Activity assignment paper about academic writing to share

As part of our Unit 1, Activity 2 feedback, some of us were asked to share our papers to be resources for others. I’ve included my paper below, and would be happy to answer any questions about it.tabletop with several people's hands holding a pen on different pieces of paper. Other items on the table include eyeglasses, 3 books, a laptop and coffee mugs. Photo credit Startup Photos from Pexels.

Please note that there are a few formatting differences demanded by the blog environment. I included my name on the title line as we were not using title pages for this paper. Other formatting differences are as follows: this is missing a running head, page numbers (upper right-hand corner), hanging indent for the resources, and double spacing throughout (with no extra spacing between paragraphs). The image above was not included in the paper and would have had to be directly related to the content of the artcile and included using APA style as a figure (American Psychological Associaltion, 2010, p. 151)

Reflection on my Academic Writing to Date by Lisa A. Gates

After careful review of the Royal Roads Academic Writing resources (RRU Library, n.d., Paragraph Section), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2010), along with my own papers and instructor feedback to date, I believe that there are specific places I can make improvements in my academic writing practices. I will address three issues in this paper: recognition of the difference between information that is self-evident and that which needs to be backed up with citation, which pieces of my analysis can be deepened, and places in which I could be using American Psychological Association (APA) Style writing more effectively – specifically around punctuation in citation and references. The first two issues are quite complex, the third much less so.

In APA Style (American Psychological Association, 2010) it is expected that any idea that comes from reading another’s work should be correctly cited and included in the reference list (p. 169). At this time, I am sometimes unsure as to which pieces of information are necessary to be cited, and what might be considered self-evident. I am gaining understanding of context in this new (to me) Masters’ level student role. My background is in teaching and writing curriculum for online courses and digital work (including managing social media, working online in groups, blogging, website building, and more). This varied background has left me with a set of skills and opinions that I am unsure where they originated from – whether the opinions developed are through years of reading, through experience, or some combination of the two is occasionally difficult to discern. LRNT521 dealt with digital learning environments, the power and social constructs that occur within them, and how that interplays with the work of teaching and learning. While I learned a vast amount in that course (I’ll probably read Teaching Crowds [Anderson & Dron, 2014] twice more), there were ideas in it that were not new to me. Teasing out which ones I should be crediting to these authors that I’m becoming acquainted with and which ideas are accepted as part of the general understanding of this field is an ongoing challenge, one that I welcome more feedback about. At this time, my intention is that, if I find an idea in the literature that supports my work, I will cite

As I’m developing my understanding of academic writing, I struggle to see the places in which I might be able to deepen or broaden the exploration of some points. In an assignment writing about specific actions that I’ll be taking this fall to facilitate my own students’ meaning making through group activities (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 39), the feedback from the instructor of LRNT521 was: “Unpacking this a bit more would deepen this section and allow you to see and reflect on the actions you are undertaking” (E. Childs, personal communication, June 27, 2019). I believe it will take more experience with writing to understand which pieces need further development. Going forward, I will endeavor to choose a limited number of points to make in my writing and try to expand on each within the constraints of the assignment. My hope is that, with fewer points, each will be more relevant to the topic, allowing for greater discussion.

Gaining better facility with the mechanics of APA Style (2011) writing is going to take practice and reading. Referring to feedback from previous papers, I’ve learned some specific places in which my punctuation can be improved. For example, in one of the early assignments, I was consistently putting a period in the wrong place in my citations when they fell at the end of sentences. This was easy to fix once it was brought to my attention. It changed the way that I read the APA Style guide – now I read it slowly, with much more care. In order to improve my overall understanding of this style, I am currently reading a chapter a week of the physical book, along with looking up specific cases on an as-needed basis both in the book and online.

The first two tasks of improving my writing are quite complex in that they depend on the context, the topic, and my ongoing learning of the writing process to improve on. The learning of APA Style will be simpler, but a continuing task. I’ll endeavour to keep the strategies outlined above in mind as I move into new writing throughout the next two years.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media.

