Leveraging technology to support teaching and learning

It’s not about the destination so you better enjoy the journey…

Sue Beckingham’s #blideo challenge accepted!  It seems that Steve Wheeler has come up with another way to get us all blogging about education.  The call to action is to view the video and write a response to the video that connects it to education in some way.  I will then have to select a new video a pass the challenge on to three more people.

Here is Sue’s blog post where the challenge lived: http://www.suebeckingham.com/2015/08/building-confidence-takes-time-learning.html

And the tweet that let me know that it I had been challenged:

Tweet from @suebecks

The video below was chosen by Sue.  When I watched it I immediately thought of my own PhD journey.

The Journey vs. the Destination:

Before I entered the PhD program, I was asked by my future mentor “Why do you want to get a PhD?”  My response was probably not what was expected.  I didn’t expect it to transform my future or my career. It was something that I felt I had to do. When I first entered college after graduating high school at 16 years old, I was too young and naive to navigate the social and academic differences between high school and college. I failed miserably and let myself think for a period of time that I couldn’t “do” college level work. I let myself believe that I was a failure and I was on a mission to prove myself wrong.


Image Credit: Gary Traynor CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This all changed on that special day when I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time. This day changed the way I think about failure. When I was dropping from the aircraft at terminal velocity, my chin strap came loose on my helmet and began beating me in the face. My eyes welled up with tears due to the pain of the chin strap hitting me and at that point, I could no longer see the altimeter or my jump masters who were giving me the signal to pull my ripcord.

When I arrived safely on the ground, I learned that my ripcord was in someone else’s hand. I could have thrown in the towel and let failure and fear control my destiny, but it was this day when I recognized that failure is a learning opportunity. I became determined that I was going to become a certified Accelerated Freefall Skydiver and I did just that. I also decided that it was time to go back to school and finish my degree.

You see, I realized that the goal of jumping out of the airplane wasn’t to get down to the ground, but rather to master the art of the free fall. Enjoy the ride… It isn’t always about where the ride stops, it is about the fact that you rode it. 

The video of the roller coaster starting off in the dark made me think of the lack of knowing one’s own path. There is a certain amount of finding your way in every educational process. You need to learn the rules of the road and figure it out. As the coaster comes into the light, it is much like when rapport is established and trust begins to form.  You are able to clarify expectations and can begin to see what is ahead of you.  And the big climb… this is the FEAR, there is fear of failure, fear of success, and so much more. When we are getting close to a difficult point in any process we may second guess our choices and wish we could get off the ride.

In educational programs, we are not strapped in tight and it is easier to get off the rollercoaster. Staying on the ride during these difficult times and when other distractions (life) get in the way, is what separates the completer from those who do not finish.  One group is no smarter than another, the finishers are just more stubborn IMHO.

When we see the roller coaster come into the station, we realize that we are right back where we started. I recently posted that I had attended my last class EVER but I really can’t make that claim. I’m a lifelong learner and my learning journey is just beginning. While I may have taken my last class in this PhD program, there may be more adventures on my learning journey.

Certainly the destination is not nearly as exciting as the middle part :)

The #blideo challenge continues.

I extend the challenge to anyone who wishes to respond. However, playing by the rules, I challenge three people @nomadwarmachine @courosa and @kevinhoneycutt. I know you will enjoy this video challenge.

Here is the video that I have selected for you!

Using TAGS to pull data from Twitter (Thanks @mhawksey)

I’ve been using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS to collect twitter data recently. The collected tweets will be used during coding practice in Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA). In case you need to do something similar, the steps taken to collect the Twitter data are as follows:

1. First navigate to the TAGS website: https://tags.hawksey.info

2. Click Get Tags, Click TAGS (New Sheets), which opens a Google Sheet that looks like this:

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3. Once the Google Sheet is open, click on File and select Make a Copy.

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4. Save the copy with a new file name.

5. In the section of the form titled instructions, add the search term to line number 4. The search term should be a hashtag. (i.e. #edchat)

6. After your copy has been made open TAGS > Setup Twitter Access and follow the onscreen instructions (when selecting this option you’ll be promoted to authorize the script to run several services).

