Learning Community, Rhizo15

Thinking About Communities for Learning {#Rhizo15 Week 5 – Catch Up}

Q: What a #Rhizo15 post? But Laura, I thought the course was over? Is this not true?

A: The #Rhizo15 is never over with a community like this one. #truth

Week 5 poked and prodded at the notion of community for learning, with questions like:

  • How do we make sure there is always room for new and contrarian voices?
  • Do we need to create a them to have a we?
  • How do we cultivate a community learning ecosystem so that it continues to grow outward rather than inward?
  • What does that mean for learning?
  • Must rhizomatic learning be an invasive species?

In my efforts to set up my 10-week Summer courses (why I dropped off the #rhizo15 path as an “active participant” both blogging, tweeting & on the Facebook group), I thought more about how communities can enhance learning, both the informal and formal sides. As I read the #rhizo15 week 5 blog posts and thought a the questions above – it made me consider access and agency to learning – my own and others. Whether it has been a course, certificate, professional meeting or a training seminar — the best experience in learning has been the people and their contributions. The opportunities to dialog and share experiences have lent to stickier and more meaningful learning — for myself and others. There is great knowledge With regards to facilitation and instruction, I would agree with Lisa’s sentiments from week #4 where the fearless #rhizo15 leader, Dave has “chosen words, for every one of his prompts, that are very open to interpretation.” Others interpreted this prompt with metaphors and ideas, including cultivating a garden of learning/teaching, thinking about spontaneous growth, and considering lines of flight for the #rhizo15 course/community.

I agree with these sentiments for my informal learning practices. In a number of my personal learning networks and communities of practice, there are always issues of cultivating a broader network and experience for those involved with learning. It is critical to avoid the online echo chamber when surrounded by like-minded people. This notion of echos in the network vary for #rhizo15 learning community. Some believe this community provides learning support and outlets to challenge the norm, while other community interactions or experiences might be determined by an algorithm. It is important to find ways to challenge and engage the learning community to reflect upon their practice and consider contrary points of view. Sometimes it is a good idea to step back to assess the conversation and learning in the community. I think it’s healthy to have a critical eye when reviewing the participation, discussion, and contribution in the learning community. How can we evaluate and reflect this practice more in our own learning networks?

echochamber123

The Echo Chamber [Revisited] by @gapingvoid

In my efforts to set up my 10-week Summer courses (one of the reasons why I dropped off the #rhizo15 path as an “active participant” both blogging, tweeting & on the Facebook group for a while), I thought more about how communities can enhance learning, both the informal and formal sides. In reflecting on my own formal learning/teaching, I have always valued individual contributions and experiences shared by others. Whether it has been a course, certificate, professional meeting or a training seminar — the best experience in learning has been from the people. We typically have been prompted to respond, answer, or be involved in some sort of interaction — however the learning happens more when the group of learners actively participate, chat, and share. This got me thinking about how to develop a learning community in a formal course curriculum and consider ways to personalize the learning experience.

Forcing or facilitating openness? You decide.

I like the idea of openness guided by the instructor. I enjoy finding meaning and ways to interpret the discussions; however I knew that most of my learners need directions and clear targets. This prompt encouraged ways to facilitate “openness” in my own teaching/training to revitalize a sense of exploration for my learners/participants. I want to facilitate a space that is structured “enough”; however it  does make room for all voices and galvanizes my learners to contribute to include their different perspectives and experiences. How are you encouraging these type of “open” learning experiences in your courses? How are they being interpreted/received by your students?

This past Monday kicked off the Summer sessions at UNT, and I was excited to welcome my learners in #LTEC3010 (Personal Development) and #LTEC4000 (Introduction to Training and Development). Both courses guide career and professional development either as individuals or within an organization [both course syllabi are posted here, if interested]. Interestingly enough, these two different courses have a lot of similarity in understanding organizational learning and individual performance in the workplace. There is enough “structure” for our online undergraduate courses; however I have made room for research, questions, creativity, and contributions from the learners. To be intentional about community learning, there are a number of activities (e.g. discussions, research projects, etc.) and examples to encourage self-directed learning offered in each class. As per usual, I hope to model the impacts online communities of practice and professional mentoring can have on individual academic/career development, while also introducing how informal and online learning networks can support new modes for training and development.

