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Posts tagged ‘EDDE 803’

Nanowrimo: Day 11

November 12, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Yesterday I passed the very momentous moment of turning in my second assignment and being almost halfway finished with my 803 course. As I’ve written about previously, this course has been the odd ball, chaotic outlier in my doctoral journey thus far. It sounds overly idyllic and like I am going all Pollyanna, but my first full year in the program was difficult but not breaking and personally stretching but not exhausting. When each class ended, I will confess, I was totally happy to have survived but also a little sad to have it end as I could see tangibly that what I’d learned over the course of the 15-16 ish weeks really did change me and expand my mind for the better. Reaching the end of them was like reaching the summit of a little mountain…exhilarating even though you’d lost feeling in your toes.

803, though neither particularly difficult nor stretching has–due to a somewhat Bermuda Triangle of events– the dubious honor of feeling like the first course that upon finishing I’ll feel almost nothing about because even as I am engaged in the course itself, I am feeling very little. The assignments are interesting, the readings are thought provoking but the overall course and it’s lack of discussions and formalized sessions is somewhat more exciting than going to a library and somewhat less exciting than going to a museum….the content seems not so approachable I can essentially see if from my front doorstep but not so engaging that I actually have to physically move and make connections to find new and fabled frontiers of knowledge. I would love to say that because I am not feeling super challenged, I have taken it on myself to explore and learn and be an autodidact. Sadly, not so much. More that because I am not feeling super challenged I am transferring the part of my brain formerly devoted to school to serve my job, which is good for my job but does make me feel a little guilty.

Last week when I was working on my discovery based instruction paper (and consequently seeing everything through a discovery based lens) I was telling my parents about what I was writing and the ideas/philosophy behind the discovery based instruction model. In addition, like a well balanced academic, I was also telling them how, ideally, a discovery based classroom might look and also some caveats and what can happen when everyone is n0t quite on the same page. When I got to the part about all the things that can go wrong, my mom said, “Wow! That sounds like all the things that are going on with your course this term! Do you think you’re in a discovery based instruction course but the instructor has yet to discover it??”

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Nanowrimo: Day 3

November 4, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Today’s been all about academic writing and specifically creating spotty first drafts of academic writing pieces that will be polished up over the course of the next two or three days.

The fun, reflective, spontaneous stuff is sadly on hiatus as ALL the words are going into the assignment-generating front. Good news is that the thought of a 2500 word paper actually isn’t all that intimidating since I’ve been cranking out the 1500 word monsters for the past three days. Bad news is that cranking out 1500 words of self reflective spontaneity on whatever happens to be happening to me makes it a bit harder to get back into the somewhat more prescriptive ways of academic writing. Metaphorically I feel a bit like I am going from the yoga pants of reflective writing into a Brooks Brothers suit. Legit I like both of them (and hope as a versatile academic with an emergent research bent I can navigate both with ease and grace) and yet as in dressing, the first time you pull up your Spanx after a long time being a bit more free and easy….it can be a bit of a challenge. APA as Spanx feels like the genius metaphor of the day! If only all the words weren’t already gone.

Because nothing is finished enough for blog posting, we’ll just have to go on the honor system that today’s word count is about: 1656….Cha-ching!

Nanowrimo: Day 2

November 3, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Have a Mentor. Be a Mentor. Party.

One of the pivotal elements of my 803 course (and coincidentally one of the most fragmented from the previously mentioned 803 craziness that set us all on less than ideal footing at the beginning of the term) is the four to six week long teaching “internship” or “practicum” that has been built into the course. The idea with this element is that because this course is called “Teaching and Learning in Online Education” it is only natural that students who are taking the course should dip their toes into the teaching element of the equation, gaining practical experience to balance out the heavy doses of theory also being learned. Ideally the students in the course are skills assessed at some point over the summer, matched with a practicing instructor (also over the summer), and come to fall term ready to go in their practicum, bulking up whatever skills they may feel a bit low on. The student learns, the practicing instructor gets a little help….everyone wins.

As I’ve written about previously, because of a combination of lots of system level, climate level, and just plain bad luck and timing,  none of that happened with our cohort. Consequently we’re all only now (about halfway through the course) being placed in practicum relations or, as in my case, making a space and designing a study for ourselves within the structures that we are already located.