APA Style. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2019, from website:

Paragraphs | RRU Library [University]. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2019, from Royal Roads University Writing Centre website:

What makes a good research question?

A good research question:

  • Endeavors to answer something new – not something that has already been investigated (Steely Library NKU, 2018).
  • Does not contain inherent bias. The example given in a handout from Duke University (Porush, 1995) is “why are social networking sites harmful?” The bias inherent in this question is that social networking sites are, by nature, harmful. A better question would not make unfounded, value-based assumptions.
  • Is open-ended, needing more than a yes or no answer, or a statistic to satisfy it (Steely Library NKU, 2018).
  • Is not so broad that it can’t be answered in the scope of the paper to be written (Porush, 1995).
  • Is important to the larger readership, extending conversation about the topic (Steely Library NKU, 2018).
  • Is clear, can be read and understood by its intended audience (Steely Library NKU, 2018).


stock photo of man looking at papers and diagrams on a wall. By Startup Stock Photos.

Porush, D. (1995). A Short Guide to Writing About Science. (pp. 92-93). New York: Harper Collins.

Steely Library NKU. (2018). Developing a Research Question. [Video] Australia: Academic Skills, University of Melbourne.

Film or Webcam? What makes sense?

(This post is outside of our expected academic posting, but I’m hoping that others will weigh in with their thoughts.)

I work in a lovely, diverse faculty – one that is very forward thinking about philosophy and methodology of teaching. They are always bringing in new points of view and tools to use in a variety of different ways for all kinds of applications. For the most part, we agree on things.

Keep the student at the centre? Check.

Keep the individuals that our students will eventually be in the service of in mind at all times? Check.

Find ways to keep our students engaged and motivated, while helping them to understand what might be a whole new paradigm (to them) about the world, and different philosophies around disability and understanding behaviour? Check.


This fall will see us introducing a new course developed and taught by a colleague. We’re hoping to make the initial face-to-face offering something that can be delivered online in subsequent semesters, one that can get across the visceral experience of having guest speakers – 1st voice – in the room. To this end, we’re planning on filming the guests each week.

The colleague who has written it is interested in high production film (two camera points-of-view, lapel mics for good sound quality, augmentative lighting, visually interesting editing), something that I’ve done before and will be happy to assist with.

I was having a conversation with another colleague about what her department does in such circumstances, and she said that they do their guest speaker filming with a webcam – that the sound is good enough, that the video is fine for their purposes, and that they change and iterate their courses often enough that investing the time and money into ‘capital F’ Film doesn’t make a lot of sense.


This left me wondering…

both instructors are people I have a huge amount of respect for, who push boundaries all the time and innovate educational experiences for students, AND are approaching this idea from completely different points of view. It left me thinking that perhaps my high production value colleague is coming from another paradigm…one heavily influenced by print. After all, we used to put a lot of effort into educational artifacts – textbooks, films, and physical objects to convey information. Creating a film is an undertaking in this paradigm, one that takes a highly skilled staff.

I wonder then, if, in contrast, my webcam colleague is coming from a more contemporary paradigm – video is easy, ubiquitous, and iterative. Anyone with a smartphone can make a film, quality is not as important as accessibility. We’re often asking students to make short films of their own in response to our participation prompts through applications such as Flipgrid, and are less concerned about quality over content.

Or…is it about the need to have polished video that represents what the Institution is doing? Versus iterating until the right ‘note’ is hit?

I’m curious as to what others might think. Would webcam capture be good enough to convey the point to students? Would it make more sense to use higher quality film production? Where are the lines between not good enough, good enough and more effort than necessary?

Related reading:

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. MIT Press.