We shall see how these learning communities develop and grow… more to share soon (I hope).

#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.

Professional Development, web 2.0

Q: Should I Start Blogging? A: Maybe.

A common question I field from teachers, faculty, graduate students, higher education professionals, and researchers these days:

Q: Should I start blogging?

My response:

A: Maybe.

write-your-own-blog

Image c/o Blogiau

Blogging and maintaining a blog is not for everyone. I often ask a follow up question to this inquiry to learn more about the motivating factors for the blog:

  • Why do you want to start blogging? [purpose, goal, sharing, reflection, etc.]
  • Do you enjoy writing? i.e. beyond 140-characters & comprehensively
  • What format do you want your blog to be? Written or other, i.e. video, photo-sharing, podcasting?
  • Do you want to express and share your ideas in a public, online forum?
  • What focus will your blog take – work, education, learning, research, or all of the above?
  • Who is your audience? Professional group affiliation? Research discipline? Just for yourself?
  • What platform are you thinking about? Blogger, WordPress or other?
  • Do you have an idea about how often you want to post to your blog?
  • Where will you be getting ideas for your writing? [Content IS king.]
  • How will this contribute to your learning, professional development, etc.? [depending on the person]
  • When will you post to you blog? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Everyone has different reasons for the WHY they blog, or even how they started blogging. Some use blogging as a forum to connect to a professional or academic community. Others use their blog to share resources and ideas. Bloggers often present concepts and challenge the status quo in their field. Then there are other bloggers who use it for shameless self-promotion and self-marketing. The main point is – you should blog because you WANT TO BLOG.

My blogging tale started back in 2006 when I initially took up blogging to share my travel adventures and general life happenings on, Souvenirs of Canada, for family and friends who wanted to stay in touch. In 2008, I created TechKNOW Tools as a professional development space for an academic advising technology seminar for NACADA, and after that I continued to use this space to discuss my own work experiences, research projects, and share what I have been learning.

blogging requires passion and authority

Image c/o Gaping Void

There are a number of reasons WHY I blog.  Thanks to a researcher reviewing educational bloggers, I audited my own blogging experience, and I have considered what [really] prompts me to blog and continue to blog. For me, blogging and writing about my progress is very reflective and I enjoy documenting, sharing, critiquing, and writing about what is going on in my professional (and sometimes personal) sphere. I appreciate the community of research and educational bloggers who play in this blog sandbox. I like their comments, questions, challenges, and support — and at the end of the day I LIKE BLOGGING — otherwise I would not blog. Really.

If it sounds blogging might be just space for you to share your interests and express your ideas — go get your BLOG ON! Here’s a quick “HOW TO” Set Up a WordPress Blog I created for my learners, with a few helpful resources posted at the bottom to get you fired up for your blog writing. Want some more ideas? Here you go:

Do you have resources for the beginning blogger out there? Any advice or comments for new or potential bloggers? Post it in the comments, and also be sure to say HOW LONG and WHY you blog. Blog on, my friends. Blog on.

blogs, Reflections

TechKNOW Tool 2013 – Blog Posts In Review

In the process of auditing my social media and web life, I thought I’d take a gander at what I blogged about in 2013. What the heck was I reflecting and sharing in 2013?

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 8.26.57 AM

Photo from  marsmettnn tallahase on Flickr

TechKNOW Tools received a number of views on older blog posts; however the key themes that were clicked on for 2013 included: academic writing, research gathering, teaching support, role transition, job search/application, conference sharing, learning design, and social media auditing.