7. On the menu bar, find TAGS, and from the drop down menu choose Run Now!

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 6.18.28 PM8. While the script is running a message will appear over the tool bar that says Running Script. Upon completion, the message will read Finished script.

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9. Once the script has run the second tab in the sheet will contain the tweets scraped from Twitter.

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10. Select the Archive tab to view the scraped tweets. The first time you run TAGS it can only collect data from the most recent 7 days, however, if you leave the sheet connected to your twitter account then you can “Run Now!” again at a later date and have the sheet fill in the tweets since it was last run.

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The web: network, dreamcatcher, patterns #blimage

Before I share my response to the #blimage gauntlet that was thrown down by Sue Buckingham while I was sleeping last night, what the heck is #blimage?

It seems that #blimage began with Steve Wheeler, Simon Enzor, and Amy Burvall on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 6.54.35 AM A blog image? When thinking about ways to motivate people to blog, this is a really good motivator.  I hadn’t written a blog post since the start of my summer conference tour. I’ve been very busy traveling so far this summer.  All that time spent in airports caused me to key in on a photo that Sue had responded to taken by Dave Hopkins in an airport. It was jut the motivation that I needed in order to hammer out this post after waking and before heading in to the office!  Thanks Sue and David for getting the creative juices flowing.

David Hopkins https://www.flickr.com/photos/hopkinsdavid/15957811965/ Birmingham Airport

David Hopkins https://www.flickr.com/photos/hopkinsdavid/15957811965/
Birmingham Airport

The airport, to me this is where I have done the bulk of my formal and informal learning over the last 10 years. I’ve been in and out of airports around the world and often find myself either studying, reading, writing, or people watching. Of these activities the latter is my favorite, because you can learn so much when you listen and watch the interactions between people in spaces like airports, coffee houses, town squares and other public places.

So thank you Sue, Amy, Simon, and Steve! Here I go… @suebecks tweeted:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.25.46 AM


Public domain image: https://pixabay.com/en/spider-web-web-water-drops-dew-399854/




I was challenged by Sue to respond to the spider web that you see here. I look at it in three ways. I see a dream catcher, a network, and am reminded of a book entitled Pattern Recognition.

Dream catcher

It is hard to say that this does not look like a dream catcher and since it arrived while I was sleeping, I can only wonder what I was dreaming about last night. My grandfather used to tell me that if I had a problem that I couldn’t solve that I should think about it just before bed and when I woke, I would have the answer. As a child I used to think this meant math problems. As an adult it has meant many things.  Sleep is a necessary part of processing information. Much like how you must restart your computer when you update the operating system, sleep is a needed component in cognition.

“That’s right; lack of sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions at an even keel. Studies show that excessive sleepiness can hurt work performance, wreak havoc on relationships, and lead to mood problems like anger and depression.” (if you believe WebMD)


Thanks to Marc Smith and Aras Bozkurt, I’ve learned over the last few weeks how to create NodeXL graphs. I’ve graphed several things including #foschat which was created and facilitated by Chrissi Nerantzi and Sue Beckingham. The spider web reminds me of these graphs. I see connections, nodes, and a variety of sizes of the nodes which may represent the meaningfulness or strength of those connections.

I don’t see the #rhizo15 eyes, but I do see the formation of the structure and support for the spider as being the web where we can live, feed, and grow. These structures may be partially deconstructed and rebuilt from time to time based upon a variety of environmental factors. Like how our hashtag communities overlap at times and then take form in a new direction. The spider web deals with similar fragility and may, at times, require others to assist in the rebuilding process. (This seems like something I could talk about for hours at another time.)

Pattern recognition

As a learner, it isn’t until I put all the pieces together that I can see the pattern and begin thinking differently. And, I’m stubborn — I have to PUT the pieces together, someone else can’t do it for me. The web to me is the stubborn work of the spider who relentlessly has struggled to put his web together. He has faced hard times (struggling with weather, predators, and so much more) and persevered.

