Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Reflecting on #olc15

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So I did this crazy thing where I had a conference here in Cairo early next last week, then #olc15, where we presented about virtually connecting for the first time at a conference (thanks Whitney Kilgore, our onsite presenter), and also watched some sessions and hung out with Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (thanks Cindy Jennings, our onsite buddy, who also took this awesome selfie)

Then there was #ICDEUNISA in South Africa in the mornings where I got to watch Audrey Watters and Laura Czerniewicz and Joyce Seitzinger and my boss Aziza Ellozy present live… then #dlrn15 in the evenings where I had 5 panel presentations and a few virtually connecting hangouts. Phew.

So there were a couple of sessions I found particularly interesting at #OLC15. Crystal Gasell and Patrick Lowenthal presented their model of making faculty development less about “talking at” and more about engaging faculty in actually doing things (slides here). This resonated so much because it talked about how everyone was bored with their traditional presentations/workshops. They had a syllabus, and people could actually pass or fail (ouch). One of the interesting things they noticed is that those with grants were more likely to pass eventually; and they also suggested faculty might need some course release to do well. One of the key things I liked about the session is that they mentioned teachers peer reviewing other teacher’s courses. Over here, we peer review the course design, but in CU, they peer review the course mid-way through, so they’re peer reviewing the course facilitation/implementation which is far more important, I think. We often as fac devs or instructional designers focus on helping people DESIGN courses but it’s not the same as actually TEACHING it. There is no guarantee, absolutely none, that a good course design will result in a better learning experience. Because everyone who teaches knows sometimes you need to deviate from the design to meet the needs of your students.

I had technical problems throughout the conference (my internet was choppier than usual) so I couldn’t properly listen to the first keynote (but hope to listen to the recording soon – the tweets alone were compelling!)

Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein’s keynote promised to be really interesting especially when Mike called it a “social constructivist keynote” – the slides are here (links to videos already on e-literate.tv). We hung out with them later – and learned about their story of how they started working together (no, they’re not twins! their story reminds me of mine and Rebecca’s – they had only met once before they got so close; Rebecca and I got v close without ever meeting and only ever met once, but AFTER we started vconnecting).

So here is the hangout with Phil and Michael:

There are still a couple more sessions I hope to watch recorded (they’ve been up for a few days but I didn’t know!) and reflect on.

One Comment

  1. Hi Maha,

    This is an interesting observation:

    “There is no guarantee, absolutely none, that a good course design will result in a better learning experience. Because everyone who teaches knows sometimes you need to deviate from the design to meet the needs of your students.”

    Learning experience is not determined solely by course design: interaction of teachers and students are also key elements. This recalls Laurillard’s “conversational framework” which takes into account not only the “teacher’s constructed environment” but also the various forms of human interaction that unfold within that environment.

    Instructional designers – especially those working in the antique behaviorist paradigms so popular in the US – have great difficulty designing “quality courses” while they focus solely on design issues. Taking something like the “conversational framework” as a basic design principle, may help to overcome this limitation.

    http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Laurillard_conversational_framework

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