Learning, Performance, PLN, Professional Development, Reflections, TBT Posts

Ode to Hashtag

Dear Hashtag,

I am SO sorry I missed your 10th birthday. With the start of the new academic term and a number of paper deadlines, my attention was elsewhere. I know. No excuse, right? But, can you please forgive me? Wait — I know how to make these belated wishes better!

To honor your decade of existence on social media and everyday conversation,  I decided to get creative with your birthday gift. I am truly grateful for the communities you unite, the awareness you share, the conversations you thread, and the subtle way I can give my tweets/posts/texts more meaning.

Ode To Hashtag

Hashtag, hashtag

We adore thee

Signal events and,

Tags for news

Tweets unfold like stories before thee

Link us to interests we so choose

Twitter chats used for work and play,

Say so much in just one little tweet.

Symbol of meaning is here to stay

Pound sign in speech is hashtag sweet!

 

Tweeters unite in hashtag chorus

140 characters: “Trends for you”

Blue bird, Larry, is tweeting o’er us,

Hashtag use connects us too.

Post composing, humor we’re sharing

Ideas in the midst of memes,

Protest tweets or GIFs of caring

Hashtags filter social streams.

Thank you for all that and all you have done this past decade.  You have contributed so much more to my life than I can ever thank you for — keep up the great work!

Your friend,

Laura

p.s. Here are a few throwback posts where I give you an honorable mention, as well. A toast to you! #cheers

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Learning and Performance, Learning Community, PLE, PLN, Professional Development, Virtual Communities

Learning and Development on a Backchannel

Lately,  I have been thinking a lot more about backchannels for learning and development (L&D) as I chat with folks involved with networked communitiesIn education, there is no doubt you have heard about a backchannel for learning, whether it was during a conference or at a professional meeting. You’ve most likely even participated in some sort of backchannel — even BEFORE technology crept into your educational practice. Let’s return to the original meaning of the word, shall we:

Backchannel learning is a “covert” way we are sharing our educational experiences online. It’s like we’re in the back of the classroom passing notes — except now it is digital and openly shared, and (probably) more productive than it was when we were younger. Maybe.

Our digital and connected backchannels allow this note-passing to augment what is happening at a specific moment in time. Today’s backchannels offer a way to showcase professional development opportunities, disseminate scholarly research, distribute resources for practice, curate knowledge from an event, and archive the learning so that it “lives” beyond a geographic location, calendar date, etc.

Et Voila: Pull To Open image c/o Flickr user kpwerker

One popular way to participate in a backchannel during a conference is by using the designated Twitter hashtag when posting tweets [Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter.] Here is an example of a study comparing #AERA15 & #AERA16 hashtag usage (Kimmons & Veletsianos, 2016).

Increasingly, I see peers tweet quotes from keynotes, articles from scholars, ideas for practice, and I am often entertained by interactions between colleagues I know — all from the comforts of my home office. With a small travel budget and too much data to collect this summer, I appreciate the ability to jump into this type of backchannel to learn about the conversation as these are rich threads that dig into issues and upcoming trends we see in the field. Additionally, if you’re keen you dip into other types of meetings from other organizations to learn more about how their discipline/functional area could influence your own professional work.

Beyond the typical conference or professional meetings, we also see similar traces of L&D happening on a backchannel to be paired with a webinar, business meeting, streaming keynote, and campus program/initiative.