I watched my daughter learn how to play the ukulele recently and observed her behavior during the learning process.  She transitioned from frustrated to angry and then became determined. I saw myself in her at that moment. Within a couple of hours of that moment she mastered four chords and then could suddenly play 20 songs.

As a learner, I have see the patterns, make the connections, but I have to create my OWN web in order to understand.  True confession: I’m a social constructivist.

So, in order to continue this activity…. I’d like to add this image to the queue for someone else to explain in their #blimage post. The blog post should tie this image back to learning (scenario, theory, methods) in some way.

Mons, Belgium during #eMOOCs: Finding the big red ball

Mons, Belgium during #eMOOCs: Finding the big red ball

Reflections on the eMOOCs Conference

This week I had the privilege of presenting at the #eMOOCs conference in Mons, Belgium. As I’m flying home reflecting on the experience I’m reminded of the power of social media. Many of the people that I had the chance to meet and spend time with were my networked connections or scholars I have read.

The keynotes from Dave Cormier and Sian Bayne were both very good. Dave gave a great overview of Rhizomatic Learning (see Inge’s post) and underpinned it with the shift from apprenticeship/mentorship to larger distributed models of learning like during the advent of the printing press and internet. These underlying changes have lent themselves to shifts in teaching philosophy. Sian presented the Teacherbot in #EDCMOOC (see Inge’s post) and opened our eyes to the idea of using bots in teaching and learning. She presented it in a way that helped me to see the potential for good.  Both of these talks were very good and left me wanting more conversations with both Dave and Sian.

In preparation for this conference, Maha Al-Freih, Robin Bartoletti and I submitted a paper which was included in the proceedings and chosen to be one of the five experience track papers to be published in a pre-conference MOOC on edX. The pre-conference MOOC was thought of as a flipped conference, where the participants would have watched the videos so they would come to the session with their questions. However, after careful consideration the eMOOC committee thought it would be best if we prepared a Pecha Kucha for the event which would give a high level overview of the paper and allow time for questions and answers. It was wildly successful and that was in part due to Inge deWaard being such a wonderful moderator!

In addition, Inge, Sian, and I connected with several other networked scholars via a Google Hangout. 

There were other impromptu things that happened on the fly too, you can read more here in Inge deWaard’s blog.

The #HumanMOOC at #eMOOCs2015

Pecha Kucha format for eMOOCs conference talk yesterday in Mons, Belgium:

Slide 1: It is my pleasure to share with you the design intent and iteration of the HumanMOOC. This course developed community while exploring the Community of Inquiry. The redesign included a competency based, badges first approach leveraging social media and asynchronous video.

Slide 2: My co-authors Dr. Bartoletti and Maha Al-Freih could not join me for this event so it is just me. Hello, I’m Whitney Kilgore, a PhD candidate in Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas.

Slide 3: The course was made available for educators who teach online.  Our goal was to create a community where approaches for humanizing online courses could be shared within the course and beyond.

Slide 4: The course was originally built and taught in 2013 in order to share the concept of the community of inquire and explore tools and methods for enhancing each of the three forms of presence (teacher, social, & cognitive

Slide 5: In the redesign for 2015, we redesigned the course to align to the Penn State pedagogical competencies and developed competency based badge pathways.

Slide 6: The competency-based alignment mapping to course learning objectives ensured the mapping of the course outcomes to the competencies.

Slide 7: And the mapping of the learning outcomes to each activity allowed us to ensure that each badge pathway was assessed appropriately

Slide 8: The badge pathways required a series of activities for each of the (instructor, social, and cognitive presence) badges, however, the Community of Inquiry badge was stackable and required earning all three of the presence badges.

Slide 9: During this 4-week course we held a series of Google Hangouts with thought leaders regarding the design, communications and the theory, and research regarding CoI

Slide 10: We know learning is social and that students drop out of online courses due to their feeling of loneliness

Slide 11: So we explored the use of asynchronous video to enhance instructor presence online using Canvas Network, VoiceThread, and FlipGrid

Slide 12: Within the Canvas LMS, video can be added to ANY content area which means that discussions can be asynchronous video.

