Showing posts from March, 2015

Motivating faculty to teach online....errr...coming again?

It seems like I am living in a time-warp this semester :)  I had saved an article to read, and respond to, titled " Motivating Faculty to Teach Online " that was published in Inside Higher Education. I could have sworn that I saved this back in the fall at some point, but looking at the date it was earlier this month. I am not sure if time flowing slowly is a good thing or a bad thing.  In any case, my motivation for responding to this article as been like a seesaw.  Some days when I see it in my Pocket reader I am all gung-ho about responding to it...and then there are days where I shrug my shoulders and wonder what the point is to responding to such an article . Just to set the frame here: I work for an institution as a manager of an online MA program.  I love what I do. I've been working with faculty for the past 15 years, in a variety of roles, and throughout these 15 years I've seen faculty, and their various motivations, through a variety of lenses.  Our i

Social Presence and Relateability

This week has been rough in the office.  We learned that our colleague - and my former professor - Pepi Leistyna passed away. Details are scant at the moment and everyone in the department is in a state of shock as his death was quite sudden and unexpected.  I was going to write a blog post about about my history with him, how I knew him as a person when I worked in Media Services (good ol' AV department) where he used to pick up VHS players on carts to show clips of films in his courses; how he influenced my development as a learner and a scholar; and finally as a valued colleague when I started working in the department of Applied Linguistics.  While I think this is valuable, and certainly part of the process, I think there is another area to home in on, thanks to this week on #HumanMOOC: Social Presence! Social Presence is defined as : ...the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real

Institutional Affiliation or Itinerant Scholar?

Rebecca, the other, posted a question on Twitter on #adjunctchat, and later on wrote a little more in length on her blog about this question: What is the value in affiliation? More specifically: In our new world of adjunctification and alt-metrics, does an affiliation matter? Am I better to declare myself as an itinerant scholar than a scholar associated with a particular university? What is the value of the affiliation, especially when the institution isn’t providing any resources to support the project? Just to start off, I like the idea of the Itinerant or Nomadic Scholar. I suppose that this notion of nomadism has sort of stuck with me from my work with cMOOCs, and I see nomadic scholars as an extension of this idea. So, the question is what is the value of affiliation?  I think it depends. If you are doing certain types of research, even if the University doesn't support you as a researcher-scholar due to the nature of your adjunct employment, there may be doors that you

Humanizing online education: we're not just a bunch of robots

Captain Data (an android) End of another week.  Sometimes when I reach cognitive overload I feel like a stranded sailor - what days is it? where am I?  what did I do this week?  Did I learn this thing this week or last week?  Anyway,  I've taken some notes throughout the week so that I can discuss and summarize a bit things that made me think.  So, I had discovered a MOOC, on the Canvas Network, on Humanizing Online Instruction (or #HumanMOOC). I recognized some familiar names as organizers (which was a big draw), and the topic seemed interesting.  Something I could use in the way I conceptualize the course I teach (The Design and Instruction of Online Courses) so that I can keep materials fresh, re-work, re-frame, re-conceptualize the course.  I wasn't sure if I was going to participate in the course, and if past performance was any indication, I would not be "completing" this course; I haven't completed a course on canvas yet - and I've been a cont

One more assignemnt down... One to go...

I am starting to feel like Jack Bauer in 24 as EDDE 802 progresses. 60 days down in the semester, and 25 left to go.  I can hear the clock ticking down... Assignment 3 was completed this weekend, a few days before it was actually due ( thank you to Lisa for the peer review!).  It's a small assignment describing the conceptual frameworks that we are going to use for researching a specific research question.  My question comes back to Learner Motivation in MOOCs - something that I think I started thinking about in 2011 after MobiMOOC.  With the proliferation of MOOC "types", xMOOC, cMOOC, pMOOC, rMOOC, and whatever else exists these days it makes sense to focus on learner motivation in cMOOCs specifically.  It seems that the smaller volumes of learners in cMOOCs, and the seemingly higher proportion of spontaneous "original" contributions make it an interesting environment to study motivation in. When I approached this topic for Assignment 1 it was one of s

Rhizomatic Discussions!