With new technological affordances, there are many other ways we can create backchannels for learning and ways to develop talent. For example, here is how I use Twitter and WordPress as a backchannel with  first-year seminar class, #ugstSTORY [ARCHIVED CLASS]:

I am impressed to see a number of my colleagues use a number of OTHER technologies that are social and connected to create backchannels for L&D online — here are just a few examples– but there are LOADS to search and discover:

  • #phdchat wiki: This is a PBworks archive is from the initiative of the all the Twitter sharing and discussions hosted with the #phdchat hashtag. This community supported me during much of my doctoral research. There is a wealth of information shared and curated on this wiki site. Although this space has not been edited in over 3-years the #phdchat community lives on. Thanks for moderating and cultivating this community, @NSRiazat.
  • Digital Storytelling 106 (#ds106): is an open, online community/course from the University of Mary Washington by instigator(s) of the domain web (ahem… @jimgroom & @cogdog). Course Requirements: a real computer, a hardy internet connection, preferably a domain of your own and some commodity web hosting, and creativity. TUNE into #ds106 radio streaming: http://ds106.us/ds106-radio/
  • Teaching In Higher Ed PodcastSlack Channel: The wealth of information shared in this podcast since June 2014 is amazing and I’m thankful for how Bonni (@bonni208) brings in various guests to support my own professional development for pedagogical planning and to support my own teaching in higher ed. Beyond this regular audio podcast, she also has a community of listeners who she connects to and with via her Slack backchannel and via Twitter.
  • Virtually Connecting (@VConnecting): The virtual buddies bring a small group of on-site and virtual folks together at professional and academic meetings via YouTube Live (formerly Google+ Hangouts) to have a “hallway conversation” about the relevant issues, conference experiences, and to host a conversation at different conference events. They welcome new virtual friends and typically have a Google form for you to complete in advance to sign-up OR you can watch the wealth of archives from previous V-Connecting sessions on their YouTube Channel. Kudos to, and for starting this initiative.

Thinking About Finding a Backchannel for L&D? Here are a few suggestions for hashtag backchannel communities on Twitter:

OR maybe you want to START your own L&D backchannel? Think about your PURPOSE/GOAL first, and then browse these digital spaces and places for initiating a learning backchannel for your professional interests and development:

What digital spaces do you use for your own learning backchannels? How do you engage in professional development via online backchannels? Let me know!

References

Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving uses of Twitter as a conference backchannel and social commentary platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.

Muñoz, C. L., & Towner, T. (2011). Back to the “wall”: How to use Facebook in the college classroom. First Monday, 16(12).

 

Learning and Performance, PLN, Professional Development

Q: What is #SAcdn Chat? A: A conversation across Canada with #HigherEd colleagues.

The #SAcdn hashtag has been embraced by student affairs (SA), student services, and professionals who support students in Canadian higher education. The goal (and tagline) for the #SAcdn community is “connecting our country,” specifically to share what the world of SA and higher ed is like in my home and native land.

The#SAcdn Chat is a type of “digital water cooler” conversation that I am personally a fan of for my own personal and professional learning network on Twitter. As an ex-pat Canadian working in US higher ed, the #SAcdn hashtag helps keep me in the loop and I have enjoyed listening/learning from the #SAcdn twitter chat archives as the conversation offers insights into issues into Canadian post-secondary education, offers support for staff/professionals, and expands my point of view to how I’m thinking about learning and campus life.  As of August 2016, the #SAcdn community began hosting a monthly 60-minute chat (now the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 12-1 pm CT) on Twitter with higher ed professionals to gather to discuss Canadian issues, ideas, and experiences in context to the Canadian higher ed.  Are you a professional, practitioner, and/or academic in Canada higher education who wants to engage with peers and the conversation on Twitter? Join in! p.s. Friends & colleagues outside Canada are also welcome to join in as well!