Slide 13: While discussions help us make meaning, the humanness of video antidotally speaking, seemed to help clarify meaning and intent.

Slide 14: VoiceThread allowed users to use voice, video or text to share their ideas

Slide 15: While VoiceThread was good, I preferred FlipGrid in this particular course. It was tablet and laptop compatible too.

Slide 16: Each learner is uniquely human. We simply explored a few tools and strategies to humanize their experience and help them do this for their students in the future.

Slide 17: Why do we teach? We want to help others learn. The feedback was deeply meaningful to us but we are just learning what the data shows…

Slide 18: So what’s next? Our research design looked at the notion of persistence in MOOCs, self-efficacy with social media & audio/video recording

Slide 19: Only 6% noted an increase in their self-efficacy for using social media for teaching and learning while 82% indicated an increase in their self-efficacy regarding using video and audio recording technologies.

Slide 20: What we know: Digital Educators who embrace the affordances of technology will transform education.

Self-Directed Learning in MOOCs by @ignatia

I attended Inge deWaard’s session at eMOOCs2015 on Self-Directed Learning my notes are below.

There are multiple contexts and other focuses in the literature like self-regulated learning, mobility, individual v. collaborative learning.In the literature self-directed learning is more aligned in cMOOCs.

There were two courses included in the pilot study conducted. The “beta” courses were two weeks in length.  59 learners were chosen for the study based upon a variety of criteria that would suit the study.  The study was conducted in three phases. Phase 1 survey, phase 2 learning logs, and phase three was structured 1:1 interviews.

The phenomenological approach of the research design was complimented by using grounded theory in the analysis of the data.

The TOP learning activities that learners engaged in were:

  1. Viewing multimedia 100%
  2. Reading Text-Based content 91%
  3. Reading Discussions 87%
  4. Taking a Quiz 83%

Most of the challenges that the learners faced were time related. The slides are included below.

The pilot pointed to changes for a future study. Inge says, I need to make a decision on self-directed learning (andragogy) or self-determined learning (heutagogy)?

Inge mentioned that there is a need to untangle the concepts of self-directed learning…  As a fellow PhD student, I found it very useful to see the outcomes of her pilot study. I really appreciated the opportunity to understand her research design and methodology.

-Thanks Inge!

Counting – Grading… #rhizo15

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately – sometimes so many different things that it becomes difficult to begin writing. Call it writer’s block or stage fright if you will, however, I have found that after I read a couple of the #rhizo15 posts on Facebook or Twitter, I will then spend an inordinate amount of time researching these new ideas and going down the Madagascar penguin hole to learn more.

You didn't see anything

The rhizome is getting inside my head. It is the question “WHY” that I asked every few minutes as a child trying to make sense of this world, that I find myself asking now. Why do we grade student’s work and is that a real indicator of learning? Does it measure what they know and why do we need to measure that anyway?

I’ve struggled with this question before and had numerous discussions with @alicekeeler @catspyjamasnz @robinwb and @bdean1000 on the topic over the last couple of years. And then this hit my inbox:  Be theoretical. Be practical… but GRADE ME! – Dave Cormier 

I am not a fan of GRADES. I have found grades to be motivating and demotivating at different times in my life. When I found them motivating, I was a child and it was to earn my parents attention because the attention that I received when I brought home less than an A was not the type of attention that I wanted.  However, when I consider what that taught me about life and how that quantified my knowledge or learning, I think there has got to be a better way!

Let me ask the hard question… what is the difference between a student who earns a B and a C? What factors contributed to them earning that grade? How much of that was due to learning that “didn’t occur” and how much of that was because they were juggling 800 other things? Or because when they received a low grade on one assignment it brought down their whole grade and they didn’t feel like they should argue about the grade with the teacher?  So, what value do we put on those grades in life? In parenting? In society? How does this impact the world we live in?

