The Journal of Philosophy in Schoolsrecently published a special issue which has a focus of ‘Future Education: Schools and Universities’. The editors, Michael Levine and Laura D’Olimpio, offer the following provocation in their introduction to the issue:
While some may argue that universities are in a state of crisis, others claim that we are living in a post-university era; a time after universities. If there was a battle for the survival of the institution, it is over and done with. The buildings still stand. Students enrol and may (at times) attend lectures, though let’s be clear—most do not. But virtually nothing real remains. What some mistakenly take to be a university is, in actuality, an ‘uncanny’ spectral presence; ‘the nagging presence of an absence … a “spectralized amnesiac modernity with its delusional totalizing systems”’ (Maddern & Adey 2008, p. 292). It is the remains and remnants of the university.
Overstatement? Perhaps. We think many if not most administrators, at all levels, will likely dissent. So too will many if not most teachers and students. Trying to determine whether this is correct, or to what extent, by consulting polls and reading opinion pieces in various education journals and professional papers (e.g. Journal of Higher Education; The Campus Review; Chronicle of Higher Education) is likely to be of little help. In any case, it is the hypothesis (that universities and educational institutions generally are in a state of crisis), along with closely related ones, and concerns about what can be done in the circumstances, that have generated this special issue.
This special issue highlights and illustrates that most of the contested issues regarding educational theory and practice central to how universities and schools should be, and how they should be run, are first and foremost questions of value rather than fact. They are questions regarding what we want, but more importantly what we should want, from our universities and schools; about what they should be and what students, teachers and administrators should be doing to facilitate this.
The purpose of this paper is to introduce an evidence-based, transferable framework of graduate attributes and associated university toolkit to support the writing of level-appropriate learning outcomes aligned to Active Blended Learning (ABL), Northampton’s approach to learning and teaching. An iterative process of co-design and co-development was employed to produce both the framework and the associated learning outcomes toolkit. There is tangible benefit in adopting an integrated framework aligned to the principles of ABL, which enables students to develop personal literacy and graduate identity. The toolkit enables staff to write assessable learning outcomes that support student progression and enable achievement of the framework objectives. Embedding the institutional Changemaker attributes alongside the agreed employability skills enables students to develop and articulate specifically what it means to be a “Northampton graduate”. The uniqueness of this project is the student-centred framework and the combination of curricular, extra- and co-curricular initiatives that provide a consistent language around employability across disciplines. This is achieved through use of the learning outcomes toolkit to scaffold student progression.
Sharing is a core part of the iOS experience, and WordPress is committed to helping people share their stories, products, or services freely and widely. So when the fine folks at Shiny Frog—makers of the excellent writing app Bear—asked for an easier way turn Bear notes into WordPress posts, we enthusiastically said yes. We’ve been working together to create a great publishing experience, and today Bear and WordPress both have app updates that incorporate this latest and greatest integration.
Go ahead, give it a try!
The Bear and WordPress apps work together seamlessly to turn your note into a fully-formatted blog post.
Update your Bear and WordPress apps to make sure you’re using the latest versions.
Open Bear, and tap the share icon at the top right of a note.
The WordPress app will open and prepare a new blog post with the contents of your note, complete with proper formatting of headings, links, formatting, lists, and even photos.
To automatically give your blog post a title, make sure your Bear note begins with an H1. You’re all set—the only thing left to do is publish.
How we did it
If you’re curious about the technical details: our mobile team updated the app to support TextBundle files shared from other apps. On Bear’s end, the app now knows WordPress for iOS supports TextBundle, and automatically shares notes in that format.
TextBundle is made for sharing plain text files that include attachments like photos, and since it’s built on an open standard, other developers can integrate their apps with it. If you’re an app developer looking to improve your WordPress publishing experience, you can start with Shiny Frog’s open source TextBundle library, the same one that’s used in WordPress for iOS.
Attended 11 Congreso de Investigación Turística de Chile 24 al 26 de Abril, 2019. I presented my research topic on the 25th of April and valuable feedback from local audiences and had initial contacts for further research.
