Open Education

Open Up: OER for Higher Ed Teaching, Learning, and Support Services

In my previous blog post on Creative Commons, I shared a bit about copyright and the rights users can apply when sharing/licensing their work. This is often a common practice for those who create “works” (e.g. media, photos, designs, writing, songs, etc.); however, more educators need to consider how they actually share in open ways. Opening up your practice in higher ed is not a new concept – but sadly, open licensing is not a commonly used practice among my peers who teach, publish, and support learners. I think we could do better go get even postsecondary educators (graduate students, staff, faculty, and administrators) to join this open movement by educating and informing them about open licensing and OER practices.

Let’s first get on the same page by review the UNESCO’s (May 2019) definition of Open Educational Resources (OER):

“Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, reuse, repurpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others.”

Openness in higher education is often used by librarians, instructors, and a handful of other professionals around campus. Storing, archiving, and sharing artifacts from our work in academia is often left to those publishing, authors, and academic librarians. I think we could do better as individual professionals, at our institutions, and even within our professional organizations/associations. For example, when is the last time a conference or workshop suggested you share your presentation, paper, etc. with a given license on it for it to be reused, remixed, or adapted?

For those of you who are interested and want to get acquainted with the land of the OER, have I got a resource for you! There is an excellent OPEN toolkit on the topic of open licensing recently released by the National Forum Teaching & Learning (NF T&L) in Ireland,

This past week, NF T&L also offered an Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Licensing to accompany this open publication. [Thanks for hosting and sharing about this, @catherinecronin]:

The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit outlines the National Forum’s commitment to open licensing, which enables the creation and sharing of open educational resources. The toolkit provides a detailed description of Creative Commons (CC) licenses, the global standard for open licensing, as well as a 4-step guide to choosing, creating and adding CC licenses to resources in order to make them OER, i.e. able to be shared, reused and adapted in different institutional, disciplinary and program contexts.

Reference:

National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. (2019, May 15). The National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit in teachingandlearning.ie Retrieved from https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/publication/the-national-forum-open-licensing-toolkit/.

This webinar and toolkit offers some great ways to start thinking about and applying OER into your daily work in higher ed. I have been a big fan of The 5 R’s for OER (from The Power of Open Educational Resources by @opencontent) for a while as I always appreciate an open educational remix. The 5 R’s offer ways to have control of rights, accessing others work, and updating works for your own projects and work (if permitted, and licensed):

  1. Retain: make and own a copy
  2. Reuse: use in a wide range of ways
  3. Revise: adapt, modify, and improve
  4. Remix: combine two or more
  5. Redistribute: share with others

Professionals using OER are not just limited to higher education (e.g. libraries, faculty, students, researchers or administrators), but a number of businesses, NGOs, publishers, museums, government, galleries, and more are finding open licensing helpful in their occupational domains. Beyond the CC Search (https://search.creativecommons.org/), there are OER repositories that house openly licensed materials, images, media, files, lessons, books, etc. Here is a short list (not exclusive) of OER repositories mentioned in the NF T&L webinar and a few others I like to use for teaching, learning, and projects:

As you search, find, and perhaps use one of the 5 R’s, you can then choose to share your work by selecting the appropriate open license. This continues the cycle of openness as you disseminate your practices and scholarship openly for others to access. If you search and find an OER object for your teaching, learning, and/or services on campus, you will want to include TASL with the open license for attribution:

  • Title: name of item, object, media, or work
  • Author: who created said “thing”
  • Source: this is the URL or website where it was found or retrieved from
  • License: include the CC BY open license label

In the @CreativeCommons regularily updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) list, there is a wealth of information and resources, regarding the legal and use copyright laws. These are the typical questions you might have and seek answer for to understand more about CC BY licenses. Two shared in the webinar, were the following questions (with linked/URL responses):

Can I combine material under different Creative Commons licenses in my work?

Answered in the URL connected to the question, but I thought I’d share this visual. This chart offers a helpful crosswalk of how you can use CC BY work, and how you can remix and license your work after using a particular CC BY object. This is very useful for when you might want to remix or reuse OER content for teaching, learning, and support services AND redistribute this updated version of your work:

If I create a collection that includes a work offered under a CC license, which license(s) may I choose for the collection?

This chart identifies what licensing can and cannot be use commercially if utilizing any Creative Commons licensed materials. Beyond attribution and use, it is important to note the legal* rights and protections of works with CC BY licenses.

Thanks for a helpful 101 for open licensing and OER resources NF T&L: http://bit.ly/NF-OER — I look forward to following along with your educational offerings and I will definitely share these with my colleagues to expand openness in postsecondary education.

*I am not a lawyer, nor should you consider this specific legal advice when it comes to copyright. Just overarching advise and direction of where to get started. Get a copyright lawyer and/or campus attorney to inquire more about intellectual property and copyright. Thanks!
Library, Library Science, Open Education

To Share Your Work, You Gotta Put a @CreativeCommons License On It!

