To get a good paper written, you only have to rewrite a good draft; to get a good draft written, you only have to turn a series of notes into a continuous text. And as a series of notes is just the rearrangement of notes you already have in your slip-box, all you really have to do is have a pen in your hand when you read (Ahrens, 2017, p. 74).

Chris Aldrich shared a great idea the other day in the Hypothes.is Liquid Margins Webinar on November 16, 2021Robin DeRosa moderated the discussion and featured instructors who had used Hypothes.is with their students to annotate open educational resources (OER) and in some cases to create OER. The chat was lively, fun, and full of great ideas. One of the best meetings of this kind I’ve attended in a very long time.

Recently, I reread a post from Robin DeRosa about her collaboration with students in the development of an open textbook for her American Literature course. If you have any interest in OER, open textbooks, open pedagogy, Hypothes.is, or Pressbooks, you may be interested in this post. Although I have never undertaken a project like this, I am interested and this post is full of useful information. And it’s also full of “you can do this” encouragement. For a project with so many technical, pedagogical, intellectual property, privacy, and other issues to consider, I find myself appreciating the spirit she brought to her post.

During the webinar, Chris made a suggestion that intrigued me and seemed to build on Robin’s excellent post. I’m paraphrasing his chat but basically, he suggested that an instructor could use the approach described by Sönke Ahrens in his book, How to take smart notes with students, over time and in a distributed manner. If the approach to writing a good manuscript could be broken down into the steps below, could the same approach be applied to the incremental, distributed creation of an open textbook or OER?

  1. Slip-box notes
  2. Series of arranged notes
  3. Continuous text
  4. Draft
  5. Paper

Consider students who are learning about an area for the first time, Mayer’s (2009) Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, for example. Could the creation of an open textbook start with the production of so-called “slip-box notes”?

Another presenter during the webinar explained how she used Hypothes.is with students to highlight topics, tag them using an agreed-upon list or taxonomy, and the provide some justification for the decision to include said item as part of the collection of resources under that topic. Those students could then discuss whether the decision matched their understanding of the topic. When I think of a first step like this, I imagine replacing the discussion forums in my courses with annotation-driven discussions. And I get excited!

There are lots of other great possibilities to explore. And while I am unsure about the prospect of creating an entire open textbook, I feel much more confident that I can engage students in the process of creating simple notes. And I am grateful to Chris, Robin, and the other speakers and commenters during the webinar the other day!

Ahrens, S. (2017). How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers (1 edition). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia Learning (2 edition). Cambridge University Press.

While reading Ian O’Byrne’s Digitally Literate Newsletter, I learned about a blogging challenge called #100DaysToOffload by Kev Quirk – Blog. The challenge is to try to publish 100 posts to your blog within one year’s time (about one post every 3.5 days). The blog posts don’t need to be long-form, deeply meaningful, or even that well written. The important thing is to be writing about topics of interest. Posts can be tutorials or even links to other posts you find interesting.

Right now, I am trying to get in the habit of writing regularly. I want to get comfortable with the idea of working through professional and other creative challenges on my blog. My work as an educational technology administrator and as a teacher presents me with an array of interesting topics that I do not feel I have the time to reflect on as much as I would like. And the circumstances of the pandemic have enforced a professional and personal isolation that I would like to work through. This seems like an excellent opportunity to try work past those challenges and to have something to show for it on my blog. By October 4th, 2021, I hope to have one hundred more posts added to my blog.

At the end of each post, I plan to add the hashtag #100DaysToOffload as well as a sentence indicating how a reader might join the same challenge that I have accepted.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.

Here are a few recommendations for designing a Faculty Learning Community centered around new technologies:

Evolving Outcomes: Begin with clear outcomes for the community, and ask faculty to articulate their own project objectives in their applications for participation. However, keep in mind that there is an inherent openness to this process. Rework project outcomes as needed and provide progress updates at the beginning of each meeting.
Multi-channel Communication: Include multiple types of interactions throughout the term to meet the many needs of participating faculty. Allow the participants to design the format of their face-to-face group meetings. Then supplement these scheduled sessions with one-on-one design meetings, online communications, self-help resources, and triage sessions.
Campus Partners: Use the participant applications to imagine what types of support the faculty might need, and identify the people on campus best able to offer this support. Reach out to these campus partners in advance of the FLC, gauging their interest and availability to offer demonstrations, create online learning tools, purchase technologies, or meet with faculty one-on-one.
Community Building: Remember that this is a community, and build it as such: work to develop a good rapport among participants; listen deeply to each participants’ goals; learn about disciplines outside of one’s own; require a certain level of participation; and bring drinks and food. Good learning environments tend to blend the formal and informal, supplementing expectations and plans with the free flowing nature of discussion and discovery.

I am especially interested in the “Evolving Outcomes” mentioned. How do we go about articulating initial outcomes for an FLC at my organization?

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June 15, 2020 at 03:06PM

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