HOW TO: Participate in the #SAcdn Chat

Here’s a quick overview of how to participate in #SAcdn Twitter Chat:

  1. Set up your Twitter Account (HOW TO: Set Up The Twitters).
  2. Follow the in #SAcdn hashtag on Twitter for the latest tweets.
  3. Follow @LauraPasquini who will moderate the Q & A for the Twitter Chat THIS MONTH ONLY. You should also follow @CACUSStweets, who will typically host the#SAcdn. chat each month.
  4. Get ready and excited for Tuesday’s (6/13) chat by checking out what’s being shared and discussed on the #SAcdn hashtag NOW! BONUS: You might learn what’s happening & being shared on the backchannel at the #CACUSS17 conference. 🙂
  5. JOIN US Tuesday, June 13th from 10-11 am PT/12-1 pm CT/2 pm AT as I am fortunate enough to be hosting the LIVE, synchronous #SAcdn  Twitter conversation on Twitter during the CACUSS 2017 Conference (Learn more about the professional association, here: About CACUSS). We will “talk” about TOPIC: Show & Tell: What Does #SAcdn Mean to You? [Meta chat: Talking about this Twitter Chat & being part of the #SAcdn Community]

Be sure to contribute to the LIVE #SAcdn Twitter Chat by:

  • Logging into your Twitter account as the#SAcdn  chat will happen ON THE TWITTER platform.
  • Follow along in real time during the #SAcdn Twitter chat by following along on the  Twitter hashtag: #SAcdn or this Tweet Chat Room: http://tweetchat.com/room/SAcdn
  • The MOD (moderator) @LauraPasquini will ask 4-6 questions during the 60-minute chat; please respond with the Q# in your update, e.g. “Q1: Your Answer”
  • Invite your higher education faculty/staff peers to join the conversation – all our welcome to join!
  • Include the#SAcdn hashtag in your tweets and responses (“@”) to others.

To help you prepare, here are a few of the #SAcdn chat questions to ponder IN ADVANCE of our conversation:

  1. What brought you to Twitter and/or to the #SAcdn Twitter chat? Why do you TWEET?
  2. MOD: Q2: What tips or suggestions do you have for newbies to Twitter or a Twitter Chat to help them follow/contribute to the convo?
  3. What have you learned from either participating in a #SAcdn Chat, reading the #SAcdn hashtag, or following #highered folks on Twitter?
  4. What TOPICS would YOU like to see added to the #SAcdn conversations? What is relevant for your work in Canadian #highered? #cdnpse
  5. What barriers or challenges might there be for you or others to participate in the monthly #SAcdn chat?
  6. What impact has the #SAcdn Chat community had on your professional development and practice in higher ed?

UPDATE June 13, 2017: Tweets archived from the Twitter Chat via Storify

PLN, Reflections

Semester Reflections & What I’ve Learned [Fall 2014]

Wow. My first semester as a Lecturer and teaching ALL online classes is DONE! First and foremost – I am glad to have all my grades posted. {For real! After 2,400 hours of video watching, I can say I learned a lot from my #LTEC4121 class – and I had a talented group of students this term.}

FinishedGrading

Along with other projects (e.g. research, writing, editing, OLC Certificate, presenting, conference, and consulting), I am glad to see the semester and 2014 come to an end – or at least a pause over the holiday break. This academic term has been fun and challenging for me as I move all my instructional experiences to the online environment. My own teaching philosophy centers on technology-enhanced pedagogies that foster student–centered learning environments. Over this semester, I put a great deal of thought to how I design learning experiences and support my students online in a more meaningful and authentic manner. This term, I constantly made edits and improvements to the online courses I was teaching to help foster real-world experiences and provide opportunities for engagement. I really wanted my students to take what they are learning in the online classroom and apply these concepts to their own workforce learning and performance. With whatever technological platform and, more importantly the planned pedagogy, my primary role in these classes were to facilitate learning by motivating, instigating and supporting my students as they work through their modules and projects.

From this semester, I shared some of my personal reflections for lecturing with the GSTEP program last month:

To be honest – there are more than just 10 lessons I’ve learned. Not everything has been great this semester. There has been a great deal of stress and frustration in lecturing with someone else’s course materials, and considering how to best support the learners’ needs. I have been constantly improving functions of not only the course delivery, but also the content in the modules to consider how to get students to reach the course learning outcomes. Although it has been a busy semester, I have appreciated the hands-on lessons I have learned and applied to my online instruction and support for my students. Learning about learning, and evaluation of the curriculum supports our students. Stay tuned for deeper reflections in an upcoming blog post after I go through my course evaluations, LTEC feedback forms, and review of my course design from Fall 2014 for the next semester.