Per my last post, I’m fully immersed in the land of the digital libraries this summer and I will be pulling together a digital library (DL) of my own based on a research project I am wrapping up this summer: Networked Communities of Practice

We have a few publications coming out soon, a few under review, a couple recently revised/resubmitted, and a couple more in development. In addition to the traditional scholarly outlets (e.g. journal articles or conference proceedings), we’re also working on sharing more about the two-year investigation into the lived, digital/social experiences of higher education professionals (e.g. graduate students, staff, and faculty) in other ways. .

One project this summer from this study, is to broaden the impact of our work to disseminate the research findings, practical implications, data sets, and networked practices/communities through non-academic, digital avenues. We hope to offer ways to find and use the data archives (e.g. open data sets, communities, etc.) and provide professional development resources for others to connect to these learning networks.

During our search, discovery, and conversations with participants, we have discovered a number of professional learning networks, online communities of practice, and a wealth of training resources to share with postsecondary educators in a digital collection. Specific digital objects and born digital items can be organized and itemized for others to gain access and utilize. Materials within this digital library (DL) are only able to include public domain, fair use, and open educational resources (OER), that is, Creative Common licensed objects. I am in the midst of reaching out and educating a few communities for how they can digitize and effectively share (based on copyright permissions) how to best share their work or groups archives via this DL project.Here are a few proposed digital objects I hope to include in my collection:

That being said. Just because you upload, post, and share about your networked learning, practice, or community — does NOT make it an eligible digital object for inclusion in this digital library project. I hope to support individuals, groups, organizations, and communities who might want to be included in this archived library resource — especially if they do not have any license on their work and may want to be part of this digital collection.

Basically, I have been singing in my head: “If you want me to share your work, community, or professional learning resource — you will have to put a Creative Commons license on it!” Point of information, based on the copyright Beyoncé in this video, I would not be able to include this in my digital library:

To review and offer more information about this process, I thought give a few definitions of what can be included in this digital library collection.

Copyright

The copyright details how to share material while still respecting the rights of the content creators. This itemizes the permission of use and designates rights for protected materials. Copyright law applies to all works, including print, media, and electronic formats. For example, books, magazines, online articles, songs, screenplays, choreography, art, software, work, software, podcasts, and photos are all protected under copyright law. Those items that are not covered under copyright include ideas, facts, some data, and government items. When in doubt, get permission or determine if it is required or not. Don’t believe the big copyright myths, especially when it comes to digital collections and objects. Here are a few helpful copyright guides/resources from UNT:

Public Domain

The public domain refers to creative materials or works that are not protected by intellectual property laws, including copyright, trademark, or patent laws. These materials are owned by the public, not an individual author, artist, or creator.  Public domain materials and work may be used without obtaining any permission; however, no one is permitted to claim ownership for it. More information about the Public Domain, “Collective Works,” and when copyright expires can be found at the Copyright & Fair Use Website via Stanford Universityand Teaching Copyright via the EFF.

Fair Use

As defined by the US Copyright Office (2019), “Fair Use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.” When considering if objects or materials are under fair use, you should examine the four requirements:

  1. The purpose is for nonprofit, noncommercial educational use (typical cases).
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work is consistent with the proposed use.
  3. The amount and substantial of the original work involved some small uses can be considered an infringement, that is, a small portion involves the core idea in the copyrighted work.
  4. The effect of using the copyrighted work is not likely to deprive the copyright holder of sales or market interest.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons offers copyright licenses and tools to allow for content to be shared beyond the traditional “all rights reserved” setting and decide on the best form of attribution for their work. The goal is to refine how copyright works and allows content creators to choose if they want to retain copyright while letting others copy, distribute, and make use of part of their work. You can decide what the copyright is and how others may use your photo, music, or works. In a video, Grigas (2017) describes how Creative Commons licenses provide:

everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

To enhance your learning, training, and/or presentation materials, you may want to find creative commons and public domain images, videosmusic, or media. Certain websites, such as Flickr Creative Commons, even offer users content with specific attribution for use. There is even a Creative Commons Search to aggregate even more content to share, use and remix, including media, images, video, audio, music, photography, and web resources. Besides Flickr, there are a number of other helpful sites to locate Public Domain or Creative Commons images. Additionally, there are ways to attribute and provide CC by licenses via other online accounts including YouTube, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Archive.org, and your blog or website. Here are some resources from about copyright and Creative Commons to support your putting a #CC license on  your work:

Image by @laurapasquiniImage c/o laurapasquini on Flickr CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Creative Commons licenses

Creative Commons licenses

There are six main Creative Commons licenses you can use when you choose to publish your work under CC terms. The six CC licenses are based on four conditions. The four conditions and the six licenses are described below.

License Conditions

When using a Creative Commons license, creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.

Attribution Attribution (by)

All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

ShareAlike ShareAlike (sa)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

NonCommercial NonCommercial (nc)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

NoDerivatives NoDerivatives (nd)

You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

License Types

Creative Commons offers six copyright licenses, based on combinations of the four conditions outlined above.