Access to Education for Students with Disabilities – Group Project

Unit 4 – Activity 1 | Discussing Impacts of Digital Learning

The Impact of Digital Learning: Access to Education for Students with Disabilities

Lisa Gates, Jeff Goodes, and Eunice Leung

The rise of technology has provided more equitable opportunities for students with disabilities to support their learning. There are wide ranges of assistive technology, both hardware and software, that have been designed to either help with a difficult task or learn a new skill. The following sections outline some of the impacts technology has had on creating access to education for students with disabilities.

Profile: Students with Disabilities

The following bullet points highlight the various needs that a student who has a disability might have. Sometimes it can be only a specific need, other times it can also be a combination of needs. Unfortunately, not all learning needs at the post-secondary level are always supported.

  • The term “students with disabilities” is a broad one and can encompass a wide spectrum of students with “an array of problems, from those related to particular impairments to those related to learning and behavioural difficulties experienced by some learners compared with other similar learners (Florian and Hegarty, 2003, p.8-9).” Within this definition, the needs of this group are:
    • communication and interaction
    • cognition and learning
    • behaviour, emotional and social development
    • sensory and/or physical (Florian and Hegarty, 2003).
  • “People with disabilities-some 54 million in the U.S. (McNeil, 1997)-remain underrepresented in postsecondary education” (Schmetzke, 2001, p.1).

Impact of Digital Learning in the Classroom

Utilizing assistive technology has increased opportunities for students with disabilities to participate online and in the classroom. The decreasing costs and rising availability for supports have created a more equitable to make learning more accessible to everyone regardless of their needs.

  • The use of assistive technologies has increased access to online learning for people with disabilities. Studies have shown that assistive technology has removed barriers for students which had impeded their academic success. In fact, many students are using more than one adaptive technology due to the fact that they have more than one disability. In addition, some students may co-opt technology for another disability to their own needs. “For example, screen readers are not only used by those who are blind, but by those who have a learning disability such as dyslexia.” (Seale, 2006, p. 57)
  • With decreasing cost, rising availability of software and the ability to deliver online instruction,  the accessibility of the written word has expanded. Digital text displayed on a screen can be converted to speech (i.e., screen readers), mechanically reproduced as braille characters on a specialized keyboard (i.e., refreshable braille display), and enlarged to an accessible size (i.e., screen magnifier) (Taylor, 2016).

Impact of  Digital Learning Design

When hardware and software are incorporated to support the learning of students with disabilities, accommodations need to be made. As a result, instructional designers have started to take into an account designing content that is accessible to their learners. Applying universal design principles when designing content has increased accessibility, however, more can be done.

  • Just as there are enabling and disabling conditions in the physical environment, so are there conditions associated with digital technology that result in the inclusion or exclusion of certain people. Technology that is not universally designed, without consideration for the full spectrum of human (dis) abilities, is likely to contain access barriers for people with print disabilities (Schmetzke, 2001).
  • Schmetzke notes that online learning can be challenging to those with print disabilities, leading to scenarios in which those with print disabilities are discriminated against. “The amount of accommodations and adaptations to the regular online course that, by law, need to be made under such circumstances would be tremendous. And even then, the legality of the end result would be questionable: In essence, students with print disabilities would end up taking courses in a separate track-a scenario that is at odds with the legal mandate to provide programs in the most integrated settings”. (Schmetzke, 2001).
  • Accessibility is an issue across online learning. Not all academic online resources available to students are universally barrier free.  Schmetzke observes that, “A study within the University of PM ITD Journal Wisconsin-Madison revealed that only 38% of the 101 departmental homepages evaluated with Bobby, an automated accessibility checker, were free of accessibility problems. After an additional, more stringent manual assessment, only a mere 14% passed as barrier-free” (Accessibility & Technology, 2000 as cited in Schmetzke, 2001).
  • “Students with visible disabilities, such as people who are blind or who are using wheelchairs, are noticed in the physical campus environment. Anyone observing a person in a wheelchair attempting to negotiate a sidewalk curb will quickly realize the need for a curb cut. In the online environment, the needs of people with disabilities tend to go unobserved, and thus unacknowledged. The planners of online classrooms are unlikely to meet face-to-face with blind individuals as they link to course web sites only to find most information to be provided in an inaccessible image format” (Schmetzke, 2001, p. 13).
  • Designed correctly, distance education options create learning opportunities for everyone. Designed poorly, they erect barriers to equal participation in academics and careers for potential students and instructors with disabilities. Employing universal design principles as we create technology-based distance learning courses can bring us closer to making learning accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time (Burgstahler, 2002).

