Category Archives: Faculty Development

Join OLE!

You are invited to join the group of people collaborating openly about ways to learn together in our ALT Lab faculty course, Online Learning Experience. Share with them what you know and what you are researching. Learn with them the value of collaboration and co-learning so you include these Connected Learning principles in your own course design.

“We live in a world in which you can get the answer to any question within seconds,” Rheingold told us over Skype, “but it’s up to you to determine the validity of the information you receive. It’s so important for learners to understand that critical thinking is not just a tool in the toolkit that you can pull out on occasion, but an attitude towards seeing information that you swim in.” In other words, a digital literacy can be seen as a mental framework one develops through practice—a simultaneously personal and collaborative skill that one must constantly hone in the midst of our computer-mediated lives. Practicing Web Wisdom: Mindfully Incorporating Digital Literacies

Learning to Participate in Open and Connected “Gatherings”

ALT Lab invited forty+ faculty to join our Online Learning Experience last week. It is an Open Connected Gathering, described so well by Maureen Crawford,@jmc3ualberta. Thanks to twitter, I found her How-to blog that described succinctly what I know faculty new to open connected learning experience.

I am amazed at the willingness of these faculty to jump into “the buffet or the fire hose/stream” of syndicated blogs and course activity descriptions at our site. I imagine they will experience the same feeling of being overwhelmed, with too much to read and follow, to “ever fully absorb” all that’s available. I hope they learn quickly to sample and “focus on the connections” they are making in this particular learning network, finding the value of collaboration.

We’ve asked that they also use Twitter #vcuole to help them build new network connections among those also teaching open connected courses. And they are!! I hope you find their requests for feedback on their newly developed course activities and blogs. Invite them to your network of educators! They’ll soon be sharing how they’ve included connected learning principles in the design of their courses and teaching practice.

Habit Formation

January brings to mind goal setting and, with the new semester, new beginnings and approaches.  What might make creating a healthy, ahabitt least more playful lifestyle an easier journey with a bit less guilt? As I wandered in the shelves of the Richmond Airport shops, waiting for my flight to Tucson for my family New Year’s celebration, I found an intriguing book. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Being optimistic, I thought it would be at least a good read about psychology, and perhaps it could set me up for establishing those “January” goals. It became my travel book.

On my return, I was reminded by feedly to read a Medium article, Could this be the secret to long-term habit formation? which reiterated what I’d been reading. I’d been to the gym once since reading the book, so reading about habit formation is not the same as implementation – obviously disappointing.

The third sign was an email for presenting 117 apps to help you create good habits. How can I not be successful??habitsApps

“To commit to the habits that will help us achieve our goals this year, we need to introduce variable rewards for doing them.”

An especially important goal for my 2015 is to become more “of the web.” This is about aligning my personal perspective about making connections with an extended network of learners using blogging. I have just spent a week with an extraordinary set of faculty who have agreed to take this journey, this change in perspective, with me.

I don’t see it as much as establishing a habit than beginning an adventure, one of those risks we’re always invited to try. What are the best rewards for narrating for others my own work? The connection and the learning.



When Do You Create your Online Course?

When I talked with a group of faculty at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference October 11, I asked TPtech14pollthis question in a poll, When Do You Create your Online Course?  Only some of the people responded, but I was not surprised by the results. 36% of the responses were “while I am teaching the course” because in their reality, they were asked to teach, online or in-person, only weeks before the course began.

My presentation was about “What’s Different about Teaching Online.” After polling the audience, I talked about the 12 week course we had developed over three years for faculty to help them prepare to teach online. The same reality struck course participation. Many dedicated faculty could not continue to commit that much time to learning to teach online when they were already teaching, often with an overload.

At the same time the way we communicate personally and professionally began to change. Our communication technologies made it possible to connect with each other seamlessly and often.

What information is essential for faculty learning to teach in this new open networked world? What type of Just-in-time information about teaching can make a difference in the way they establish communication with and among their students?

people sharing contact info through smart phones

In the online classroom, it is the relationships and interactions among people through which knowledge is primarily generated.
Palloff, R.M. & Pratt, K.(2007).Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom, (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Wiley, p. 15)

Ultimately e-learning is not about technology, it is about flexibility, connections, and community…sound pedagogical ideas must be merged with the astounding capabilities of the new and emerging communication technologies.
Garrison, D.R. (2011). E-Learning in the Twenty-First Century (2nd ed.)  New York, NY: Taylor & Francis. (pp. 73-74).

I wish I already had the answers to the best way to support faculty learning to teach with connected learning principles using the networked world. It will be an intriguing exploration of collaborations in design.