Library Science

Introduction to Digital Libraries

This summer I’m enrolled in a couple of courses in the UNT Information Science department as part of the Digital Curation and Data Management certificate. For those of you who know me as a “secret librarian,” I am now diving into some of the practices, techniques, tools, and concepts in library sciences. Introduction to digital libraries is the first course I am in, and this introduction reminds me how much of the internet has emerged from how we organize, collect, and represent objects for users to access online. I hope to share some of my course work and learning experiences (by blog, of course), and perhaps even put out a few visual examples or request for the new platforms and spaces I am experimenting/creating with this term (e.g. GIMP, Omeka, etc.).

Although information can be gathered and curated online, this does not make it a digital library. Library and information scholars have been thinking about the theoretical foundations, technical infrastructures, digital objects, online collections, and organization/representation of information long before the existence of the web. Today, it might be a simple click to find information online; however, these search engines are built on some of these procedures and considerations involved in digitizing objects and planning for access of these items, services, and systems online.

“Consider a future device … in which an individual stores all his[/her/their] books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his [her/their] memory” (Bush, 1945).

The Digital Library Initiative (DLI) I and II were heavily influenced by a number of computer science and STEM organizations, specifically National Science Foundation (NSF), continued work with the ARPANET with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with ARPANET, and progress of information retrieval systems between 1965 and 1990 from computer/information scientists. The DLI in 1994 launched what digital libraries are today, which also represents the following terms: electronic library, virtual library, hybrid library, and library without walls (Calhoun, 2014). These digital library initiatives were based on the information science infrastructure development to support technical issues for operating these systems on computer networks to include “interoperability, portability, data exchange, scalability, federation, extensibility and open network architectures” (Borgman, 1999, p. 236). The move toward automation and digitization of library institutions and services (e.g. libraries, museums, and archives) could not have been completed without these advancements in computing and development of interfaces to interact with networked technologies.

The Digital Library (DL) offer digital services and distributed knowledge to meet the needs of users in electronic format. Early DL initiatives were initiated within developing nations to offer access and meet the needs of organizations (Isah, Mushewa, Serema, & Kenosi, 2014).  Digital libraries (DLs) provide open systems and services to advance
knowledge and culture; organize collections of digital content and objects; and use an architecture that supports a repository accessible by search with services to connect users to resources through user-friendly interfaces (Calhoun, 2014). DLs will curate items within a set scope and have specific requirements for items they include within a collection.

One example of a DL is the Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/) that hosts a wealth of information, archives, government documents, and primary source sets online. A recent addition to their online collection is the Mueller Report, which is available for all to access digitally. Typically, DLs provide electronic resources that are constructed, collected, and organized by and for a community of users (Borgman, 1999). Based on suggestions from Candela et al. (2007), here are a few of the attributes of a DL:

  • Virtual organization of electronic resources
  • Organization of digital library collections
  • Preservation and management rich digital content
  • Specialized community support for digital objects/collections
  • Digitization of library objects in digital format for books, journals, music, art, museum collections, etc.
  • Access to library resources over a distributed network
  1. World Digital Library. A source for manuscripts, rare books, films, maps and more in multilingual format.
  2. Universal Digital Library. A collection of one million books.
  3. Project Gutenberg. More than 33,000 e-books to read and download.
  4. Bartleby. An immense collection of books for consultation, including fiction, essay and poetry.
  5. ibiblio. E-books, magazines, academic essays, software, music and radio.
  6. Google Books. More than 100,000 books for consultation, download or on-line purchase.
  7. Internet Archive: The largest digital library for downloading e-books and audio-books for free.
  8. Open Library: More than one million e-books of classic literature to download.

A library collection is defined as “an accumulation of information resources developed by information professionals intended for a user community or a set of communities” Lee, 2000, p. 1106). A major function of a traditional library collection is to facilitate information seeking by providing its users with convenient access to relevant information resources (Buckland, Gorman, & Gorman, 1992). These resources might be books, reference documents, serials, rare books, government files, special collections/artifacts, and/or media objects. A collection is the complete accumulation of books, materials, objects (physical and digital), that are accessible within the library.

To preserve items within library collections, archives, and museums it is necessary to reformat these objects through digitization, that is, to create digital objects. The 1990s saw the emergence of this digitization standards, principles, and practices for how to digitally reformat texts, books, pictorial images, collections, and other projects and the field of digitization specialization has expanded beyond libraries and into cultural heritage organizations/communities. To ensure a set of principles for the digital libraries’ preservation role, managed collections require that digital objects selected are accessible and available for long-term resource needs (Deegan & Tanner, 2002, p. 22).

Digital objects now broaden this term, as tangibility and ownership offer the opportunity to provide digital collections for library users. Now information and items are directly accessible in electronic format, so the term collections now apply to digital collections. Lee (2000, p. 1106) believes the function of collections needs a fresh examination to determine the access means in context to the user’s point of view to further understand and better support how collections facilitate information seeking. These digital collections are often a set of digital and multimedia resources that can be owned, accessed, curated, and/or shared within a digital library, that have organized digital object using metadata to describe the individual objects and the overall collection details. Based on technological advancement and possibilities with digital collections, a library collection often reflects the characteristics and interconnectivity of the information world to ensure information-seeking as contextual and interactive with a user-centered design approach (Lee, 2000, p. 1111).

