@ontarioextend#oext193 If a student received an assignment back with just feedback, would they know what to do unless they were aware of how to use the feedback – do we promote reflective practice in our classes? Photo by Olhar Angolano on Unsplash pic.twitter.com/WYLcS8OEUr
After completing the tweet, I turned to Day 4 of the MOOC Making Sense of Open Education which was to explore Open Education Resources (OER) online. I collected some OER into a Padlet, adding articles, photos, videos and learning resources around helping student use feedback and the concept of reflective practice building on the thought of whether student know how to use the feedback we give them.
I selected one photo and one resource to try to make something new. I adapted a photo from Pixabay by stockpic and a four-page hand out from WestEd from their Formative Assessment Insight open course to create this graphic:
I am growing in both my knowledge and my skills through my professional development this spring but perhaps more importantly, I am becoming more naturally open by practice, practice, practice.
As I reflection on the history of open education, I think about my own progression to this point. I started learning in typical school settings deciding that I was done with traditional education in the early 2000s. For work purposes, I completed two post-grad certificates in Learning Disabilities Specialities through Cambrian College which was 90% online (and distances education for me) with two practicum requirements to be completed with a mentor.
In the years following, I became unsatisfied with the professional development opportunities offered to me and I began looking for my own. I completed some more distance courses for a fee and started hearing about MOOCs. I joined my first MOOC in 2012 and completed Gamification with Kevin Werbach @kwerb who also happens to be the first person I followed in Twitter. I have completed more MOOCs with Coursera and FutureLearn (my favorite platform) from education institutions in Canada, US and UK.
During the same period, I also pursued other learning online through blogs, websites and videos. I am also a gamer and began to create instructional videos for my fellow players in 2015. While I do not have many followers, my videos have been viewed in 122 countries. This and the experience of taking courses at universities in other countries through MOOCs opened my eyes to the idea of learning that can stretch over boundaries.
While I may not have all the definitions right, I see a connect between distance education, e-learning and MOOCs as having brought me to the point that I am interested in learning more about open learning for myself and that has started me thinking more about open education at my own institution and how I can contribute to that.
Making Sense of Open Education: Day 2 Building an Open Community – today’s learning centered on understanding a Community of Practice (CoP) and ways to find one. This connects neatly with my professional development efforts using OntarioExtend and my beginning development of a Professional Learning Network (PLN).
Let me begin by saying that I am very new at this. I have been working on my PLN for five weeks using Twitter. I am still sorting out what it is that I might be able to contribute.
In the readings, there were two aspects that struck a chord with me. In discussing the challenges of CoPs, Hayman pointed out that:
“If you are a marginalized person in your local context and/or workplace, if you feel like your opinions and voice are not valued, joining a new community can feel very risky.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license
I hesitate to admit that I am a marginalized person because there is a potential backlash for even saying so. I am a faculty member, as outlined in our Collective Agreement, but because I work in Student Services, I am often discounted by faculty who teach in the classroom. Part the reason is the structures we work under where faculty who teach are in the Academic Sector and faculty (generally counsellors and librarians) in the Student Services are in another sector. When surveys or registrations require you to “pick a school,” faculty like me who are school-less, cannot be heard or participate (unless you complain). When information is disseminated by schools, I don’t hear about it. Because faculty who teach are the majority, the professional development opportunities are geared to their needs. This and other experiences leave me feeling as an other.
I struggle to not feel like an other in Open Education professional development experiences as well because I don’t teach in a traditional sense. I do small-scale teaching with one time workshops, training tutors, seminars and other out-of-class experiences for students. I work on pilot projects that don’t fit anywhere else but this could mean that I have more opportunities to be open.
So yes, joining a new community feels very risky! I don’t know if I will be accepted or if I have something to offer and I don’t want to just take from the community. But at the same time, being new to this PLN building, I have found lurking to be a good strategy.
“It’s also completely okay (you don’t need anyone’s permission) to observe the course and the behaviours and communication of others in the course as part of your learning. This is sometimes called “lurking” in the online teaching and learning environment, but it’s not a very positive term. Observing (as many new-to-something learners do) is a valuable activity in the learning process.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license
I am learning a lot by observing including how to participate, what kinds of things to post, how to respond to posts, and what the social norms are like in this online community. At the same time, I am finding thought leaders to follow, organizations of interest, technology I can use, sources of OER and lots of information about Open Education. Oh yea, and I am learning to blog too!
I am participating in a 15 day MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and part of the learning is an activity to complete for each day. This is my first discussion post entry, repeated here so that I can tweet it!
Happy Day 1 fellow Open Education Learners!
For my submission, I found a video about Open Education that explained how one might use OER to learn:
I still feel that I am very new to Open Education and I would like to learn more about finding OER as well as understanding Open licensing. I want to learn about adapting OER and especially how material with different licenses can and cannot work together.
AND if I can find a few new friends along that way, that would be good too!
