#TBT Blog

#TBT Blog Post #3: Resoluting. #oneword2015

In honor of the new year, I thought I would see how I resolved to do better in the past. I still agree with my earlier sentiments, as I will stick with reasonable goals and good behaviors for 2015 (like I have been working on in 2014). I typically have a few projects on the list, and over arching objectives for each year (and semester… and month). That being said – I have been more of a fan of the #OneWord idea to motivate and encourage the year ahead.

Last year my #oneword2014 was simplify. The purpose was not to have goals, but rather consider my process and space of where I worked and lived. I think I reached this objective, and I have trimmed down my life clutter. This year,  my #OneWord2015 is NOW to remind me to always be present. It is important to remember the past and, of course, plan for the future; however  it is often a challenge (for me, at least) to be present and in the moment — so I will use the word NOW to remind me.

By taking on the word now, I hope to be more thoughtful, and on-task with projects, research, writing, and teaching. I think it is critical to direct my attention to those who I am collaborating with for work, and family/friends in my life. The word now will serves as a mean to act intentionally and be present with those around me more. I also see the word “now” as a way to be. It is important to focus on what is directly in front of you, and to not always look down the road. There is much to be said to be content with what is happening and going on in my life. As a planner and with possible change (life, career, location, etc.), I know this will be a good challenge for me for 2015. Maybe I should have reverted back to my 2007 resolutions… wish me luck!

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#TBT Blog Post #3:

Resoluting. [Blog post from 7th January 2007]

I am not one for resolutions. They never last. Goals are better. However this year I was inspired by Jeff’s Cheapest New Years Resolution post on his blog… or rather I wanted to create/post a few simple (yet clever) resolutions. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Catch up on missed “Lost” episodes (season 3).
2. Initiate more high fives.
3. Listen to one new song a day.

So far, so good. I watched the re-cap episode of “Lost” last night. I high-fived co-workers while watching Team Canada crush Russia to win the gold medal last Friday at the office. And I have enjoyed numerous new tunes on Pandora.com (thanks Jeff) to help with my listening pleasure.

Small and attainable objectives. It’s where it’s at, folks.

Training & Development

Social Media to Support Your Organization

Last week I was invited to participate in the Southlake Chamber of Commerce’s UNT Professional Develop Fridays. I wrapped up the series by discussing how to effectively plan and organize social media resources for to build a community for businesses and organizations in the city.

This workshop focussed on strategies and practical applications of how social media platforms can be utilized to enhance organizations, with regards to:

  • Effective communication and marketing methods
  • Customer engagement and community development
  • Development of a communication strategy to support organizational goals
  • Implementation of social media tools to enhance goods & services

We discussed how their organizations in Southlake could “get social” (Twitter notes from the session: #SocialSouthlake) by connecting business strategies to broader communication plans and community management ideas.

Discussion points from this workshop included:

  • Be an active participant in social media platforms – explore before you plan
  • Set goals that are realistic with social media – pick 1-3 platforms to start with and use them well.
  • Map out a strategic plan for social media implementation (see worksheet) connected with your business plan.
  • Research your community and partners in the industry – get to know your audience and others participating in your potential community
  • Consider methods that build and growth your community offline and online
  • Designate a community manager, or a few to lead your development and planning
  • Identify champions from your community, i.e. individuals who are active participants from within the community, who will support your social media implementation and growth
  • Plan content directly connected to your purpose and mission
  • Effective methods to measure and track progress related to goals

 

Additional resources from this session can be found here: http://bit.ly/SocialSouthlake

Thanks for the invite @Southlake_CC … be sure to keep it social. 🙂

Higher Education, MOOC, Open Education

New Social Learning … is It “New”?

Education rarely reinvents the wheel. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There are a number of great theorists, researchers, scholars, practitioners, and educators who have been utilizing connected and social learning ideas for decades.

In thinking about social learning for instructional design, I will turn to Bingham and Conner’s (2010) outline for how this is “new” in many of our organizations:

  • The new social learning is not just for knowledge workers – community-oriented.
  • Plays well with formal education to capture shared learning.
  • Compliments training and supplements development.
  • Similar but not the same as informal learning – more search and reading.
  • More than just online search and social networking.
  • Not like broadcasting information, more communal.
  • Allows for interaction and experiences to share ideas.

Image from Social Media Portal

Thomas and Brown (2011) inquire about the new culture of learning in their book, specifically asking: “What happens to learning when we move from stable infrastructure of the twentieth century to the fluid infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change?”

I am thinking about this question a lot. A number of educators are looking for the “new” instead of asking questions and assessing the present practices. As a scholar-practitioner with perhaps faculty inklings, I have many concerns and questions for the future of our learning in higher education:

  1. Who (collaboratively) will best respond to the challenges and changes for our learning landscape on your campus?
  2. Why are educational changes and decisions being made? Is there assessment and evaluation? Data-driven decisions? Literature to support the change?
  3. What are we doing well & what can we improve upon in our face-to-face, online, and blended pedagogy in higher education?
  4. How are we thinking about connections, creativity, and social learning for our campus learning environments?
  5. When & how seek out the learners’ input for changes to our educational curriculum, campus programs, and student support services?

