Gratitude for #dLRN15

I feel very privileged, humbled, and honored to have had the opportunity to attend the dLRN conference at Stanford University and to present some of the ideas and research that I’ve been working on with colleagues Maha Al-Freih, Joyce Seitzinger, Rebecca Hogue, Maha Bali, Autumm Caines, Jeffrey Keeler, Rolin Moe, and Matt Crosslin.  As an outcome of this meeting another iteration of the #HumanMOOC will run this winter with Matt Crosslin, Maha Al-Freih, Patrice Prusko, and I facilitating. We are really excited as a team about this opportunity to support Matt in his data collection for his dissertation and revision our course design.

The #dLRN15 conference was organized around important themes in higher education; the ethics of collaboration, individualized learning, systemic impacts, innovation and work, and sociocultural implications. These key themes guided the panels, plenaries, and breakout sessions and the ongoing dialogue throughout the minutes between these moments and beyond.

Image of Stanford University

The conference program format was well structured to set the tone for conversations, create opportunities for sharing, and to fill my head with more questions! The first day started with a keynote, led to breakout sessions, back to a plenary panel discussion, another group of breakout sessions and a final plenary panel for the day. Day two was similar in the organization but with two more awesome keynotes.  I’d like to explain why I’m so impressed with the format of the conference.

  1. The themes were an embedded part of either the keynotes and plenary panels.
  2. The format of having three short 15 minutes presentation within a session was fantastic for those who were presenting so that they were also able to learn from two short sessions within the sessions that they were presenting and did not feel like they missed out on the learning experience. I was really delighted by this as I was presenting four sessions and still felt like I gained very much as a learner from the conference.
  3. There was great care given to those of us in attendance which allowed me to be more vulnerable than I would normally feel I could be when interacting with colleagues. Kudos to Kate, Bonnie and Dave for making us all feel like a part of the community, no, FAMILY of scholars.
Photo from Plenary Panel at #dLRN15
Plenary Panel at #dLRN15

The conversations within the room were rich with multiple perspectives on topics, the desire to seek out the narratives to provide a richer perspective on every topic, and the common goal to improve student experiences. There were opportunities for argument, debate, and YES even ranting. The participants were encouraged to share in a way that I’ve not experienced at other events. The keynotes (Mike Caufield, Marcia Devlin, & Adeline Koh) and the plenary panels were rich with ideas and dialogue.

Several ideas were shared that pushed my thinking outside my comfort zone, case in point:

Postmodernism Definition from Educational Technology & Media on Vimeo.

Being at Stanford also afforded me the opportunity to give my daughter (Chloe) a virtual field trip around the Stanford campus. Thinking about the impacts of technology on learning, I wonder if this experience has now put Stanford on her roadmap for her future…

2015-10-17 09.50.48 Will this exposure to Stanford at a young age cause her to “want” to go to school here? I guess only time will tell. Does this make her privileged? Is that wrong?

Chloe was also able to have a facetime call with Oscar and Posey and talk with them much like she does with Maha’s daughter Hoda from time to time.  It is the affordances of technology that allow Chloe to connect with these children of my PLN and I wonder what impact that will have on her experiences as a learner…

But first I should finish my dissertation #futureresearch ….

I close this brief post with only gratitude for the conference organizers for all they did to ensure that our experience was one that would be extended into the future with ongoing conversations and research.

  • Kate Bowles, University of Wollongong
  • Dave Cormier, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Matt Crosslin, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Justin T. Dellinger, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Kristen Eshleman, Davidson College
  • George Siemens, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Bonnie Stewart, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Candace Thille, Stanford University

And gratitude for my partners in research that I had the honor of co-presenting with, thank you very much for the opportunity to collaborate. I enjoy learning from and with you!

  • Maha Al-Freih, George-Mason University
  • Joyce Seitzinger, Academic Tribe
  • Rebecca Hogue, Virtually Connecting
  • Maha Bali, American University Cairo
  • Autumm Caines, Capital University
  • Jeffrey Keeler, New York University
  • Rolin Moe, Seattle Pacific University
  • Matt Crosslin, University of Texas at Arlington

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