Archive for January, 2013

The year of the MOOC – feeding the two wolves…

Posted in etmooc with tags , , , on January 14, 2013 by onepercentyellow

Wow, this world moves FAST!  “Keeping up with the Joneses” is like chasing the tail of a rainbow in this place.  I was only gone for 8 months… what has happened here!!!???

This time last year I was into the digital world up to my neck.  I had been living in Montreal with wifi in my room, participating in the infamous and highly inspiring #eci831, breaking into the #ds106 crew by stalking them on DTLT today and writing and reflecting deeply on the digital project.

Then it hit me.  The gaze of a lovely man across a crowded street… and I was hit dead in the face with extreme PRESENCE.  Add to that a long bout without internet in my house and a month-long trip to the shop for my macbook and BOOM!  8 months gone and the whole digital landscape changed.  Ok, so Twitter is still around, but Coursera? Udemy?  Maybe these were around, but back to that explosion word… BOOM!

So here I am, still wrestling with the extreme presence that happens in the analogue world when some chance meeting changes the fabric of your existence, and wrestling myself back into the digital world – and not just Facebook (which has somehow taken a larger and larger chunk of my digital time.  So much that I’ve requested an intervention from my roommate who will change my password sometime today!).

This is the digital world…. and I need to be here.  I have situated my research here.  I have built my masters degree in here.  I have people in here who are interested in the work I’m doing.  But I’m torn by the draw to the analogue.  By the presence of people in the flesh.  By the draw of smiles on the street as I play my ukulele.  Our digital lives always leech time from the analogue… and vice versa.  They are at odds these two – like the wolves of the old Cherokee legend:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that either of these – the digital or the analogue – is evil… but there certainly seems to be a war going on in my own experience of my multiple lives.  The digital calls me with the voice of a professional.  It asks me to plug into my computer and spend time interacting in a virtual space.  I begin to care about the person I create in there – the thought of deleting my digital self is as easy as deciding to destroy my ego!  The analogue asks me what I’m really creating in there – in all those 0’s and 1’s and asks what it contributes to the relationships I’m creating here and now.  A question that came up repeatedly in the series I did called The Social Artist that brought out concerns about doing Liberal Arts education in a digital space.

Of course this is all further complicated by my nomadic lifestyle and the fact that I rely on the digital world to keep my multiple lives on multiple continents prepared for my return.  But perhaps this is the big question I’m really asking… where are my roots?  And is it possible to root yourself in the digital realm… really right now, that’s the best I’ve got.



The Social Artist – IS COMPLETE!

Posted in eci831, Online with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by onepercentyellow

About a year ago, I started on what turned out to be a daunting journey.  For Alec Couros’ #eci831 class, I interviewed 7 individuals from the Augustana Faculty of the University of Alberta, and 3 individuals from the University of Mary-Washington (UMW) in order to flesh out a series of descriptive words to aid me in conducting a course review for the UMW’s Online Learning Initiative (OLI).  I also used the interviews to create a series of videos meant to introduce the two campuses to one another, a role Nancy White calls being a “social artist”.  This involves creating a space that allows others to come together to learn from each other.

When I began the project, I had little experience in either conducting interviews or editing videos, and I quickly realized the huge time investment required.  I have since read in professional video editing, each minute of video requires roughly one hour of editing.  For me, a beginner, it took me twice that time!  In addition, the motivation to complete such a project long after my course was finished required that I draw on my own self-directed learning skills.

Moving forward, I’m excited to see the developments in the OLI since I participated in the course review a year ago.  Subsequent cohorts have added to the list of Liberal Arts values  and have begun to contribute to the teaching ideas page.  The digital community at UMW is growing, and I look forward to conducting my final research project for my MAIS program – a case study of the OLI.  I have submitted a Fulbright scholarship application to support me in this project, and hope that my research will feed into Teagle Foundation research being conducted into digital education by the COPLAC group.

The world of digital education is expanding rapidly with large universities participating in the MOOC movement, but Liberal Arts has a particular contribution to make in this digital environment.  It centers on community and connections and will push us to ask the big questions in the digital realm: Who am I? What does it mean to be human?  What does it mean to interact and contribute to my community?

So here is the link to the complete Social Artist Series.  Thanks to all who participated and followed along!

The Social Artist – The Online Learning Initiative

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2013 by onepercentyellow

The digital world is becoming increasingly important in our daily lives, and as we invest more and more time in creating and using our digital identities, we are prompted to investigate and reflect on the best uses for this powerful human technology.  There are numerous concerns arising from values that ground Liberal Arts education in the analogue world that can inform developments in the digital education landscape.  Sharing and scrutinizing these concerns contributes to the conversation on the ways in which we can academically engage students in the digital space.

The University of Mary-Washington’s Online Learning Initiative has kept conversation at the center of course development.  From initial meetings to course review, individuals have returned to a set of Liberal Arts values to guide choices in technology and pedagogy.