For time management and scheduling,  I learned a great deal about the need to develop my own personal workflow. Although I have been “working remotely” and I have a great deal of online work experience, my new role has got me thinking about what it means to be productive when working from home. Work-life balance is key. With a number of involvement and projects, I have had to think about how these are managed and prioritized. I believe my scheduling and task-management has improved over the term (when I am not traveling for business/personal obligations #LessonLearned), and I feel as though I have mastered my grading and instructional flow with online teaching. Thanks to some additional motivational tools for time and fitness, I have improved my time-on-task ability for work projects and increased my running/walking mileage (thanks Todoist.com, Asana, #FitBit & RunKeeper).

Most importantly,  I have learned the value of being an active participant in my networks. My mom was concerned about my social contact with others now that I teach online. I laughed – and told her that I still have just as much (or maybe more) contact with others. Although I am not an 8-5 worker on campus, I have made a point to stay connected to UNT and get involved in various things (e.g. UNT Faculty Writing group, GSTEP support,  Alternative Service Break advisor, and LT department meetings/projects). In my online work, there are a number of virtual teaming projects and collaborations that keep me quite engaged and social (e.g. #ACPAdigital task force, NACADA meetings, OLC conference planning, and other community interactions). Finally, I have sought out new opportunities to grow and learn professionally to focus on research scholarship, instructional design, and strategic organizational planning (e.g. RA position with @veletsianos, CLEAR instructional course design work, and external consulting/training initiatives).

Thanks to a number of you who have been there for me this academic term. Your ear, your advice, and your support have been greatly appreciated during my transition period. Thank you!

Learning Community, PLN

Building Communities of Practice in Higher Ed

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Milton Cox from Miami University, met with a group of students, staff and faculty to share ideas on how to build effective communities of practice at UNT known as Collaborative Learning Communities (CLC).  In his lecture and our discussion, Dr. Cox shared suggestions on how to “mind the gap(s)” in higher education and consider the broken spaces between our current disciplines, departments and silos on campus.  The process of connecting to establish a community of practice (in his example, faculty learning communities) it is to connect faculty and their institutions to think beyond their department, discipline and separate goals for the campus.
Image c/o Dr. Milton Cox
It is all to common to see department loyalty being rewarded and interdisciplinary activity questioned in higher education. There are also disconnects between student development and academic affairs priorities. For higher education to move forward it will be critical for faculty and staff to engage students in new ways of learning and scholarly activity. Although many students want to see the sage on the stage, to just consume information, it will be increasingly critical for our learning institutions to encourage inquiry-based learning and promote self-regulated scholarship.
One way to close the education gap and challenges in higher education, is to consider forming communities of practice (CoP) that work together. There are a number of students, staff and faculty need to collaborate to discuss civic engagement, learning communities, and pedagogical shifts to our higher education curriculum. Dr. Cox introduced the concept of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs), which tend to be more structured than the organic CoP, and they are voluntary, structured, and at least a yearlong commitment from the members. Here are some other suggested practices for setting up FLCs:
  • size: 8-12 faculty, professionals, Administrators, TAs, students
  • voluntary membership by application
  • Affiliate patterns: consultants, mentors, student associates
  • multidisciplinary and from different departments
  • encourage participant curiosity
  • allow for richness of innovations
  • permitted relief from dysfunctional units
As we connected and discussed ideas around our own Collaborative Learning Communities (CLCs), we found sharing ideas could help work towards resolving institutional challenges and support the strategic goals for our campus. As our CLCs gather and collaborate, I am looking forward to connecting, brainstorming, and creating initiatives that will enhance what we do on campus.
Along with this idea for collaborative learning communities, Sue Beckingham, Jeff Jackson, Eric Stoller and I hope to discuss this topic as a #sxswEDU panel in 2013 => Communities of Practice in Higher Education as we hope to answer the following questions:
  1. How can communities of practice and learning networks play a critical role in meeting the challenges of higher education across the globe?
  2. As professional and personal learning networks (PLNs) develop, how can these informal entities support and contribute to the future of higher education?
  3. What are some actionable items and issues that higher education communities of practice can take on both at the local and global level?
Sign in and CAST YOUR VOTE HERE.

