Blog #5 – Connecting the Dots

As most of my classmates move on with their cohort into the rest of the ELearning Certificate courses, I’ve come full circle and am finishing up the last in the series.  It’s been a great experience and an opportunity for applied work I had never anticipated being able to do in my Masters … so thank you, UofC!

Connectivism (Starkey, 2010) is the idea that how we learn now, with all the information technology available at our fingertips, is different than in used to be.  Instead of focussing on content knowledge, part of how we learn to learn is to know where to find the information we need, and how to critically examine it in terms of its legitimacy and value.  SOOOOOOO different from rote memorization in the past.

I think good education and learning should result in transformation – not just of the learner but in the environment around the learner.  We do this (education) to expand, improve, grow, support, feel better about ourselves and to help the world around us.  As I’ve moved through this program, I believe that this has happened, and like ripples on the water, the effects can be seen not only in my own life, but others’.

I truly believe that evidence based practice is crucial regardless of your field or discipline, and through a combination of theory, research, and practice, I now feel confident and able to work with colleagues to encourage the exploration and adoption of new technologies in support of learning.  Stephanie’s post outlining her “take aways” is too good a summary to try and copy, so I would simply say check it out.

So, no massive insight here this time, no clever connection of literature.  Simply a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure at where I am now, compared to where I started, and gratitude for the folks who have shared the road with me this far.

I wish you all well as you continue on with our ELearning courses.

All the best,


Starkey, L. (2010).  Teachers’ pedagogical reasoning and action in the digital age.  Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 16(2), 233-244.



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Blog # 4 – E-Intensive Learning – How Complicated Could It (Should It) Be?

A statement from Jain, Jain & Jain (2011) really jumped out at me this week:  “Kearsley (1998) claims that the ‘single most important element of successful online education is interaction among participants’” (p. 538).  Certainly, some of our blog discussions this past week would support this view (for example, see Mylan Doan-Nguyen’s August 3, 2013, blog posting, with comments).

I know that we are swiftly becoming immersed in an educational culture, through our current studies, which would point us in the direction of peer-to-peer interaction as being one of the elements of the gold standard of E-Intensive education, but is that the only way?  A recent discussion with a colleague, has caused me to reconsider.  He teaches in the McMaster University Addictions Studies Program, and noted that students in that program would actually prefer NOT to have all the bells and whistles that we might consider necessary for E-Intensive learning.  He was kind enough to share a paper with me that is currently in press, from which I offer the following:

To meet the students’ need for flexible and convenient programming, there is no required synchronous chat function.  Asynchronously, students may communicate with their classmates at their leisure through the online email function or a blog feature. In fact, it is the adherence to this delivery method that makes the program popular.  Students have been surveyed several times to determine if they would prefer to have the program as a more term-based online classroom format, but the majority have said they prefer it in the individual-led arrangement.  Students indicated that they enjoyed the simplicity and unencumbered nature of the digital/electronic course material and that they value not having to deal with technological issues such as workplace fire-wall and computer limitations, dial-up internet connections and older software which cannot be updated due to budget limits or purchasing agreements. They also, due to shift work and Canada’s size, prefer not to have specified chat requirements as Canada spans six distinct time zones.  The philosophy of the distance offering is that the most critical aspect of the education process is the transfer of new skills and knowledge.  If technology becomes an encumbrance that prohibits learning transfer it is not an asset for distance students. (Csiernik and McGaghie, in press)

What this brings home to me is that while learners are still central to the course delivery design, we must also focus on the intended of the learning – is it to foster metacognition through collaboration and constructivist methods, or is it learning transfer to an applied setting?  (I think distinctions can be made between HE and PD here, of course).

I would be interested to hear what others think about this notion.

Csiernik, R. & McGaghie, C. (in press). Meeting professional competencies through specialized distance education: the McMaster University Addiction Studies Program. Journal of Teaching in Social Work.

Doan-Nguyen, M. (2013).  E-Intensive Learning Requires Extensive Collaboration. EDER 677 L60 Blog Posting,

Jain, P., Jain, S., & Jain, S (2011).  Interactions among online learners: A quantitative interdisciplinary study. Education, 131(1), 538-544.



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Blog #3 – E-Focused

Threshold concepts, Paris fashion week and e-focused learning – what do these things have in common?

The problem with reflections is that while they can sometimes be clear, brilliant, and easy to see, there are also times when they bounce around like the image captured inside a kaleidoscope. This is my brain on Distributed Learning!