I would ask the community, is there a better way to demonstrate knowledge? Can we support the notion of scaffolding competence? When we value knowledge in this new collective knowledge economy I expect that we need to find ways to lift each other up and support the development of new ideas, models, methods and rather than giving someone a D or C for their efforts, we might consider providing the necessary learner support and feedback to get them where they want to go…

What if we just simply said “Competent” or “Not Yet”…

Excerpt from: Course iteration as a reflective process

MOOC iteration as a reflective process: HumanMOOC

In 2012, xMOOCs rose from the laboratories of computer scientists who brought a machine learning approach to education. These xMOOCs or instructivist MOOCs were best know for their re-creation of the lecture as video, computer graded assessments and very little to no interaction with the professor. While technology can certainly enhance some aspects of learning, researchers have written about the sense of loneliness that online learners experience. It is this lack of human connection that leads to attrition.

The literature reveals that the technology tools and pedagogical practices utilized in MOOCs vary from those used in more traditional online education and that methods of content delivery and instruction may be different as well. Online courses may include a variety of instructional approaches and meaningful interactions. “Interactions have a direct influence on learners intellectual growth” (Hirumi, 2002). Responding, negotiating internally and socially, arguing points, evolving ideas using alterative perspectives, and solving real tasks leads to meaningful interactions (Jonnassen et al, 1995, Lave & Wenger, 1991, Vygotsky, 1978). Emerging technologies and creative thinking about teaching and learning calls for the use of emerging pedagogies that specifically brings about meaningful interactions.

Our MOOC design team, committed to the belief that education is not just about knowledge dissemination but that education is about the intellectual exploration of the learner that ultimately benefits society. Therefore, the HumanMOOC design team gathered to discuss the impacts that xMOOC models of delivery could have on online education if online instructors perceived these as possible examples of quality and value. While we applauded the achievements of these scientists in their development of more efficient systems, but we had serious concerns about pedagogy and learner support.

Thinking about the Design

Our HumanMOOC design goal was to create a community space where ideas could be shared. The description of the course made it clear that instructors who teach online from multiple institutions and many disciplines would be the ideal candidates for the MOOC. The Canvas Learning Management system hosting the course served as the embedded learning space for the learners to share their thoughts and ideas. This space became the private “members-only” sharing community for participants who are not comfortable sharing their ideas and comments out on the open web. However, in true connectivist fashion we also encouraged participants to share their learning openly using blogs, twitter, and other technology tools which we called exoskeletal learning. Using a dual-layered design (embedded and exoskeletal) our team created the #HumanMOOC learning environment.

IOL_imageslide Figure 1: The Embedded & Exoskeletal course design model

The Embedded & Exoskeletal Course Design

Inside the LMS, tucked away from the open web was a rich community of practice learning about the community of inquiry where each week of the course was designed to focus on the various presences (teaching, social, and cognitive). The learning design inside the LMS was social constructivist, where participants learn by “doing”. The HumanMOOC community brings together thought leaders who are passionate about the topic of humanizing online instruction. Wenger et al (2002), discusses designing for communities for “aliveness”, as all communities require interaction in order to become living, collective repositories of knowledge. This design allows for “participating in group discussions, having one on one conversations, reading about new ideas, or watching experts duel over cutting edge issues. Even though communities are voluntary and organic, good community design can invite, even evoke, aliveness.”   And, since these communities are not limited by institutional affiliation, the diversity of the community itself adds to the variety of the ideas shared within (Wenger et al, 2002, p.4).

In the exoskeletal portion of the course, there is more of a connectivist design to the learning experience. For those who participate in the exoskeletal layer the learning is more rhizomatic, where the community is the content. It is this intentional community cultivation through communications like; live events, regular announcements, discussion posts, blogging, twitter chats and more that keeps the community informed and communicating.

When designing a MOOC the participants are unknown so it becomes important to assume that everyone will enter the MOOC with various levels of background knowledge and experience (Macleod, Haywood, Woodgate, & Sinclair, 2014). This variety creates a serious challenge for the design team who must create structured learning experiences for novice students while ensuring more personalized learning pathways that induce critical thinking for more advanced students. Course materials inside the learning management system (LMS) are designed as a scaffolded social constructivist course that can stand-alone; however, elements that engage learners in connectivist learning are found outside the LMS in most cases.

