Welcome, visitors. This is a blog space for my work — academic published work, essays, and teaching. There may be gaps in posting as projects overtake me… but I hope you will forgive. Enjoy these offerings!
It is still surprising that when management ignores the people factor, they come out on the wrong side of public opinion. Sometimes they come out on the wrong side of the job altogether! It always pays to listen, to coach, and to be sympathetic while maintaining productivity and supporting the objectives. Why does it seem so easy to “go binary” — either you’re a feel-good manager whom everyone loves, or you’re a jerk who seems to get the job done, but actually is universally hated. How to be tough yet fair; friendly with boundaries; open but focused. Here’s to a strong blending of the two skill sets — efficient, focused management and a keen ear for the needs and talents of the employees.
I use a lot of discussion forums in my courses. My students are not always so pleased about that. Why? For starters, many have come from a multiple-choice assessment framework, and are programmed to respond to the “right answer.” Also, students may feel shy writing in front of their peers, in public as it were, especially if they know their writing is less than stellar. Third, it takes effort to craft a good forum post, to read what others say, and to respond in an intelligent way. It’s all about the elusive critical thinking component in the end, isn’t it?
I have tried to mix it up with using more of a blog post or Voicethread which require the student to make a single, independent comment, so they have no obligation to follow or absorb a threaded discussion. Somewhat useful, not the same thing. With the prevalence of social media like Facebook and Twitter — the continuity of the Discussion Forum, the need to think about a response and to actually BE responsive to another — feels like too much to ask. And yet, it seems as essential as a class discussion is to on-campus learning.
Perhaps there will be other tools and methods that will replace the Forum, heaven knows it is not perfect. But “the job” as I see it is to gently but firmly lead students beyond opinion and recitation of facts to discovery and possibly a change in outlook. When that happens, when I can see that process in the course of a Forum, and when students take the topic and expand, digest, and/or outright reject the premise, I feel that learning is happening.
I teach “Digital Culture,” a 100-level Humanities course about the Internet. After two semesters, I am revising the required readings, again! Very excited about them, though. In addition to the Pew Trust-inspired “Networked,” I am including:
The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
I think students will enjoy contrasting the monetizing versus democratizing view of the Internet presented in these books.
We will be rolling out some workshops on the Moodlerooms module called “Personal Learning Designer” this summer. This module allows the instructor to send targeted “robo-messages” to student emails (also can appear as a pop-up when the student logs into the LMS) for defined rules. For example:
- Notice about logging in infrequently
- Notice about missing assignments
- Notice about low score on test
- Notice about 4th week grade
Early alerts systems, as part of an overall learning analytics strategy, are still very new and research is still coming forth. Excited about the roll-out!