Blog 3 Image

Threshold Concepts: These are ideas, or concepts, that you must understand in order to be able to move forward in developing your knowledge about an area. In statistics, for example, understanding p values or standard deviations are critical if you are ever going to be able to interpret the results of a Chi-square or a t-test. For me and my program of study it has been such things as student centred learning, meta-cognition, , constructivism, connectivism, community of inquiry … and several other terms that also probably begin with a “C”! The point being, that once you understand a threshold concept, there’s really no going back to the more limited understanding you had before; a door has been unlocked and opened to another place.

Paris Fashion Week: Several times a year the world’s top designers introduce the world to their newest collections – cutting edge, stylish, often a little extreme, and generally not practical or affordable. It’s then up to the fashion buyers of clothing stores to source and distribute clothes that are still stylish, less extreme, and more practical and affordable. And then I have to cast a critical eye on what’s available with a view to making sure that what I buy is going to suit me … adapt to my style and sensibilities.

E-Focused Learning: Okay – drum roll please, as I try and bring this hot mess together … creating, or supporting, e-focused learning requires having understood the threshold concepts I mentioned earlier, as well as having the ability to take and adapt the latest and greatest in pedagogical innovation to suit a given situation – the learners, the instructor, and the resources available to hand. I’m glad that there is an ever-growing body of scholarly research to support this, but it still feels to me that there’s a great deal of art and creativity involved.

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Blog #2 – E-Enhanced … taking a step back

“You know, I’m all for this, but essentially, I’m supporting my own obsolescence.  And some faculty aren’t going to like this if they think you’re forcing them to teach online.”   With these words, the enthusiasm and energy generated by an hours’ discussion and planning for a blended learning conference was sucked from the room, and I heard Donna’s refrain from her first blog entry … “I take a lot for granted” (Wesley, 2013).

I realized I may be taking a lot for granted, too.  Perhaps we need to step back, and to take a page from my social work colleagues’ playbook, meet the faculty “where they are”.  And where many of them are sounds like this:

  • What is blended learning?  Blended learning is online learning, right?
  • I don’t want to teach a MOOC.
  • All that technology is going to go wrong.
  • Everyone I know who’s tried this says it takes three times as much time.
  • What’s wrong with the way I’ve always taught it?
  • I don’t have time to learn all this new stuff.
  • I don’t get paid to do this.
  • I might do this if the university provided enough support to do it.

Unlike teachers in the K-12 sector who can be mandated, if needed, to adopt new technologies or methods, it doesn’t work the same way in a university setting.  Faculty have competing roles that include research and publication, in addition to committee and community obligations.  Some faculty I know believe that teaching is sometimes the price they have to pay to research and continue to learn about their area of speciality.  Younger faculty coming in are not as resistant, at least that’s been my observation, and some are very passionate about honing their skills as instructors, as are some senior faculty.  But how do we help more established faculty adapt their teaching methods?  If it takes the same amount of time as it took for (almost) everyone to even use PowerPoint, we’re in trouble!

While these observations and reflections are anecdotal and personal, similar issues and challenges are discussed in the literature (see for example, Honan, Westmoreland & Tew, 2013; Niemiec & Otte, 2009; Vaughan, 2007) and meeting these challenges will involve administration, faculty, staff and students.

We want faculty to be excited about the opportunities that exist.  We want faculty to learn about blended learning and how it can positively impact them and their students.  We want them to experience that “ah-ha!” moment when they understand that blended learning is not merely a combination of online and face-to-face, but that it is something different, something new … the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.  And we want them to realize that in well-designed and implemented blended learning they will never be obsolete.


Honan, J.P., Westmoreland, A. & Tew, W.M. (2013).  Creating a culture of appreciation for faculty development.  New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 133(Spring), 33-45.  DOI: 10.1002/tl.20044.

Garrison, D.R. & Vaughan, N. (2008).  Blended Learning in Higher Education.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Niemiec, M. & Otte, G. (2009).  An administrator’s guide to the whys and hows of blended learning.  Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(1), 19-30.

Starkey, L. (2010).  Teachers’ pedagogical reasoning and action in the digital age.  Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 19(2), 233-244.

Vaughan, N. (2007).  Perspectives on blended learning in higher education.  International Journal on E-Learning, 6(1), 81-94.