In my case, I created a four week initiative within our existing extracurricular Design Club called the “Mentor Challenge.” Initially I was super curious about and hoped to use this four week span to intentionally study how the feedback/critique that happens peer to peer differs from the feedback/critique that happens from instructor to peer. I’m still super curious but given that for this project I need to get in and out in a relatively quick manner (and I have no idea how I’d actually go about evaluating the peer to peer versus instructor to peer study) I decided to table that idea for another trial later down the road and focus instead on the much espoused but still (I would argue) much murky issue of the impact of mentor relationships in online learning programs. My particular focus for this study is on how to create, engage, and sustain mentor relationships in the relatively impersonal online learning landscape.

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last week I did this….

November 2, 2014

lisa hammershaimb


Discovery Based Instruction is a pretty wicked cool thing. Don’t know what it is? No worries! I won’t write endlessly and expect you to read it, rather click the image above or click here to watch a video overview and discover it for yourself!

And be sure to turn up your volume as it’s got audio.

Nanowrimo: Day 1

November 1, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Today marks the first day of Nanowrimo which means (on the small chance that you might be an uninitiated) that for the next month everyone and their mother is going to be trying their hand at writing the next great American novel. 30 days….50,000 words….#genius. Or so the hope goes.

Where did the idea come from you may ask? Good question! The most iconic “Great American Novel” is The Great Gatsby. Penned by F Scott Fitzgerald in the second decade of the twentieth century, The Great Gatsby has all the elements of a super complex thriller (thwarted love, murder, jazz, and bourbon….lots of bourbon) but it also manages to be short enough and concise enough that one could, in theory, read it in a somewhat short period of time (which also means high schoolers everywhere actually read the real book and not the Spark Notes. Novel, eh?: ) Gatsby clocks in at about 50,000 words thus the next great American novel has a good chance at success if it too can hit that word count. In this spirit of intense optimism, vigor, courage, and idealism, every November people everywhere (or at least everywhere in the States) dutifully sign up on the Nanwrimo website, drool over the badges they might earn and the products they might buy with their first royalty check, pour themselves a very full double scotch, and then get down to the business of putting words on screen in the hopes that the story that has been living in their head for the past eleven months might actually have the legs to turn them into a twenty-first century Fitzgerald.

I’ll admit that in the past my knowledge of Nanowrimo didn’t extend much past listening to interviews on NPR as I was in the midst of long and somewhat dreary commutes to work as an in-house designer. These interviews gave me a very passing and high level knowledge of the fabled fiction dreamers who hoped that with some discipline and consistency they too could match the output of Fitzgerald and pen their own classic in a month’s time. To the past me it sounded like a fun and quaint challenge….if that happened to be your thing….somewhat more extreme and high stakes than committing to watching an entire season of Survivor in a weekend…somewhat less extreme and high stakes than committing to run a full marathon.

That said this year, after some deliberation, I’ve decided that it’s time….this year it’s time for me to shift in allegiance from the one who passively listens to NPR as I sit in mind numbing traffic to the one who is talking in animated, fanatical tones as they’re interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

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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. : )


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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week 1 reflecting

September 13, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Today marks the completion of Week 1 of my new doctoral course at Athabasca 803: Teaching and Learning in Distance Education and kind of the completion of my first week in Connected Courses.

In the spirit of reflection and doing things to proactively support new and good rhythms for the rest of the year, I’ve decided that instead of spending the remaining hours of the day browsing the internet for Halloween costumes appropriate for small dogs (Ruby and I have already had the talk establishing that it’s okay to be a bumble bee two years in a row) I’d spend a bit of time reflecting on what I’ve learned this week.

I’m hopeful too that by consciously adding reflection time into my week I’ll avoid feeling research bloated, which was kind of a constant during my last course and the cause of me dropping from #rhizo14. Before I was consuming research articles with the reckless abandon of a six year old consuming cookies at a birthday party. This year…no  longer my first rodeo thus time for some positive reflective bursts built into the works.

First Up….Athabasca.

Overall analysis of the first week: instructional design chaotic + cohort proud.

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