The idea of one idea, one thing, or one person to tackle the challenges/changes in higher education is ridiculous. If you think a “new” way to learn – perhaps a MOOC – will solve your university or college, then I am concerned about your strategic goals and learning outcomes. Take a gander at George Siemen’s recent #open13 talk [slides & video] to get a historical perspective on MOOCs (then and now), learning challenges, and other considerations for higher education pedagogy. [P.s. If you want to talk more MOOCs and research – y’all should come down to Texas for the 1st MOOC Research Conference in December]

One great take away from George’s talk (via a priest) about the upcoming shifts to higher education: “Don’t move away from things…because if you move away from things you don’t have a clue where you’re going to end up. Instead, move towards something.”

References

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: A guide to transforming organizations through social media. Berrett-Koehler Store.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (Vol. 219). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Siemens, G. (2013, November 7). MOOCs: How did we get here? Elearnspace. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2013/11/07/moocs-how-did-we-get-here/

MOOC, Web Design

#EDUSprint 3 – Creating the IT Architecture for the Connected Age

Here’s the recap for the last EDUCAUSE webinar of the EDU Sprint series: #EDUSprint 3 – Creating the IT Architecture for the Connected Age. Today’s session talked about the role of IT on campus, technology planning, and the infrastructure of IT services for digital learning.

#EDUsprint 3 - Is IT Creating a New, Connected Age?

The session discussed the processes, management strategies, and governance structures from the following higher education leaders on the panel:

  • Tracy Futhey, Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Duke University
  • Tracy Schroeder, Vice President, Information Services and Technology, Boston University
  • Ethan Benatan, Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Strategy Officer, Marylhurst University

Many spoke about how their IT unit is thinking deeper about services to connect to learning and the needs on their campus in a holistic manner. Tracy Futhey shared her ideas around IT services, and how we not only need to consider location within the organization, but more about the delivery and methods for our IT units.

IT Services

Although there was talk about campus-wide strategy, I rarely heard much about bringing others around the table for this discussion. Much of higher education still operates in silos, so the full potential of connectedness and planning technology in learning cannot just occur in an IT unit, academic department or business solutions. I think that more administrative leaders need to bring faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, IT developers, and external shareholders together for these strategy meetings. in higher education. As our campus environments change, so does the IT needs and services to support learning and engagement.

I did appreciate when Tracy Schoeder shared about the Digital Learning Initiative and Technology Planning at Boston University. Although emerging technological trends evolve, I think that planning and assessment need to be part of the regular planning cycle.

Strategic IT Planning - The BU Example #edusprint I also appreciated that BU puts a focus on the human aspect of their planning, and not just the IT solution. Organizational structures should be assessed and reviewed for the IT architecture, to meet the needs and understand the institutional goals for learning.

Human Architecture for Digital Learning @ BU

Finally Ethan Benatan, started with a few predictions on how IT will change, be challenged, and move in the future – which is always a difficult task. I did appreciate that he shared a design process… and that it was just that – A PROCESS. There will not be a single solution to each campus environment, and it takes some agility and insight to move your higher education institution in the right IT direction and continue to assess your needs.

Here are some new links & reads from the session in no particular order:

Did you miss the last of the 3-day #EDUsprint? No worries. Here are a few resources for you:

You’re very welcome. Happy learning!

G*STEP

Using Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes

Verb Wheel

Student learning outcomes is a very common term in education. For many of my k-12 colleagues we have used this term from graduate course work, to teaching practicum, and for curriculum planning. The challenge in writing student learning outcomes happens when you have to find actionable items and SPECIFIC methods for learning assessment.

Last week I attended “Writing student learning outcomes and the GSTEP teaching template:  How they inform your teachingfor the G*STEP program presented by Shana Cole & Nancy Fire from CLEAR.

We talked about components of a teaching strategy, which included:

A. Context for your teaching strategy
B. Selecting learning challenges to address with your teaching strategy
C. Objectives for this experience
D. Foundational knowledge necessary for students to participate in teaching strategy
E. Step by step planning
F. Ground rules (if needed for you strategy)
G. Assessment: How do you plan to assess the effectiveness of your learning strategy?
H. Anticipated Challenges: Indicate how you plan to deal with any of these challenges that may apply. Describe.
I. Journal Reflection

The three level model for student learning outcome development, which included the following levels:

  1. Goal
  2. General Learning Outcomes (GLOs)
  3. Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

The last step – Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs) – is where we focused our attention. Specific learning outcomes are highly measurable and possess detailed requirements. As an instructional designer who is often involved in program evaluation or course design, I appreciated the cross-disciplinary conversations on how to meet various subject matter content issues with the needs of the learner. A helpful resource to keep us on the same page and to guide our SLOs discussion was the Bloom’s Taxonomy verb wheel. This was a practical tool that helped to focus our planning and here were some of the key points I gleaned from the overall workshop:

  • be clear, specific & measurable
  • identify what the students should be able to do as a result of a learning experience
  • display evidence that learning has occurred at a specified competency level
  • focus shifts from what “I will teach” to “what students will learn”
  • define content, expectations, assessments & creates constructive data i.e. data, percentage, and understanding of student learning

For student learning outcomes to work they have to connect to the learning. A great way to assess your expectations of your SLOs is to share these with other educators,  both inside and outside your discipline or subject matter expertise. Student learning outcomes need to be written at a general level to ensure clear communication, and limit subjective language. By using SLOs you are able to modify course objectives, assess curriculum design, and measure how your instruction impacts learners. By creating 3-7 overall goals in your course, you will want to consider at least 3-5 specific learning outcomes to measure each goal. These goals will help address your teaching strategy and how you assess your learner’s progress.

How do your specific learning outcomes (SLOs) fit into your entire course planning and content delivery?