Collections in Digital Libraries: these are a set of digital and multimedia information resources which are building blocks that consist of an organized assembly of digital information objects, metadata describing those objects, and metadata describing the overall collection. These group of objects that are not necessarily physically owned and sustained by the library in a collection; however, they have “a group of information resources, a defined user community, a collection development policy statement, and an integrated retrieval system” (Lee, 2000, p. 111). The digital collections are a balance of the user and institutional interests that typically reflect the priorities and impact these collections might have for sustainability over time (Miller, 2015). To build a good digital collection with purpose, you need to provide an overview of the major components and activities; identify existing resources that support the development of practices; and encourage community participation for ongoing development to build the collection (NISO, 2007, p. 1).

Here are a few of the “library” listed books I am reading or I recommend to read:

  • Biblio TECH by John Plafrey
  • The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know
  • Ways of Curating by Hans Ulrich Obrist
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

What books about the library or library/information science recommendations do you have for me? Please share!

BONUS LISTEN: from a recent 99% Invisible podcast, Episode No. 354: Weeding is Fundamental, I recently about Collection Management: “Collection size and scope, as determined by holdings counts, particular strengths, and unique materials, were formerly understood in relation to institutional mission and programs” (Horava, 2010, p.142). Johnson (2009) notes how collection management was designed to include the development practices and support for collections, specifically with regards to the decisions about reviewing, retention, and evaluation of a collection e.g. weeding, cancelling serials, storage, and preservation.

References:

Borgman, C. L. (1999). What are digital libraries? Competing visions. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/7c55m1xf

Buckland, M. K., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: a manifesto (Vol. 19). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Bush, V. (1945, July). As we may think. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/303881/

Calhoun, K. (2014). Emergence and definitions of digital libraries. In Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects. ALA Neal-Schuman.

Candela, L., Castelli, Y. I., Ross, S., Thanos, C., Pagano, P., Koutrika, G., … & Schuldt, H. (2007). Setting the foundations of digital libraries. D-Lib Magazine, 13(3/4), 1082-9873.

Harmon, E. (2015, October 19). When you work in the open, everyone can be a collaborator. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/10/when-you-work-open-everyone-can-be-collaborator

Horava, T. (2010). Challenges and possibilities for collection management in a digital age. Library Resources & Technical Services, 54(3), 142-152.

Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of collection development and management, 1st Edition. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Isah, A., Mushewa, A., Serema, B., & Kenosi, L. (2015). Analyzing digital library initiatives: 5S theory perspective. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 21(1), 68-82.

Lee, H. (2000). What is a collection? Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 51(12), 1106-1113. doi: 10.1002/1097-4571

Mills, A. (2015). User impact on selection, digitization, and the development of digital special collections. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 21(2), 160-169.

Book Review, Digital Literacy, Reflections

Under Surveillance: Privacy, Rights, and Those Capitalizing On Us

“I don’t care who sees or reads what I post online. I am an open book — I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Have you heard this before? This is a common response I usually hear when talking with a students, staff, and faculty in higher ed about their personal data and privacy online. Not all take this stance; however, most feel like it is almost too late to take back what is already available and online — this includes their identification, their behaviors, and more. Have we past the point of no personal data return for what we share online?  Are there things we should be thinking about our digital behaviors? Have we thought about how to optimize privacy on these portable computers we bring everywhere — our phones? Is digital privacy possible?

This is a topic I’ve written and spoke about before, as I often feel caught in the privacy paradox in my own digital life. Earlier this year I have began auditing where and how I take up digital real estate. I don’t think giving away our personal data for a “free service” or online account is a fair trade. I have thought more about the fine print in the terms of services for a number of my social media and digital accounts, especially controlling who can collect my data and in “opting out” to control who might use my personal information. This is really important as we see more companies gobble up social media sites and grow their own data collection business based on online information they can find — I’m looking at you Facebook and Google. Whether you share a product on Instagram or tweet about an event, these companies are interested in scooping of this information.

You can go nowhere unseen… We found this ‘camera’ on a window pane in a small staircase to the attic, in the most remote corner of an abandoned hospital.
Flickr image c/o Fabian https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapsi42/3925435964/

I just finished reading Shoshana Zuboff ‘s latest book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, where she defines surveillance capitalism as “a new economic order that claims [private] human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.” This is directly connected to our digital behaviors, such as our clicks, views, impressions, and even who we are. We share a vast amount of information accessed through our social media accounts, mobile apps, digital platforms, and smart devices — ask your personal digital assistant, Alexa, Siri, and/or Google Home all about it.

In the privacy camp, you can find a number of postsecondary colleagues and learners who are concerned about protecting their personal data and digital information. Similar to others online, most want to know how to maintain digital control of their data and manage their online reputation. Just over 60% of Americans WOULD  LIKE to do more about their privacy; however, their social media use is mostly unchanged since 2018 and I suspect most would value the cost of privacy at $0. Do you think people would pay to protect their information? Who would pay to use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if it meant more control of who uses their data? I have my doubts that many would actually pay to use apps and social technologies.

Last year, negative impacts of the personal digital life included connectedness overload, trust tensions, personal identity issues, and failing to focus. Privacy, data collection, and surveillance are loaded issues. They are not issues we can tackle on our own. It can be so overwhelming for any one of us to deal with. This needs to be a collective movement for change in society — this might include efforts to push for accountability from technology giants, pushing for regulation, demanding specific privacy standards, and encouraging more of us to change our own behaviors so our actions are not feeding into the business opportunities of surveillance capitalism and data collection. We need to do more than just secure our own data. We need to work on ways to secure all of our personal data and identify standards that block opportunistic actions from technology companies.

Choosing to not use these tools, devices, or platforms is not a viable option to solve this problem. Data security and information collection impacts everyone. Whether you are active on a digital platform or opting out, there are pieces of data and information connected to you in some shape or form. Surveillance and data collection is so ubiquitous that we often take it for granted (Lewis, 2017).  Privacy is less of a paradox, and more of a fact of life, whether we like it or not:

“We can’t buy rooms at the panopticon hotel and then complain about the surveillance.” The internet cliché “You are the product” is wrong, argues @DKThomp. We are neither products nor workers in surveillance capitalism’s quest for data. We are a passive source of raw material—a field to be harvested, or a mountain to be strip-mined. To counter the “nothing to hide” quote that started this post, Zuboff thinks: “If you have nothing to hide, then you are nothing.”

Take a listen to the Crazy/Genius podcast episode to hear more of their conversation: Why Should We Care About Privacy?

Want to hear more about privacy, data and surveillance? Check out these past podcast episodes:

References:

Lewis, R. (2017). Under surveillance: Being watched in modern America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

#HEdigID, Digital Literacy, Professional Development

#HEdigID Chat no. 13: Living a Purposeful Digital Life

It’s almost impossible to not have any aspect of your life be in the digital. An increasing number of digital objects, environments, and applications often consume our daily lives. Whether it is a text message, calendar notification, online bank transfer, a voice-assisted inquiry, a “like” on social media, or ping from your smartwatch, technology impacts and influences how we live, work, and play. It is not about unplugging or walking away from a device, as the online and offline experience goes beyond a single location or scheduled time. Digital dualism, the belief that online and offline are separate and distinct realms, is no longer feasible in the lives we lead. Also, digital dualism presents a false dichotomy of spaces and real/virtual; in particular, the digital interacts and influences the offline realm, and vice versa (Suler, 2016).

This ubiquitous digital life is seamless as technology is more accessible and just over 50% of the world is now online. Thanks to broader networking abilities and “smarter” mobile/computing devices, our connection and interaction with information, media, and society are constant. Recently, Mozilla released the 2019 Internet Health Report (SPOILER ALERT: The Internet is a bit under the weather.) to identify these issues and needs around:

  • Privacy and security – how safe is it?
  • Openness – is it open?
  • Digital inclusion – who is welcome?
  • Web literacy – who can succeed?
  • Decentralization – who controls it?
  • Participate -10 minutes to a healthier internet (action!)

In listening to the summary of this report on on CBC Spark, I think that Mark Surman, Mozilla‘s executive director, left some room for hope at the end of the interview. It is really up to the collective us, web developers, engineers, government, and society, as what we need to think about broadly for how we engage in the web. On a bright note, Internet health is now a mainstream issue that we are having conversations about to understand what can and needs to be done for the future of the web we want to be a part with Surman’s call to action:

“…how we do design this stuff? We still have the rule of law. We still have governments that we can actually decide where to take this. We’re at that kind of a juncture right now, and we can also govern it stupidly. And so now is the time for engaging in really thoughtful, hard-nosed investigation of what we want the digital society to look like..”

Bringing these issues to higher education, we often direct these concerns towards the support digital literacy among our college/university learners; specifically how they are using technologies, devices, and platforms. We should not assume competence of digital abilities for other campus stakeholders (e.g. staff, faculty, administration, etc.) without understand if/how they are being supported as well. I get that clutter, optimization, and being intentional are pillars of the digital minimalism book by Newport (2019); however, I think his solutions and strategies come from a point of privilege and lack of experience of actually using the digital platforms or social media sites. If you never had an account or you aren’t actively using a social media channel for your personal/professional life, how can you tell others to use these less if it’s a vital tool of their digital life? There is nothing wrong with finding focus and doing deeper work — I fully support that. But, I think there needs to be a balance and compromise with how we navigate the landscape of our evolving personal and professional digital lives. Constant connectivity, emerging technologies, and increasing expectations for life online will not disappear, so we need to figure ways to manage and survive.

