Digital Communities

According to the title of this blog post it will be about digital communities but first of all I have to tell that my ambition was to spice this up with a beautiful picture from the magnificent drama Outlander. The novel series which is written by the splendid author Diana Gabaldon and superior filmed by Starz about the strong and independent nurse Claire and her Scottish warrior Jamie. I´ve been searching the internet with the intention to find an official free photo of the popular TV show without any luck. All images that I found are under restrictions, terms of use and privacy policy. After years, I finally learnt, to only use images free to use, preferably, under a creative common license. There are a numerous sites (or should I say communities?) providing free images under Creative Commons licenses, largest of course are Flickr and Pixabay not fare behind. I´ve also found some smaller sights, Knykkenilluku and Fotoakuten (both in Swedish). Anyway, back to the community business. For all of us who´s in love with the story Outlander (we´re called #Droughtlander – desperately waiting for season 3 to air in September 2017) there are a lot of communities to take part of. Some of them are welcoming while others are the opposite. Henceforth, while describing communities, I’m talking about communities which are opened and friendly. Communities where you break down walls (not like the Inverness Castle´s strong walls, built for defense) and share your knowledge with peers and fellows.

Northern_Constabulary_Pipe_Band_Drum_Majors_by_Dave Connor
Northern Constabulary Pipe Band – Drum Majors (Present, Future and Past) by Dave Conner (CC BY 2.0)
In accordance with Vygotski´s belief, learning occurs in human interactions which is embedded in social context. In Vygotski´s sociocultural learning theory he acknowledge the individual learning and development dependent on collaboration with (sometimes more capable) peers and in relationship with others. Bandura, one of the main social learning theorist, claims that individuals learn behavioral patterns from each other through observation and imitation. Those observed response patterns have an inhibitory or dis-inhibitory effect on the learner who decides whether the observed response patterns are worth imitating. Thus, the individual decides whether or not the learning leads to a change in behavior (Jarvis, 2010). Considering this, it is of great importance that the community has a lack of pessimistic culture or toxic atmosphere since observing and imitating such behaviors and beliefs ought to be negative for the participant/learner. A community spirit is a reflection of its mind and soul and I believe that dedicated communities needs a leadership with emphasis on equality, engagement and contribution. Even with strong basic values such as, NOT allow bullying for example.

Cove_habour_by_Nell_Roger_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cove harbour by Neil Roger (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The phenomenon, Community of Practice origins from the sociocultural learning theory and is developed and described by Lave and Wenger (1999). The theory is based upon several assumptions, where among other things, knowledge is dependent on collaboration. The knowledge is described to be embedded and integrated into social relationships and communities. A key factor, in a community where the participants have a shared interest and passion for something, is the commitment and the desire to interact regularly. Social media can be used as a facilitator for this communication. By participating in the Open Networked Learning  I´d experienced how it is to be a part of a great community where we collaborated and shared our precious ideas with each other. Still is by the way!

SArah_on_the_ben_Aan_summit_By_Marc_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cornerstone Peak! by Marc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sam Heughan is one of the leading star in the filmed version of my favorite story Outlander. He has founded a community named “My peak challenge“, which is a great example of how a supportive and encouraging community can be build. The peak challenge is about making positive changes in life, to simply live healthier, happier and more balanced. The challenge could be either physical or creative – you decide and make a promise to yourself. The physical part comes quite natural for me since I´ve regularly been exercising for years… Guess I´m addicted to the endorphin. If I should make a promise to myself and become a peaker, I think my challenge would be of another kind. It would be to build a friendly and enhancing community with my students and fellow colleagues on the exciting topic Acid-Base Balance.

To summarize, I say – YES to Community of Practice – Je Suis Prest (I am ready)!

References
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. (4th ed.) London & New York, Routledge.

Lave J, Wenger E (1999) Learning and pedagogy. I  Leach J, Moon B (red.) Learning and pedagogy. London, Paul Chapman.

