2015 week 20 in review


Work

We hosted the 3rd annual University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching. It keeps getting bigger and better each year, and I think we're really starting to get a vibrant community around teaching and learning on our campus(es).

Dee Fink was our keynote speaker, talking about how thoughtful course design can meaningfully improve learning (and teaching). Lots of great points, largely in line with what we've been doing at the Educational Development (and Teaching and Learning Centre before that) for years. We're definitely on the right track.

Dee Fink giving the opening keynote for #TICONF2015

Kevin (and the rest of the Badges team) presented on our badges.ucalgary.ca pilot, and talked about how microcredentials could be used both in courses and in professional development at the University. The morning of the presentation, the server started to act up - ucalgaryblogs is on the same server, and one of the sites dropped offline. So, while I was madly trying to fix that, I inadvertently also knocked over the tomcat server that runs Badges. So Kevin had to start tomcat up while connected to the projector, as part of the demo. Oops. But it did help reinforce the reason why we integrate with Mozilla Open Backpack - once you push badges to that, it doesn't matter if our server falls over - your badges are yours.

Server down? No problem.

We also tried recording (almost) all sessions, for the first time. Still lots of work left, but we put the fleet of iPod Touch video recorders to use. Some of the videos are online already, with more to come ASAP.1 I'm also editing the keynote, and will post that once it's ready.

And, while it was an incredible conference, and a total success by all accounts, I think we have some work to do in fully repositioning my group away from being seen as Nerd Squad for the university. We'd made some real progress, but several times through the conference I heard comments like “oh - you're the projector people!". I need to work hard to position the team as consultants and developers for integrating technology, not as the people that know how to hit command-tab to switch from Powerpoint to a browser to show a Youtube video during a presentation. Anyway.

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Other

Not much. Another crazy busy week. I did take the day after The Conferenceâ„¢ off, and was able to help Evan deliver his flyers. The kid hustles through the route!


  1. We weren't able to set up microphones in the 6 rooms, so the audio was recorded by the iPod Touch built-in microphones. Non-optimal, but better than nothing, and with this we're able to reach our community at other campuses.

  2. but I've been repeatedly accused of thinking too “IT-like” - so I'm trying to not see everything as enterprise ecosystems and rather as people and the things they care about, etc…


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