Changing Teacher/Instructor Roles

The role of the teacher/instructor has changed drastically. To incorporate the use of assistive technology within learning, new knowledge and skills are being required of them.

  • Using digital learning material to enhance the education experience for students with disabilities has not always been successful. The challenge, according to Seale is not the lack of digital accessibility tools, it’s that “very few practitioners however, know exactly how to make e-learning accessible” (Seale, 2006, p. 1).
  • Technology in the classroom has been used since the 1970s to enhance the  learning experience of students with disabilities. Success has been varied. Florian and Hegarty (2003) suggest that there are three essential elements which contribute to the success of technology to assist students with disabilities: “the right equipment , access to high-quality materials and ongoing practice-based training” (Florian and Hegarty, 2003, p.33).
  • Siyam (2019) echoes the need for training by teachers: “the strong impact of self-efficacy on teacher’s actual use of technology…indicates the importance of providing teachers with training on the technology tools presented to them” (Saddler, 2006 as cited in Siyam, 2019, p.33).
  • Special education teachers should be exposed to hands-on activities that focus not only on how to use the tool, but on how this tool has the ability to impact students’ learning and behavioural outcomes (Almeida et al. 2016). Secondly, technology should be included in preparatory programs for special education teachers and should cover a different range of tools such as learning management systems, academic platforms, behavior tracking apps and social assistive technology. Moreover, special education policies should be improved to develop understanding and awareness of the importance of using technology in special education classroom practices (Siyam, 2019).
  • Faculty need to take responsibility for both the technology that they choose to use and that which they choose not to use. Both decisions can have a significant impact on student accessibility (Taylor, 2016).


Burgstahler, S. (2002). Distance Learning: Universal Design, Universal Access.  AACE Journal, 10(1), 32–61. Retrieved from

Florian, L and Hegarty, J. ICT and Special Educational Needs, McGraw-Hill Education, 2003. ProQuest Ebook Central. Retrieved from Created from royalroads-ebooks on 2019-05-30 13:09:54.

Seale, J. K. (2013). E-learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice. Retrieved from

Schmetzke, A. (2001). Online Distance Education – “Anytime, Anywhere” But Not For Everyone. Retrieved from:

Siyam, N. (2019). Factors impacting special education teachers’ acceptance andWild lady slipper orchids - white modified bottom petal with red and green modified lateral sepals. actual use of technology. Education and Information Technologies, 24(3), 2035–2057.  Retrieved from

Taylor, M. A. (2016). Improving Accessibility for Students with Visual Disabilities in the Technology-Rich Classroom. PS: Political Science & Politics, 49(01), 122–127. Retrieved from


LinkedIn – A Limited Digital Network Visualization

A visualization map of my LinkedIn connections showing my work contacts  since 2002How am I connected digitally with others? What would a visual map of my connections look like? I’ve been online in resident capacity (White & LeCornu, 2011)  as long as online connection has been an option.  I chose to use LinkedIn for this visualization exercise as it was easy to download a .csv from, to import and modify the data for use with Kumu, and it looked primarily at professional connections. The exercise of creating the map proved to stretch my understanding of the network and my place in it in new ways, as well as allow me to work on my own digital competency skills.

Downloading the .csv was not difficult. Learning the Kumu software took time, allowing me to practice some of the digital learner profile proficiencies as described by Helen Beetham, specifically ICT proficiency, data literacy, and digital creation (Beetham 2015).