Photo: Inverness Castle Scotland by Dave Connor (CC BY 2.0)

Accessible sharing

We´re all familiar with the expression “sharing is caring” but what if what you share is not great? Imagine if not everyone can use and receive what you share. That is not good care! Is that a problem or not? Until now I have thought that good is enough but now I realise that good is not always enough anymore. This week I have undergone an eye opening process where I´ve starting to be aware of that I have a big responsibility to make my sharing accessible to everyone. It´s a pity that I haven´t become conscious of it till now but better late then never, right?

When you sit in a wheelchair it´s kind of obvious that you’re in need of some accessibility to be able to move around at for example pavements. In the digital world your requirements are not always that clear. For those in need, I know that there is a lot of “aid-tools” which enable accessibility but for me, the big question is… – Where do my trustworthiness begin?

When David Wiley is talking about sharing he says that we have to overcome the inner 2 year old in us. We have to stop thinking… -Mine, mine, it´s mine!!! We have to act against a culture of withholding and instead he argues for giving, generousness and openness in education. So, I guess that I´m an adolescence when it comes to sharing. I love to share, if someone think it´s good enough for them to use I gladly share it with them. No problem at all! It´s almost like a recognition for my ego (as the self-centred youth I am) if someone asks if it´s OK to use some of my teaching material. Feel free!

Now, one of my next goal is to enter the adulthood (after all I´m 46 years old). This is of cause going to be a process but I´m good at focusing when I´m motivated so I believe I can cross the finishing line before the end of 2017. I have to make all my prerecorded content accessible for everyone. The main thing that I have to learn (and then do) is to add subtitles to my lectures. I also have to think of colors in some slides. Are there other things I have to consider?

Reference
Wiley, David (2010) Open education and the future TED-talk.

Photo: Awesome and beautiful Linnea Blomberg by Karen Blomberg.

Increased opportunities

I sense increased opportunities by participating in this iteration of the ONL course. So what´s the secret to sucking me in to engage once again? Opportunities to interact and engage in this amazing community of fabulous, creative and knowledgeable people. Yesterday, when I was casually looking into our Goggle+ community I got inspired by Anita Berlin. She´s made a great post about digital literacies and ended it with a hilarious clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with title “You posted that on Facebook?“. Ellen is showing pictures from some of the audience Facebook timelines and… oh my goodness – what did they thought of when they published some of the photos? The photos were (I believe) intended for personal amusement but obviously easy to find for those who wanted to. So we really have to think of what we upload to this thing called internet and we need to reflect of how we want to be perceived.

I try to keep my digital identity clean and sober. I do have a weakness for guinea pigs and that has resulted in their own Instagram but apart from that, I don´t think I have any skeleton in the cupboard…

David White (2014) is talking about our motivation to engage and that we have different modes that we use depending of the context we´re in. When we´re in visitor mode, we don’t leave any trace of our-self online, comparing to the residents mode, where we choose to be present with other people.

Last year I started this blog (in residents mode) and I felt then, and still does, that it is scary to write “in public” like this. I see this blog posting, as a challenge and it is a part of a plan for my professional development as a lecturer. I want to reflect, to write down my thoughts and get comments from wise colleagues and by that process and interaction grow and enhance my digital literacies.

References
David White: Visitors and residents (part 1)
David White: Visitors and residents – Credibility (part 2)

Photo: Damn…again by Lisa Brown (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Totally not right

Hopefully, we all have visions of a brighter future and then there is the harsh reality…

In his own words, John Biggs tells us how it suddenly stuck him of how irrelevant it was to ask students to tell, in a final exam, of how he had told them about how psychology could be applied into teaching. Instead, he asked the students (in accordance to the intended learning outcome) to do a portfolio in where they themselves described how they knew psychology could be applied to improve their teaching decisions. Biggs describes this event as one of his peak regarding to teacher ratings and luckily for us the constructive alignment was born. Constructive alignment is a concept of how to use outcome-based education (Biggs & Tang, 2011). It all starts with the intended learning outcome and in my case, in this particular course, it is:

“To administer and handle central venous catheters in a way that is patientsafe”.

