February 1, 2015

February 1: OpenTeachingOU News Update

So, as last week, I'm using my #OpenTeachingOU omnifeed to pull together my teaching/learning highlights for the week! It would be so great if more people at OU started using this hashtag to share their teaching practices in an online conversation, but even just as a tag that I use for myself to put tweets and posts into a dedicated stream, it's very useful! (And here are my previous news round-ups.)

OU Folks

Katherine Pandora. The big open teaching news this week at OU was all the great sharing that happened via Twitter because of Katherine Pandora's dream course and the visit by Michael Peter Edson from the Smithsonian. You can follow Katherine at Twitter for more goodness to come, and, even better, you can visit the open class site: adventures in digital humanities.

Stacy Zemke shared this photo of the event via Twitter:

Beyond OU

Are Schools Failing Extroverts? Great post from John Spencer on extroverted students. As an "ambivert" (ha ha), I really appreciate how the online environment can be GREAT both for extroverts and also for introverts!

FUN: The One Thing We Forget to Plan For. Wonderful post from Pernille Ripp about fun. Sadly, so much of college teaching proclaims its rigor. I vote for fun! "Learning should be fun. Curiosity should have a place in our classrooms. Laughter should happen on a regular basis. Smiling should be a classroom rule. Fun should be one of the many pillars that supports all of the learning that we do. It should be embraced, discussed, worked on and celebrated. Schools should be filled with fun."

Questions to Ask Oneself While Designing Learning Activities. Such a great post from Jackie Gerstein and, yes, fun is one of the questions!

Helping a Perfectionist Child Worry Less and Do More. From Jessica Lahey at New York Times - I would guess that perfectionism is probably the single biggest barrier to changing how we teach... and it's also the biggest barrier to Open Teaching I suspect. A lot of academics don't want to share things openly that are less than perfect. That's not a problem for me, ha ha — I'm a recovering perfectionist, and my recovery is going very well.

A New Twist to Teaching Online: Considering Learners’ Emotions. Great post from Debbie Morrison. The emotional factor is HUGE in my opinion, which is why I find the idea of teaching machines laughable (and computers don't get the joke either). Debbies includes this very nice graphic from Rienties and Rivers:

10 Things the Best Digital Teachers Do. From Jesse Stommel over at Chronicle Vitae (which does NOT have RSS, alas)... a very good list! I esp. endorse this one: GRADE LESS. Or, even better, not at all; here are my thoughts on grading.

High Impact Online. Although I was dismayed by the idea that someone as savvy as Matt Reed had no idea what would be a high impact practice online, people chimed in with lots of ideas. I even left a couple comments there because this is such an important topic. As a result of a follow-up convo at Twitter with Debbie Morrison, I learned this great acronym: HIP, high-impact practice. I want to be an online hippie, ha ha, a "high-impact practitioner."

My Stuff

What Professors Actually Do. My response to Scott Walker of Wisconsin: if we practice OPEN TEACHING, then people would have a much better idea of what professors actually do. Especially those of us (instructors, not professors) who teach full-time!

The Potential of Online Education. Thoughts on face-to-face workshops. I just don't see how we will become confident and skilled at helping students to learn online if we continue to do all our learning in small, face-to-face groups. At my school, we are well into the second year of a big "Digital Initiative," but I have yet to see anything like a community of practice or learning network emerging for those of us who are committed online educators, eager and ready to share ideas, experiences, etc. The learning opportunities we offer faculty are all face-to-face, not online. For why this matters, see next item:

Course Evaluation Data: We're Skewing Low, Not High. And here are some numbers that demonstrate WHY those of us who are teaching online need to be sharing our ideas and experience: the course evaluations for online courses in my college skew low rather than high. In my opinion, the incredible potential of online education would mean the numbers should skew high, not low... but that is not going to happen until online instructors themselves start sharing and learning together online IMO.

Interaction Entre Nous... NOT Machines. My thoughts on the word "interaction" as prompted by a thought-provoking back-and-forth with someone in my campus's IT department.

New "Comment Training" Strategy. I am SO HAPPY with how this "Comment Training" experiment is going so far. It's something I wish I had done years ago in my courses!

And to close... here's a wonderful graphic making the rounds on Google+:

Change. If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less.

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