Welsey, D.  (2013). Topic One – Digital Technology Usage and the Resistant Teacher.  Course posting in EDER 677, July 7, 2013. retrieved July 19, 2013

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Blog #1 – Distributed Learning Summer 2013


“Just as primary instruction makes the teacher possible, so he renders himself dispensable through schooling at the secondary level. The university teacher is thus no longer a teacher and the student is no longer a pupil. Instead the student conducts research on his own behalf and the professor supervises his research and supports him in it.”*

This week’s readings have taken me near and far in terms of time and place.  So many different ways of helping students learn … so many technologies, or literacies, to consider, many of which are used in support of inquiry based learning (Chase & Laufenberg, 2011; Fry, Trathen & Koppenhaver, 2010; Jewett, 2011).

I was particularly struck by the notion of cognitive dissonance experienced by digitally experienced and capable students who are suddenly faced with a “book based” technology in the classroom (Kolikant, 2009).  Which then had me wondering: if books are simply another technology, why is it not reasonable to expect students to master that technology as well?  After much pondering, I think it might be because the book technology supports a teaching paradigm that is teacher-centred, rather than learner-centred, or inquiry based.  That being said, though, there’s nothing that says this has to be an either/or proposition.  Why limit ourselves, and our students to only one form of information, books or web-based material?

Another issue raised in this week’s readings that is close to my heart is the use of technology with purpose in learning.  Which is part of the reason for engaging in this course of study: being able to demonstrate with evidence-based research that certain activities and interventions are effective and appropriate, and within which grades/academic levels or disciplines.  Administratively there are costs to increasing the use of technology in the classroom, and as tuition and tax dollars need to be spent effectively and prudently it is important to make sure that the technology tail isn’t wagging the educational dog (so to speak!).

Finally, this week’s readings had me looking back, and connecting, many of the concepts and constructs I have come across over the past couple of years of course work, including some of the stand-out video resources that have been shared.  No doubt, many will have already come across them … but if not, I hope you enjoy!

For an interesting take on the whole issue of teaching/learning paradigms in schools, check out this YouTube video of a Ken Robinson talk on “Changing Paradigms”:

For a demonstration of how digital technology can make even statistics interesting and exciting, here is Hans Rosling’s “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats”:

For a demonstration of how kids do NOT need instruction in the use of technology, contrary to Kolikant’s statement that “Merely placing computers near students in not enough” (2009, p. 132), see this report on Sugata Mitra’s  “The Hole in the Wall Project”:

*By the way, the quote that started this post is not from a contemporary publication, nor does it reference our “modern” conceptions about inquiry based learning.  Rather, the quote is attributed to Wilhelm von Humboldt who developed the German model of the university in the early 1800s.  It would seem that what is old is new again! (Wikipedia, accessed July 6, 2013).


Chase, Z. and Laufenberg, D. (2011).  Digital literacies. Jounral of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(7), 535-537.

Frye, E.M., Trathen, W. and Koppenhaver, D.A. (2010). Internet workshop and blog publishing: Meeting student (and teacher) learning needs to achieve best practice in the twenty-first-century social studies classroom.  The Social Studies, 101, 46-53.

Jewett, P. (2011). Multiple literacies gone wild. The Reading Teacher, 64(5), 341-344.

Kolikant, B.-D. (2009). Digital students in a book-oriented school: Students’ perceptions of school and the usability of digital technology in schools. Educational Technology and Society, 12(2), 131-143.

Wikipedia. (2013).  History of European Research Universities, accessed July 6, 2013.


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Course Redesign Proposal for Blended Learning

Course Redesign Proposal


The School of Social Work at King’s University College at Western University offers professional social work programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  To this point, courses have been delivered in a face-to-face format with an emphasis of integrating theory and practice.   The notable exception to this is the Thanatology program (Thanatology = study of death, dying, and bereavement) which is the only program at King’s that may be completely online by a combination of online elective courses from the main campus, and online Thanatology courses.  Otherwise, King’s does not currently offer courses in a blended learning format, at least not officially.  On an ad hoc basis instructors are introducing inquiry based learning with technology assisted elements, primarily as a result of the introduction of the university’s new LMS last year, which provides these resources in a readily accessible format.

The School of Social Work is exploring ways in which alternate methods of course delivery can align with the School’s mission and current program structures within those of the larger institution.  The School has been generous with support and encouragement, as well as some flexibility regarding time required for project work.

