Monday, November 4, 2013

Obstacles or Opportunities...You Decide

     As a coach I have always told my athletes "hills are opportunities". They can be seen as obstacles in your way or slight inclines that provide opportunity. In training they are opportunities to get stronger, in a race they are opportunities to pass those who are weak. Obstacles can ruin your day, but opportunities allow you to seize moments.  

     What are the hills in your life? At any given moment you may have several answers to that question, we all do. Struggles and challenges in our lives can be difficult but they are what define us as individuals. We may often wish we didn't have them, but then what would life be without hills that cause us to struggle?

 - Would you learn as much?

 - Would you appreciate as much?

 - Would you ever experience the thrilling joy of a victory, or the humbling emptiness of a defeat?

     The point is we have struggles for a reason, it is called LIFE! Sometimes we will overcome our struggles, sometimes we simply won't. How we react though is what is important as we deal with the obstacles placed in our way. Does our attitude at least give us a chance, or does it make like Dikembe Mutombo and block any hope of a successful outcome.

     It is the difference between the "I gets" & "I haves", the difference between the "I'm blessed" and "Why me's", the difference between seeing an "obstacle" or seeing an "opportunity".  Again, that does not mean the opportunity always turns out as a success, but at least your attitude gives you a chance. This is true when it comes to online learning and educational technology, but big picture it is true when it comes to the thing we call LIFE!

     What spurred this blog post today? Over the weekend I was reminded of the story of Heather Dorniden, a middle distance runner for the University of Minnesota. In 2008 she entered the Big Ten Indoor Championships as a favorite in the 600m race. Sweat, perseverance, and hard work had gotten her to that moment, a moment where she had an opportunity to take home a championship for herself and more importantly score for her team. At the start of the third and final lap, while in first place, Doriden's feet got tangled with a runner from Penn State. She took a terrible fall as the other three runners all passed her up. At that point with 200m left and 20m behind she had a choice to make, she could make excuses and stay down or she could get up and finish...

     I would argue that she made her choice long before she ever fell. Unconsciously we all make split second gut decisions everyday based on who we are as people. The questions for us is this...
 "Do we automatically begin making excuses, or do we attempt to make jaws drop?"
Make some jaws drop this week, perhaps your own as you amaze yourself with what you can do if you will just get up!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Debriefing: Quality Matters 5th annual conference

     This past week I attended the 5th annual Quality Matters conference on Quality Assurance in Online Learning. It was a great experience and I picked up quite a bit as well as made some new contacts in the instructional design world. As always I tweeted out thoughts, resources, ideas, and general notes from the conference.  For those that use twitter or another social media site, do you take the time to ever go back over your own tweets? If you liked the comment the first time enough to share it, it is probably valuable for you to hear it again. Often times at a conference so much is going on that I even forget some of the points I tweeted. For that reason, I find it very valuable to debrief and go back over my own tweets. Below are some of the ones I felt to be valuable either from me or from others.  If you missed them the first time, take a look and debrief with me.

Thanks to all who participated in the backchannel on Twitter at #qmconf 

    1. Looking forward 2 a great day of learning & discussion @ the Quality Matters conf: Quality Assurance in Online Learning
  1. 2012 decade of the MOOCs, eggs were cracked and now the yoke is spreading...don't do we make the yoke meaningful?

    1. Teach people, not information.
  1. Education is slow 2 change b/c u often teach the way u learn, it is what u time Distance Ed will b what faculty know
  1. Change is not always bad, not always good...thoughtful and purposeful change has to be a goal
    1. Hanley - "Learning by doing and doing by Learning" How do we create student learning portfolios that show what you can do?

  1. Hartman: Administrators who make decisions about online courses need to have experience either taking or teaching them.
  1. Hartman "The successful professional is one who can connect the dots, we have 2do a better job of producing stdnts who can
  1. Review of online learning leads 2 - quality 4 stdnts, pro-development 4 faculty, community awareness, & quality 4 accrediting
    1. What is a timely manner of feedback...24-48...importance whatever it is, is 2 communicate w/stdnts what u define it as
  1. Great point: Prompt feedback is only good if it is quality feedback...affirming or directing stdnts where 2go

  1. When posting in the discussion board as the instructor, do you halt disc. bc student thinks you are giving answer?

    1. Community of inquiry model important for the success of a course.

  1. : Distance education begins in the 3rd row of a lecture course -Gerry Hanley
  1. Evolving my understanding of the 85% rule during this roundtable, great session - Scoring and rating course:

    1. It can take up to a year to design a quality online course. It is a continuous process. You never stop designing your course.
  1. Design - Develop - Deliver three phases for training faculty
  1. Online Course Development folks from ASU share their course UN: qmstudent PW: qmexample
    1. Think about ur tone of voice in videos to make students feel you are talking to them and extending ur social presence

  1. "Quit telling students 'it's in the syllabus.' If they can't find it, redesign." Great advice!!

    1. Looking for resources from the conference? Here you go:
  1. Why r good objectives important? Gives stdnt's clear expectation, inform selection of material, mirror the assessments
  1. Good Learning Objective: What can a learner DO after his or her time with that they could not do before (b specific)

    1. everyone in higher ed should know about
  1. Texas A&M Central says QM standards 2.2, 2.4, 3.1, 5.2 were most commonly disagreed on/needed rework
  1. Random Thought: How many @ said "When I grow up I want 2b an ID"? Wondering what my kids will b that we don't even know will exist
    1. Presenter: "Have u ever been asked 2 do something new u have never done"...cue room erupting in laughter
  1. Coaching is about creating a partnership that allows both parties to do what they do best in a safe enviroment, allow ?'s & failure
  1. By demonstrating curiosity we encourage others to not fear what is new
    1. Standards & Templates can set u free, becomes less about the tech & more about the teaching, helping faculty do what they do best!
  1. "it doesn't just happen" know what u want & then coach 2 get the results, b thoughtful, b purposeful, b great
  1. PowerPointless has morphed into Preziless create Prezi's with purpose

  1. All week long I have been tweeting at - some thoughts on my experience -
    1. I get the feeling Canvas has kicked BB in the rear but they have awakened from their slumber & will now b the superior LMS again
  1. I think the best thing about Canvas is they made BlackBoard respond and get their act together, so thank you Canvas
    1. Just registered for the Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning

     Hope you enjoyed going back through some of the tweet highlights and important thoughts worth remembering. It is worth noting that the 6th annual QM conference will be hosted next year in Baltimore. I know I am looking forward to it, and looking forward to the Sloan Conference coming up. If you cannot make it to Sloan, follow me Nov. 20-22 and I will keep you updated the best I can. Whether you are going or not, participate in the back channel at #aln13

Happy designing and remember Quality beats out Quantity in Online Education!