The active verb is to administer and handle and that is what my students are intended to learn. According to, my institutions own educational platform (MAH, 2016), all teaching and assessment are supposed to harmonize with each other as well as to the intended learning outcome. The students are expected to participate in an active way and the design of the course should be in accordance with this alignment.

So, I have a dilemma – what I am doing now is totally not right.

The ultimate assessment to administer and handle should be something practical. As I see it the student should be tested in how they administer and handle instead they are asked to answer a web-based multiple choice quiz about how they are supposed to administer and handle. I tried to think about this when I constructed the questions. Most of them are about how different skills in action can avoid or prevent complications…but still, now actually action only words about it. As you see, the reality isn´t always inline with the intentions. But I think I have a good position for negotiation with my employer.

References
Biggs, J. B. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at university. (Fourth edition). Maidenhead, Open University Press.

MAH, Pedagogisk plattform för institutionen för vårdvetenskap (2016) Fakulteten för hälsa och samhälle, Malmö högskola. (In Swedish)

Photo:Wrong by Kerry Lannart (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Intended learning outcome

 

This summer I participate in a course about “Academic Teaching” where I am expected to learn how to support the learning of others. The course is given by Malmö university and is an educational part of my personal development plan. The main learning outcome is to describe and justify the academic teaching on a scientific basis and proven experience.
In the assessment I will make a presentation of a design and a plan for teaching. I am expected to describe and justify my choices concerning learning outcomes, assessment and teaching and learning activities in relation to relevant research and proven experience.
The intended learning outcomes for the course are:
  • use teaching and learning activities that are tailored to course content and learning outcomes
  • describe and justify the academic teaching on a scientific basis and proven experience
  • develop different strategies for equal treatment in the meeting with students / participants in heterogeneous groups
  • compile a curriculum that relate to the concept of “constructive alignment”
  • relate their own teaching to national policy documents and the internationalization of higher education

According to my teachers, Mikael and Kristina, I am free to do my presentation just the way I want as long as I can demonstrate and show that I´ve achieved the intended learning outcomes. So, here´s an idea – I will do several blog posts on the different topics.

I think it´s scary to do this – so that is why I do it!

I’m keeping the fearsome spider in the cage and while I am floating away in some kind of weightlessness with only the intended learning outcomes as my navigator I will try to master this task.

References
Malmö university (2016) Academic teaching. Malmö >http://edu.mah.se/sv/Course/HP601A< 2016-08-22.

Photo: Somewhere in a dream by stu mayhew (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Safe bubbles

Yesterday I experienced an adventure. For the first time ever, I had a 5 minutes long presentation in English, at the international conference EDEN. I was invited by Alastair Creelman, who hosted the workshop Collaborative literacy in staff development, to talk about my experiences of being a participant at the ONL course. This is what I said.

 

The workshop focused on virtual mobility and how staff can be prepared for this. Questions like -What barriers are there and how can we overcome them? and -How can we develop collaborative literacy in our staff? were discussed. We used a Padlet as a common pin board. Me and Francisca from Holland, who also participated in the ONL course, attended the workshop via Adobe connect. We had some difficulties to hear what the other participants were saying but it was a fun and challenging experience.

EDEN

One thing that we did hear was a participant who talked about how to prepare colleagues for virtual collaboration by creating safe bubbles. For most of us it is scary to go public, to be judged by others and to dare to take the step out of our comfort zones. Which could be a necessity to experience new things. If the gate to that experience can be opened in a safe and friendly community as the ONL course is I think that is great. I do believe that participation in the ONL course can open up new horizons for lecturers professional world. I hope that some of the participants at the workshop got inspired to try out the next ONL course. It is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Photo: Bubbles by Brandy Hollins (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ripples in the water

I am impatient for change!

I know that I possess a greater digital literacy then most of my colleagues and I do want to share, collaborate and explore our digital world with them. In a strange way it is difficult for me to know how to reach out for them. There´s absolutely nothing extraordinary or innovative in what I´m doing. I´m not trying to build any greatness and I´m not an expert, obviously… So, how do I get their attention?

