Digital Literacy


I selected the above image for its simplicity as I have been feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information available regarding online learning and the speed at which tools are changing.  I have found in this course that I constantly feel behind even though I am aware that by studying this topic we are ahead of so many other individuals.

At first glance, I was impressed by the three-part model as it shows the need for Foundation Knowledge (topic knowledge and computer capabilities), Contemporary Skills (learning new tools and collaboration), and Critical Thinking Ability (analyzing the source).  The original post for this model is no longer connected so the comments in brackets are my own perspective.  Upon reflection, I realized that the model may be applied to individual learning and my biggest takeaway from this week’s reading material was that digital literacy and mediation focusing on the social practices.

As a result, I present this model as a replacement.  It comes from a UK website named Future Lab (http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/digital-literacy-across-curriculum-handbook) that has some wonderful resources for schools.   Image

Images retrieved from http://webncircle.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/digital-literacy-diagrams/


The Innovation of Loneliness

Video by Shimi Cohen.

In addition to creating barriers for those who do not have technology, social media is isolating those who use it as well.  This video rings true for me when I look at university students today and my daughter in Grade 7.


Let’s Get Engaged! Facilitating Online Learning Paper Proposal

Educational pedagogy and curriculum need to be updated from didactic teaching methods of static knowledge to ensure today’s students will develop the adaptability, digital literacy, collaboration, problem-solving and communication skills required in today’s world.  Student engagement is the key area for making these changes and ensuring online education will be successful.

My paper will begin with an explanation of how the world has changed in the last few decades, creating a large gap between education and today’s society.  I will examine the skills that the Conference Board of Canada lists as valuable to be successful in our informational era and identify critical areas for focus.  I will then outline key characteristics of today’s young students and show how they align well with many areas of adult education.

Having established a background that shows the need for education that is more learner-centered and collaborative, I will explore participation and student engagement by looking at some recent research.  One model of engaged learning, developed by Leach and Zepke (2010) at Massey University in New Zealand, is a conceptual organizer with four main areas: motivation, transactional engagement, institutional support, and active citizenship.

Another source will be the University of Alberta’s Parsons and Taylor’s (2011) elaboration of how to improve student engagement through the six common elements of Interaction, Exploration, Relevancy, Multimedia and Technology, Engaging and Challenging Instruction, and Authentic Assessment.  I did not make the connection until I saw references from a paper co-authored with our very own Servage.  A third source will be from a paper presented at the 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2011) by Hrastinski & Jaldemark that outlines Inhibitors and counteractions by aspect of participation.

Finally, I will end the paper with discussion around some specific tools that can be used to increase student engagement in courses that we offer to students.  This portion of the paper will include podcasts, wiki-based group assignments, social bookmarking, and using teaching assistants to manage large class sizes of online discussion groups.  There will also be a look at specific strategies that can be used within online discussion at different stages of the course to impact difference phases of cognitive presence.


Beck, D.. (2009). Sensible Tools of Engagement: Three Channels for Online Education, and Why You Should Use Them, eLearn, New York, NY: 2009(12).  DOI: 10.1145/1661377.1662736.

Gatlin, K., & Alexander, P. (2010). Using clinical teaching assistants to foster student engagement in online courses. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 4, 1-14. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/ login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/759652461?accountid=9838

Hoskins, B. J. (2012). Connections, Engagement, and Presence. Journal Of Continuing Higher Education, 60(1), 51-53. doi:10.1080/07377363.2012.650573

Jaldemark, J., & Hrastinski, S., (2011). How and why do students of higher education participate in online seminars? Education and Information Technologies. 17(3), 253-271.

Parsons, J., & Taylor, L., (2011). Student Engagement: What Do We Know and What Should We Do? Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta. 28-48. doi: 10610811


Going Bonkers

My resource to share for Week 8 is a 10-minute video at http://www.indiana.edu/~icy/media/de_series/podcasting.html

This is one of a series of 26 videos recorded by Curtis Bonks of the Faculty of Education at Indiana University (http://www.indiana.edu/~icy/media/de_series.html) so please review a different one if there is a topic you find more valuable for where you presently are in your learning.  He is a bit of an odd duck (hence the blog title) but he seems to really know his stuff and came highly recommended.  In September I attended a “Strategies to Enhance My Online Teaching” lunch hour seminar presented by Dr. Jennifer Lock at the University of Calgary and he was one of her recommendations.