Connectivism and Course Design Implications

There is no clear typical learning design of a cMOOC. This type of MOOC can be loosely structured by the week, and courses are open, messy, and lack a clear method of assessment of learning outcomes since the objectives or learning goals are defined by the learner (Kop, Fournier, & Mak, 2011; Stewart, 2013). cMOOC learners often state that cMOOC courses lack a coherent structure or summary of learning and describe them as being chaotic. Researchers have found cMOOC courses provide fuzzy or messy learning opportunities with flexible, open, disruptive, unpredictable tasks that create tension and anxiety which are an essential part of the transformative process (deWaard et al., 2011; Kop et al., 2011). These concerns regarding connectivism and the chaos of messy learning are addressed in the embedded design of the HumanMOOC, yet still messy learning is strongly encouraged in the exoskeletal layer of the course. While the course is structured in a very linear, logical weekly format the learning is intended to stretch far beyond the LMS into the blogosphere and beyond.

Social and mobile

Social media tools are essential to MOOCs as they promote connectivity, communication, and interaction (deWaard et al., 2011), and they increase course enrollment through social networks as friends and colleagues recommend the course to one another (Stewart, 2013). Learners are also using their mobile phones to access materials and learning via the Internet at an increased rate (deWaard et al., 2011; Williams, Karousou, & Mackness, 2011).

Interaction and dialogue in a MOOC are central to learning design because the network of learners share how they have created knowledge, and knowledge creation is central to the learning process (Couros, 2009; Milligan et al., 2013). This social sharing provides a sense of social presence or connectedness that enhances learning and helps learners create meaning through discourse (Kop, 2011). The ability of learners to create knowledge and share it online is a very different model of learning than the traditional model where the learner passively absorbs knowledge from the teacher (deWaard et al., 2011; Stewart, 2013).   Milligan et al. (2013) stated, “Even lurkers can learn effectively in connectivist environments: taking the knowledge they acquire to their own external networks.” (p. 156)

The guiding principles for an open, social, connected course, according to Couros (2009), are that instructors assume the role of facilitators and social connectors rather than that of lecturers or knowledge delivery systems. Learners in these courses engage in social knowledge creation and participate in collaborative activities. In addition, learners should be provided assignment choices to allow for alignment between an individual’s personal and/or professional goals and course outcomes. It is expected that connections developed between learners and course facilitators across social networks should outlive the course.

Learners can leverage emerging technology tools to consume and create content and reflections on personal learning experiences that can be shared across distributed networks using Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, and other social media tools. Online synchronous events draw a community of learners together and help grow MOOCs because community members typically invite their colleagues, friends, and classmates to join the event and thus expand the community. Adams et al. (2014) confirmed Cormier’s notion of MOOCs being event-based learning experiences, much like attending a sporting event, and that it is this eventedness that contributes to their uniqueness.

HumanMOOC (2013) Course Design Refections

The embedded course design was intended to be social constructivist and to cultivate a community of practice. Upon reflection and using methods employed in Conole, Dyke, Oliver, & Seale (2004) the course activities were evaluated using the sliding scale to determine the degree to which each element within the course is individual or social, reflective or non-reflective, and informational or experiential. After evaluating each individual activity an aggregate mean was determined for each broad activity category (see Table 1).

Activity Individual – Social Non Reflective – Reflective Experiential – Informational
Synchronous Events 6.125 7.5 9.375
Interactive/Social Activities 8.25 7.25 2.5
Discussions 6.83 6 3.5
Non-social Assessments 2 6.67 5.3
Score 6.14 6.9 5.8

Table 1: Activity Category score

By developing this reflective model of the course the designers were able to visualize and categorize the learning theory based upon the octahedron models presented in Conole et. al. 2004. The final score in the table above was aligned with the model of the Communities of practice. Leveraging Conole’s applied reflexivity approach allowed us to reflect on the design of the course and ensure that the intended design was explicit. Considerable reflection into the learning design of HumanMOOC revealed that the course was indeed a community of practice as seen in the figure below.