Thanks for reading, and following along. I’ll be sure to share more in 2014. 🙂

Title

 

Digital Clean Up: Social Media Audit & How Not to Be Hacked
Lucky 13: Top Blog Post Views for Summer 2013
The PhD: Troubles Talk… and Moan… and So On
Using Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes
Supporting Student Success at #UFTL13
#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change
Do You Have Social Media Goals?
The Dissertation Proposal. #phdchat
Your Higher Ed Website + Search: “Social Media Guidelines” or “Social Media Policy” = A Database for My Dissertation Research
Help My #ugstSTORY Class Tell Their Story
Gathering #SocialMedia Guidelines from Higher Education #SoMe #edusomedia #highered
#SXSWedu Panel: Social Media in Higher Ed – Where Are We Going? #smHE
#AdvTech at #nacada13…More Than Just a Hashtag!
#AcWriMo In Review: My Output
#AcWriMo & Accountability to Write
#AcWriMo Peer Pressure: Time, Challenge/Support & Cheerleaders
My #AcWriMo Goals for November
I’m “On the [Job] Market”: The Application Process
Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations
The Vitae: Brewing Academic Experience for Your CV
BreakDrink, CTCX

Delicious Until the Last Sip… Goodbye @BreakDrink!

It’s been a while coming, but a couple of days ago Papa BreakDrink, Jeff Jackson, pulled the plug on BreakDrink.com. I am sad to see it go, but I am happy for what it was. This side project brought together a collaborative spirit of sharing and discussion around topics in Student Affairs and Higher Education, specifically “dedicated to providing alternative forms of professional development.” For the experiences, interactions, and laughs – I am fortunate to have had the pleasure. Thanks BreakDrink Family & Campus Tech Connection (#CTCX) listeners/friends.  [p.s. There are a number of our shows sitting in the archives should you want to take a listening walk down memory lane or check it out for the first time.]

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 11.56.53 PM

 Over the last few years a number of new (social media) spaces and places have appeared for Student and Academic Affairs professionals to flock to for trends, issues, news, learning, and connection. It might be my lack of interest in competing in the higher ed market place to be “the next big thing” online, or just a shift in personal and/or academic priorities – but it is time to say farewell to BreakDrink.com.
breakdrink_icon I would like to sincerely thank Jeff Jackson for instigating @BreakDrink, and inviting me via a Twitter DM to join the fun with Jeff Lail & then Bruce Mann. From thoughtful discussions, interesting debates, lively podcast interviews, snarky comments, new online training initiatives, mentoring relationships, and growing friendships – I say a fond goodbye to the BreakDrink family and friends. This community of practice has been a solid part of my informal/alternative professional development plan. From this beginning, I have continued to research and work in this area of higher education, and I am grateful to those who lit this spark.
I owe a great deal to many who are accomplices to the BreakDrink experience,  (see Jeff’s Pull the Plug Post) by contributing as podcasters, bloggers, creatives, brainstormers, and then some – I’m looking at you Julie Larsen. As we close this chapter of our lives, I am proud to say that I am leaving BreakDrink with some new tech skills, a broader understanding about things in the Student Affairs and Ed Tech realm, a new support professional network, and a few amazing people in my life. Here’s to our continued friendship, learning and sharing, BreakDrink Family! Until the next podcast or blog post… Laura Pasquini, for @BreakDrink #CTCX is signing off from BreakDrink.com! {Cue the closing music.}
Reflections

Lucky 13: Top Blog Post Views for Summer 2013

13-ball

Since major news outlets, TV series, and  government officials seem to be on hiatus in August, I decided to take a break from blogging as well.  In looking back at what’s been trending on TechKNOW Tools,  here are the lucky 13 most viewed blog posts since  May.

LUCKY 13:  TOP BLOG POST VIEWS THIS SUMMER View
Social Media Strategies in Student Affairs
More stats
850
What’s Your Research Methods Worldview? More stats 353
#AcWriMo & Accountability to Write More stats 219
#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change More stats 116
Facebook for Learning Communities: Groups vs. Pages More stats 115
Passing the Torch: Leadership Transition in Our Professional Organizations More stats 115
Using Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes More stats 114
Organizational Learning Constructs More stats 103
Backwards Design with TED-Ed More stats 84
I Tumblr For You… To Reflect. More stats 74
Going Mobile for Academic Advising: Tablets, iPads & Protocols on Campus More stats 72
Building Communities of Practice in Higher Ed More stats 65
My Prolegomenon to Technology
More stats
61

My pause from blogging will resume after I wrap up a few things before the Fall academic term starts: publications, projects, and proposals. #GradStudentProblems

EdTech, PhD, Professional Development, Reflections

#et4online What Happens In Vegas, Should be Blogged

Much to my surprise, my first visit to Sin City was less about the bright lights, gambling, or trouble I could cause…and more about innovative ideas and collective sharing for learning technologies. This is what happens when you attend the 6th Annual International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online).