I decided to focus on the podcasting primer in the video format to balance out my need for audio learning in this online world of reading, reading, and more reading.  I personally love reading but the sound of the human voice is something I am noticing that I miss in our online classes so I plan to incorporate it more in my future courses.

Is anyone else out there enjoying the moments when we incorporate audio into our learning in this course?


Time for the technological revolution

Image  Josh Klein (2010) is telling us that work is broken and has several examples as evidence.  Workers who are going around policies that get in the way of successfully fulfilling their roles in order to improve their performance and increase efficiency and/or customer satisfaction.  I loved thisTedx talk and hearing about the individuals who moved on to be successful elsewhere despite the negativity of leadership in their original businesses.  However it saddens me to think of how many others are feeling stuck and trapped in the ridiculousness of rules that block progress.  This is a learning issue for it is really about the inability of companies to accept innovation and learn new ways of doing business.

Work is not the only thing that is broken.  Look at our health care, education and the systems of government.  Ottawa is going through a crisis in the senate that is not making the PM’s office look good and the US government actually stopped working.  Add in issues regarding climate change concerns and the Occupy movements and there is certainly a lot of turmoil these days.  Perhaps the days of a few people making decisions are coming to an end now that large numbers of regular working people are able to communicate without the filters that were previously imposed by those in power.

Perhaps this is more than an issue of having organizations learn to adopt technology and innovation.  We have moved from the industrial age to the information age and maybe change will be along the magnitude of the industrial revolution where factories were completely reinvented.  We have seen the disappearance of industries such as video rentals and record stores so what will be next?  Will democracy move to the point where we get to vote on much more than an elected official every few years?  I don’t have the answers but I do believe we are in a time of transformational change as opposed to transactional learning.  There will certainly be interesting times ahead.

Continue reading


Evaluating evaluations


Cartoon from http://thekennedykorralblog.blogspot.ca/2011/10/funny-teacher-comics.html

Having worked at a university for sixteen and a half years, I was surprised to realize this week how little I have thought about the evaluation piece of education.  It has been something that I have performed regularly – both summative evaluations at the end of sessions to determine the learning of students and formative evaluations throughout sessions to determine course effectiveness as discussed in Chapter 9 of Fuller et al. (2011) – but it has been done by default without deep reflection of the practice and consideration of alternative approaches.

At first glance, evaluation appeared to me to be a simple process that requires little thought providing you follow the four steps of establishing criteria, gathering evidence, comparing and making judgement.  I realized that this may not be true for all learner outcomes  as I read Fuller et al. (2011) discuss three levels of outcomes of learning on pp 124-125.  In my practice, I have been fairly successful at measuring the first and second order outcomes that encompass immediate learning and the transfer of learning, however I have pretty much neglected the third order outcomes.  In my mind, the bottom line impact has been a responsibility of administration and not something of my concern.  And yet, I would not want decisions made at a higher level to negatively impact my programs.

This has been a bit of an awakening for me – it is time for me to consider my programs from a longer term perspective and evaluate how they are impacting the larger business school as a whole.  Rest assured I am confident that I will never swing the pendulum so far in the other direction that I end up in the scenario of the cartoon above where the learning moves away from addressing the needs of the learners to measuring the success of the machine behind it.

Fuller, R., Kuhne, G. & Frey, B. (2011). Distinctive distance education design. Models for differentiated instruction. IGI Global: Hershey, PA


ADDIE Works for Me!


I had an interesting journey this weekend while reading through our assigned readings.

I began with Lehmann & Conceicao (2010) reading Chapter One and enjoying the topic of presence.  I planned to write my blog on this subject but wanted to read more before I put “pen to paper” or fingers to the keyboard in this case.  I next read through chapters Three and Four of Conceicao & Lehmann (2009) and became frustrated.  I agreed with much of the content and thought the models might be useful but it felt more cumbersome the more I read.  I couldn’t imagine projecting all the hours for design or see the point in it.

Then I read Branch’s prologue (2009) and it truly resonated with me.  This was a bit ironic as I had looked at it on Friday and been disappointed at long and dry it looked – which is why I left it to the end.  The ADDIE model speaks to me in a pure, simple manner that focuses on the course to be designed.  One look at the model in any of its formats and I am able to see the instructional design process from beginning to end and back on to the next course.

I am wondering if anyone else is as excited about ADDIE.


