The Open Learner Patchbook Went To The PressEd Conference

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:

I was also very happy to get the chance to chat about the Patchbooks at Davidson College last week. (Here are my slides for that one.)

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!

As always, I will be accepting additional patches to both the Open Learner Patchbook and the Open Faculty Patchbook for the rest of time. Let me know if you want to add to it by commenting below or by tweeting at me.

Featured image created by Samantha Pitcher at

Hatching a PLN

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.

Choose your own presentation Hatching a PLN with Twitter

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.

choose your topic: sweet tweetin, twitter is a sauce, working the net, followship, no problems here.

I choose to start with “Twitter is a Sauce”.

You have chosen: 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'”

You chose 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?

You have chosen: No problems here

I hope we survive this pathway.

You Died. The End.

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?

You have chosen: Working the net

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?

You have chosen: "Follow"ship

“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.

you'll find things that you treasure.

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!

click all the follows that you like

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 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Reset, Reboot, RemOOC

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

Hope to see you in there!

UPDATE: We are holding a webinar about the Extended experience on April 24th at noon ET

Images created at

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 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 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Carry On, Carry On

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!

Photo by Ron Hansen on Unsplash

Come As You Are

Take your time. Hurry up. Choice is yours. Don’t be late.

Kurt Cobain

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: and we will follow up shortly.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

The Legacy

I’m going to use my final Ontario Extend 9x9x25 post space to try to drum up some interest in a legacy project. Ontario post secondary institutions all have access to Pressbooks EDU sites. I think we should use one to make a Greatest Hits “album”.

As of this writing, the 9x9x25 activities have generated 339 blog posts from 44 different blogs. That is 7.7 each. Which either means that lots of people made it at least close to the end, or a few people went way over budget. I’m kind of doubting many people, other than Laura Killam, (we are all sure you have one of these, Laura) went over 9 posts.

I haven’t crunched any numbers yet, so tell me which numbers to crunch. We are going to create an infographic of what went on here to include in the Pressbook as well as share freely. Some ideas:

How many people made it to the end?

How many people made at least one post?

How many times were posts read?

How passionate was James Skidmore?

Closest to having a running theme throughout the posts?


Here is a nomination form to tell us about your favorite posts. You’ll be asked to offer up one of your own if you are involved as well as one other that you think is the best. Then there is an option to make up an award and award it and a place to suggest statistics to look for.

Funniest? Seriousest? Weirdest reference? Most innovative style? The post with the most feeling?

I will collect the nominations and begin to put together the Pressbook. Anyone who wants a little experience working in Pressbooks is welcome to join in/come in and see how things are shaping up.

And if you are reading this right as this is posted, come on over to a Pressbook webinar at noon with the both very awesome Peg French and Steel Wagstaff!

Oh and also eCampusOntario’s wonderful graphic designer, Kim Nguyen, is working on an image for the 9x9x25 badge so stay tuned for how to claim your badge, you blogging superheroes!

Your Daily Sauce

This is my Ontario Extend 9x9x25 Challenge post #8

If I were asked to name the top 2 things that have helped me to not only develop and hone my abilities as an educational technologist, but also lead me down rabbit holes that have crafted my attitudes and values and love for this whole ed-tech thing, here is what I would answer without hesitation:

  1. Doing Dailies.
  2. Making Dailies.

Now you might be asking, what the heck are Dailies? It’s not a tool. It’s not really content or curriculum. It’s not part of a module. It’s a sauce. A sauce for your learning community. Sauce adds flavor. If it were up to my 4 year old daughter, there would only be sauce and no actual food to put it on. Is that so wrong? (well for actual food… yes definitely she is wrong)

I first came across the Daily with the ds106 Daily Create as I was partaking as an open participant in the legendary ds106 (a Digital Storytelling learning experience). Holy guacamole has participating in this been huge for me. If I were to completely map my professional learning network, I would guess that 99% of the most meaningful connections have roots in Tweeting out responses to Daily Creates/Daily Extends.

Oh yeah, what are Dailies? Simply put, they are short (10-15 minute) creative activities posted (you guessed it) every dang day to a learning community. They are fun. They introduce you to and get you some practice with new tools. They show you how others respond to the activities. They bring about new connections to peers. They get you in a routine that builds your digital skill, your network, and your joy for doing this stuff. What the heck more can you ask?

