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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *