Reflections, TBT Posts

#TBT Blog #2: Happy Christmas and the Holiday Comic Strip

Over the past seven years, Fiachra and I have created an annual holiday comic strip for Christmas cards to recap our year. This year we broke the tradition and did not create one. I know. Sad. Maybe we ran out of James Bond themes, or perhaps far too much has happened in 2014 to contain our year events in just one comic strip.

2014 was a full year of great events. Both Fiachra and I completed the academic leg of our lives, as we graduated over the summer with our MBA in Decision Sciences and PhD in Learning Technologies, respectively. After this accomplishment we decided to take a break by taking an EPIC road trip to explore the US southwest. This 5-week journey showcased a number of gorgeous landscapes, outdoor adventures, eclectic attractions, and, most importantly, time to spend with each other and also a chance to catch up with family and friends. Here is a quick spotlight to highlight our travels and year in review:

On behalf of Fiachra and myself, we want to thank you SO MUCH for all your love and support this year. We are so grateful for everything. We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas, and all the best for 2015!
xo
L and F

#TBT Blog, Reflections

#TBT Blog Post: My Life According to Matthew Good

So, I have been blogging “officially” blogging since May 18, 2006. I have been writing on this blog since 2008; however I know that I have been publicly sharing web logs on other platforms for a while. That being said, I recently discovered a piece or two, that caught my eye – so I thought – why not re-blog to reflect what I have said.

Time flies when you write, reflect, and share in a few social spaces. Blogging for me has been a space to document happenings, archive ideas, and share memories. Instead of a Throwback Thursday (#TBT) photo – I thought I would try out a new feature – #TBT Blog. I am considering where I have posted various posts (written, video, photo, etc.), and how they have developed who I am in these spaces today. My goal is not just to re-share older content, but rather to process my own development as a blogger, writer, and then some. Welcome to my #TBT blog journey – join me every Thursday on here… until I get bored.

——

#TBT Blog Post #1:

Music has been a significant influence in my life. Whether I am playing new music, going to a concern, or part of an impromptu jam/signing session – I am a fan. Not only am I am a fan of how music can bring people together, I am also partial to the collaborative spirit for how music is made. Most importantly, some of my writing and blogging influences have come from the artists I have followed over the years — one of these artists is Matt Good:

“Somebody gave you a choice
And all you do is abuse it
If God he gave you a voice
Then use it”

~From Lullaby for a New World Order

24 July 2009 from a Facebook blog post:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”

Pick your Artist:
Matthew Good

Are you a male or female?:
Song for the Girl

Describe yourself:
Generation X-Wing

How do you feel:
Haven’t Slept In YearsI’m a Window
Describe where you currently live:
North American for Life

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Bright End of Nowhere

Your favorite form of transportation:
Metal Airplanes

What’s the weather like:
Blue Skies Over Bad Lands

Favorite time of day:
Running for Home

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance

What is life to you:
A Long Way Down

Describe your most recent relationship:
True Love Will Find You in the End

Your fear:
Middle Class Gangsters

What is the best advice you have to give:
The Future Is X-Rated

Thought for the Day:
My Out Of Style Is Coming Back

How I would like to die:
Everything Is Automatic

My soul’s present condition:
Near Fantastica

Most Faithful Companion:
Lullaby for the New World Order

My motto:
Oh Be Joyful

 

Note: I would selected tracks from  Radiohead if my friend, @hungrypo, did not snag them first.

Feel free to share your artist & responses in the comments below. Rock on.

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!