I have responded to the ds106 Daily Create 342 times. We forked the idea over to Ontario Extend and I have responded to those 215 times. That’s a lot of ketchup. All 550+ of those represent trying something new, making a connection or two and growing in little dollops.

They are usually fun. They are usually creative. Some take longer than others. With the ds106 Daily, they are a little more artistic. With the Daily Extend, they relate to technology-enabled pedagogy and are tied to the modules. You are expected to do exactly as many as you would like to do. There’s value in just checking out the daily every day without actually doing it. Here are some of the Daily Extend titles, just to show you the level of levity and brevity we’re working with here

  • #oext125 Stop your crying, it’s a line of the times. (a timeline activity)
  • #oext302 Ed-Tech Detectives
  • #oext152 Reclaim Fake News
  • #oext145 An Outrageous Checkout Policy
  • #oext138 Subterranean Scholarship Blues
  • #oext72 Slide Deck Beauty Pageant
  • #oext64 Taylor Swift Curriculum Design

It goes deeper.

You are not only welcome to try each and every Daily posted. You are also welcome to put in ideas for new Dailies: (ds106Extend). I’ve submitted a number of them to ds106 and as the program manager of Ontario Extend, I’ve done a fair chunk of those, too. Coming up with these is so very fun. I shouldn’t have all of it. I am currently collecting ideas for Daily Extends when we re-launch in early January. Here is my complete list:

  1. Who is on your personal Mt. Rushmore. Create an image representing the four people who have made you the you you are the most.
  2. …. Okay I only have one so far. What are your ideas? add them in the to the Extend Daily site or tweet me your thoughts.

And it all goes even deeper.

If this blog post were an episode of a reverse Scooby Doo Mysteries where someone is causing all kinds of havoc, only for good and not evil, we are now at the part where we pull the mask off the one making all these shenanigans happen. It’s Alan Levine! The cogdog! I’ll be adding him as one of my Mt. Rushmore heads. It was him all along, designing the Daily sites, creating countless daily activities in ds106, Extend, and a number of other projects. AND…

he gives it all away for you to host your own on GitHub. What a guy. Here is another place you can find him.

I hope to see you in January in the Extend mOOC when the Extend Dailies re-launch! In the meantime, the ds106 Daily Create is still going strong every day. Why not warm up over there?

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash


This is my Ontario Extend 9X9X25 Post for week 7.

I was holding my five month old daughter when I snapped this photo of the final slide of Robin DeRosa’s keynote at eCampusOntario’s Technology-Enabled Seminar and Showcase. (You can read the whole transcript here.) Out of 250 or so attendees at TESS, I held the only squeaky baby in attendance.

I simply had to bring her or not attend the day. I checked with the boss the night before.

“How bad would it look if I showed up tomorrow with Hattie?”

“It’s reality, man.”

Break given. Relief felt. Thank you, David.

How lucky was I also that Robin kicked the day off with a message of embracing instead of erasing our humanity in our work. Among other things, she described College Unbound and how many of the students bring their children to class.

Standing there at the back with that squirmy wormy in my arms I again felt a break was given to me. More relief. Thank you, Robin.

I was worried how people would feel about this little distraction being in the midst, but throughout the entire day I did not see one disdainful look on anyone’s face. I saw nothing but the opposite.

Those were all little breaks given to me by everyone in attendance. Thank you, everyone.

So, as a recent receiver of these little acts of humanity that helped me to be a part of TESS when I otherwise would not have been, and in the spirit of Robin’s talk, I am inspired to think about how I can make things easier for people.

We are in week 7 of the 9x9x25 writing challenge. I sometimes see in these posts claims about being late, being behind and being sorry about that. Is it stressing you out? What you’ve all done throughout the 9x9x25 has been fantastic whether you’ve dropped off for whatever reason or not. Can I give you some relief here by saying take the week off? What would help give you a little relief?

What are some things you can do to embrace the complexity of humanity in our lives and maybe provide some stress relief to those around you?

Now if we can only get the squirmy wormy to give us a break, too.

Check out Giulia Forsythe’s viznotes on Robin’s talk!

Inspiring @actualham #TESS18 keynote, A Human Framework for Institutional Innovation #viznotes