Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Group presentations and meeting faculty

Slowly catching up and getting back to normal, although I suspect with the semester beginning next week at work we'll be on a different sort of normal for the next few weeks.  I thought it would be a good idea to continue my blogging debrief of my orientation experience for Athabasca's EdD program that I did last week in Edmonton.

Part of the orientation experience is presenting the first assignment while you're there.  The first assignment for EDDE 801 is a collaborative presentation.  In May we were informed of which team we would be in, and we essentially had from mid-May to mid-August to choose a topic and then negotiate as we saw fit what we would present in the 60 minutes that we were alloted.  Our team had a choice of Andragogy and Multimedia in education - we opted for Andragogy after a little discussion.  We were given some general ideas of what we were expected to present during this collaborative presentation, but it was open ended.  Part of the reason is that we would be coming back to these topics again in subsequent weeks in the course, so if we weren't completely exhaustive in the presentation it was alright. I think that the emphasis of the presentation is more on process than on content.  The content needs to be there, but the process of getting your materials ready, and getting your team ready, and then presenting, is a much more important part of this assignment. That said, I think we did an awesome job with the topic of Andragogy (of course it should be noted that I am biased ;-) )

The overall planning for the presentation was interesting. We had not met each other in person before, so working together asynchronously, and sometimes synchronously, to get this done reminded me a lot of the collaborations that I've had with the MobiMOOC research team.  I think that the experience of working with others in a distributed fashion to produce something new was really instrumental in preparing me for this first assignment.

The other part of the orientation was to really get to know the faculty of the program. Some were there with us, while a few were remote.  I have to say that the most confusing aspect in this set of presentations over the 3 days where we were learning more about the processes involved in being an EdD student was what to call people. Do you go with Pat, or Dr. Fahy? Terry or Dr. Anderson? (and so on). When in doubt, I guess the more formal is the default form of address, but when you've read their work over the years (and had your own graduate students read it), and you've interacted with them over the web (as is the case with George Siemens) you get a sense that you know them a bit more than one would know them in a typical orientation setting.  That said, while the presentations that they all had were interesting, we did have a handful of the faculty with us for longer than their presentations.  I think more in-depth conversations could were had when they weren't presenting than when they had their powerpoints up on the screen.

While I was talking to Marti (Dr. Cleveland-Innes) I started drifting toward the course I teach (INSDSG 684) and this process I use and model for the students...and I blanked.  What was the name of the people who proposed this process?  I could describe it perfectly fine, but the names escaped me.  Well, that was embarrassing.  Back at the hotel room I was thinking hard and it came to me Con...rad....and....Do...Dona...Donaldson (Phases of Engagement). Things come to you at very odd times.  The orientation was a bit of cognitive overload, so I am not beating myself up too much about this, but you don't want to look like an idiot in front of one of the people who wrote about the Community of Inquiry framework ;-)
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