The images I used are from http://www.addiesolutions.com/addie.htm (top) and http://nschutte.com/projects/instructional-design-process-using-addie-model/ (bottom).


Communites of Practice


This week I am experimenting with adding pictures to my blog.  I believe I have successfully added headings above and below this text that show a couple of the five specific Industry Associations that I am involved with through my role as Career Advisor in the Haskayne School of Business.  Our services focus on such a specific group of clients (students and new graduates) that these associations are our primary source of trends and information and we operate very much as communities that are separate from other career practitioners.

“Communities of practice are not stable or static entities…and cannot be formed” (Roberts, 2006, p.275).  By this definition, these associations are not communities of practice.  When reviewing Table 1 at the top of the page that lists the key characteristics of a community of practice (Compiled from Wenger (1998, pp. 125-6), I noticed that many of the fourteen characteristics apply to my personal experiences with these associations over the years.  How can this be?

These associations have been formed and are stable although they are certainly not static.  Although the purpose of supporting post-secondary Career Centres remains the same over the years, the people involved change with time as do the topics of discussion.  The memberships of these associations are also very large with hundreds to thousands of members.  Much of the shared learning occurs at the annual conference or is sent one way from the association to the members.

The best way I can resolve this in my mind is that within these large associations, small communities of practice are formed where people working with similar clients or within a specific geographic area come together.  All participants are considered equal and communication occurs through a variety of channels (email, phone, meetings, social media).  These smaller groups seem to appear and dissolve organically and are a closer fit the profile of communities of practice.

CAFCE header


Resisting my Resistance

I very much enjoyed reading the Staff Development Challenge article on Sunday as I found it had a good balance of content and readability.  Personally I have experienced many resistant learners in the bricks and mortar learning environment and recall this being a challenging aspect in my initial days working with students.  It was hard to let go of the feeling of responsibility for the students’ learning and recognize that not everyone will be in a place to participate.  The questions in the article about justifying the learning activity, providing a safe and comfortable environment, and providing accurate information in manageable increments clearly outline steps we can use to minimize resistance and this resonated with me.  I found the article then took a surprising turn when it focused so much attention on how to protect yourself from angry people.  In my work environment, the standard response for resistant learners is withdrawal as the Career Centre offers a service that is not mandatory for students so I suppose I have been lucky to avoid such confrontations.

I have been looking forward to entering the world of blogging and expected to jump online Sunday night to write down my thoughts for discussion.  It did not happen and I continued to put it off until this evening when I am up against the Tuesday deadline.  It would be easy to blame it on my life being busy with other things such as work, household chores and children (as I certainly have enough of them running around) but that would not be the truth.  The reality is that I have been intimidated to put my words down into cyberspace where they will be permanently out there.  I have no qualms about participating in a class discussion where I can read body language and other cues to determine when to add more content or reign it in, but in this online environment I feel extremely isolated.  I imagine myself either floating in space or under water where I need an air supply so the spoken word is no longer an option. 

I feel that others have such amazing blogs that mine will pale in comparison.  Once I realized that I was resisting participating in an exercise about resistant learners, I had a laugh at myself and jumped right in.  I plan to add in more pictures and graphics to make the blog more fun in the coming weeks, but for now I am taking the first steps on this journey.  It was not too long ago that I would avoid academic articles as they were long and dry (outside voice) which translates to incredibly challenging and intimidating (inside voice).  One skill that I have developed through my time in this MEd program is the ability to review academic articles and comprehend what they are saying. 

Now that I have faced my resistance to post this blog I look forward to reading through those of my classmates and adding in something new over the next week.





Hello classmates!

Blogging is new to me but I love to talk so I’m thinking this may be fun. My schedule is insanely busy as I work full-time during the day and have a houseful to come home to in the evening (five children, one beautiful dalmatian, and an amazing man who keeps me sane) but it should lead for some good content. I generally will participate in the course during the evening after putting my little ones to bed or on weekends.

My work is as a Career Advisor at Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. I have been there for over 16 years and still enjoy working with the students. I have recently been given a promotion to Senior Career Consultant and will have three direct reports going forward.

I am exactly halfway through the MEd Specialist in Adult Education – Work & Learning after spending two weeks in July in a classroom on campus with my wonderful cohort. I look forward to working with you wonderful ladies again and meeting the other half of our class through Elluminate on Thursday.

Warmest regards,

P.S. I will add a true picture once I am on a computer that has some of my photos.