Steez-Based Learning

According to the Urban Dictionary, Steez is simply style with ease. I am here today to offer you a way of learning with style and ease. In a world that fights to the death for your attention, you just might need to enhance your methods.

 what we do… we update our formulas

Guru, “You Know My Steez”

So with that, I present to you EZ Learning: Audio Books with Beats. This might be a silly idea no one digs, but it works for me. I tried it out on the Open University’s wonderful Innovating Pedagogy Report for 2023 and enjoyed the process. You can hear the results here. Now without asking anyone else if this was a good idea or not, I thought I would continue along and do it bigger: An entire open textbook that I wanted to read. Thank you for the gift of another show space on VoicEd Radio, Stephen Hurley!

Show description:

Get ready to experience learning-while-lying-down like never before with “EZ Learning.” This podcast series combines the power of technology, knowledge, laziness, and creativity to deliver a learning experience that’s informative, engaging, and truly for the laid-back learner. Let the learning come to you in this synergy of educational content and captivating beats which transform your learning journey into a more sedentary one (when you need it). Learning has never been this easy. Each season will be a chapter by chapter robot-voiced recording of an openly licensed text book, article, or report paired with some also-openly-licensed instrumental beats.

SEASON 1: The Theory and Practice of Online Learning. (An open textbook Edited by Terry Anderson, published by Athabasca University Press)

Each episode is an audio recording of a chapter and includes background beats from the Free Music Archive: Brown Lounge Volume 2 DJ Mixby Letherette. This project has no quality assurance so if please let me know if you find yourself listening to dead air lol.

If you want to do this silliness yourself, here is what you can use to make it happen:

You know my steez.

(featured image created by DALL-E)

Let’s Get Explicit

How can I explain it? If you’re all down with OEP (Open Educational Practices), I think that it’s time to make one thing clear… we’re a bunch of wannabe hip hop artists and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ll take you frame by frame it.

According to The Zulu Nation, there are five essential elements of hip hop. In this post, I hope to describe each of them a little bit and then try to relay them into a metaphor for Open Educational Practices, or just open education in general. I am more of an expert in the latter than the former, but I learn more (and love more) about hip hop every day. As we’ll see, there are different roles to play in each of the elements. Some people are known for one over the other although everyone crosses boundaries, here and there.

1.  Lyricism (Rapping)

In hip hop, emcees are the ones rhyming on the mic. They smith the words, make the rhymes, and deliver it to you with rhythm and flow. There are absolutely endless examples of different, riveting ways to rap. Just listen to a few of the greatest rappers of all time

To me this is the easiest and most obvious category to relate to Educators. Our emcees are the faculty members, out in front of students, spittin’ hot content. It’s not just what they say, it’s how they say it. I mean yeah it’s definitely more what they say than how they say it, but sometimes it’s just a mixture of both. I mean, I would listen to any of Rajiv Jhanghiani, Robin DeRosa, Jesse Stommel, Jim Groom, Maha Bali or countless others talk about anything just based on how they deliver to be honest.

So who do you think are our Missys, Tupacs, Biggies, and Weezys?

2.  Turntablism (DJing)

Grand Wizard Theodore took a piece of equipment that was supposed to just need a little bit of your input to get started, and turned it into a dynamic instrument that could blow your frickin’ mind. The record player was made to just dutifully sit there and turn in clock wise circles after you carefully place the needle at the outermost part of a record. Grand Wizard Theodore thought “fuck that” and dropped that needle wherever he pleased, and manually took over just which way that record was spinning. It most surely did not say to do that in the manual. The results are that every single damn record ever made and ever will be made are now a portal to endless new sounds and new worlds. Just watch Mixmaster Mike do it here (start at around 1:45):

If someone could have a look at the LMS and do that with it, that would be great. I’ll wait.

That said, I’ll go right out and say first that the DJs/Producers of Education are the ed-tech folks and the instructional designers. There are folks in ed-tech who try to master, mess with and straight up own the technology like hip hop DJs/ producers have. Some of the results are absolutely mind blowing and I would love to see more and more and more of it. And then some more.