In a previous project (for eLearning in Canada Summer 2012), a first-year introductory course in social work was redesigned as a web-assisted “hybrid” course, but it did not result in a reduction of seat time.   Various elements were introduced to that course, including just-in-time teaching elements utilizing online discussion boards, online mastery quizzes, and a group project involving a movie review.  At the completion of that project the recommendations were fully implemented (which was an unexpected, but satisfying occurrence), and after a pilot run in one section in first term, the course continued in the new format in 3 sections in second term.  That project was carried out with Steph Ross, and the assistance and consultation of the course coordinator, Dr. Andrew Mantulak.

Current Course Redesign

The course that will be redesigned for this project is SW 3316B: Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families.  A course whose focus heavily geared toward practice and integration of theory was chosen in order to challenge me to develop skills and knowledge with respect to elements of blended learning that can support learning in practice based courses.  As my literature review will demonstrate, there is still some ambivalence on the part of some social work educators with respect to the efficacy of using technology to support learning in the area of social work practice.

The stated course competencies are as follows:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the basic models of social work practice with individuals and families.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the use of reflective practice with individuals and families.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of how to situate individual and family interventions within a diverse social context.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to formulate an assessment based on models of practice and appropriate interventions.

Current assessment consists of the following:

  • In-class quiz at mid-term (value 40%)
  • Take Home Exam or Class Presentation (60%)

Proposed Methodology

My role will be more that of instructional designer, and I will be working with the instructor to identify the intended learning goals of the course, and then discuss various blended learning element.  Discussions to date have revolved around how students demonstrate to the instructor the competencies noted above.  Together we have identified that a key requirement is the student’s ability to critically analyze any theory, identify strengths and weaknesses, and determine whether a particular intervention based on that theory would likely be successful in a particular circumstance, as well as “how to” implement that theory.  Currently he uses a combination of role playing, vignettes, case studies, and short movies to assist with this.

In addition to consultation with the instructor, I will be seeking input from students who took this course last year as well as students enrolled in the course this year.  I have not yet decided whether to conduct formal written surveys, or focus groups.  The instructor has offered me time in his class to have a discussion on the topic with the students.

A key element of this process has been discussion of the Community of Inquiry framework and my intention to use this in the course redesign.  The instructor seems open to this and willing to look at how these elements will tie into his personal teaching style and preferences.  It should be noted at this point that the instructor is open about his belief that there are many things in social work education that can only be taught face to face.  (He also doesn’t like rubrics … at all!)

Recent introductions to social work educators who have experience with developing and implementing blended learning delivery in practice based social work courses will also be tapped.

Current Thinking Regarding Redesign Elements

After initial discussions, we are looking at the Replacement Model (Twigg, 2003) and reducing seat time by one-third.  A review of the strength of asynchronous learning with respect to reflective engagement in discourse and metacognition (Garrison and Vaughn, 2008), is leading us toward introducing an assessed element whereby small groups will be responsible for covering a theory each week, including creating a short video for posting on the LMS.  The group will be responsible for facilitating the online discussion for the week and summarizing it.  In order to link the online component to the classroom setting, as well as providing a written summary, the group will give a brief oral summary at the beginning of class that will allow the instructor and students to tie up any lose ends or thoughts, and link the material to the next section going forward.   Thought is being given on what is going to be let go of in order to provide the time for this activity.

There will also be greater use made of the LMS than in previous iterations of the course.  The purpose of this will be to introduce some of those elements noted in Garrison and Vaughn (2008) with respect to creating a community of inquiry.

Moving Forward

Moving forward in the project, the following is a list (not comprehensive) of what elements still need to be worked on.

  • Learning Analysis
  • Redesign Guide
  • Community of Inquiry Framework
  • Assessment/Evaluation of Redesign
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Supporting students
  • Supporting faculty
  • Detailed course outline


Garrison, D.R., & Vaughan, N.D. (2008). Blended Learning in Higher Education.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Twigg, C. (2003).  Improving and Reducing Costs: New Models for Online Learning, Educause Review, September/October, 28-38.



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Article Critique (DRAFT) for Blended Learning

Citation of the Article

de Boer, C., Loucks Campbell, S., and Hovey, A. (2011).  When you come to a fork in the road, take it: Teaching social work practice using blended learning, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, (37)3, 1-17.

Summary of the Article

This article provides a description of one School of Social Work’s experience with deciding on a blended learning format for course delivery in their part-time BSW program, followed by a review of designing blended learning course delivery for three of their practice-based courses.  The three courses that are reviewed in the article are an interviewing skills course, a social work theories course, and an integration seminar.  This School implemented a new part-time BSW program and they anticipated attracting students who were already working, and who would require/benefit from flexible course delivery modes.  With the assistance of an active course design support service on campus, and after a review of the literature about offering courses online versus face to face, the School decided to offer the entire program in a blended learning format.