References:

Cox, M. & Richlin, L.  (2004). New Directions for Teaching and Learning:  Building Faculty Learning Communities.  Vol. 97.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wenger, E. (2002) Communities of practice. Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Volume 1.5, Article 5. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam. 
Book Review, Higher Education, K-12, Open Education, PLN

10 Principles for the Future of Learning

While working on some late night treadmill mileage, I decided to catch up on documents and books I have been collecting on my Kindle. Last week I read The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, which was a precursor to The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age book published by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Although this material is a bit dated, I think that some of the pedagogy still applies for educational development.

Image c/o Martin Hawksey (and his musings on this text as well). 

In the first collaborative project, the authors share ten principles to support the future of learning. Davidson and Goldberg (2009) presented these pillars of institutional pedagogy to help institutions rethink learning and meet the challenges that lie ahead for both K-12 and higher education:

  1. Self-Learning – discovering and exploring online possibilities
  2. Horizontal Structures – how learning institutions enable learning; from learning that to learning how; from content to process
  3. From Presumed Authority to Collective Credibility – shifting issues of authority to issues of credibility; understand how to make wise choices
  4. A De-Centered Pedagogy – adopt a more inductive, collective learning that takes advantage of our era and digital resources
  5. Networked Learning – socially networked collaborative learning stressing cooperation, interactivity, mutuality and social engagement
  6. Open Source Education – seeks to share openly and freely in the creation of culture and learning; provides a more collective model of interchange
  7. Learning as Connectivity and Interactivity – digital connection and interaction to produce sustainable, scaffolding ensembles
  8. Lifelong Learning – there is no finality to learning; learning is part of society and culture
  9. Learning Institutions as Mobilizing Networks – networks enable flexibility, interactivity, and outcome; new institutional organizations reliability and innovation
  10. Flexible Scalability and Simulation – new technologies allow for collaboration beyond distance or scale for productive interactions that warrant educational merit

Reference: Davidson, C.N. & Goldberg, D.T. (2009). The future of learning institutions in a digital age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

CCK09, EC&I831, eduMOOC, PLN, Professional Development

Online Learning: More Than Just a MOOC

As a life-long learner, I have appreciated engaging and interacting with a wide variety of educators in a few Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The concept of a MOOC is has been around for a while. In previous blog posts, I have shared the definition of a MOOC and my participation and experience. I have appreciated learning from the #eci831 and #CCK09 MOOC facilitators, such as Alec Couros, George Siemens & Stephen Downes. Even more,  I appreciate the knowledge shared by invited speakers and the connected learning participants who I continue to engage and exchange with beyond the course structure. MOOCs are now on the tip of everyone’s tongue due to recent education technology start-ups who are now designing MOOC-like courses and creating partnerships with many accredited higher education institutions. What’s all the MOOC about if the concept of a MOOC is not a new innovation?