If you’re a faculty member looking for a DJ to make some tight beats for your content, find yourself a Martha Burtis, an Alan Levine, or a Tom Woodward to make the technology do just what you want it to do and not the other way around. And keep pumping out Open Educational Resources so we have more material to sample.

So who are the Large Professors, Dr. Dres, RZAs, J Dillas of Open Education?

3.  Breaking

Hip hop doesn’t care if your knees and back don’t want to dance. There’s a b-boy or b-girl inside of all of us ready to lay it down at the altar of hip hop. Sometimes, an altar is made of cardboard and the DJ leads the service. You don’t want to get raptured, so you better get to poppin’ and lockin’.

If all has gone well with numbers 1 and 2 in your work developing learning experiences, guess what? We all turn into a bunch of b-boys and b-girls for each other. I have never been a part of a community so supportive of each other, who constantly pumps each others tires by liking and sharing their work, making connections and just generally heaping praise all over the damn place. And you know why we can do it and want to do it? Because we know each other. Because we are open. And we want to get to know you, too.

So the next time you’re retweeting and liking the work of a fellow open educator, just remember that you are figuratively doing for your friends what Bag of Trix are literally doing below.

4.  Graffiti

Graffiti is a controversial inclusion as an element of hip hop, but there’s no denying that it shows up everywhere, and that it can be quite beautiful. If graffiti is a visual expression of hip hop, then maybe openly licensed imagery is the graffiti of open education.

Where would our emcees be at their lectures and keynotes without a slide deck full of some bomb ass (openly licensed) photos? And I’m going to put this out there that Alan Levine, also one of the listed great “DJs” of Open Ed is also its greatest graffiti artist. Just look at the 50 million images he’s put into the Commons on his Flickr page (actual count: 65547). Have look at your attributions on your slide decks and you probably have a cogdog in there somewhere.

Perhaps another side to the graffiti metaphor is all the annotation that we can put all over any page of the Web done via Open Web Annotation using tools like If that’s not tagging stuff up and adding our piece, I don’t know what is.

Update! As suggested by Martin Weller, another amazing source of graffiti in the Open Education space is The Fabulous Remixer Machine from Bryan Mathers. Get in there and make some art for us!

Let’s have a listen to someone who began his hip hop journey as a graffiti artist, and then went on to become on of its greatest emcees: KRS-ONE.

5.  Knowledge

The last essential element of hip hop that we’ll cover here is knowledge of its history.

“Don’t come at it without being willing to learn and grow alongside it.”

I think we can all relate to that over here in Open Education. Avoiding the historical amnesia that Martin Weller refers to in his book 25 Years of Ed Tech is obviously a good idea, and a tack that helps you gain acceptance into the folds of both hip hop and the open education communities.

You’ll also find that as you learn from the people who share their experience of the history of Open Education or Ed Tech, like Martin, you can actually connect with many of them and build yourself into the networks.

Kendrick Lamar couldn’t make something this good with out knowing what and learning from what came before him.

So there you have it. In the midst of the pandemic, online learning is maybe having its biggest moment. If this is a fork in the road, I want to take the path that has more of the community, the innovation, the creativity, the control and everything else except probably the fat stacks of cash. We should follow hip hop’s lead and get as explicit with it as we can.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

My Conference Presentation About WordPress That Was On Twitter But Is Now on WordPress But is Actually My Tweets #PressEdConf20

Check out all the awesome stuff that went on in the #PressEdConf here!

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

What’s With All The Sharing?

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)_/¯

Photo by Demi-Felicia Vares on Unsplash

Pitter Patter

Soon you’ll be hearing the pitter-patter of little feet is a bit of a weird saying when anticipating the birth of a child. You hear a lot of other stuff for months before any footfalls. Maybe it should be the screamy- shouty of little lungs.

Speaking of pitter-patter, it’s time for me to get back at ‘er. I’ve been off on parental leave since early June with our third daughter, Hattie. It’s been a fantastic, sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled, tear-and-some-giggles-filled summer. But today I return to the team of Program Managers at eCampusOntario which is also wonderful and caffeine-fueled with some giggles (less tears, for sure).