Our group did data collection in Grey Glacia in Torress Del Paine helped by Big Foot mountain guide company. We captured Drone footage, 360 – degree videos, high quality still images of crevasses and glacier serac.
After three days of data collection, we had a focus group meeting with local mountain climbers and guides. They gave us risk factors for climbers in Patagonia. The notorious weather pattern in Patagonia is the main risk factor for all climbers and trampers. They want to learn and understand rapid weather changes in Patagonia using the app. They agreed to try our first prototype app when it is ready and give us feedback.
It has been a while since I have taken part in an open course but a couple from the University of Auckland have recently caught my eye. So, I have jumped in full of enthusiasm to take part in the Mobile and Social Media Learning Technologies course otherwise known as #mosomelt.
During in the first week we were asked to log in to/set up an account for:
1: Moodle (where the discussions will be posted)
3: WordPress (to post reflections on)
My initial thoughts were, this would be easy. I have managed Moodle in a previous role and therefore experienced in using both the browser and app versions. I have been using Twitter (with various levels of engagement) for over 10 years. And I already have a WordPress site where I post my reflections. Well if you are reading this the chances are number 2 and number 3 have been fine. Unfortunately I have had a fail with Moodle. I receive notifications to my email when others post in Moodle but for some reason none of the emails I need to log in into Moodle arrive in my inbox (or my junk mailbox). I am not sure this is a reflection on my ability to use Moodle but it has made me think about how students feel when they cannot get the technology to work, how easy it is to feel you are being a nuisance asking for help and how tempting it is just to give up. Nevertheless I haven’t given up yet and I hope that I manage to get access so I can share to the community but in the meantime I am still reading what others post and interacting vai other channels.
What do I hope to achieve taking part in #mosomelt?
The idea of joining a community of practice with a group of people interested in sharing ideas and good practice around using mobile and social media learning technologies is definitely appealing. I suppose my goals for the course are to reflect on what I am currently doing and that I gain new ideas I can utilise in my own practice. Finally I have previously found that taking part in cMOOC like this helps to increase my professional network. As much as I like growing my network of connections there is also something very comforting seeing familiar faces in the same community. There are definitely a few #LTHEchat-ers that have signed up having seen the email from the Association of Learning Technologists so once again I find one community overlapping with another…
Though I have published some of my work with CC license in open access journals, this is my first re-mix of CC licensed work . I wasn't sure how much of a change was considered a re-mix. So after talking to Lucy, Information Governance Manager at UCEM I am confident in publishing it with share-alike license similar to the work I adapted. Asma, our Graphic Designer at UCEM, helped me by designing it with her graphic design software and saving it as a PDF. In this version of work, we wanted to say why we needed to do each of these suggested accessibility enhancing steps. For example, we should not use colour as the only means to convey meaning (e.g. red letters for wrong answers and green letters for correct answers) because colour-blind learners may not be able to access the content as they may not be able to distinguish the different colours. I think giving reasons why something needs to be done in a certain way makes it more real as people can make connections. This poster was designed to be visual as we are hoping to print it and display it at UCEM. I also created an accessible version of this poster in a text only version which can also be downloaded. Again I want to thank Lee and Sue for their amazing work. Had they not shared this with CC license we would not have been able to adapt it.
My first OER conference was always going to be special. It was on my campus, I knew I would connect with old friends, and my friend Catherine was co-chair. But I do have a secret; I wasn’t entirely looking forward to it. Just a month prior, I had chaired the annual CESI conference. That work is voluntary, and not part of my day job. It was a success that drew well over two hundred people, but I was suffering from severe conference fatigue. The thought of another conference filled me with existential dread
I had also signed up for the OER19 organising committee, and I had offered my services to the registration and help desk, among other duties. Just a month later, I found myself working at another conference.
However, the programme was brimming with the names of friends, colleagues, and those I’ve long admired. Once I was on the ground and was exposed to the palpable energy, I soon got my second wind.
