Tying The Room Together

This post is meant to be supplemental to two different professional learning sessions I’ve recently offered:

  1. Leave Room to Make Room, for the OLC Ideate Virtual Conference, and
  2. Creating a Course Podcast/Radio Show, for the Fleming College Virtual Teaching & Learning Week.

I think the two sessions feed each other, so why not make one blog post for the two of them? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The first session, Leave Room to Make Room (offered with co-host/kindred spirit Jonathan Lashley) was focused on discussing ways to cede control (and space) to the learners in online learning environments. As if by example, we did this by giving as much time to the participants as we could in a 45 minute space. We recorded mini podcast/radio interviews with participants, but we didn’t talk about HOW or WHY to make a podcast per se. We just used the idea of recording audio as an one example of leaving that space for learners to do something with course material.

The other session, Creating a Course Podcast/Radio Show, was focused more on how and why of it all (and to a completely different audience), offering up the tools and practices that you could use to enable students to make best use of their new space. But we didn’t get too much in to the (open) pedagogy behind offering up the structured space.

Now that the two sessions and their products exist, they can serve each other. The slides and recording from the latter can be offered up to participants from the former interested in digging deeper into using audio recording. The interviews collected from the former can serve as an example to those interested in the latter. (And perhaps offer a rabbit hole into Open Pedagogy)

And as the two entities come together in this post, I hope it all shows that there is great opportunity in online learning to offer up space and time for learners to just talk about course stuff and share it out to everyone to hear people talk about course stuff.

In preparation for the Ideate session, I thought it would be nice to collect some exemplars and then I got kind of carried away with it. I spun up a SPLOTbox (WordPress themes offered up from Alan Levine in his infinite generosity) to collect little audio clips. I put out a request for volunteers to help, hoping to pre-load the site with 3 or 4 exemplars heading in to the session. I ended up with 17 mini interviews from many of the heroes of the digital education road that we are traveling on right now. During the session itself, in order to model the idea of ceding control, we offered a brief introduction and spent the rest of the session recording mini-interviews with participants. Have a look at the slides here. Five fabulous souls volunteered, bravely doing it in front of 80 or so attendees: Katerina “From Space” Berezina, Katherine “Front Porch” Ridella, Dave “Long Pause” Goodrich, Angela “Darn Tootin” Gunder, and Karen “99 Tips” Costa. Here are their mini-interviews.

Favorite moments from the session included Jonathan’s wily Zoom backgrounds, multiple participants saying “LATER SKATER BYEEE”, and getting the idea of leaving space thrown back in our face in the form of an infinitely long, painful, drawn out pregnant pause from Dave Goodrich that left us shook (check it out starting at around 26:20).

A pointed comment in the chat came during the session that was something like: “And HOW do we put a podcast together?” and I thought, well I wish you could come to another session I have coming up! I guess that comment inspired this post, so thank you, pointed commenter!

Now to that other session. It was the penultimate session of an 8-day, Wednesday to Wednesday, Virtual Teaching & Learning “Week” that Fleming College offered to its educators. Throughout the week we offered panel discussions with faculty, students, and student support staff, various “emergency pedagogy” workshops, and other sessions focused on specific tools like MS Teams, Echo 360 and H5P. And, you guessed it, podcasts!

Here are the slides again from the session. The simple goal was to talk a bit about the who, what, when, where, why, how of it all and then to do it for real in a mini-interview from start to finish with the same mini-interviews we used in the Ideate session so that attendees could see it happen live.

Another brave soul (Thanks Mary!) volunteered to, in front of a live studio audience, go from the Webex room that we were meeting in, to the recording space on Zencastr, to do the mini interview. Then a quick edit in Audacity, and publishing and sharing. You can see it in the recording here.

And thus, the two sessions have come full circle in serving each other to show how and why to make space for your learners’ voices. And maybe that is enough belaboring the idea that these two sessions are meant for each other. You probably got (or rejected) the idea like 14 paragraphs ago. Thanks for making it this far! I hope you get something out of it. And, so you know, the SPLOT lives on and is still taking your ideas if you want to add your voice. Go to this link to record yourself. Later Skaters, BYEEEEE!

Photo by Ana Flávia on Unsplash