ConoleCoPFigure 2: Communities of Practice mapped to the model (retrieved from Conole et. al., 2004)

The post above is an excerpt from a journal article that I co-authored with Dr. Robin Bartoletti and is currently under review by the editor of the journal.  Dr. Bartoletti and the editor of the journal have given me permission to share this pre-publication excerpt from that larger work in order to clarify some of my initial reflections on the design of the HumanMOOC which was taught in 2013. The course was taught again in Spring of 2015 and that data is not yet available.  


Conole, G., Oliver, M., Dyke, M., & Seale, J. (2004). Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design. Computers and Education, 43, 17-33. 10.1016/j.compedu.2003.12.018

Couros, A. (2009). Open, connected, social–implications for educational design. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 26(3), 232-239.

deWaard, I., Abajian, S., Gallagher, M., Hogue, R., Keskin, N., Koutropoulos, A., & Rodriguez, O., (2011). Using mlearning and moocs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 94-115. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1046/2026

Hirumi, A. (2002). Interactivity in distance education: Current perspectives on facilitating e- learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(2), v-viii.

Jonassen, D., Davidson, M.,Collins M., Campbell, J. & Haag, B. B. (1995, January 1). Constructivism and Computer-Mediated Communication in Distance Education. American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-26. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ512278) Retrieved on March 6, 2009, from ERIC database.

Kop, R., Fournier, H., & Mak, J. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 12(7).

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Macleod, H., Haywood, J., Woodgate, A, & Sinclair, C. (2014) Designing for the unknown learner. EMOOCs 2014 European MOOC Stakeholders Summit, Experience Track 245-248.

Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist moocs. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 149-159. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/milligan_0613.htm

Stewart, B. (2013). Massiveness openness = new literacies of participation. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 228-238. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/stewart_bonnie_0613.htm

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Williams, R., Karousou, R., and Mackness, J., (2011). Emergent learning and learning ecologies in web 2.0. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 39-59. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/883/1686

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The importance of play in learning

On April 28th, I had the privilege of hosting #profchat with some amazing educators and educational designers in higher education. In my own experiences as a learner the times I have had fun or experienced the JOY of LEARNING is when I have held on to the knowledge gained at that time. I can recall many experiences from my educational career that were life changing and they all had to do with Play, Joy, or the passion for the topic that I was studying.

I’m currently crafting an article on the topic and would love your thoughts on how we can add a little Play into higher education!


I’m sorry Dave – I’m afraid I can’t do that #rhizo15

I should begin with an admission of guilt: I have only completed one MOOC that I was a learner in. Yes, I have an EDx certificate. However, the open courses that I have built and facilitated I have finished, just in a different way. While this rhizomatic learning experience is pulling me in, I have a dissertation proposal that is pulling me back out.  I hope that I can hang in there for the full #rhizo15 experience. However, where the major professor calls I’m going to have to use my default line:


But what if… what if I can stick it out.  What are my goals for the course? What are my subjectives?

My last open course #HumanMOOC was all about building a Community of Inquiry online. We explored methods and tools to enhance teaching, social, and cognitive presence. This gives me the thought that I should explore community further from the learner perspective within Rhizo15. Do I feel that sense of presence from my instructor? Do I feel a connection with my fellow learner? (Yeah, I do Sarah! Thank you) And, do I go deeper down the rabbit hole (cognitive)?

My expectations based upon the “pre-week” or what I like to call Week 0 is that I will experience the presences but the development of the community may be more fragmented since there are not shared objectives, but rather we need to find our own community where we have those shared goals, ideals and interests.

So, I’m lost in this #rhizo15land in search of my own ideas regarding what I hope to learn. But as I write these words, I am reminded that in my PhD coursework, I would often have my own personal objectives that I wished to accomplish. These were not always/typically aligned with the curriculum. Perhaps this is the enlightenment that I have been waiting for… by finally reflecting on this notion of subjectives, I have realized that I have already begun doing this in my own little bubble.

-Thanks Dave, I’m afraid I might just do this!


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