I also feel obligated to mention that I find writing post-conference reflections to be difficult. I find that I’m at my most analytical, witty, and verbose at inconvenient times, and not when I’m at my computer. With a conference like OER19, when so many prolific and profound folks take to the blogosphere to share tales of inspiration and hope, I feel even more pressure to produce.So, I’m not going to. I mused over things for a few weeks, and when I was driving home from work one night, a particular song lyric stuck out on a random Spotify playlist. The line is from a song called ‘Boxcar’ by the seminal 90s punk trio, Jawbreaker:
‘I’m coloring outside your guidelines’.
This would become the theme of my blog post.
When I think of the people on the ground in Galway at OER19, one characteristic persists. They push boundaries. And they’ve pushed boundaries in the open ed community and beyond. The community hinges upon ethics, creativity, and access. When I returned to the conference theme to help me reflect, I realised something about the OER community.
They’re not only recentring open – they’re recentring education.
This conference wasn’t merely functioning to recentre open – it created a forum to recentre education. Throughout the programme, there was work that focused not only on creativity, access, and ethics. It focused on collaboration, policy, and systemic changes, and beyond. This conference wasn’t just about open practice. At its core, it forced us to tough questions, and inspire us to seek answers.
For a few days this April, the educators that descended upon Galway were those that are colouring outside the guidelines, and with flourish, I might add.
With so many interesting sessions running in parallel, I’m sure many of us had very different conference experiences. I make no apologies – I went to sessions as a fangirl and friend. I wanted to support those I know, and to learn from those I’ve long admired.
Amy Burvall and Bryan Mathers ran a workshop called ‘Amaz-Zine: How to Create a DIY OER Zine’, which was a surreal experience. I wrote for a music zine many years ago, and that long lost joy was evident in the packed room. As we gathered cutout, Martin Weller expressed the same joy about his experience with football zines. And it was worth looking around that packed room – I found myself sitting beside Catherine Cronin, Leigh Graves Wolf, and Kate Bowles. A row ahead of us were Jim Groom and Martin Weller. Bonnie Stewart was by the door. It was surreal to see so many familiar, prolific faces engaging in a low-fi, remix activity. We relished every minute of it. Leigh and I made a zine about dogs, because dogs. You can read Bryan’s take on the session here.
I chaired a packed Femedtech open space session with Louise Drumm, Frances Bell, Lorna Campbell, and Maren Deepwell. There was also a Virtually Connecting session built in to the time slot, which made the open space even more open. In allowing virtual guests to have the same experience, Virtually Connecting is so important to the open community. Frances kindly crafted #femedtech badges for all past curators (and some extras), and the movement really seemed to gain momentum from being discussed on the ground and not only in virtual networks. Lorna highlighted the new open space on the website, which fosters a community of collaboration and reflection beyond the Twitter account, thanks to Alan Levine’s TRU Writer SPLOT theme in WordPress. This network is emergent – and is certainly serving to disrupt power structures in ed tech.
In ‘The Participatory Open: Can We Build a Pro-Social / Pro-Societal Web?’ , Bonnie Stewart, Lawrie Phipps, and Dave Cormier (virtually) facilitated a cafe style session where participants examined their relationship with the web, in particular using open for the public good. If I admit to being a fangirl, I was particularly delighted to be in a session with Bonnie Stewart. I had intended to take her track at Digital Pedagogy Lab in 2018, but she ultimately had to cancel. Watching this session back might be more useful than my description of it, but if you’d like a summary, look at the unicorn sticker.
Knowing that Reclaim Hosting was on the ground in Galway was another highlight. Jim Groom visited NUIG to run a workshop a few years back, but I didn’t introduce myself. Having the opportunity to speak with him and the Reclaim team was a real treat. It was definitely the first time I had been to a conference where the vendor was so popular. It’s not often that vendors run out of highly sought after merch! I wonder how many attendees personally pay for a site on Reclaim Hosting? I do, and I suspect there are many, many more.
Jim, Meredith, and Lauren shared their reflections on the conference, and it’s well worth a watch.