Worlds have officially collided (either that, or the Rhizome has invaded my mind) ;-) This week is the beginning of Humanizing Online Instruction (or #humanMOOC) on the Canvas Network.  As is usually the case, I tend to lurk in more MOOCs than I can actually "complete†"in any given period.  Given my homework for EDDE 802, and my teaching work on INSDSG 684 (and let's not forget the day-job), I wasn't really going to follow #HumanMOOC that closely.  I still don't know how closely I am going to follow along - but heck, I'll give it the old college try. Even though I am not sure what my activity will look like, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself in case blogposts or tweets with #HumanMOOC started coming up with my name on them. One of the things that my brief interaction in the #HumanMOOC Forums reminded me of is the potentially Rhizomatic nature of knowledge and participation online.  For instance, I might read something on Maha's bl

Educational assumptions discussed (Part II)

Well, here we are, part II of educational assumptions.  That last blog post was getting long, so here we are! These are still some ideas about things I jotted down in the margins, highlighted, or otherwise reacted to when reading a recent research article on Open Praxis by fellow MOOC researchers France and Jenny . Despite my issues and concerns with the article, it's still worth a read so that we can discuss the  things that came up in it.  In this blog post I am wrapping up the responses to some educational assumptions (or myths, depending on where you stand).  Courses are not experimental One of the views that came across in the article was that Cormier, as convener of Rhizo14, was experimenting on us learners. This seems to bring up two mental images.  The first is that we, as learners and participants, were in some sort of experiment, like the ones that IRBs warn you about (see Milgram for example), and that courses, whether MOOC or not, aren't by their nature ex

Learning in a safe environment, and other educational assumptions (Part I)

It's been a few days since I started writing about the various reactions I had (and started noting in the margins ;)  ) to a recent article from fellow MOOCers and MOOC researchers Frances and Jenny . I cut my previous post a bit shorter than I intended because it was getting long, and I didn't want it to go on and on. So this is a follow-up blog post t o that original post with some reactions, or thoughts, about what seemed to be to be underlying assumptions about what comes as part-and-parcel for education.  The article seemed to make some assumptions about education, and MOOCs in specific, that I thought should be addressed in some fashion: It is the responsibility of the convener/instructor of the course to play cop... ... be this a traffic cop who directs the flow of the course and "re-centers" it when it gets off course, a dispute cop who gets in between parties who are arguing about a certain topic, and a jail cop for people who don't observe the &q

RhizoResearch - some thoughts brought on by Sunlight and Shade.

It is a bit of an odd thing to admit, but ever since I started formal school again in order to pursue a doctorate the amount of pleasure reading has gone down.  Now, this is to be expected, time resources need to be allocated differently in order to meet the rigorous demands of a doctoral program.  That said, my pleasure reading was research articles anyway, so it's kind of hard to out down your candy (research articles about MOOCs and online learning) in order to have your balanced meal consisting of research in other fields that you aren't necessarily aware of.  This is a good thing, but the amount of research on MOOCs keeps piling up in my dissertation drawer at work.  Summer project! Anyway, I digress! I saw that France Bell and Jenny Mackness had a recent article in Open Praxis about Rhizo14 .  I actually did with it what I do with all MOOC articles these days - download the PDF, archive it, print it out, add to my "to read" pile. Normally that would have be

Experience Bij!

It's hard to believe, but this week we are commencing unit 4 (of 5) in EDDE 802 - which is all about data collection, thus leaving behind the research methodology unit.   This past week has been particularly difficult due to the amount of reading.  Now, I should say that my MA in Applied Linguistics has prepared me for a lot for the amount of reading an MA and a PhD student should be doing each week.  In Linguistics we normally had anywhere from 60 to 80 pages per week to read and be able to discuss.  What's particularly difficult about this particular week was that most cohort-mates opted to present Assignment 2 this coming week which means preparatory readings for six different research methods in advance of the presentations (comparatively we had 3 presentations two weeks ago). On the plus side some methods (case studies, ethnography, DBR, and action research) I have read about before.  I am the only weirdo I know who read about research methods after I was done with my