Reflections on #OpenLearning17

How will your experience in #OpenLearning affect your teaching practice or scholarship? Why?

#OpenLearning17 has provided lots of inspiration for making my teaching practices more open and accessible. The course has also helped me better understand some of the choices I’ve made about the learning environment I want to create with my students.  I have three partially written posts about specific aspects of the course and have accepted the fact that I’m not going to finish them until after the semester is over.  For now, I want to throw out what I think are three of my main takeaways:

#1: What’s in a Name? I am going to be less concerned about definitions and more attentive to what works and why. At the beginning of the semester I thought I’d come away with a coherent working definition of Open Learning. But (sort of) watching the recent debates about the definition of “Open Pedagogy” has led me to think we should advocate for a catholic use of Open and not insist on one gold star definition that gets held up as the new orthodoxy. Continue reading “Reflections on #OpenLearning17”

Contemporary Pedagogy at VT: A Conversation with Shelli Fowler

Orange Sneakers

Working with the Open Learning cMOOC  (#OpenLearning17) has given me the opportunity to re-connect with one of the most inspirational and talented educators I know. During her long tenure at Virginia Tech Dr. Shelli Fowler developed and taught a graduate course  called “Pedagogical Practices in Contemporary Contexts.”  A jewel in the crown of certificate programs in Transformative Graduate Education and Training the Future Professoriate, Contemporary Pedagogy brings together graduate students from across the university in a seminar devoted to developing a distinct teaching praxis. Shelli designed the course, which is known across campus as “GEDI” (the Graduate Education Development Institute) to help graduate students acquire the diverse and flexible skill sets they need to succeed and lead as teacher/scholar/professionals in the changing landscape of higher education. It works at multiple levels — as a professional development forum for early-career teachers, as an interdisciplinary discussion of the challenges and commonalities of engaging undergraduates at a Research I university, and as a site of critical engagement over the connections between the philosophical underpinnings and practical application of pedagogy (praxis). Continue reading “Contemporary Pedagogy at VT: A Conversation with Shelli Fowler”

Some Keywords: Access, Redlining and Divides

short handled brooms

Today is March 8 – International Women’s Day, which is being marked in the US by the #Daywithoutawoman campaign. I’ve struggled to get clarity on my own stance here — I’m especially sensitive to the point that striking is a privilege not everyone enjoys and have settled for the following demonstrations of solidarity: I’m wearing red (glasses), only spending money at my favorite local businesses owned by women, (mostly) staying off social media, reminding the world that we still / will always deserve equal pay and paid family leave, and holding off until tomorrow to post this.

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Subjective Digital Literacy?

Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet

It’s been nearly a week after Bryan Alexander’s invigorating tour through a “week of Digital Literacy” in our Open Learning cMOOC. Among many other things, the week helped me appreciate how fun and difficult it can be to stay abreast of a free-wheeling Twitter chat, how delightful it is to meet new people and work on shared intellectual concerns collaboratively, and how much I have to learn — not just about digital literacy, but but about learning itself.

The latter connects powerfully to the crisis of knowledge and knowing that has engulfed most communication channels since the new administration’s war on the media began under the banner of “Fake News.”  Like many others, I have spent many hours searching my soul, reading (and reading), and talking with people seeking understanding — not just of how we got to what still feels like a surreal moment, but what can and must be done to move us forward — or maybe it’s backward — to a time when dissembling, manipulating, and simply lying about what happened or what one said might not have been unheard of, but wasn’t projected at a national level as an acceptable, indeed expected mode of engagement.

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#Openlearning17 — Ted Nelson

Photo of Computer Lib, Dream Machine

Repost of For the Wholiness of the Human Spirit (2015)

Re-watching Ted Nelson’s eulogy for Doug Engelbart last week reminded me of one of the many (many) reasons Nelson’s thinking about computers and society resonates so powerfully with me. Mourning the loss of one of the most pivotal stars of the new media revolution by indicting his colleagues and making them laugh (nervously), invoking the tropes of classical funeral orations and quotes from Shaw and Shakespeare, and recounting the highlights and tragedies of Engelbart’s career, Nelson’s eulogy is a tour de force in terms of form (technique) and content.  He insists, as passionately as he had in 1974, that computers should support our dreams, indeed that technology is an expression of those dreams.  And dreams, of course, are as much about the emotions as they are about reason and calculation.

 Movies and books, music and even architecture have for all of us been part of important emotional moments. The same is going to happen with the new media. To work at a highly responsive computer display screen, for instance, can be deeply exciting, like flying an airplane through a canyon, or talking to somebody brilliant. This is as it should be…..
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“….it really gets hard when you start believing in your dreams….” — Doug Engelbart

In the hope that anything worth posting once can be re-posted again (different audiences?), I’m offering this reflection / question I wrote for Gardner’s New Media Seminar a couple years ago .  Thoughts, anyone?


I’ve posted before about how central Doug Engelbart is to the Awakening of the Digital Imagination. This time I’m going to let an image — or more precisely, a mural — do the talking.  Created by Eileen Clegg and Valerie Landau for the fortieth anniversary of the Mother of All Demos, this graphic representation of the interaction between cultural change, technological innovation, and what Engelbart called “collective intelligence” suggests how we have co-evolved with our technology since the early twentieth century.  At the end of the mural, a blue wave asks us to think about “the next paradigm-shifting wave of innovation”….which seems to be happening in 2015.  I mean, RIGHT NOW.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I ask you, looking at the elements of the mural and the interactions and shifts it depicts — can we imagine and work for a future using technology and our collective intelligence to deal with the world’s “increasingly complex problems” in ethically responsible and constructive ways? Put another way, can we afford not to do this?

“Help Me Grok it and I’ll Help You Make it Real” / Filtering Forward the High Value Trails

Grok Hybrids?

Wednesday’s webinar and twitter chat with Hypothes.is founders Jon Udell and Jeremy Dean — masterfully MC’d by OpenLearning17′Gardner Campbell — gave me so much food for thought.  We are starting to use Hypothes.is in the graduate pedagogy class I teach and we read “Working Openly on the Web” (7 Ways to Think like a Web) during the first week of class. So getting to listen to these three in action was a huge treat.

Continue reading ““Help Me Grok it and I’ll Help You Make it Real” / Filtering Forward the High Value Trails”