On what land do you stand? Helen DeWaard’s recent post on Hospitality got me thinking again about what Indigenous territorial lands do I live on and territorial acknowledgements. I found this website, Native Land by Victor G Temprano (@nativelandnet). This is a searchable map that reports the nations, treaties and languages of the Indigenous Peoples for that area. Please review the About section of the website to understand how the project was started and how the map is created.
I want to acknowledge that I work on the traditional territories of : Anishinabek (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ), Haudenosauneega Confederacy, Miami and Anishinaabe Nations.
I am using the information in the post to suggest a Daily Extend to the OntarioExtend project. If it is accepted and used, I will update this post with the details. In the meantime, check out Native Land and peruse the resources below for some more thoughts about territorial acknowledgement.
If I start with the premise that literacy has to do with a desire to communicate, then oral histories and cave paintings are artifacts of literacy. So too are books, works of art, music, dance, architecture, crafts, fashion and a myriad of other human expressions. As we humans strive to express the ideas in our heads, we create ways to do so. Literacy includes the desire to share ideas and information with your community, to learn and understand, to create and grow, to appreciate and critique.
In every generation, new mediums are created and old mediums are maintained, rediscovered or rejected. Therefore, digital landscapes are simply new spaces to occupy with our words, sounds, images, ideas and expressions. Our digital expressions are our cave paintings.
While I do believe that defining digital literacy (or digital literacies) can be useful, it seems to me that all the dissecting to find the small pieces and then trying to weave it back into a model leaves too much out. It is as if the act of pulling it all apart to name it leaves some of the magic on the floor that gets swept away when finally putting it back together and saying – this is it, this is the definition.
“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” ― John Archibald Wheeler
I really love is this quote from Wheeler and the idea that what we know is our island and the shore is our awareness of what we don’t know. As we learn more, our island gets bigger and so does our awareness of what we don’t yet know – our shore line increases in size. The more I learn, the more I realize that there is still so much to know.
I feel this way about digital literacy. When I got my first computer in 1992, I could not have predicted the ways in which I use computers in my daily life now. I think about my mother, who just turned 92 and who recently figured out how to video call me over Facebook on her iPad! My mother – whose first car was a horse, who grew up in a place where there was one phone in the entire village, who did not have a television until the mid 1950s, whose first motion picture was the Sound of Music in 1965 and she is video calling me! She has digital literacy. She has found a way to connect and communicate using this “new” technology!
So what does all this musing mean for me as a teacher in a digital world? This is the space I must occupy and I need to be both an explorer and a guide. I need to seek out, learn and understand new ways of expressing information and ideas in this digital medium while practicing creation, appreciation, and discernment.
Reflecting is an important part of extending. I am finding that I am changing a little bit every day because of this process, because of being part of OntarioExtend. If I don’t occasionally look back, I could miss that. I am becoming a bit more open, through my experiences and through the ideas and perspectives of my ExtendWest my cohort and PLN. This experimenting and practicing out loud is becoming a habit.
My first Daily Extend, my first experiment in extending was on April 26, 2018. I have been extending for just over a month. In that time, I have done 42 daily extends. You can see my work on the Daily Extend Leaderboard. I am proud to say that, at the moment, I am in the Top 10 of all time Daily Extenders!
Through the Dailies, I have:
found creative common resources to share
learned to take some of my own photos creating some original content
wrote some poetry and a story
made a gif, a video, a meme, an infographic, a poster and a superhero
tried free and interesting online services
I also got over my fear of tweeting, found some fellow educators to connect with and have become a part of a community that extends beyond Ontario.
Some of the tools I used:
Snagit by Techsmith
YouTube with Advanced Search
Marvel SuperHero Creator
Open Culture website
The Noun Project
Randomness Story Generator Widget
Imgflip Meme Generator
Not every experiment went well. Sometimes, I made spelling mistakes. Sometimes, I posted in the middle of the night and no one noticed. And while that is okay, it is nice when someone likes your tweet. My first gif was rough and looked a little odd. A couple of my pictures were out of focus. And while these things may or may not be noticeable, I don’t think I would change it because it is part of my process of learning and extending. I have the privilege of failing, nothing bad is going to happen.
I will keep experimenting through the Dailies and through the Extend Modules. It feels uncomfortable at times but that is part of extending, stretching and growing. But I will be aware what I have learned so far and work to improve my dailies, my extend activities and my blog. I will also look to be inspired by some of my experimenting to find ways to incorporate what I am doing here for myself to benefit my students and my institution.
If you have not yet tried the Daily Extend or any of the modules, I invite you to join us. It is unlike any other professional development opportunity you are likely to experience this summer!
My adventures in creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is only weeks old. However, through OntarioExtend – the modules, the blogging and the Dailies, I already have a fruitful PLN growing.
I began with the Daily Extend. I created one and tweeted it. Then I watched for people to either tweet a Daily or like a Daily. If they did, I followed them.