This article takes the form of a collective case study where “one issue or concern is again selected, but the inquirer uses multiple case studies to illustrate the issue” (Creswell, 2007, p. 74).  The issue in this instance is how to best offer practice-based social work courses to off-campus students in a blended format.  The authors argue positive results overall in the delivery of these courses through blended methods, although with differing levels of success, and provide a useful chart comparing the three courses on the following aspects:

  • Type of course
  • Course objective
  • Design foci
  • Online components
  • Face-to-face components
  • Ratio of face-to-face to online components
  • Design triumphs
  • Implications for improvement

Despite the differences in course objectives, learning goals, teaching styles, and design elements, the three authors found they had some common experiences, and offer a useful metaphor for the reader, that of being a traveller in a foreign country.  While some of what was offered in the traditional in-class course could not be replicated in a blended format, it could be “translated”.  Further, they suggest that if they, as instructors, had “language” issues, it should be recognized that students might also (although they propose that this situation will diminish over time as all students become more comfortable using technology), and that appropriate support and instruction around the more technological aspects of the course delivery needed to be provided.

On the whole, the authors conclude that their experiences with offering these blended learning courses validate the School’s decision to design and offer their part-time BSW program from a blended learning platform.

Reflections: Strengths and Weaknesses, and Take-Aways

I selected this article because it is directly aligned with my learning goals for this course, that is, completing a course redesign of a practice based social work course at either the graduate or undergraduate level.  I was hoping to benefit from the experiences of others engaged in the redesign of similar types of courses.

The authors, through their review of the literature, capture very well the tension that is felt by social work educators regarding teaching the art and science of social work practice, including interviewing skills, and the integration of theory and practice.  I was excited to read about the direct, recent and relevant experiences of the authors.

The article has several strengths, including its accessibility in terms of straightforward language and organizational structure.  The first part of the article provides a good overview of the issues facing the course designers, together with a comprehensive literature review.  The second part of the article is broken into three sections, each devoted to one of the three courses reviewed.  The organization of these sections was consistent: course title and description; developmental process and challenges; and implications for blended learning design.  The inclusion of a comparison chart was particularly useful in assessing strengths and weaknesses of the various methods used for each course design.

One element that I found troubling was the lack of information regarding evaluation of the course redesigns.  While the authors discuss challenges and areas that need to be developed, it is not clear that any formal evaluation of the courses was carried out with respect to effectiveness of delivery method, students meeting learning goals, or other metrics that could have been used.  For example, the Quality Online Course Initiative Rubric (QOCI) (Illinois Online Network, 1998-2006) is available online through open access, and is an assessment tool that could perhaps be adapted for use in courses offered in a blended format. It assesses online courses on the following criteria: 1) instructional design; 2) communication, interaction and collaboration; 3) student evaluation and assessment; learner support and resources; 5) web design; and 6) course evaluation.

With respect to key elements of this article that will impact how I proceed with my course redesign project, I would note the following:

Course redesign has to be more than simply replicating traditional teaching within an online environment.  As de Boer, Loucks Campbell, & Hovey (2011) note, “the benefits of blended learning are contingent on good design” (p. 4).  I hope that knowledge gained from previous courses (i.e., Digital Inquiry, and eLearning in Canada) will also prove useful here.

The article underscores for me the importance of the perception of social work faculty that social work practice is more effectively taught in a face-to-face environment.  This perception will need to be respected and taken into account in any redesign project.  As the authors note: “Concerns about faceless teaching (Berge, 1998; Kim, 2005), and student isolation (Herie, 2005) are particularly alarming for social work educators, who seek to prepare students for a skills-based, interactive, and interpersonal profession but are using a modality that has these same students sitting alone behind computer monitors” (de Boer, Loucks Campbell, & Hovey, 2011, p. 4).

Cresswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Illinois Online Network (n.d.). Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI) Rubric, retrieved January 24, 2013, from

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Back in the Saddle Again … Blended Learning (Goals)

Well …. can it only be a week ago that we had our first Elluminate session?  I don’t know if it’s Norm’s energy and enthusiasm, synchronicity, or just the stars aligning, but an awful lot has happened already:

Norm has provided introductions to three people who have already generously given me time and offers of input/feedback on my declared area of interest.  No pressure there!

