Showing posts from March, 2012

AAAL wrap up

Well, the AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics) conference is over and I am really really tired.  I can't believe that there are people that right after AAAL they are headed over to Pennsylvania for the TESOL conference... Me, I need a few days of sleep to recuperate from those four days of non-stop presentations. There were a number of really interesting sessions, and some not so interesting ones (mainly because it seemed like a lot of hand wringing and self-flagellation on the part of my colleagues presenting). In the next few days I will be posting about some of the interesting stuff I learned (or at least witnessed) at the AAAL conference.  For today though, I just wanted to write how surprised I was that there were only one or two people tweeting at the conference, and then again no so much. I did notice a lot of people taking notes on laptops, and on good, old-fashioned, legal pads - but the technology wasn't quite a big thing at this conference.  Oh well,

AAAL Conference, Day 4 Liveblog

Highlihgts of AAAL 2012 Day 4 (Tuesday 3/27) -Boston, MA. Check back for liveblog updates [ View the story "AAAL 2012 Day 4" on Storify ]

AAAL Conference, Day 3 Liveblog

My Highlights from AAAL 2012 in Boston for Monday 3/26 (Day 3 of the Conference). Check back for liveblog updates [ View the story "AAAL 2012 Day 3" on Storify ]

AAAL Conference, Day 2 Liveblog

My Highlights from AAAL 2012 in Boston for Sunday 3/25 (Day 2 of the Conference). [ View the story "AAAL Boston Day 2" on Storify ]

American Association of Applied Linguists 2012 - Boston Conference

My Highlights from AAAL 2012 in Boston for Saturday 3/24 (Day 1 of the Conference). Also, my first foray into live blogging with storify [<a href="" target="_blank">View the story "AAAL Boston - Saturday" on Storify</a>]

Commentary on Commentary on Comments

The other day I was catching up on Change11 and I came across a blog post titled commentary on comments which caught my eye because it reminded me of an NPR news-segment :-) I was thinking about both the lack of comments on other blogs and the slow-down in blog posts in general on Change11. As far as comments on other blogs go, I can't really talk on behalf of other Change participants, but from my point of view, and from my work-flow aspect, most of my reading is offline, using ReadItLater on my iPad. this means that in order to comment I need to remember to consciously go back to that blog post and comment on it. Sometimes if comments are longer, like this one, I tend to just post things on my own blog. As far as posting new blog posts, I too have noticed a sharp decline in Change11 posts. Personally I think that this is a function of the length of this other words it's too long. This was billed as the mother of all MOOCs last summer, and perhaps in terms of le

NERCOMP Conference summary(ish)

I was planning on doing a live-blog of NERCOMP last week, using storify, but in the end I got so wrapped up in the conversation, and the tweeting, that storify didn't really happen for me.  Last night I played with Storify a bit, grabbed as many images, tweets and websites I could and made a rather weak live-blog.  Oh well.  Maybe I will be doing some live-blogging at AAAL this weekend. In any case, here is a quick recap of our two presentations: GoodReads: Monday was GoodReads day, Christian presented his proposal for Social Reading (and reading outside of the class) using GoodReads in a lightning round - I helped him a bit flesh out the concept and the flow, and also served as the computer master for the presentation showing off things he was talking about.  It was a really great presentation, and we actually ended up getting a lot of questions afterward.  I liked the Lightning round format because it forced you to be concise (15-20 minutes in length) and to really think abou

It doesn't all start with engagement

I was reading a post on change11 the other day and this video was talked about. The essence of th video is that in education these days we've gone crazy with assessments and we forget about th learner. Fair enough, I believe that this is indeed true in some states and school systems, especially with things like no child left behind. The problem comes in (for me at least) when the people start talking about engagement first, and not learning objectives or something to assess. They actually see the assessment/objective first as wrong, and this is where they lose me. As educators we need to start off with a certain goal in mind, once th goal (end state acquisition and/or behaviors are known) we can then decide how we would check for these behaviors. Yea, I am putting assessment in second because it's important to know how we will be assessing what we want out learners to know. Once we've worked out goals and assessment methodology, we can then move onto content, perhaps not 1

On comprehensive exams

I was reading an opinion piece on the Chronicle of Higher Education this past week on Comprehensive exams. The article deals mostly with PhD level comprehensive exams, the types of exams that serve as the gatekeeper between the coursework in a PhD program and the dissertation stage. The main thesis of the author, at least what I got out of it, was that comprehensive exams seem to be looking backward on the curriculum, a memorize and regurgitate model, rather than looking forward toward a synthesis of existing information (gained through coursework) that leads to new knowledge. From my own experiences, I had to take comprehensive exams for one of my masters degrees (Applied Linguistics) and the buildup toward those comprehensive exams was nerve-wracking because the comps were like the academic boogey man. Everyone (students) in the program, who had not done comps before, was feeding the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) of every other student who had their own FUD. People who took t

Lessons from LMS core concepts session

I posted a link to the notes that I took during the NERCOMP unconference session that I proposed and lead in my previous blog post.  Granted, the notes are a bit disconnected because I was jotting down ideas, notes, and thoughts as they were being mentioned by participants so you may not get a coherent view of everything. My initial thought on a course on Learning Management Systems was that students would get hands-on time with learning management systems (3 different ones, mostly their choice) and that they would have to objectively test these  Learning Management Systems based on a rubric that made sense for their organization (or the organization that they were contracted to work for - if this were a case study). Beyond that the theory aspect seemed a little light, and I didn't just want to create another "hands on" course that could become obsolete in the next five years - this isn't good for the learners. What I came out of the session with is something simi

LMS unSIG (unconference, unworkshop) a success

A big round of applause for the organizers of the LMS unSIG that took place last Monday. Harvested Tweets and other information from the website (including the notes for the session I moderated ) are on the unSIG website.  This was my first unconference and I have to say that I liked the setup of the unconference.  Most times you go to these workshops and there are topics that you aren't interested in - this one, being crowdsourced, meant that I was able to have a much higher probability of finding that I liked (and I did) and being able to hear from a variety of people rather than a few wise ones that are presenting. That being said, I think that some peripheral structure may have been nice.  I would have liked to have seen representatives from the major learning management systems at this event (Desire2Learn, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.) as a way of getting ideas from end-users.  I know that these companies have their own websites where they get requests from users all the time,

Wisdom of the Masses and Course Creation

A few years ago, when I was still a student in Instructional Design, the then program director of the instructional design program had an idea for a new course for our program: a course on learning management systems. Her conception for the course was that students in the course would get hands on with many different learning management systems, so that when they graduated they would be conversant in a few LMS offerings. Sadly, the idea never really went very far because the department had a lot of work in the backlog to be done, and then at some point she resigned and there was a changing of the guard (and some knowledge loss due to this). The idea of an LMS course for instructional designers still sticks with me, and is something I'd like to make reality. Last year our campus (as well as a few other campuses in our system) underwent a learning platform (aka LMS) review to replace our aging WebCT Vista. I thought that this process of picking an LMS for your organization could