Waiting for my flight to #et4online

In returning from the #et4online conference, I think that there are a number of great conversations, thoughts, and questions I am left with. So, fortunately for my readers, what happens at an #et4online conference in Las Vegas, will NOT stay in Vegas.

Here are a few #et4online conference highlights, notes & tweets (I am not alone – as I know @tjoosten does this as well):

  1. Location Location Location – Kudos for the Planet Hollywood site. Easy to get around, wifi access was great, it was the middle of the strip & close to some great restaurants, and, most importantly, Rex Manning from Empire Records looked over me while I sleep. What more could a gal want?
  2. #EdTechCareer Forum Round Tables – This was the 1st year to start this initiative; however we had a decent turn out and more importantly conversation with our facilitators @amcollier @veletsianos@tjoosten, @whitneykilgore, Kevin Grazino & Rachel Salas-Didier. Thank you to the emerging scholars and career-seekers who stopped by to talk about direction in the field, finding passion, planning for career applications, and more around the job search and career development we have in the #edtech field.
  3. Keynote: What’s That Coming Over the Hill? Digital Futures, Emerging Cultures, New Learning c/o @timbuckteeth This chat had a malay of ideas and experiences for connected learning and pedagogy. Unfortunately Steve had to return back to #PELC13 back in Plymouth, otherwise it would have been great to pick his brain about e-learning more.  Here are a few notes myself & others took via Twitter from his talk.
  4. Plenary: Seven Tales of Learning Online with Emerging Technologies with @veletsianos I like how George shared his learning experiences as a student, researcher, and instructor to help us look critically and realistically at how we are using emerging technologies in education. Here are a few collected tweets from the talk.
  5. The Launch Pad: What a great way to show case Ed Tech start ups, and provide an space in the conference to discuss how educators/developers can work together and collaborate to pilot these initiatives. It was great to connect with Lida & Scott from @Ginkgotree after our BreakDrink.com podcast last October to demo the product. Great to hang out & hopefully we’ll connect again in MI soon!
  6. Discussion & Dialogues of Education Is and Is Not – Specifically what is broken or needs to be fixed, and the reality of this statement. I appreciate how George Veletsianos engages in this more on his blog post, and chat with Amy Collier encouraged me more to think about the change, challenges, and issues being labeled in higher education and for online learning.
  7. #UNet4online: Open Space Technology – These sessions were threaded throughout the conference program and facilitated by Jennifer Ross (@jar) to encourage conversations and idea-swapping for online learning. I was able to attend one on April 10th and the final one on April 11th. I appreciated the  free space to challenge, ask questions, brainstorm, and share ideas/practices with peers. Shout out to the #unet4online tweeps: @amcollier ,@rasebastian, @veletsianos@KavuBob, @jleung81, @g4m, @johnrturnerhpt, @jar@hollyrae, @desertjul & @markjwlee who joined in on various unconference conversations. We were able to  talk about valuable ideas for learning including distributed flip educational models (not.a.MOOC),  higher education organizational design/culture, and ownership in education. Want to learn more? Check out the fantastic post on the (f)unconference from Amy Collier or my rough Google doc notes.
  8. Getting Social  – For me, this is why you attend a conference. I love connecting with others and learning how they are working with students, researching ideas, and just having some great banter. I am glad I got some quality time with @amcollier, catch up time with @tjoosten & @veletsianos, and hang time with new friends, such as @jar @dwicksspu & @kavubob. For those of you who were social [media] online – it was nice to connect via the #et4online hashtag. Let’s continue the conversation.

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Thanks to David Wicks (@dwicksspu) for inviting me to join the #et4online conference steering committee. I look forward to 2014 #et4online planning in Dallas, TX. Giddy up! For those of you who are going to Summerfest & #Blend13 – I will see you in July. 🙂