Next week (May13-19, 2019), I am teaching this OLC Workshop: Developing your Digital Presence & Taking Control of your Online Identity, which means I will ALSO be facilitating a Higher Ed Digital Identity (#HEdigID) chat next FRIDAY (May 17th) on this topic:  Living a Purposeful Digital Life. Join us for the ALL DAY (slow) Twitter conversation using the hashtag: #HEdigID If you’re not into tweeting, you can still SHARE and RESPOND to the same questions/prompts that I will be adding to this open Google doc soon: http://bit.ly/hedigid13

Here are a few QUESTIONS to get you thinking about HOW and WHERE you live your “best digital live” these days for Friday’s (May 17th) #HEdigID ALL-DAY discussion:

  1. What digital spaces and/or social media platforms are you most “present” on these days? OR Where online do you want to be more active on? How can others connect and engage with #highered professionals (staff, faculty & administrators), in general? List WHERE and WHY you are an active participant digitally these days and living your “best life.”
  2. What online NETWORKS and COMMUNITIES do you often connect with to find other #highered professionals with similar interests/research/work? This could a platform you go to learn, share, or promote your practice/teaching/design/scholarship. SHARE any groups, hashtags, podcasts, blogs, websites, etc. you follow and connect with.
  3. Using digital spaces and social media to share our professional work forces us to differentiate between our ‘private’ and ‘public’ lives. The reality is, this is much more complex as we share our personal and professional lives online. What CHALLENGES or RISKS concern you most about being a ‘public intellectual’ online in #highered?
  4. It’s so easy always be connected — online or to our technologies — so, how do you take time to UNPLUG or DISCONNECT when you need a break? Share how you digitally detox and/or tend to your well-being when you need to escape the digital grind.
  5. What is one piece of ADVICE or a SUGGESTION you want to seek from or offer other #highered professionals related to “living your best digital life” on social media, online, etc.?

Join us for the conversation next week, and in the mean time — tell me:

How do you live your best digital life (with purpose) these days? 

Updated May 19, 2019: Twitter ARCHIVE from chat: #HEdigID Chat Transcript, No. 13: Living a Purposeful Digital Life (05.17.19).

Higher Education, Learning, Learning and Performance, Library, Online Learning, Professional Development

Why Can’t Learning in the Analog and Digital Just Get Along?

It’s the end of the academic term (well, almost, I’m still wrapping up my grading), but I have been thinking a great deal about learning, how we learn, and the modes of learning for both my students and professionals this semester. Back in March, Joshua Kim posed a series of questions related to the higher education conference learning that goes on, and questioning how we might need to rethink our own professional development for learning:

  • What if the way we think about professional development for learning professionals is actually holding back the learning profession?
  • What if what we really need is to create new knowledge?
  • What if what the learning profession really needs is original scholarship?
  • What if the resources, time and energy we devote to attending large professional conferences would be better spent in small-scale convenings, where the goals of scholarly productivity are foregrounded above all others?

These questions resonated with me, my friends/colleagues often ask if I will be attending an upcoming conference or event so we can meet up. As a professional with minimal funds for travel and also little interest in attending conferences during the academic term (I teach A LOT of learners during the two long semesters – Fall and Spring), many are surprised to hear I am not going to be at these events as I value professional learning. In the last few years, I have notices that I am not learning very much at conferences on site at these events. To clarify — I DO participate in valuable discussions, debates, and banter with peers at these events, but I’m not sure the format of a typical 2-3 day conference with keynotes, workshops, lecture presentations, academic papers/posters, etc. in a 2-3 day format is not how I WANT to learn.

Sure. I miss the connections and socialization within the profession at these conference events, but really, my learning and development is on-going and more tailored to what I need and want to learn about. These days, I think there are SO many ways to engage with professionals and gain the knowledge I am looking about — that I have not been interested in figuring out how to build a budget for one event. Sometimes I follow and read through a conference backchannel if I can’t physically attend; however, lately, I’m not sure I’m really missing out on anything. I think the biggest loss of not attending might not actually be the learning, but the networking and professional socialization that comes with the analog format of most conferences.  Also what is often lost in these large learning events, is the knowledge creation and sharing beyond a time, location, and date to a broader audience — that comes with “the common is a faith in the power of convening. And, in particular, a faith in the power of convening at scale” (Kim, 2019).

I think there are SO many ways professional to learn, develop, and gain knowledge in higher education. I typically find ways to learn from my peers and gain insights into my field through:

  • Books I borrow from the public & university library – I read A LOT!
  • Hashtags I search/follow/chat with on Twitter based on topics I’m interested in
  • Peers and colleagues work I follow — especially those who tweet, podcast, blog, and share in open access ways online
  • Journal articles and conference proceedings (ones that are publish)
  • PODCASTS! Like books, I listen to and learn from a wide variety of episodes, including the growing number of higher ed-focused podcasts, available on-demand, for download, and/or streaming. I guess I also create a couple to learn from as well e.g. @BreakDrink & @InVinoFab
  • LIVE/ARCHIVED web stuff: Webinars, web-events, broadcasts, YouTube live, Virtually Connecting sessions, etc.
  • Local events and happenings around DFW — at my campus, at other campuses, and general MeetUps or events. This even includes things posted on my local neighborhood network, NextDoor.
  • Subscriptions to learning, like this yearly membership I have to MasterClass.com
  • Open educational resources (OER) — e.g. MOOCs offered by FutureLearn, Coursera or edX and other OER repositories
  • Listservs and Google Groups — yeah, I still learn news, information, and find opportunities on these emailed spaces.
  • Library or research workshops at UNT Library like Software Carpentry for R and Python to tool up on a skills, platform, or research method.
  • Formal university courses. I take advantage of that staff/faculty discount at my own institution to take a non-degree course (I’m working on this certificate now).
  • Friends, colleague, and peer suggestions for learning and training — they just know I like learning, and what might peak my interest, in general. So I welcome referrals and suggestions for any of the above — and I get these often.