When reading about the adult learner (=myself or a colleges of mine) and the andragogical model I think of the six different assumptions of learners. 1) At first we need to know why we have to learn. What benefits do we gain if we learn? 2) As adults we also have a self-concept of being in charge of our own lives and decisions. We learn when we want to. 3) Learning is build upon our previous experiences and 4) we adults are ready to learn when the timing for learning is right. When we learn 5) we do it best in a problem-based real-life context and when 6) we are motivated. Considering this I realize that I cannot teach another person directly, I can only facilitate the learning.

Usually, I´m always in a hurry, a restlessly person, don´t know why I can´t let things take its time. I want to proceed and get on with it. My strategy for now is based of what I learned in life so far: Sometimes things has to mature and meanwhile I can be a good example. Hopefully a curiosity about digital literacy will ripple through to one or two of my colleagues.

Reference
Knowles, Holton & Swanson (2015) The adult learning. 8th edition. New York, Routledge.

Photo: Vibes for life by Iyad Tibi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

 

Realization of an idea

When I´m gone I don´t want you to say… She did not live to see the realization of her dream. Not that I´m planning to leave but you never know so I think I better get on with my dream and try to create a website with the aim to support students and preceptors. After taking a nap this afternoon is suddenly became clear to me of how to tackle the task. As a wise woman I often listen to advice from my senior colleagues but today I choose not to. Paulo Coelho says it wisely:

Dream and don´t ask too many questions, or fear will overcome your feelings“.

So I decided to follow my dream, painfully aware of the challenge. I fear my colleagues thoughts and I am prepared for comments, criticism and even jealousy. Who am I to think that I can create worthwhile content to enhance students and preceptors knowledge and skills regarding to preceptorship? Well…I am! …as an act of defiance against all odds. I get the feeling of fulfillment to give it a go. To try makes me happy and satisfied so I will strive to overcome obstacles and to do my best. I believe in the idea and my gut instinct says me it´s a good one.

Photo: Park Fantasy by skagitrenee (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Us vs. Them

It seems like I have a mission to complete. I promised to return with feedback from a meeting – and here it is. Earlier, in April, I wrote a blog post where I used the analogue of the three musketeers. I  contacted a colleges at another institution who is teaching the same topic as I am. My colleague agreed to meet me and to talk about collaboration.

The meeting started out with me explaining why I have made contact, what my purpose of the meeting was. I found myself arguing for not having any hidden agenda, just wanting to collaborate without any demands and expectations. A very strange way of making a case. I really do, have to improve myself in these situations in the future!

Anyway, my colleague is a clever guy, and he was able to filter my bad description of the intention to collaborate. We decided to 1) establish our initiative with our leaders, to 2) invite other colleagues to a physical meeting in some weeks and to 3) set up a group on Yammer, for digital everyday connection if needed, where we can share and collaborate.

Even though we are located on different floors, Us on 4th floor and Them on 5th floor, we do think, oddly enough, that we can collaborate and be the best colleagues ever. Although, we have an entire canal (1 floor/roof) dividing us in two, I prefer to see it as we share a whole canal (1 floor/roof) and that the “scaffolding” ought to make us stronger. May the force be with us!

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

To share or not to share

So after participating in ONL161 I am now learning more about OER – open educational resources by participating in a course named “Learning to (re)use open educational resources”. It is all free and I made friends with four other participants tonight in the discussion forum. The course is a part of…

“The ExplOERer Project, co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme to promote OER sustainability through OER adoption and re-use in professional practice”.

To share is a human right as I see it. But does it have to be me? There are many fears to consider. Is my material good enough to share with others? What if someone thinks I have low quality of for instants my recordings? It is easier to reuse what someone else has done – to consume and not produce. This will be a challenge for me – to dare to go public!

Photo: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre by Davide Simonetti (CC BY_NC 2.0)