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 https://flickr.com/photos/amymichon/2482489038 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 > thecatch@ecampusontario.ca. 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 Ontarioextend.ca 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 tgreene@ecampusontario.ca 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 voiced.ca 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: tgreene@ecampusontario.ca

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 https://flickr.com/photos/davefayram/4744862344 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 voiced.ca. 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 voiced.ca, 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 https://flickr.com/photos/gammaman/12892016424 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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 https://flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/18309480 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) 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! https://flickr.com/photos/span112/2350360329 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.

Love,

Terry

featured image”Clear cut – White Hill” flickr photo by Rob Hurson https://flickr.com/photos/robhurson/14962527635 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) 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.

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

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

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

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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 https://flickr.com/photos/shannonoberg/16260674029 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

 

A Hoot

We used Kahoot briefly yesterday in the Fleming New Faculty Experience. It’s a quizzing tool that lots of people seem to really enjoy. It was easy to set up, easy to deliver and, I think, quite fun.

The way Kahoot works was involved in making it fun, but here’s what I found the most fun about our “hooting”: the banter.

See, we’re just beginning to build a community or culture of we’re-in-this-togetherness with each other. We threw the “hoot” together to get us to start thinking about what we do know and don’t know about learning outcomes and also to show Kahoot as a possible tool to use in the future. I enjoyed the banter more than the “hooting” itself in that we kept talking throughout about how we may or may not have any clue about the answers to these questions yet. We may not be activating any prior knowledge but instead getting the ball rolling on knowing our first things about the topic at hand. And that is more than okay. I especially enjoyed the banter coming back at me (Mary) about my choice of words in some of the questions and whether or not they made any sense. Talking about the wording drew us more deeply into the topic we were introducing. I’d like to say my poor choice of words was therefore planned, but I’m grasping at straws here.

But please, keep up the banter. I also really hope my incessant ‘verbing’ of Kahoot sessions as “hooting” will catch on.

Hoot, hoot!

Featured image: “Owl” flickr photo by Matt Biddulph https://flickr.com/photos/mbiddulph/4681820992 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Begets

One thing begets another. Sometimes in very cool ways. Here are cool things that lead to other things for me this summer.

Step 1. Jenni Hayman (@jennihayman) from eCampusOntario asks me to share my story about how I got into Open Education on the #101OpenStories series

Step 2: Write a post about that story to get my thoughts together.

Step 3: Go on the #101OpenStories video chat to share that story. Get upstaged by Alice in adorable ways. Just watch her:

Step 4: Doug Pete’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs features the aforementioned blog post “Things Open“. Colour me flattered.

Step 5: Doug Pete also chats about this post, with Stephen Hurley, on his radio show of the same name on the VoicEd.ca radio station which chats about education in Canada 24/7. Colour me extra flattered.

Step 6: Stephen Hurley from aforementioned VoicEd.ca has me on his own radio show “In Conversation with Stephen Hurley”. I am now painted a nice, deep red flattered colour.

Step 7: (not yet completed) Stephen Hurley offers me the opportunity to have some time on the station to do a thing… A show? A… what? A weekly chat about Open Education? Sharing student projects? I don’t know yet! What would you do with the air time if you were me? Comment below if you have any brilliant ideas or want to go on air with me at some point.

“Baguettes” flickr photo by SteveR- https://flickr.com/photos/git/200262036 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license