Beyond professional learning conferences, this sentiment also present with the work I do in the online teaching/learning domain. At our colleges and universities (at least in the US), there seems to be more value placed on the analog vs. the digital work we do on campus. If I am not physically “present” somewhere, how can the work I be doing the same as my colleague? What does a lecturer do who does not actually lecture? Good question, let me tease this out a bit as a couple of recent reads around digital minimalism and revenge of the analog has peaked these thoughts.

Over the past five years, as a full-time non-tenure track faculty member, I have been involved in a great deal of teaching/learning as a lecturer (who might not actually lecture). My work involves instructing face-to-face (F2F), online, and blended learning university courses and also designing learning/training on digital platforms AND within new physical teaching spaces. This has been fun, as I try to apply what I’m learning and discovering in my own research/learning (see list above) to re-tool how to best design these educational experiences digitally (like others who move to online teaching). That being said, when talking to some colleagues, I do notice the embedded bias for the “traditional” teaching methods (e.g. sage on the stage, chalk n’ talk, talking-head expert, etc.) for what it means to be present on a campus as a faculty or staff employee.

Looking back, I suppose most of my own experience as a learner involved F2F means of instruction, student support, and interactions. Before finishing my PhD, I had a number of F2F and blended courses I taught or had been enrolled in myself. Part of the assumption of online teaching comes with the culture on campus and the expectations of what an online course will entail for the learner. For F2F courses, I think there is less pressure to have your entire curriculum prepared, available, and online at the start of each semester. A professor or instructor can just show up and talk (on or off topic) based on what might be loosely included in the course syllabus or schedule that day, often without any concern for lecture capturing, archiving, and transcribing media (audio or video) of their presentation. As a F2F instructor who teaches on campus, there is no need to be explicit in detail for assignments, or itemization of instruction on projects, tasks, or activities for learning. Students attending these courses on site can ask immediate follow up questions before, during or after scheduled class time. Additionally, students feel a rapport or social presence with the in-class instructor that is different those educators they might have online (not always, but it often it is so). These interactions to learn with peers or through impromptu discussions in class, does not require a script, plan, or set outline of pedagogy when comparing it to the defined structures of an online course.  Then there are other F2F learning experiences when faculty stick to the scripted presentation/lecture with minimal interaction or engagement.

Since my faculty role has primarily involved designing and delivering online learning, I have been a fortunate to lecture and capture lessons on video/audio, augment how I offer student support in office hours, create useful learning materials beyond a textbook, create social presence for myself and learners in these courses, and be mindful of making my educational resources accessible in a variety of different formats considerations for multiple formats. This reflection of my teaching online is constant and helps me to improve how to make concepts and learning relevant for my students.

For learning, it does not have to be a THIS or THAT debate. When it comes to the digital or analog practices, I think there is value in both. Like making a mix tape of music or playing a vinyl record, I take the skills of searching, listening, finding, and curating my music on Spotify playlists digitally. I don’t think I could do one well without the other. The skills for learning design offline apply to how I think about my online curriculum. Both should exist — it’s not an either or when it comes to the analog and digital experience for learning. Our college/university campuses and our professional associations could use a healthy smattering of both. We need educators, administrators, instructional designers, and student support services that are versatile in both digital and analog practices. I think teaching online, over the past few years, better informs my pedagogical preparation and considerations for how I design and deliver learning. Whether it is an in-person conference workshop or an online week webinar, I think the pedagogical experiences help to merge my digital and analog practices. It’s marriage of both skills sets to reach a variety of ways to gain knowledge and learn.

We will never change how we create and share knowledge, or learn new ways to do things, unless we change our professional practices. The model of conference learning is fine to socialize and network with the select few who can afford to attend the conference; however, I would challenge the number of professional associations I am/have been a member of to think about how to BETTER share and TRULY scale knowledge in a manageable way, specifically:

  • How are these learning artifacts archived beyond the dates and locations of these events?
  • Are there ways to share knowledge and learning that we need to start modeling for professional learning, training, and development of our own?
  • How are professionals who do not attend engaged and encouraged to understand the value-add of these learning experience or resources shared from the in-person meetings?
  • What was can data be managed and learning objects be curated to organize what was shared, learned, and presented at these events?

I don’t have the answers to these, but I think this is worthy of further discussion and consideration. I know I would be willing to support and work with professional associations/organizations who would like to consider how to effectively organize their own digital libraries for learning, knowledge sharing, and advancement of the field. Let’s chat.

