3 strategies for each presence

      Learning context: Our program has a new series of Virtual Parenting Workshops (via Zoom).
I was asked If I wanted to help with facilitating. After learning that
I would not be involved in creating the structure or content for these workshops and that I would have little to no influence on how they are run, I decided not to. I saw the previous edition and while the workshops (especially in-person ones) were informative, they did not suit my style. They were conducted as if students came to learn from an instructor, instead of parents learning from a parent and from each other. If I had an opportunity to improve the workshops, I’d use these strategies, adopted from the Community of Inquiry theory.  

Canva infographic

Social Presence

  • Mirror individual/group mood/situation (inspired by Bull(2013))
    Usually, parenting workshops run weekly, they have a predetermined topic, as well as content and activities based on that topic, regardless of what the individual participants are going through at the moment. I would connect with the group/individuals first and then customize the activities/content based on what’s relevant.
  • Use humour (dad jokes) (inspired by Lalonde (2020))
    Usually, parenting workshops mimic a classroom atmosphere, it’s too dry and too formal for my style. I’d incorporate humour to warm up the group and connect with them on an emotional level since teaching parenting is less about information transfer and more about modelling a way of being. And humour is not just a way to connect with the audience, it’s also a great coping mechanism for daily struggles that most parents face.
  • Incorporate role-playing (inspired by Boettcher (n.d.))
    Usually, parenting workshops are all about information transfer, while relying on large/small group/individual experiences in role-playing is not only more fun but it’s also more effective.

Teaching Presence

  • Ask for informal feedback (inspired by Boettcher (n.d.))
    Usually, parenting workshops are set up as one-way communication and there is very little real-time feedback from participating parents
  • Be authentic/vulnerable (inspired by Bull(2013))
    Usually, facilitators of parenting workshops act as all-knowing experts, close-to-perfect parents and fear being vulnerable, admitting flaws, mistakes and shortcomings. Most parents want to learn from someone relatable and don’t want to feel like crappy parents in comparison to someone else.
  • Normalize uncertainty & making mistakes (inspired by Lalonde (2020))
    Usually, when facilitators do not acknowledge their own mistakes and not knowing what to do, participants also follow suit and miss opportunities to learn.

    Cognitive Presence

    • Share your own struggles (inspired by Bull(2013))
      It helps you learn from other parents, while you model being a co-learner, a parent that never stops learning. 
    • Connect theory & personal stories (inspired by Boettcher (n.d.))
      Connecting theory to personal stories helps parents find personal meaning in theoretical knowledge.
    • Seek/discuss a resolution to previously shared challenges(inspired by Lalonde (2020))
      Usually, parenting workshops move on to another topic next week and never follow up on anything that was discussed last week. Parents need an opportunity to apply new ideas as they seek a resolution to their ongoing issues.

References

Boettcher, J. V. (n.d.). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online. Design for Learning. http://designingforlearning.info/writing/ten-best-practices-for-teaching-online/

Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus.

Lalonde C. (2020) Facilitating in a Community of Inquiry video (11:20)

Assignment 2, Team 1, Facilitation Plan

Digital Literacy in Higher Education:
Implications for Facilitation 

Learning Module Draft

By Eric Yu, Denys Koval, & Jonathan Carpenter

Welcome to the initial plan for the Digital Literacy (DL) in Higher Education learning module. Although we are excited about the direction we are taking with this learning module, we invite readers to weigh in on how we can inject even more value into this upcoming learning experience. 

Learning Objectives

The primary learning objective for this module is to explore and discuss key topics on digital literacy in higher education from the facilitator’s perspective. In addition, we will create an open-source digital resource (e.g. infographic and personal reflection stories) that helps to inform online facilitators of digital-literacy best practices on the following five topics:

  • What is DL? 
  • The importance of DL in online higher education 
  • Essential DL competencies in online learning 
  • Methods of teaching DL in online learning 
  • Critical issues in DL (e.g. issues and solutions)

Therefore, the learning outcomes of this module are as follows: 

  • Define digital literacy 
  • Understand the importance of DL in online higher education 
  • Identify and describe at least three essential DL competencies
  • Identify and describe at least three methods of teaching DL
  • Identify at least three critical issues on DL 

Learning Resources

This learning module features one primary reading and several readings on key digital literacy sub-topics which will assist learners in their efforts to complete the week’s learning artifact stated above. 

Primary Reading

Ivus, M., Quan, T., Snider, N. (March, 2021). 21st Century Digital Skills: Competencies, Innovations, and Curriculum in Canada: Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). https://www.ictc-ctic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/21st-century-digital-skills.pdf

Readings on the five DL sub-topics

  • Topic 1 resource: Definition of DL  

University, W. S. (n.d.). What is digital literacy? Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/studysmart/home/study_skills_guides/digital_literacy/what_is_digital_literacy

  • Topic 2 resource: Importance of DL in higher learning, online context  

Alt, D., & Raichel, N. (2020). Enhancing perceived digital literacy skills and creative self-concept through gamified learning environments: Insights from a longitudinal study. International Journal of Educational Research, 101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2020.101561  

  • Topic 3 resource: Essential DL competencies in online learning 

MediaSmarts. (n.d.). Digital Literacy Fundamentals. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/general-information/digital-media-literacy-fundamentals/digital-literacy-fundamentals    

  • Topic 4 resource: Methods of teaching DL in online learning 

Stenger, M. (2018). 7 Ways to teach Digital Literacy | Tips and Tricks for Educators. https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/edtech-integration/7-ways-teach-digital-literacy/  

  • Topic 5 resource:  3 Critical issues  

bin Abdul Salam Al-Hayani Hisham bin Jameel Bardesi Mohammed bin Ahmed Hassanien, A., & Salah Youssef, S. (n.d.). The Five Competencies of E-Learning Edited by.  

