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!