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 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.

Snake Plissken thinks about the LMS

“Escape” flickr photo by Metaphox 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 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.


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 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 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! shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Dear Me

Ontario Extend #48 – Write a Letter to Your Past Student Self

Dear Me in 1996,

It’s me, your self. From the fuuuuutttturrree, oooooo! Good job getting through high school with barely good enough marks to get in to university. I’m so proud of you. I’m laughing at you right now because you’re about to go into a Forestry degree at the University of Alberta. To become a forester. Hahahahahahaha that’s not what’s going to happen! Not even close! You pick the right way for you eventually. But oh boy, you were way off! The foresters of the world are doing just fine without you. You are about to go in to a 4 year bachelor’s degree program that you’ll breeze through in 7 years because you’re not sure what you want to do and you keep switching and taking time off. And then you do a couple more programs after that. It’s not so clear cut, is it? Keep guessing and I’ll see you when you get here.



featured image”Clear cut – White Hill” flickr photo by Rob Hurson shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

A Piece of Thinking

I love the “scholarship” involved in this Daily Create:

Further instructions when you get to there is to just write the first paragraph. So now I will begin, but not complete, a thinkpiece about something I am not expert in. Ds106 is all about the moxy.

In Defence of Professional Scrabble

Scrabble needs its professionals. Not to work for it in spreading the popularity of the game or anything. We need them to stand vigil in defence of the rest of us against the evil forces that the game itself exerts on our language. You see, Scrabble has created a false economy that underscores the alphabet. There are subconscious waves at play in one of your cortexes that gives you a smug feeling when you use words in conversation that include the letters J, Z, Q. even F. We subconsciously think that we ‘scored points’ in our discussion because those letters were included. It doesn’t matter that we steered the conversation about weather patterns to include jazz. This is also the reason why quizzing is so rampant in education when there are far better forms of authentic assessment. The following is my five point plan for taking the letters back from Scrabble.

featured image: “scrabble” flickr photo by sammydavisdog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Beautiful Learning

It’s a bit funny our positions in the Learning Design & Support Team. We love teaching and learning and we are tasked with helping Fleming faculty in their own teaching, but we don’t get to do it all that often any more ourselves. To really teach. So when we get a chance like the Fleming New Faculty Experience, I hope we don’t come across too strongly. We’re just very excited. I think we all started this week excited for the experience and ended it even more so. Y’all were beautiful learners.

Keeping these reflective posts short and sweet will help keep us coming back to write more and readers coming back to read more so I won’t dig to deeply into the week, other than to say thank you to everyone for playing along with us. I really, really enjoy reading your thoughts on how things are going through your blog posts and I hope you will continue to share them. To anyone reading this interested in seeing some of the posts, you can see them listed in the sidebar of the The Teaching Hub, which is a weekly blog post for Fleming College faculty by the Learning  Design & Support Team.

Oh and I want to share the results of our “First Presentation Slide of the Semester Beauty Pageant”. Everyone tied for first place. Except Liz Stone’s was more first place than the others.

In first pace: Benjamin Walters for his Forest Management Using GIS opening slide.


Also in first place, Tom Brooke, for his Limnology III opener.


And in first place, Matt Ryan for setting the stage for COMM 201 with tears of… joy?


And finally, in actual real first place, we have Liz Stone’s first slide for Indigenous Perspectives. Looks great, Liz!


I love pretty slides. Thanks for playing along and can’t wait to hear the stories of how your teaching and learning goes throughout the semester.

featured image: “2nd Annual “More than a Beauty Pageant”” flickr photo by UrbanPromise Camden, NJ shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license