This post is written for me to get my head around where to go from here. Below I will list the challenges I put to myself for the foreseeable future. If you have any thoughts or would like to wrestle any of these challenges with me, let me know.

Ontario Extend

Ontario Extend is a program designed to help educators better use technology to enable learning experiences. It has a set of modules as well as a suite of websites designed to connect Extend community members together to share what they are learning. It’s good fun and it requires daily care to keep it growing.

So, two fun challenges for me here:

One is that Extend had Alan Levine running the show all summer, showing Extenders how to take it to the next level with weekly meet ups and a Domain Camp. A series of weekly posts Alan made has left us with some fantastic fundamental resources for educators who want to stake their claim to  their digital teaching and learning spaces. I plan to catch up on all that he has done and keep building from here. The GIF below represents what I hope not to do here.

A second challenge with Extend is that David Porter and Valerie Lopes are zeroing in on completing some research about the Extend Community. Which means we will learn about what works and what doesn’t. Which means we will get the chance to do some revising to make it better. A great opportunity.

Gettin’ Air

This is my podcast on voicEd Radio. It’s time to kick off Season 2! On the show I chat with those working in open and technology-enabled learning. The idea is for people to ‘get some air’ time to share what they do in the hopes that some people listen and get inspired to try new things or even share what they do as well. I challenge myself to increase the diversity of the voices coming on the show. The show has focused mostly on chatting with those working in Ontario, since we are here to serve Ontario Post-Secondary. But now I think that hearing what is happening outside of Ontario will serve us well to hear, too. Look for a mix of Ontario educators as well as some more global voices this season. If you want to chat with me on air, I want to chat with you! Let me know by commenting below.

The Catch & The Pitch

These two blogs are designed to regularly share quick snippets of goings-on in open and technology-enabled learning in Ontario. The Catch is focused on things from an educator’s perspective while The Pitch will collect the stories of learning with technology.  The Catch ran all last year, but The Pitch is yet to throw its first post out there into the great wide open. Stay tuned for posts from both soon. The challenge is to get these two working off of each other and connecting the stories and people from both perspectives.

The Open Patchbooks

The Open Learner Patchbook and The Open Faculty Patchbook are ongoing projects to collect stories/how-to advice for teaching and learning and putting them together into something resembling a bigger picture. My challenge is to get more contributions, especially for the Learner Patchbook, and put them together and publish it as an open book in Pressbooks (or maybe the sequel for the faculty one!) If you have any thoughts or know anyone who might want to contribute, let me know in the comments below! I am very excited to get to speak on this topic at OpenEd18 next month. Maybe I will see you there!

Now, time to dig in to these challenges.

featured image: Hattie’s itty-bitty feet.

We’re All Richer – A #WhyDomain Post

I’m late to the Interviewing Your Domain game that Cogdog asked us to play, but I have a good excuse.

Gord Downie sums up why I feel it is so very worth it to have a domain of my own to share my thoughts and ideas about technology in pedagogy in the opening moments of The Tragically Hip’s live album “Live Between Us”. Listen to the first minute, then let the music play as you read if you want.

“This is for The Rheostatics. We’re all richer for having seen them tonight.”

The Rheostatics were the opening act. They are a fantastic band, but with a far smaller following than the Tragically Hip. Gord’s words must have put countless people on to The Rheostatics, myself included.

It’s a simple fact: We’re all richer for having seen each other’s work. I’d count myself lucky if something you have read or seen on my domain makes you feel enriched, but the fact is I am enriched by the sharing of so many educators in Ontario and way beyond and I want to do my part to share anything I think I have to offer.

Now, on to CogDog’s interviewing-your-own-domain queries.

CD: What is your domain name and what is the story, meaning behind your choice of that as a name?

TG: My domain is I got a domain because, as a hopeful open participant in ds106, I was told to grab one. I thought I’d be putting some little nuggets of my learning up there, so I called it Learning Nuggets. The movie rights to this origin story are still available.

CD: What was your understanding, experience with domains before you got one? Where were you publishing online before having one of your own?

