing is for sure: after our time together in the EdX LMS space where we are hosting the mOOC, we can leave it behind knowing that we still have each other to lean on. I think that is powerful stuff.
Maybe during the Technologist module, you get a little busy with your own course. Maybe you miss a thing or two. Now it’s a few months later and you’re planning for your fall courses and need some ideas. You think back to the mOOC. I’d wager you don’t immediately think about the content we covered. You think about what people were doing with it. You think “oh I remember Jess from Conestoga was doing some cool things with ____ (insert ed-tech tool of your choice). I’ll shoot her a message.” And guess who is thrilled to hear from you and more than willing to chat about ideas? Guess who also has some resources to share with you. Guess who saved you from doing some lonely work? Your mOOC friend Jess, of course!
So yeah you’ll get some cool badges, which is great. You’ll do some very engaging activities that can directly affect your teaching practice, which is awesome. We all get to work with Alan Levine! What? How amazing! But the most powerful thing, to me, is you’ll potentially have 320 Jess’s to lean on as you move forward through your career. I can’t wait to start connecting with all of you.
If you haven’t expressed interest in joining the Extend mOOC yet, pop your name in to this form: bit.ly/ExtendMOOC and we will follow up shortly.