#jiscwebinar What Is A MOOC? @dkernohan @mweller @jonathan_worth @loumcgill @daveowhite [visual Notes]

Image c/o Flickr user guilia.forsythe

In a recent CBC radio interview and blog post, George Siemens discusses more about the good and bad aspects of Massively Open Online Courses are for online learning. There are different sides of the camp on this topic. Some believe MOOCs will either kill or transform the academy as we know it. Here are some interesting points that were shared in the interview from George and callers to the show:

Current Learning & Development = #AltProDev

If there is an interesting alternative professional development (#AltProDev) opportunity available – I’m there! Part of the reason why I have connected to podcasting with BreakDrink.com or participation in Twitter Chats (#AcAdv Chat, #SAchat or #PhDchat) can be attributed to my early learning experiences with MOOCs. I enjoy engaging in PD to improve my skills and add to my knowledge repertoire. Across various personal and professional spheres, I have learned a great deal at formal conferences, workshops and education sessions; however, I am also proud to say I learn a great deal from my informal training and development environments that are primarily cultivated online. I think that MOOCs provide a set time period for professionals to learn about a specific topic and engage with others in a similar informal fashion. What is neat about this classroom is, that although the course might end, your network and learning artifacts continue to thrive outside the specific learning environment.

Teaching locally but accredit widely.

As a current student in higher education (I’m in process of working on my doctoral degree in learning technologies at UNT), I tend to research, read, archive, and share online to keep on top of the trends and happenings. I think my involvement in MOOCs have connected me to new concepts, research ideas, learning networks, and continue to support my formal education goals. My intention when signing up for this type of free, online learning was to support my own professional development and expose myself to new learning concepts. I reflected my MOOC experiences to my faculty advisor and he believed that participation in any one of these classes could be an added elective for my doctoral degree plan since this informal learning environment was contributing to my research design. How would this type of learning be looked like at your institution for degree requirements? Here is one suggestion for earning college credit from MOOCs if interested.

Sustainable model? Or Just Branding?

The MOOC talk seems to be all the rage as start-up companies, such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity, partner to “reshape online learning” with well-known higher education institutions. Will the massive hype of these MOOC types lead to effective use and sustainable funding models? Or is this just another method for marketing and propagation of the university brand? I do not know. I agree with George’s thoughts – we will see after the dust settles and the MOOC hype levels off in higher education.

Types of MOOCs

As the online learning trend grows there will be various types, targets and tiered offerings of MOOCs. Some of the MOOCs I have reviewed have included areas for digital competence, open education and technical resources. The content, subjects, platforms and learning environments will vary from MOOC to MOOC – and will most likely depend on the partnering institutions influence as well. Online learning will continue to be part of higher education curriculum at many institutions, but as George says “open and online courses is not going to be what cures the ails of online education.” I concur.

Incomplete = Failure?

Does a lack of commitment or completion mean that a MOOC failed? In looking at the retention and completion rates of MOOCs, the numbers vary from start to finish of a MOOC. Audrey Watters wrote a great about dropping out of MOOCs last week. She questioned if it was the content, instructor, platform or learner themselves. Good questions. If this was a multiple choice test, I might even select (E) Any of the above. Or perhaps our MOOC participants would commit more if they paid to learn – even $2 Would the freemium model commit participants more if there was a certification, badge, or accreditation for courses attached? Does extrinsic motivation trump the intrinsic goal for learning and self-fulfillment? I’m not sure.

Dynamics of MOOCs vs. Organic Classroom Experience

There are many pedagogical and theoretical underpinnings for MOOCs. If designed well, a number of online education opportunities allow for discussion, problem-solving, reflection, and unique dynamic interactions. A question from one of the callers to the CBC radio program asked (paraphrased) – can online education and MOOCs really replace the organic interactions in a face-to-face classroom environment? My initial response = it depends. I have always thought good teaching and solid learning outcomes is what drives the course. That being said it is important to note that technology is “not just a tool.” As a student, I have been in both fantastic and terrible courses both online and in class. Depending on the course purpose and objectives, instructors have the POTENTIAL to engage learners in a truly immersive and participative online learning environment. Technology is the instrument; the students are the musicians – it is up to the instructor to orchestrate and guide the collaborative instrumental play in online education.

What are your thoughts about MOOCs? Have you participated in a MOOC? Are you planning to participate in a MOOC in the near future? Please share.