A new year always brings with it a reflection of the past, and what better way to do so by looking at some of the data behind this blog. In no particular order, during 2010, this blog was
- visited 8,475 times
- by 5,693 unique visitors
- who viewed 13,709 pages.
- The most popular page was the About me page that was viewed 1,175 times.
- The second most popular page was my publications page with 1,067 views, and the third most popular was the draft paper I posted on participatory scholars (916 views).
- The most popular date was September 7, with 204 visits. This was the result of posting my Introduction to Instructional Design syllabus online and sharing it on ITFORUM.
- Visitors from 127 countries came to this blog, with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India, being at the top of the list. Cyprus (my homeland) only sent 55 visitors during 2010 (where’s the love?!)
- The most frequent sources of traffic were from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Athabasca University Press (a result of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education being published in August 2010).
- The most frequently search query used to reach this blog was my full name.
- My last name was spelled in 16 different ways when individuals searched for me (there’s pros and cons in having a unique last name I suppose!)
- During 2010, I posted 30 entries. My hope for 2011 is to post more entries, more frequently, and to post more entries related to my in-progress research.
Thanks for reading… I look forward to 2011!
We are in our second week of our latest Adventure Learning project and I am really excited to be working with a group of committed graduate students on this! It is called YoTeach.US and is currently being used in a large sociology course at UT. The aim of the project is to assist sociology students in exploring the relationship between large social forces and individual behaviors and actions. Outside of that course, the project is also intended to be a free resource for students and educators when discussing teacher roles, teacher excellence, and memorable teachers. Here’s a small audio teaser:
Adventure Learning is an approach to learning design that involves students in the authentic, experiential, and collaborative exploration of topics of interest. It usually revolves around an adventure or a narrative, and engages students in inquiry-based activities. For instance, the GoNorth adventure learning projects have been admired as an example of an innovative approaches to education. A review of research on adventure learning is available at the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning journal.
In our project, our team traveled through the city of Austin and asked individuals to respond to the following:
- What is the role of the teacher/instructor?
- Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.
These contributions were then compiled into mini documentaries and shared on the online learning environment. At the same time, we crowdsourced contributions online and received notes, audio files, and short videos from Texas, California, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from students, teachers, parents, professors, and researchers. Once student exploration with this topic ends, they will then investigate the relationship between social forces and individual choices within their own communities, create digital artifacts on this exploration, and discuss the results of their research with others.
As always, this project is free to use. If you do use the project or media in your courses, we’d love to hear about it, and if you have any questions or concerns, please lets us know!
Teachers, Parents, Principals, Professors, Students, Researchers, and all the shades in-between: We’d like to hear from you! My research/development team (Cesar Navaerrete, Greg Russell*, and Janice Rios) has been diligently working with me on a project in which we intend to study the diverse roles of teachers. The goal of our activity is to collect and share as many ideas and opinions as possible.
And, what a better way to learn about this, by asking all of you to share your thoughts with us in the form of a video! Some of you may have seen examples of crowdsourced video already. For instance, Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness serves as one of the models we are using for this project. And the Learning Technologies group at the University of Minnesota (Aaron, Charlie, & Cassie) is traveling around the globe to create a narrative around the question “what is education?”
Our goal here is to build a collection of user-created videos on the topic of teacher’s roles and create a freely-available curriculum for anyone interested in exploring the topic. The more voices shared, the more open and diverse the discussion can be. Thus, we hope that if you have a few spare minutes, you might contribute a video clip and add your own perspective.
If you’d like to help out, we would greatly appreciate your response to one of the following:
- What should the role(s) of a teacher be?
- Tell us a story about your most memorable teacher.
Talk about your thoughts as they relate to your background, beliefs, or practices! There are no correct answers and we aren’t looking for one single answer. The definition of “teacher” is also fluid: it can be a k-12 teacher, a professor, or a family member who acted as a teacher, a coach, or someone/something else that you consider to be a teacher.
