The report linked above came out last month and looks at what instructional designers do. I have learned over the nine years doing this work that each instructional designer does something slightly different. How they are used at institutions varies and the skills they bring to the table varies. Some skills I admire in instructional designers include years of teaching experience, a good understanding of teaching practices and learning theory, and some good technology skills. I also admire people who work well with other people. Usually, I think I am a good communicator.
I’d be happy to meet with you in your office, in our Learning Technologies Studio, outside on a bench, or over at the Starbucks Beardslee Crossing. I can help over the phone and via email. I enjoy working with faculty and imagining how technologies can be best used in learning environments and in our personal lives.
Lastly, this site has some useful information for faculty. Under the “Writing” tab there are several articles I have written for faculty and under the “Presentations” tab there are some sites I have created for conference presentations. Some of the posts below address issues in teaching and learning, and some are informal pieces about me or my interests.
I have been here at the University of Washington Bothell for exactly two weeks. After almost 40 years in the middle of Arizona and 20 working in high school and community college environments, I am now in a damper & greener locale and fixed within a pretty darn massive university system.
I drove up from Arizona with my bike and two boxes of clothes. The day I arrived, and for the following three or four days, records were set for high temperatures in the Seattle area. It was pretty amazing. Mostly blue skies and warm days. I rode my bike along the Sammamish River and biked to work a couple of days. I am renting a room till July when the rest of the family will move up and it is a short 2.5 mile commute to the university. Most of it, is along the river.
The first weekend I ended up taking a bike ride to the University of Washington Seattle campus. It took about an hour and a half to get there and much of the ride was along Lake Washington. It was another sunny day and the weather was perfect for a ride. A lot of other people must have thought so too as I must have passed 5,000 people over the course of the ride. The Burke Gilman trail is wonderful and it is a trip I’ll make many more times.
Work here is wonderful. I am still getting to know the buildings and the places to go. Much of the first week was getting oriented and procedural. Getting email, insurances, and getting some fancy technology. I am going to be a Mac guy for a bit.
The people are great. I work with a team of five others. One is the manager/director, there is a media specialist, an e-learning specialist, an ed-tech specialist, and a faculty member who has the title of Chief E-learning Strategist. Pretty interesting.
Last week, my second week I spent an hour on a panel discussing Universal Design in higher education. Then, the next day I went to the Seattle campus and spent all day in an accessibility “capacity building” event. Lots of folks from various parts of the university looking to gain wider adoption of accessibility within the school.
Yesterday, I went on my first mountain bike ride in the dirt. I drove about 6 miles to the Paradise Valley Nature Park. It was sunny and warm and the trails were fun. Very different from Arizona soils and limited visibility as there are lots of ferns and bushes along the trail.
Last year we saw Phil Hill ( https://twitter.com/PhilOnEdTech ) from http://mfeldstein.com/ and this year we had his partner in crime Michael Feldstein. These guys are always great to read as they are both informative and casual. Funny too. This year Matt spoke of personalized learning and the variations of how we understand the term. From adaptive learning in proprietary software to the old “PLN” we saw rise and fall as a popular acronym several years ago, he shared some thoughts about the value and trajectory of the tools in the near future.
Both keynote sessions explored community, or community of practice in online spaces, and it is a great message in a time when the smartest person in the room is no longer “in the room” but floating on the bandwidth filling the room.
In her keynote, Bonnie Stewart spoke about this day of Networked Learning and between my experiences in #ds106 and The Program for Online Teaching I could go on and on. I won’t, except to say that the smartest person in the room is no longer…. Oh wait, I already said that. It is true, if you do not have a rich well of friends online from places far away, you are missing the opportunity of learning from people who may well be wiser than those you are physically surrounded by.
The 9x9x25 session went over well. Of course, we gave all the participants Ben and Jerrys which never hurts the reviews you get as a presenter.
I attended two sessions on OER. On Tuesday I attended another two looking for some way to kickstart the conversation here at Yavapai. I love pockets of innovation, and they are where these types of “innovative endeavours” begin, but it takes soooooo long….
I am wildly impatient. There are colleges that have entire programs online with no textbook costs. We have pockets of innovation where one faculty member has one class using an OER text. The Maricopa Millions project is still so inspiring. This year, the ITC conference had a clear OER presence. Good to see.
But it is good to be reminded of where I want to go and as always, I was further inspired to continue down the OER path here at the college. One great opportunity to sell the idea will be over the Open Education Week. Sadly, it falls during our Spring Break. I’ll still blast the news out to all faculty in the hopes that they will read about it at some point.
On Tuesday I attended on session about faculty training that was good, but we have our institutes and the session focused on a college that was also doing something similar. I think we do a better job of running ours.
Wednesday morning was very short and one session about using the Park Service as a learning opportunity in courses and one about creating a community of faculty while teaching them to teach online. It was very similar to our two week long class that helps faculty to become familiar with online learning.
I was able to spend some time with Brenda Boyd, the Director of Professional Development at Quality Matters. We talked about getting a March for Best Practice going at QM where there could be an easy to navigate place to see short videos that share how faculty address the specific standard. It looks like they may have that going soon.
The conference was a great opportunity to see good people doing good work. I need that. Talking with the amazing Lisa Young, Jennifer Strickland, Alisa Cooper, Megan Kennedy, and others is always inspiring and insightful.
Perhaps the best idea I walked away with was possibly adding a month long “challenge” to the summer institute that had faculty do certain tasks related to online teaching. I think that the hour long workshops are one way to reach our faculty, but if we could create an event that begins with a face2 face session at the institute and follow it up with some inspiring activities… Still working on it. Usually, when I am running.
A few years back we bought some Collaborate licenses and the faculty member who had the greatest success with using it as a tool to communicate with his students had used it as a student while earning his graduate degree. He was familiar with communicating online via audio and video. In online classes he understood using current technical capabilities. He understood what is possible.
While I don’t always agree with, “You’ll teach how you were taught,” there are often some great examples of that I could point to. That is one of them. Many other faculty struggled with the very notion of it being possible and others struggled with the technical aspects. Many, still struggle with being on camera…
We recently moved to Canvas and for whatever reason had to sever our relationship with Blackboard and Collaborate. I wish I had asked more questions about that, but with Big Blue Button we had a synchronous option, and as clunky as it can be, it was an option. I did not complain too much. Out of the 15 Collaborate licences we had only 5 or so were being actively used on a regular basis.
Yesterday my colleague and I were discovering that the audio notifications for the Chat feature in Canvas are very sketchy. Sometimes you get a “ding” and sometimes not. I don’t need a sound in the Chat feature, but the option is there and is sort of works. Sometimes.
During the training we did with faculty and Collaborate is usually worked well. But when faculty were sent out to try it on their own there were user issues. I am party to blame. I should have given them more training, but you know how often people say, “I can figure the rest out myself,” and how that usually goes.
Today I was asked to assist a faculty member using Jabber and trying to get into a faculty committee meeting. Her first words, “This never works.”
Her first words, “This never works.”
I have conversations like that frequently about Skype, Google Hangouts, Big Blue Button, and Jabber.
Last week a faculty was excited to try, for the first time, talking to a student via Skype. She asked me to come visit her five minutes before the appointment so everything would go smoothly. I asked her if she was going to call the student or if the student was going to call her. She said she did not know. I asked her if the student was in her address book. She said she did not know. I asked her if she knew the Skype name of the student. She said, “What is that?”
It has been and will be a slow roll out of the synchronous tools in online education if this is the level of operation we remain at for very long. It is ok, I don’t expect everyone to jump on board and learn these tools and deploy them into classes. But I do wish it was moving a little faster…