On preparing a university for a COVID rapid shift to online teaching

With the COVID pandemic still picking up steam in North America, all universities had to make a rapid shift to online teaching as campuses were closed. Mine was no different. We’d been talking about possible pandemic planning since mid-february, but at the time it was all speculative and seemingly so far in the future. Things started to get real around March 11, 2020. There were local cases of COVID (although all travel-related), and it was time to start moving classes online - or cancel the semester outright. Read More
work 

Intro to Curriculum Links

One of the major projects our team1 has been working on for the last couple of years is the University of Calgary’s Curriculum Links application. From the project website overview: It’s an application that supports curriculum design and review - an entire program can be designed before it’s submitted to a faculty for approval, allowing for pre-flight testing of the program. Do all of the claimed program-level outcomes get incorporated appropriately? Read More
work  video 

Combining Section Feeds and Filtering the Homepage in Hugo

I’ve been setting up my website, and had things working pretty much exactly how I want them. But, I’d been struggling with how to properly separate content on the website while combining content in the main site feed. The main reason is to be able to have things like /reflections to separate week-in-review reflection posts without overwhelming the homepage with weekly posts that would make all other content that I post on less than a weekly cadence be lost in the noise. Read More
hugo  rss  blog 

Joining the TRU Digital Detox program

Joining the TRU Digital Detox program
I’m following Brian’s lead, and signing up for the TRU Digital Detox program that will run throughout January 2020. I’m not sure my health plan covers the cost of a full rehab, so this will hopefully serve to help nudge me toward thinking about my relationship with online technologies. Brenna Clarke Gray has been setting up some really interesting work in her new role at TRU (and, really, the whole TRU Open Learning team is doing some seriously awesome work). Read More

Moving beyond the LMS as platform of content consumption

Moving beyond the LMS as platform of content consumption
I’ve had the opportunity to work with leaders from various faculties, to develop work plans for developing communication/support, inventory, and procedures that are involved in providing and integrating learning technologies into courses. There are a few themes that keep coming up (paraphrased): we need to be led by pedagogy, not technology our tools shape what we do with them campus platforms are designed for the institution, not the people within our processes for requesting/implementing new tools can be prohibitive and stifling Looking at Brightspace, our campus LMS1 is automatically available for use by every course, in every faculty. Read More
work 

2019 media log

I didn’t really track my media consumption in 2019 - most of this was pulled together from watch history in various platforms, and from memory. So, likely huge gaps in there. My non-work reading was pretty sci-fi focused - I need to branch out a bit there, maybe after book 9 of Expanse comes out…

Anyway. Here’s most of the media I consumed in 2019.

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movies  tv  books  media 

On 2019 and looking forward to 2020

On 2019 and looking forward to 2020
2019 was a year for the record books. Looking back, it was basically a constant stream of life-altering challenges (many of which were profoundly unbloggable), but we got through everything and are thriving as we go into 2020. Looking back at 2019… I went through chemo. But, I made it through and am now stronger than I’ve been in years. And, when it does come back, I know that we have a plan in place and that it works. Read More

On Responses to Instructure's Value

Instructure, the company that makes/hosts the Canvas LMS, recently announced an intent to sell to a private equity firm for about $2B. That’s a lot of money. I don’t care about the business of edtech. I don’t care if a company buys another company, or what their reasons are. I care about how technologies are used to improve the learning experience for students. The business of edtech is a means to that end. Read More

On Blockchain Disrupting Higher Education

Martin Weller wrote a response to The Chronicle’s (paywalled) piece by Richard DeMillo on blockchain disrupting education. Martin’s right in pointing out that many of the hoped-for disruptions are actually possible using existing technologies and practices (eportfolios, badges, etc.) without “disruption” needed. Martin has written about disruption before.

Blockchain will certainly be used in higher education. It will transform how some things are designed and run. In the same way that relational databases have - Moodle (or even MOOCs 1) wouldn’t have been possible without MySQL. Blackboard wouldn’t have been possible without Oracle (or whatever SQL engine it runs on). Relational databases transformed how courses were offered by higher education institutions, without disrupting the institutions themselves.

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