I created my first blog and added it to the ExtendWest blog feed. Then I read other blog posts that showed up and found those folks on Twitter and followed them.
I attended two conferences in early May, the Open Education Summit 2018 held in Windsor, Ontario and the OntarioExtend’s ExtendWest Kick-off event held in Sarnia, Ontario. I added people I met to twitter. I tweeted about the events and searched #oes2018 and #ExtendWest and added people who were also tweeting about these events.
Then I started cleaning up:
I did not follow back everyone who followed me. When someone follows me, I check them out first. Is this person just looking to increase their follower count or do they have something interesting to offer me? If the person is creating new tweets (not just retweeting) and has interests in common with me – particularly in teaching, learning, technology, professional development… I follow them back.
I checked the list of people I follow and thought about why they are on the list. If I couldn’t come up with at least one good reason, I unfollowed them.
I discovered Twitter lists. I love lists. After I add someone, I put them in a list based on categories. It helps me remember why I added them and when I review, I can decide if they are worth keeping. Sounds mercenary, but you have to be worthy of my time and I will do my best to be worthy of yours.
Taking Further Steps:
Now I am watching my feed and looking for people who people I respect follow especially those that more than one person I respect follow! I add these new sources.
I am also thinking about and looking for organizations that work towards goals that are important to me. Here is one to consider adding to your PLN: @Womenalsoknowstuff
I am also beginning to explore Twitter Chats and VConnecting.
The Big Step:
I can’t just lurk in the background, taking from my PLN and offering back only likes. I have to figure out what I can contribute. I am not sure what that is yet.
In the meantime, I am okay with the idea that it is early days and I am still learning about cultivating my PLN. But along the way, I am doing a lot of learning by observing. And of course, the Collaborating Module in OntarioExtend is providing a good road map. I am going to repeat this activity in about the month and see how my PLN has changed!
It is my favorite Summer past time, because Student Services never sleeps. For most faculty, summer time means an opportunity for a two month break. Not so in Student Services. At St. Clair College, we have two Retention Coordinators and that means, for the most part, one of us has to been available over the spring and summer months. And, I don’t mind working in the summer, the college has air conditioning and the slightly quieter paces means small summer research.
I generally pick a question of interest to me and see where it leads. Some past questions I have explored include:
What prevents students who have a GPA of 3.0 or better in their final semester from graduating?
For program X, what is the institutional retention of students who drop out? The difference between stop out and drop out over five years.
What are the success rates in MTH XXX after offering specialized class walk-in tutoring compared to previous three years?
What programs do students who have taken preparatory courses graduate from within five years?
Which programs have high tutoring usage, according to KPI results, but have the lowest KPI satisfaction/highest KPI dissatisfaction (in tutoring)?
The title of this post is the name of one of my Vaping Shows. For the last 18 months, I have been part of a community that produces online broadcasts using either OBS or Xsplit for the Vaping community. So what does this have to do with creating a PLN. A lot, actually. I have been very interested in different ways of communicating online with technology and I have used other interests such as vaping and gaming to explore those technologies. I found that I am a teacher and a communicator where ever I am and I have been able to extend my learning through leisure activities to my work as a faculty member at a Ontario college.
Using Coggle, I created a map of the types of communication technologies I use in different arenas of my life (pictured below). I have been a full-time faculty for almost 11 years with another 13 years of part-time teaching and support staff contracts at St. Clair College. I have been an online gamer for 13 years and a vape broadcaster for a year and a half. I have been working on a PLN using Twitter for just over a month. Not long at all in comparison.
I have more experiences in developing and maintaining a Personal Learning Network with the Vaping and Gaming communities then I do with the Higher Education community. My gaming experiences in creating a YouTube channel of instructional videos and my broadcasting experiences in the vaping community improved my ability to create videos for my work. Using chat through Skype and Discord with players from all over the world increased my cultural awareness of communication patterns and pitfalls that has helped me in speaking with and understanding my International students and tutors. Building reciprocal relationships though Facebook helps me to better understand what is needed to develop online connections on Twitter with other Higher Ed professionals. But I am still finding it hard to generalize my experiences and to understand the requirements of the Collaborator Module for Ontario Extend.
Perhaps part of this stems from my struggles in trying to create a PLN at the college with other faculty. As a faculty member in Student Services, I have found that Academic faculty and others in the Academic sector often don’t think of Student Services people as faculty. I am currently classified as a counsellor and while I may not be a professor, I do have a practice that includes teaching. I have an interest in teaching and learning but do not have many opportunities to meet with and talk with faculty outside of Student Services. The kinds of meetings we have and the sort of communication vehicles we use (email and telephone) do not lend themselves to community building or finding allies. Even our schedules make this difficult. As faculty who are scheduled 35 hours per week, we have regular lunch periods and most in-class faculty have, can I say, erratic schedules that don’t necessarily allow for a 12 noon to 1 pm break.
I will attempt to create a PLN map for the Extend Activity, I just hope I can figure out at least 10 people to put on it!