This week’s readings, a rather elegant ensemble of articles approaching assessment of the three different aspects of implementation of a community of inquiry framework (social presence, cognitive presence, teaching presence), both answered questions and stimulated more curiosity.  The notion of learning with the model of trigger-explore-resolve-act resonates and seems so right.

And a viewing of the GOOD video documentary Future Learning has inspired me!   Sugata Mitra’s experiment of putting computers in walls for children to “play” with gives me a strange kind of reassurance that we are more amazing as a species than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.  And then he said:  “The absence of the teacher in the presence of the internet can become a pedagogical tool,”  and talked about the importance of reading comprehension for the learners of the future, combined with the ability to search for information and the wisdom to determine what is true from what is not.  Wow!

Sigh … writing this blog is like trying to capture in a photo what makes a view breathtaking; and I don’t feel up to the task.  So, I will end with some learning goals for myself and this course.  I want to expand my skills and repertoire with respect to redesigning courses to a blended format.  I want to develop a better understanding of how to motivate instructors to try some of the different options that can be available to them in blended learning.  I want my understanding of the community of inquiry framework to develop to the point that I can start to incorporate it into my own daily practice.  Not too much to ask for I hope!

Tally ho!


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So long …

Blog Post #4 (LT1): Creating digital content

Hi everyone,

Nothing clever, or earth-shattering here. Just a feeling of satisfaction at having completed the course, and pleasure in having gotten to “know” some of you through the process. I wish you all joy and health and happiness this Christmas. ~Sam

• What are the benefits of creating digital media?

Creating digital media was beneficial to me because it gave me a working understanding of the challenges and opportunities linked to these projects. This will help me in the future in terms of being cognizant of the fact that some things just can’t be done, or at the least, shouldn’t be done given the potential return on investment of time and resources.

Creating digital media is beneficial to our learners because it allows us to develop new pedagogies using alternate delivery methods that allow for self-directed and self-paced learning. The fact that these media can also be co-created by students themselves provides an opportunity to learn and interact with the content in a much more personal way. (For example, in other courses where I have been the “facilitator” for the week, thinking about how to summarize the readings, and present activities in a way that will be engaging and meaningful helps me consolidate the content in a much different way than sitting as an empty vessel in a classroom.)

• What are some of the challenges you’ve come across? Lessons learned?

Major challenges that I have faced in the creation of my own digital media projects have hinged on time and scope — time to learn the various programs as well as the theory behind which media to use and for what reasons, and scope in terms of keeping a project reasonably sized. At the end of the day the products need to serve a specific purpose in terms of contributing to learning.

A Comment about Integrating Digital Media with Pedagogy
In another course, I am conducting a literature review on Blended Learning in Workplace Learning. I have found elements of both courses becoming entwined, and am pleased to see that there is a growing emphasis on ensuring that use of digital media as part of blended learning platforms is integrated with sound pedagogical practices, and evaluating outcomes of the use of different technologies is occurring more regularly.

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LT1 – Blog 3: A Wrinkle in Time …

A Wrinkle in Time …

I’m in England at the moment, home, visiting with my dad and step-mother. This is a house of jigsaws, Scrabble, word games and daily newspapers (two so as to get both sides of the political spectrum). And crossword puzzles. Daily crosswords, quick crosswords, cryptic crosswords, and wonderful, endless jumbo crosswords for holidays and special occasions. There are tools that we can use to help solve the crosswords – the thesaurus, the Oxford Book of Quotes, and most importantly, “The Scottish” – a giant, 1953 dictionary published by Newnes. What there is not, nor should there ever be, is the internet.

“We are all Cyborgs” (Case, 2010), brought home to me how differently I now retrieve information. I know I am not the first to make this observation, but I no longer rely so much on storing information, as knowing how and where to retrieve it from. I think this may be a different way of thinking, but I do think it is a progression of what has evolved in our physical world. A hundred years or so ago, individuals were much more responsible for being able to provide for all aspects of their lives. Think of our country’s pioneers who had to be self-sufficient, able to grow and harvest food, as well as prepare and store it, knit, sew, build houses, repair wagons, care for livestock … the list goes on.

I have a penchant for “after the apocalypse” science-fiction, and wonder what will happen if we forget how to remember information for ourselves? Carrying around external memory banks seems a rather tenuous way forward if I sit still long enough, quietly enough to think about it.

Case, A. (2010). We’re All Cyborgs Now. Ted Talks. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from

L’Engle. M. (1962). A Wrinkle in Time. New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

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