My LinkedIn network consists of connections that have been made primarily through face-to-face work or virtual work encounters, but also includes those made with promotional, strategic connection in mind (on my side, or on the other side of the connection). While modifying the data – especially to denote the ‘strength’ of connection – it came clear that assigning a connection the attribute of strong, mid, or weak, was arbitrary. I had to consider both how I would rate the connection as well as how the other person would rate it (without the benefit of the other’s input). LinkedIn is the only network that I accept connections from people I’ve not physically met – assigning a strength to those connections was particularly challenging, as there are people in my network that I’ve worked with for years without having ever met in person.

My network diagram can be viewed here. There are 206 contact nodes depicted, based on my ‘connections’ in LinkedIn. I added nodes to represent hubs: communities of practice, or goal-oriented communities of interest (Veletsianos, 2016). The hubs were companies that I’ve been part of as represented by those connections: Selkirk College, Shambhala Music Festival, Insightful Ink, School District 8, and Quilting (I used to own a business),  followed by the Personal and Family communities.

I made different visualizations. One based on the ‘strength’ of connections, one on the companies that I am connected to. I found that the way that I viewed the network changed the implication of the network. When viewed from a strength of connection point of view, the network was a map of the pathways into each of the groups, of my closest working colleagues. When viewed as connection to companies, the visualization was more of a map of my employment itself, resembling a visual resume. The one I’ve linked to this blog is the latter.

The process of mapping revealed two things in particular to me: hidden connections, and connections over time.

There are parts of the network that I can’t create an accurate visualization of, as many of the nodes within my network are connected with other nodes (outside of my connection with them). I attempted to begin putting in some of those cross-connections, but found it to be a futile exercise, as I don’t know all of those connections. The visualization and my understanding of the network is limited by my perception of it.

While modifying the data to fit Kumu and considering each of the connections (when I met or worked with them, how strong the connections were) it occurred to me that the strength of the connections had nothing to do with how long I’ve had them. It brought up these two questions over and over again: Is the connection still relevant? Is it useful? Surely these connections were all relevant at the time of connection. Whether the connections are still relevant or useful speaks to the flexible and ever changing nature of networks. I did not go through and prune nodes from the network, but it did occur to me that doing so would make the network more effective and streamlined.

While only a small piece of my online network is represented by the connections in LinkedIn, the exercise of mapping was useful and illuminating. Paired with the current readings, the mapping exercise allowed me to practice some of the competencies described by Helen Beetham in the Jisc model (Beetham, 2015), and better understand my part in creation and participation of groups, networks and communities (Veletsianos, 2016).


Beetham, H. (2015, Nov 10). Building capability for new digital leadership, pedagogy and efficiency [blog post].

White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagementFirst Monday, 16(9).

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Digital Identity and Presence Plan

Participating in the digital presence mapping exercise was valuable and illuminating. The experience has changed the way I view my own digital use and presence, and helped me see ways in which I can be more deliberate in my online interactions. It has given me a framework in which to reflect on privacy and access, and how I will allow my own work to be shared.

Through the process of both Visitor/Resident mapping (White, 2013) and the collaborative/individual, analogue/digital variation (Cormier, 2018) it became clear that what I’m doing for work online is done deliberately, collaboratively (for the most part) and publicly. These skills will be transferable and useful in my work as a MALAT student.

The surprising learning in these exercises was in how much time is lost in email and social media. I will be endeavoring to simplify and streamline my email queue, to have emails forwarded to two or three places, rather than have them all in different accounts.

I plan to spend my time on social media with more forethought, with a goal of posting content that’s relevant, be the entertainer, posting things that are relevant to what I’m promoting, not falling into the trap of becoming the entertained. With that in mind, I’ve developed a posting calendar that will cover my posts for the next two months. I’m also moving back towards the use of Hootsuite (Holmes, 2008) to post to multiple applications at one time.