TG: I was not publishing anything online myself beforehand. I hadn’t thought much of what it might mean to have your own domain for personal learning reasons. I knew the Web had Netflix on it, so that was cool.

CD: What was a compelling feature, reason, motivation for you to get and use a domain? When you started what did you think you would put there?

TG: The site included looks at other participants’ work all over the place. I thought, hey cool, this ds106 thing will show me how to make something good enough to see my own work on here. And seeing everyone else’s stuff gave me great ideas and made me feel like I wanted to be a part of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if my first 100+ posts were responses to ds106 Daily Creates and assignments.

CD: What kinds of sites have you set up one your domain since then? How are you using them? Please share URLs!

TG: I’ve kept my domain pretty simple with nothing but sporadic blog posts, but learning how to run my own WordPress domain definitely helped me know how to make a couple other domains happen: The Open Faculty Patchbook and the Open Learner Patchbook. These are domains with multiple authors who share stories of teaching and learning in an attempt to cover much of what one might need to know. Want to add to them? Let me know @greeneterry!

CD: What helped you or would have helped you more when you started using your domain? What do you still struggle with?

TG: As always, the community was the biggest help. As I shared I gained more connections to a professional learning network that I can rely on for help. I still struggle with cPanel, but I know who to go to for help!

CD: What kind of future plans to you have for your domain?

TG: To keep on trucking. To keep sharing my thoughts and ideas about technology-enabled learning as they come up, to be a part of a much larger shlamozzle of people sharing ideas that spark new ideas. I want it to be some of the wood that keeps the fire going.

CD: What would you say to other educators about the value, reason why to have a domain of your own? What will it take them to get going with their own domain?

TG: You don’t need to post to your domain all the time and it doesn’t have to take a tonne of your time, but it can become a central piece of your work, can allow you the space to solidify ideas and plans and to get and give inspiration. Do a thing like ds106 or Ontario Extend that asks you to have your own domain to give you a reason and some practice with running a domain and take it from there. It’s not a race. It’s the long game.

It will make us all richer for having seen it.

RIP Gord Downie. Thank you for leaving behind so much amazing art for us to chew on for a long time.

featured image “hip crowd” flickr photo by radiobread shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Interrupt Yourself

Yesterday morning I had a moment where I realized I wasn’t too sure what to do next, work-wise. So I decided to take the moment to check in on Benjamin Doxdator‘s writing, because that stuff will fill you right up with things you maybe need to think about. It’s so good.

I think I was drawn to click on a post called “What Should Give Educators Pause in 2018” because I was kind of taking a little pause from just constantly trying to “do stuff” and taking a moment to read a few things. I mean, obviously I check out and read things often enough, but I haven’t been consciously telling myself to stop and take in rather than just trying to keep putting things out there. As a self-described open educator, I want to remind myself to take and take as well as give from the commons that we have. And by take, mostly I mean take in more the openly shared thoughts, ideas and plans that open educators tend to share on their blogs or podcasts.

Benjamin’s post was a two phase thing in which he originally asked people to contribute audio about “what should give them pause” and he then put it all together into a podcast and updated the post with the final product. It’s a wonderful, peaceful piece with eight responses from around the world. I especially enjoyed joining Alan Levine on a walk with Felix.

It just so happens that later that day I was chatting with Helen DeWaard and she brought up something that fell together with Benjamin’s “productive interruptions”, for me. That was the #OneWordONT challenge in which you choose a word to focus on for the year. Helen chose “frames” so she will spend the year being cognizant of the frames she sees the world through and see if she needs to do something about it.

I am going to take a simpler route and choose “pause”. I’ll take a cue from the cows above and look at the vista views. I’m going to interrupt myself when I feel the wheels are spinning, stop, and just take in what’s around me. I guess I don’t have an answer to Benjamin’s question “what should give educator’s pause?” other than to say, “Good idea! Let’s pause.” Maybe I’ll even pause the pause to track what I’ve read during these little pit stops so I can see how productive my interruptions have been.

Featured image: “pause” flickr photo by amysphere shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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 > 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 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 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 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:

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 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 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, 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 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license