Your contribution should be a short (45-90 sec.) video clip of your ‘off-the-cuff’ response, recorded with a webcam or digital camera. There is no need for editing, HD, or a great deal of planning. Just keep it short and simple. But, don’t let us constrain your creativity. When you are finished upload it to Youtube or Vimeo and either post a link on the comments, email us a link (veletsianos |AT| gmail.com), or send us a note on twitter at @veletsianos or @mrgsrussell
Another example of the videos we have so far is below:
We will be posting a portion of interviews onto our project’s website; therefore, you must be willing to have your video published online. A link to the site will be posted within the next two weeks
Thank you in advance for your time and help!
George, Greg, Cesar, Janice
* This entry has largely been written by Greg Russell, one of our first-year PhD students at UT Austin.
Marc Parry posted a new story on the Chronicle of Higher Ed on Open Teaching. It’s great for the topic to get mainstream attention and I[‘m looking forward to reading the comments on the site. Alec Couros, George Siemens, David Wiley, and Wendy Drexel have contributed their thoughts to the piece and Mark has represented the topic thoghtfully. Interesting side note: The article was originally behind a paid wall, but it has now been made freely available. Enjoy!
I was very excited today to watch a video posted at Teachers College Record where Anthony Brown (a colleague in Curriculum & Instruction) discusses his research on how African American males have been constructed in the social science and educational literature. What a great way to summarize and present one’s work! I am embedding the video below, but keep on reading for more social/digital research goodness.
I’ve mentioned before that I think that educational research needs to be more social that it currently is. Why? Because I think that we can improve education by talking more to each other (and debating more with each other). TCR provided another example of this: Miseducating teachers about the poor is a critique of Ruby Payne’s framework written by Randy Bomer et al. (Randy is another colleague at UT). One can go through the TCR archives to see comments on the article, responses, and so on. Plus, there’s a couple of videos on the topic, which I am also embedding below.
And a response:
The point is that new technologies and cultural trends are exerting pressure on scholarship to change. The field has a lot to gain from scholarship becoming more conversational, transparent, social, and open. But, there are also pitfalls and complexities (e.g., TCR has the resources to create the professional videos included above while other publishing outlets might depend on individual scholars to contribute videos, which means that scholars’ technical abilities might limit their digital scholarship contributions). How’s that for a Saturday morning update? <smile>
P.S. Open access and TCR aren’t the best of friends however, so if you are not at a subscribing institution you may be out of luck there (though some of this content is publicly available for a while).
I am very excited to be teaching our introductory course this semester, entitled Instructional Systems Design. It’s a challenging course because it is introductory, but also because there’s so much I want to cover! Even though the syllabus is a reflection of what I think is important for someone entering the field, I want to highlight the main objective, which is to introduce students to the practice of instructional design and to enable them to become better learning experience designers.The syllabus is embedded below, but feel free to download it from scribd as well. If you’ve taught or taken a similar class in the past, I would love to hear your feedback!
Critiquing eyes, by CarbonNYC (CC-license)
Critiques of the current state of education are omnipresent. In such critiques, authors often highlight the positive role that social media and open education can play. While I don’t believe that the status quo is the best environment for education and scholarship to thrive, I also don’t live in a social media utopia. Yet, the critiques of social media and open education that I read are often superficial and easily countered: face-to-face interaction is important and the “best” mode of communication, we can’t allow open participation due to federal regulation such as FERPA, etc, etc. This is frustrating. Critique and self-reflection are healthy, even for mere humans who support both the integration of social media and openness in educational settings (especially higher education). To help me (and my students) better understand the complexities, hidden agendas, implications, and rhetoric vs. reality, surrounding social media and open education, I have been collecting serious and well-articulated critiques of the two. I am posting a few of these below, but if you know of any more, please feel free to add them in the comments and I’ll update this entry!
Open Education: The need for critique (Richard Hall)
The romance of the public domain (Chander & Sunder)
What does ‘open’ really mean? (Tony Bates)