As a MALAT student, I’m looking forward to the ongoing network building opportunities, to interact with this large, distributed public (boyd, 2011) of learners. In the spirit of this sharing and community building, I’ve elected to make the copyright attribution on my RRU blog a Creative Commons license. I am hopeful that this action will further the movement towards open resources, to open dialogue and information sharing. In this same vein, I have left my comments unmoderated.

I have mixed feelings about my current, student access to the library and other databases of copyright protected information. As someone who has earned money from publishing, I understand completely the need to make one’s work bear financial gain. As someone who aspires open access and community building within the academic arena, I’m interested in quality, open source information. At this time, I’ll endeavor to share my work openly in hopes of contributing to the free exchange of information, information exchange that won’t evaporate when my status changes from ‘student’ to ‘graduate’.

Forest of deciduous trees with luminescent green algae in rural Northern France
Moving from seeing the forest to seeing the trees.

All in all, the exercises were formative and informative. The resultant shifts will be for the better and help me stay aligned with both my time management goals, and my values around open source resources and learning.


boyd, D. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self (pp. 39–58). New York, NY: Rutledge.

Cormier, Dave (2018, March 31). Digital Practices Mapping – Into activity for digital literacies course.[Blog post]  Retrieved from

Holmes, Ryan (2008). Hootsuite [Computer Software]. Retrieved from

White, Dave (2013). Just the Mapping. Retrieved from  April 24, 2019.

Further thoughts about Digital Practices Mapping

Going through the Visitor/Resident (White, 2013) mapping process allowed me to see how much of my work happens online.Through ongoing planning and reasonably consistent effort, I’ve built a virtual workplace for myself. Looking at the same information in the context of different tension pairs – collaborative/individual, analogue/digital (Cormier, 2018) – shifted my understanding yet again.

The main areas in which my practices would fall are in analogue/individual, digital/individual and collaborative/digital.

The analogue/individual piece is not a big surprise, really. I work as an illustrator and graphic recorder, both of which generally are done solo, even when in a room full of people.

The digital/individual piece reflects most of my digital illustration, film making, writing work, personal business blog and website, and work that I do in my practice as an instructor.

The digital/collaborative space has the most in it, as this reflects most of my work with the college, music festival and other projects that I’m involved in. The beauty of digital collaborative space being that it can be asynchronous and is not dependent on geography. Having this as a possible place to work has opened up possibilities in my practice that would never have occurred any other way. The digital realm has allowed for work with people in different areas that I may not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise (for which I’m grateful), people in many different countries and time zones.

Both exercises were valuable in that they helped me understand better where I concentrate efforts in my work world. Both helped me create a framework of how I’d like to shift that digital use over the next two years.


Cormier, Dave (2018, March 31). Digital Practices Mapping – Into activity for digital literacies course.[Blog post]  Retrieved from

White, Dave (2013, September 13). Just the Mapping [Video file] Retrieved from

Mapping my digital presence

This week was a deep dive into understanding my own digital presence as outlined by Dave White in his video (White, 2013) to shed some light on how much of my digital persona is ‘visitor’ (lurking, not effecting public space), and how much is ‘resident’ (deliberate content creation, contribution to the internet as a whole, leaving a trace). Beyond that, the second axis of ‘personal’ and ‘institutional’ helped to articulate the reasons for choosing the digital space in which I participate.

I elected to break down that digital presence into categories based on digital publics (boyd, 2011): personal, my business, volunteer work, other projects, and my current work as an instructor. I used Leonardo (version 0.15.21) to create layers and to draw the areas of use. In retrospect, there are pieces missing (Skype, Google Hangouts, and others), but my main usages are mapped.

I was surprised to the extent that I’m performing digitally in the resident/institutional realm – this was a much deeper set of layers than anticipated. The big ‘aha’ was around my servitude to email.

