Monthly Archives: July 2019

Network Connections – A Graphic Representation

Contemplating digital presence this week has been a valuable exercise.  I have explored where I am spending my time when I am venturing into the digital world through a conceptual digital map and will add to this exploration with a graphic representation of my digital connections.

Similar to my digital map, this depiction is dualistic concerning professional and personal connections and relationships.  There is a fairly even balance between connections in my personal life and those that are related to work or school.  Some networks are used only for one or the other, but the majority are compartmentalized and managed with similar approaches and energies.  I have noted, as I had in my previous blog; that some of the connections are insubstantial and this inspired me to re-evaluate the necessity of such connections (or lack of).

Creating, Cultivating, and Reflecting on My Digital Presence

Upon reflection of my previously created visitor-resident typology, I was able to identify where and how I was allocating my time, and creating my digital presence.  Why was it important to me?  Was my image consistent?  What did I want that image to be?  Did I want to maintain my current affiliations?  Schryver (2013), poses similar questions in her New York Times blog post (The Learning Network) article

“What kinds of things do you tend to post online, and how much thought do you give to choosing or creating them?  What would you not post?  What mental processes do you go through in deciding what to post, when and how?  Do you have a different personality, presentation or persona on different sites or services?  If so, why, and how do they differ?  How do you think you are perceived online?  Why?”

Now that I have contemplated how I want to present myself online as a graduate student and beyond, I have identified three primary goals in cultivating an online presence:

  • To increase the quality of my contributions
  • To join the online scholarly community
  • To increase my awareness of changes concerning digital learning environments

This shift will take a conscious effort, and will require constant reflection as a digital presence is fluid.  “Search for yourself online. Are you proud of your digital presence?  Will you be proud of it in ten years?  Are there things that are untrue or pertain to someone with the same name?  What can you do about that? (Schryver, 2013).

In addition to recurring pause and reflection, I am eager to acquire as much knowledge as I can through educational, professional, and personal learning opportunities that arise; and I anticipate that many will with the emergence of more and more online opportunities.  As I develop and nurture my presence, and except for prescribed institutional apps and software; I will be mindful that the luxury of online self-reinvention is always within my grasp.  “Membership, frequency, and extent of participation in virtual communities is driven by volitional choice, and may be terminated by the member relatively effortlessly” (Park & Floyd, 1996).

Looking back, and looking forward, I am excited to begin consciously molding my digital identity.

Schryver, K. (2016, February 5).  Who Are You Online? Considering Issues of Web Identity [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Park, M., & Floyd, K. (1996). Making friends in cyberspace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [Online], 1 (4).  Retrieved from

Conceptual Map of Digital Technologies Using the Resident-Visitor Typology

Creating a digital map using the visitor-resident typology (White, & Le Cornu, 2011), allowed me to reflect on my digital presence and where I am dividing my time when contributing in and on social media, online platforms, and applications.  I observed that within my personal digital presence, I am often a visitor when perusing recreational apps that serve no other purpose than to entertain or amuse.  As a visitor within the institutional context, I noted that the majority of items being mapped in this area were utilized for communication or acquiring information and were much more purposeful in nature.  The items that fell under the resident designation were starkly different from the two perspectives, with my personal use being related to day-to-day tasks such as online banking and shopping and interactions with friends and family; as opposed to the institutional presence consisting of prescribed platforms that support my faculty role. I plan to revisit my digital presence throughout my graduate studies and anticipate that these classifications will oscillate in relation to my learning experiences.

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). doi:10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

Teaching and Learning with Purpose – A Virtual Attendees Reflection

  Virtual Symposium Critical Academic Reflective Blog Post – Unit 1 | Activity 3

          Attending a variety of recorded sessions through the virtual symposium was an excellent preface to the MALAT program and provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my knowledge concerning digital learning environments.  I was amazed at the diversity of speakers in the series and the multifaceted topics.  Each stream of the symposium provided fresh perspectives from diverse lenses and backgrounds which provided intensive exposure to current practices and theories in digital learning.  As a virtual attendee, this provided many opportunities for pause and reflection.  The presentations created by students who were nearing the end of the program were significant, as I was able to extrapolate from their experiences and apply them to my learning journey.  The most insightful recording I viewed challenged the purpose of online learning and reinforced some of my own musings.

            As I reviewed the recordings, I was astounded by the vast terminologies being coined in the field of digital education.  One particular thread that materialized was the need to distinguish the term open which must be interpreted contextually.  Cormier (2017) compares open to a rhizome, difficult to contain with implications only limited to its habitat.  “Open can get really messy, you do get the learning all over you” (Cormier, 2017, 26:55).  Viewing this presentation allowed me to reflect on just how open I had been in my practice, which was not something I had previously considered.  The concept of open within the context of teaching and learning was explored by multiple presenters.  “Most good educators are open educators even if they don’t know that they are open educators because at the heart of education is this willingness to share your knowledge, your skills, your information with learners” (Lalonde, 2018, 10:20).  This allowed me to reflect on the notions of open and how I could best implement some of these ideas within my practice. 

            Especially intriguing were the concepts presented surrounding purposeful content design and delivery. “Students need help to become independent learners, so they’re still gonna need instructors and teachers; and my worry is that this is a move to just put content up on the web and call it online learning” – in reference to the Ontario K-12 online strategy (Bates, 2019, 13:20).  This statement resonated with my recent experience undergoing curriculum development.  What was the motivation?  Was it to be more cost-effective?  Alternatively, was it to provide a better education for our future students?  Was it purposeful?  With limited time release and no additional funds in the coffers, it certainly did not appear purposeful; the hurried instructional design was resulting in a repository of information; with negligible interaction and support from instructors or peers.  Bates (2019) also questions the claims that online learning can be delivered more cost-effectively than learning that occurs on campus, and believes there is a place for both models and that neither should be forced; content should be delivered in the format best suited to learning.  From an ethical standpoint, I agree that designing an online curriculum for cost recovery (or profit) is a poor pedagogy and misguided.  “Curriculum design should be viewed as a process, rather than a product” (Masten, 2015).

                  I was captivated when watching the student research presentation Supporting Volitional Competency in Online Students. (Darbyson, 2018).  According to Darbyson’s research, students are constantly disrupted by life’s circumstances and can find it challenging to maintain motivation.  Persistence and effort are required to achieve success, and there has been little research to show how volitional strategies can be incorporated into the instructional design to support student motivation.  (Darbyson, 2018, 06:45).  I am eager to engage in further readings on volitional strategies that may be of use in my future studies, and that can also be incorporated into my teaching practice.

            The threads presented within the virtual symposium raised substantial and provocative questions that shall be further explored throughout my educational journey within the MALAT program.           



Bates, T. (2019). Rethinking the Purpose of Online Learning [Video file]. Retrieved July 14, 2019, from

Darbyson, R. (2018). Supporting Volitional Competency in Online Students [Video file]. Retrieved July 16, 2019, from

Lalonde, C. (2018). Into the Great Wide Open [Video file]. Retrieved July 15, 2019, from

Masten, M. (2015, October 24). 8 Barriers to Curriculum Design [Blog post]. Retrieved from


 Welcome to my blog! An exploration of teaching and learning in the digital age. I am an educator, Teaching and Learning with Technologies Strategist; and a graduate student who is passionate about pedagogical innovation.  

What Makes a Good Research Question?

  • Focused

“A good question focuses on only one issue and doesn’t try to fit in too much It requires analysis and thinking, and doesn’t have an obvious yes or no answer”  (Laurier Library, 2017)

  • Interesting

“A good research question should pass the “so what?” test. Getting the answer should contribute usefully to our state of knowledge. The acronym FINER denotes five essential characteristics of a good research question: it should be feasible, interesting, novel, ethical and relevant” (Hulley et. al, 2013)


Hulley, S. B., Cummings, S. R., & Browner, W. S. (2013). Designing clinical research. Retrieved from

Laurier Library [Producer]. (2017, Dec 20). Developing a Research Question [Video file]. Retrieved from