Career, Job Search

Engineer Your Career Passion

Most people want to be satisfied and fulfilled by their work. What we do for work and thinking about our career is a central focus for most of my learners, colleagues, friends, and family. And why not? Our jobs take up our time, focus our priorities, or at least have our attention — as we spend  an average of 13 years of our life at work. Asking individuals to find their “career callings” is a stressful task. How can you find great work you love, when really you need a job to be functional, realistic, and something you can obtain? Finding a “job you love” may not pay the bills, support your needs, and be something you can do at the moment. Work can be fun, but not all work is. And, sometimes a job is just a job — it might be a job to support yourself and family, that is in the right geographic location, be the first step in your career, or just something you’re doing right now while you try to figure out the next steps to take in your professional life.

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That being said, many people seek meaning and purpose in their world of work. Which might be something that may never happen. Maybe we’re putting too much emphasis on this job fulfillment. Whether it is millennial burnout or workism as our professional identity, there seems to be no shortage of folks discussing and writing about the topic careers and work life these days. I appreciated how Elizabeth Gilbert breaks down how we think about our careers in a Hello Monday interview, specifically how we might confuse these four aspects of our life when it comes to reflecting on our work life:

  1. Hobby: Is something you do because you enjoy it and you don’t need anything back for it. It’s fun and you delight in it.
  2. Job: A thing you have because everyone has to have one. It doesn’t need to fulfill your emotional needs because it’s there to pay the bills and you have a life outside your job that is more interesting (e.g. family, hobbies, pursuits, etc.)
  3. Career: Should be something you are passionate about (mostly). A career is a job that you deeply care about.
  4. Vocation: A sacred calling of something that is very holy to you that is the center of your life that can never be taken away from you no matter what.

This framework presents ideas around careers vs. callings, specifically outlining what you do and how you do. In the span of your work life, you might find yourself in anyone or all four of these areas to find fulfillment OR to support your career planning.  Listen to the full podcast episode HERE.

Sometimes how we craft our work and leisure time leaves many professional unsatisfied by not answering their career callings and leading to professional regret (Berg, Grant, & Johnson, 2010). This synopsis by Gilbert is not entirely wrong. Our job attitudes and meaning-making at work is highly predictive of how individuals thrive and contribute to their organizations of employment (Wrzesniewski, 2003), specifically when job crafting in service of purpose is encouraged and supports the well-being of the employee (Tims, Bakker, & Derks, 2013). Each semester I teach a course in personal/professional development, where my learners go through modules to figure out their own trajectory for their academic and career path. Some are first-generation, first time in college students; whereas others have years of experience in their profession and are looking to finish a 4-year degree to advance, transition to a new career, and more. I know that identifying career callings and directions are challenging. So I typically do NOT give the traditional advice to “find your passion.” I think passions are often developed and created as we gain employment experience, learn more about ourselves, and find opportunities for discovery in the wold of work.

I know that I am not alone in this thinking

Listen to the recent WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast: The Perils of Following your Career Passion that shares how the “do what you love” is often terrible career advice.

What will your future work self look like? Do you know what you want to be doing? What can you do now to get you there? Your first job might not make you happy or your next career move might not be your “dream job” — but what will help you learn, grow and enhance YOU for the next step in your professional life? How can you develop your talents and build upon your skills, interest, and abilities? These are the questions I pose to my learners each semester. That is, to really think about what drives you into action and to identify how to these interests to individual skills and talents for work.

In studying unconventional career paths of “dark horses,” Rose and Ogas (2018) found that the pursuit of fulfillment requires work:

“Following your passion takes little effort. Engineering your passion, on the other hand, is a more serious undertaking. It requires that you diligently pursue a deeper understanding of yourself. Engineering passion is hard work-but the benefits are enormous” (pp. 76-77).

I think we all could put more effort into designing and building the career we want. Passion might be part of it, or we might decide this passion is something we do alongside our work life. There is no one standard formula for how our hobby, job, career, and calling exist with one another. Here are a few big questions to consider if you want to start engineering your career passion to create a fulfilling work experience and to support your future work self:

  • Legacy:
    • Where do you want to make a difference in the world?
    • What do you want to leave behind?
    • How can you start moving towards these goals?
    • Would your 10-year-old self be proud of what you are doing?
  • Mastery:
    • What sort of actions/skills put you into a state of flow?
    • What is something you can focus on for hours?. e.g. you might forget to eat, lose sleep, etc.
    • What knowledge, skills, or abilities do you want to learn?
    • What ways are you challenging yourself to actively improve, practice, or develop?
  • Action:
    • What are you doing (or not doing) today to move your career goals forward?
    • How are you honing your optimal skills and talents for the next job or career transition?
    • What ways are you making time to grow and develop your future work self now?
    • Who might you reach out to to support/advise/mentor with your career development in your organization, industry, and/or professional field?

References:

Berg, J. M., Grant, A. M., & Johnson, V. (2010). When callings are calling: Crafting work and leisure in pursuit of unanswered occupational callings. Organization Science, 21(5), 973-994.
Rose, T., & Ogas, O. (2018). Dark horse: Achieving success through the pursuit of fulfillment. HarperOne.
Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The impact of job crafting on job demands, job resources, and well-being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 230-240.
Wrzesniewski, A. (2003). Finding positive meaning in work. In K. Cameron & J. Dutton (eds.) Positive organizational scholarship: Foundations of a new discipline, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, pp. 296-308.