Across the mountains, prairies, and rivers…

 

striated rock formations at Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park, South Dakota (road trip July 2016)

Travel

Back in Ontario, and settled in the fine city of Guelph (pronounced Gwelf with a slightly Welsh lilt). Transitioned from Arizona for a variety of reasons, not least taking the dual citizen high road in the U.S. election – Justin Trudeau. It’s been a crazy ride, and I want to settle into some routines, writing and sharing ideas more actively is one of them.

Practice

I am currently practicing as a Distance Learning Program Development Specialist at the University of Guelph. I will be working on the redevelopment of the Horticulture and Equine Studies certificates and diplomas offered online through U of G’s Continuing Education program. Rich fodder for learning and supporting the learning of others. I am learning a lot about horses and those that care for them.

Research

Rethinking and revising my mixed methods action research proposal to accommodate Ed.D study and research at a distance. Leaning very hard toward open educational practices and learning design as pathways to better learner-centred motivation to find, use, adapt, and share open educational resources as part of big picture open learning thinking. While I read a lot of blog posts about open pedagogy, I’m not seeing a lot of published papers in this spectrum. In the realm of “OER are necessary, but not sufficient” to incite a global learning revolution, I feel that many options need to be explored. Thankfully I am not alone in this feeling.

Learning

I watched Michael Moore’s film Where to Invade Next very recently. A good piece. My takeaway was Mr. Moore’s optimism that if it’s possible for the Berlin wall to come down over a matter of days, anything is possible in terms of global attitudes about socialism and civic care. He’s right, change is absolutely possible, however unlikely it may seem at times.

Reading Gráinne Conole’s (2012) Designing for Learning in an Open World, because I have access to a library version. I was very taken aback to find out the cost of this Springer tome, given its title. It is an excellent work, I have the greatest respect for Dr. Conole’s intelligence and dedication to openness, and I am learning a metric tonne. I can only imagine the hundreds of hours of experience and writing that went into it. However, I’m still challenged by the price tag and the power dynamics of copyright and ownership. Part of the learning I suppose.

Thinking

Recent posts by both Clint Lalonde, Martin Weller, and Doug Belshaw have me thinking about what I mean by open, and what I hope to achieve by calling myself an open advocate. I’m going to have to define these fairly clearly in my research. While I am always skeptical, and cynical, and work for an institution that requires me to constrain my vision for openness, the more enlightened elements of my make-up are ideological, as I suspect they may be for these three and many in their communities. There is nothing wrong with envisioning, hoping, and spending time working toward human social and learning relationships that are collaborative and creative, and that focus on support for those facing actual problems of access and freedom to think. There are many, many positive examples of success in expanding education for all every day, in every place in the world. Rambling around in the privileged spaces of higher education in wealthy, consumer-rabid nations can have its negative effects on optimism. It’s okay to talk about that, and feel challenged and tired. Hold fast.

 

 

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