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ancient wisdom

October 20, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

na’aseh v’nishmaor, if your Hebrew is a bit rusty, “We will do and we will understand.”

I’m in the thick of creating a presentation and writing a paper on Assignment 2 for 803 which is all about an instructional method or approach. I chose Discovery-Based Instruction because I like the sound of it and I liked the feel of it and the more I learn….the more I like it. As generally happens when one begins to enter the tunnel of research/writing/thinking about a topic, everything in the universe somehow converges to have a deeper meaning that somehow encompasses whatever lens you happen to be seeing through per your studies. For me, this past week nothing has been experienced without a small part of me trying to find the “discovery-based instruction” element to it and indeed it’s pretty uncanny all the places it’s shown up!

This most recent addition was spoken to me tonight by a Rabbi more in passing than anything. Basically this is what the Israelites said when standing at Mount Sinai and Moses first brought down the Commandments. Generally you think you have to understand first and then you “do” but here the people inverted that idea and it was quite purposeful. The idea in this turn of phrase is that for you to truly understand, it’s vital that you have the doing part first. Understanding without doing is empty and vapid. Bingo!! Discovery-Based Instruction is clearly divine!! And had I not been “doing” all this research and reflection…I’d never understand the connections. Genius. : )

2 years ago the blog journey began…

October 15, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

…and I wrote what follows after the break.

Who was this passionate design-distance education-zealot? Pretty amazing to read this somewhat time capsule from the lisa of two years ago who was fresh off a year of dysfunctional relationships, deep (and dare I say quite dark) personal questioning, and still reeling from the shock of entering into the third decade of life. This was pre-Athabasca, pre-cohort…when Canada was just the great white north and being “more Brazilian” in mindset only made me think of having markedly smaller swimwear. I had no idea what MOOCs were, had never heard of open networks or a digital identity, didn’t know how to cite APA-style. (Okay that last one shows some things haven’t changed so much….:) While no part of me wishes to go back to those days which were legit the most painful of my life, there is part of me that hopes to recapture some of the raw energy I had around these ideas. “Distance learning should not suggest a diminished, second-rate quality of design education but instead should be a great equalizer in access to learning resources, bringing high quality design education to all people willing to learn, regardless of their geographic location.” Amen, younger lisa. Let’s take that fire and all the new stuff we’re learning and change the world for good.

So…. “Here’s to the next couple years, new learnings, and the adventure…whatever it may hold.”

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on doing it well versus just doing it…

October 15, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

The last few weeks have been a bit like a personal practicum in the study of communication/presence in a distance education venue. As I’ve written previously, the “missing professor” has been catalytic in the practicum and also quite influential has been my own faculty team and our student population, all of whom are distributed across the States.

The questions I’ve been rolling around a lot are: what is presence in an online classroom? What is presence in a place where you’re not physically present? How do you occupy the somewhat inanimate spaces of an online world with the sense of real humanity that marks the best face to face interactions of a physical world? I know direct correlation, because of the form itself, isn’t possible but there has to be some connection because though the form changes, our own basic need for relational connection at its core doesn’t change…so, how can one use the technology and use the interfaces to produce something similar enough to the feeling intrinsic in us all that produces a positive feeling of connection and out of that a learning moment?

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distance education is…

October 7, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

…institutionally based formal education where the learning group is separated and where interactive communications systems are used to connect instructors, learners, and resources.


Yep, that pretty much sounds correct.

And lest you think I’ve come up with that astute definition on my own (as if! I’m only a second year!) here’s where you can find all the citations in APA goodness format:

Garrison, D. R., & Shale, D. G. (1987). Mapping the boundaries of distance education: Problems in defining the field [Electronic version]. American Journal of Distance Education, 1(1). Retrieved October 6, 2014, from


October 6, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

And suddenly it’s October and all my visions of a highly educational early fall complete with well-planned reflective, thoughtful, interludes amongst periods of high intensity learning have pretty much fallen by the wayside. I’d love to say I’ve been so deeply entrenched in learning communities that I just haven’t wanted to pull myself away long enough to do the more solitary work of reflection and writing. Or, that I was asked to present my own research in to online graphic design learning to a rapt audience thus have been spending all my spare words speech writing like a boss. In truth, I’ve been occupied with far lesser academic endeavors. Like being a hair model. And traveling out to Colorado. And joining a new face to face community of graphic designers who feed part of me I didn’t even realize had been creatively starving these past years. Oh and cooking….lots and lots of cooking.

My 803 class has turned into a giant hairball of dead links, a non-communicative prof, and assignments that can be generously described as “ambiguous.” Though the cohort has stepped up to fill in the gaps as best we can and the total lack of fear in being wrong (since there’s not even an expectation for what might be “right” or who really cares if I find it) is allowing me to be push boundaries like never before, right now it’s just an all around let down. I feel myself entering the dangerous apathetic waters of really not caring and being ready to coast out the remaining weeks until December. I know in my head it’s my responsibility as the learner to take control and build my connections and engage regardless of the course kerfuffle or the flaky prof but in my head it still kind of feels better to don a victim hat and wash my hands of it all.

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