I was able to act as an onsite buddy for two Virtually Connecting sessions, and jump in to help with equipment as needed, seeing as I was on campus and had some equipment with me. One disappointment was when Bonnie Stewart tried to drag me in as an onsite guest, but I had to politely decline so I could have a quick break before my own session. It puzzled me that when I went to introduce myself to Bonnie, she knew who I was! Hopefully, we get to chat sometime soon.
My own presentation was included in a session with Brian Mulligan, Clare Gormley and a video presentation by CC Zero (mysterious!), so the room was packed. I had to stand outside until it was time for my presentation.
This is critical pragmatism on stilts from @hey_km, on https://t.co/EnaT9CipSC. Start small, stay tentative, and share. Lovely vision for change. Is there a way here for precarious workers to work openly? “Mine wherever I go.” #oer19
Another highlight of this conference was having the opportunity to work with the ALT team. Maren is so focused, driven, and organised. It helped me to see conference organising from another perspective. When she asked me how I managed to present/Virtually Connect/run the help desk/troubleshoot technical issues/mingle with attendees I had to sigh and answer, ‘Well, there’s this conference called CESI…’
From zines, feminist networks, the pro-social web, and everyone’s favourite vendor – my conference experience was well outside the guidelines of any other academic conference I might attend. And that was the beauty of it – folks at OER19 ask hard questions and provide pragmatic solutions.
This conference didn’t necessarily inspire me to colour outside the guidelines, but it inspires me to rewrite them.
Despite my exhaustion, I left edified, recentred even! My conference fatigue had lifted, though I will be unpacking what I learned for quite some time. I believe that’s why I find it hard to wax poetic about events so soon after an event. I don’t like to distill and analyse everything I learned – I want to hold on to it for when I’m in need.
The first blog of my PhD journey, or is it to be likened more to a rollercoaster ride- out of my control with spontaneous screaming and stomach curdling… When I submitted my PGR2 (expression of enrolment) on 22nd February, I was really at the point of “I just want to get over the starting line”. It now seems that I have a new starting line, as I prepare for my PGR9 (confirmation of candidature research proposal).
I know that I am not alone as I feel like I am constantly balancing full-time work (lecturer), family (supportive wife and three kids), extra-curricular (which seem to focus on the kids activities), and full-time PhD preparation. Leading up to the time of submission, I acknowledged the value of routine. I am now regularly getting up at 5am to start writing/ researching (not sure what to call it just yet) and get a couple of hours in before the kids get up and the “real day” starts. A month now since my PGR2 was accepted, I have added getting up at 5am and block off eight hours dedicated to PhD time. The family are accommodating of this (so far)- as they know that after 1pm, we can do “family time” (fortunately for now, their sports and extracurricular are during the week, with no weekend sport).
My project will be looking at a few key concepts- the use of extended reality for higher order thinking in healthcare higher education. I wont go into these now, as am sure will expand on as the blogs continue.
As I look over my first month, it is nice to see some shift in my thinking, though also the realisation that I “don’t know, what I don’t know, therefore I want to know it all, though feel am only able to do this on a superficial level” . My primary supervisor (TC) is reassuring that is normal to feel messy at this point- and to acknowledge that is going to be messy for a while yet- hopefully the seemingly thick cloud of doubt will thin out by the time of my PGR9. To try to clarify thought and document my thinking I (1) bullet point key ideas in an Evernote note; (2) use a Mind-map to make links between key concepts; and (3) PowerPoint Slides to draw out some detail of the concepts as they develop. Also helps when looking back over the week (as sometimes go back and find my self asking “What on Earth was I thinking then?”).
I see that at the beginning of the month, I was caught up in thinking about “what’s the end result going to look like?” This question created “noise”- and as my kids know- I don’t do well with noise… I found myself looking at the new, shiny pieces of technology (extended reality) that I might need to consider for this project, which spiralled me away from readings on the other concepts outlined above.
While looks like a productive month of April (developing search strategies with Librarian, outlining PGR9 framework, and attending “Introduction to Qualitative Research” Workshop), it is appreciated how quickly the month has gone.
The aim for May is to be better in saying “No” and protecting my “PhD time”, and to be clearer about the key concepts and theoretical framework for the project ahead. Let’s see how I go in the next blog…