I may yet make this into a gif, but the images are as follows:

graphic of my digital personal use of the internet. Most pieces fall into what might be considered 'private' aside from my patterns, facebook and instagram accounts
Personal use
Digital use of the internet showing that much of my business use falls into the public for business area
My business, Insightful Ink
Addition of my volunteer work to the digital presence diagram showing that most of what I do here is on flickr and building websites
Addition of my volunteer work
Digital presence diagram illustrating that my Music Festival work involves a lot of collaborative tools, film making and Moodle building
Addition of my Music Festival work
My digital presence map adding my work as an instructor - Moodle, website management and work, and as always...more email.
The final layer of my work as an instructor



boyd, D. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self (pp. 39–58). New York, NY: Rutledge.

Henning, Tegan. (2019). Leonardo [Computer Software]. Retrieved from

White, Dave (2013). Just the Mapping. Retrieved from  April 24, 2019.

Reflections on the Virtual Symposium

This first week of MALAT LRNT521 was an immersive step into the field our cohort will be learning about for the next two years. As students, we are bringing different skills, experiences, and resources. For myself, I come from a background in all levels of education locally (from early elementary to college level) and have been part of designing several online classes over the past 8 years. I was especially struck with the depth of information each of the presenters brought to their topic. Taking in each of the presentations allowed me to assess my own knowledge and experience – especially bringing awareness to where gaps are.

There are a few things that I’ve implemented in my classroom facilitation work over the years that were mentioned either in the video conversations (Liberating Structures in the Carolyn Levy talk (Levy, 2019, 54:28)) or in the text we are using for reference (how to write a reflective paper ‘what-so what-now what’ (Laurier University, 2019)). I found that there is a name for what I’m doing with one of the courses that I deliver: OPM or Online Program Manager; the difference being that I’m not paid 60% of tuition for course delivery (Carey, 2019).

Ongoing issues that come up in my own work were articulated, too, such as how do we, as course designers also build the framework for talking about the subject matter with our client-partners (Levy, 2019, 17:15), and how we find ourselves in change management-type roles (Levy, 2019, 20:11) . Seeing that others experience the tension between ‘will this course make money’ (generally from the point of view of the funder or institution) and ‘will this course engage learners to learn’ (from the point of view of teachers) (Bates 2019, 13:58) was validating of my experience of development and delivery.

I’m fully aware that, at this emergent state of comprehension, I’m not ready to draw any large conclusions from the symposium this week. I experienced many moments of resonance, rather than moments of synthesis. This will change once I’ve built a better internal framework in which to understand and synthesize the information being presented in the course. There are, however, pieces that I will add to my own practice such as: to create a term of reference list with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) (Levy, 2019, 25:44),

Carosel horse in the sky with bird flying over
Everyone can aspire to fly.

and to open a conversation with my students about skills vs. competencies in order to encourage life-long learning and critical thinking (Bates, 2019, 37:40). I’ll try incorporating more Liberating Structures into both my face-to-face and online learning environments. I’ll be tuning in to the CHEdR podcast out of Oregon State University to learn more about the work of the Ecampus Research Unit (Forssman, 2019, 36:06). My intention is that, through these actions and further reading, I can start to address some of the gaps identified this week in my own practice and, ultimately, be able to offer something fresh and new in reflection.




Bates, Tony (2019, April 16). Rethinking the Purpose of Online Learning (video file). Retrieved from

Carey, K. (2019, April 1). The Creeping Capitalist Takeover of Higher Education. Huffpost, p. 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from

Forssman, Vivian (2019, April 17). National Survey Results – Online Education in Canada (video file). Retrieved from

Levy, Carolyn (2019, April 15). Designing Learning Encironments for a Global Context (video file). Retrieved from

McCandless, K. L. (2002). Libereating Structures. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from Liberating Structures: Including and Unleashing Everyone:

Oregon State University. (n.d.). Ecampus Research Unit: “Research in Action” podcast. Retrieved April 19, 2019, from Oregon State University:

Wilfrid Laurier University. (n.d.). Reflective Writing Section B: How Can I Reflect? Retrieved April 19, 2019, from