Asynchronous Activities

Ice Breaker

  • Learners post one personal DL experience on Flipgrid
  • Learners reply to each other throughout the entire week

Jigsaw Activity 

  • Learners are assigned specific DL subtopics to create and post a brief summary, via Padlet, to add to the DL digital resource/tool. 

Synchronous Session

Date: September 22, 2021 @ 6:30 pm PST

  1. Introduction of the five DL sub-topics
  2. Open group discussion on the five DL sub-topics and personal reflections from the ice-breaker activity (e.g. discuss solutions). 

Rationale: Many members of the 2021 MALAT cohort have acknowledged, on numerous occasions, the value of open-ended questions in group discussions. We thought it would be appropriate to foster this learning themed by conducting an open (and prompted) group discussion on DL!

Learning Technologies 

Moodle 

  • The host platform for the learning module
  • Why? Moodle is a proven learning management system in higher education that is easy to use and effective technology to use for meeting short instructional design deadlines. 

Discord

  • Host ongoing learner-learner and learner-facilitator communications (e.g. news, learner collaboration, facilitator questions, and discussion prompts)
  • Why? The 2021 MALAT cohort uses Discord exclusively for ongoing communications, so the resulting familiarity largely underpins our decision to use the platform for this learning module. In addition, the functions and social elements in Discord are easy to use, making for a smooth user experience, which only boosts its value as a supplementary learning tool. 

Flipgrid

  • Hosting group discussions (e.g. the course ice breaker) which will emphasize the use of video to post ideas, in addition to text-based posts, to promote self-expression and creativity. 

Canva

  • At the end of the course, the facilitators will aggregate the Padlet contributions and create an infographic for others to use and share. 

Padlet

  • A quick and convenient way to collaborate on the learning module artifact. The MALAT group is familiar with this platform already, so collaborative efforts should be seamless. 

Learning Schedule

  • Module introduction and orientation
  • Monday – Ice breaker activity (replies occur the duration of the week)
  • Introduction to the group project
  • Primary reading and optional readings
  • Synchronous session (Wednesday) 
  • Friday Possible reflection on DL (short Flipgrid post) 
  • Sunday (Padlet submissions due)

Connections to the Community of Inquiry framework

Teaching Presence 

  • The synchronous session (Indicators: Instructors will be providing a brief overview of the material, sharing a personal meaning and facilitating a discussion based on that material)
  • The discussion forums (Indicators: Instructors will be moderating and participating in discussions) 
  • The communication prompts (Indicators: Instructors will be prompting learners to respond to check-ins about the module progress)
  • The question and support thread (Indicators: Instructors will be inviting and answering questions)

Social Presence 

  • The synchronous session (Indicators: Learners will be expressing themselves in discussions)
  • The discussion forums (Indicators: Learners will be sharing their reflections and responding to each other’s posts)

Cognitive Presence 

  • The Moodle shell (Indicators: Learners will be exploring module content such as reading materials)
  • The discussion forums (Indicators: Learners will be exchanging information and connecting ideas)
  • The creation of infographic (Indicators: Learners will be integrating the new ideas they learned in a module)

Initial Reflection on Digital Facilitation (1-2-3)

Digital Facilitation, for me, is like having sex in space. Not that I have had the experience, but according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s awkward. And it seems to be a constant struggle to overcome obstacles. In other words, it takes more time and effort, and it’s less enjoyable. I still prefer to do it (teaching) in person. And probably always will.

Unless technology advances to a point where it is a super realistic simulation, but I could still do it from home. Walk around my place in my underwear (invisible to my students) and teach a bunch of student holograms in my living room. I guess my students would see my hologram as well. I wonder if that scenario would present any issues? Somehow I suspect it would still feel less natural. Which brings me to another question: could digital facilitation ever be better than in-person?

Yes, I am doing 1-2-3 instead of 3-2-1. It’s in my nature to break patterns, and I find it difficult to conform to existing structures, rules or guidelines. Even if my way is not a better way, I need to feel like I am an individual, which made me realize that I would not fit into any system of formal education. Going through this program has been an interesting journey, but I could never teach in it. Every course is designed the same way; it follows the same formula. I am sure it is the most effective way for the institution, but I wouldn’t be motivated since I am stimulated by novelty, uncertainty, and unpredictability.

This week’s reading mentions the Socratic method, and it’s great, but Socrates didn’t sit in front of the computer all day, nor did he stand in front of the classroom. His students followed him in the streets. And the passing of knowledge (and his method) was done through mentorship rather than the traditional (which digital facilitation tries to emulate) facilitation.

Final blog – engagement

My background (education and career) is in psychology so I am naturally drawn to the motivational aspect of education. Engagement struggles are probably the only thing I can relate to when talking to other students in the program. I zone out when I read or hear them complaining about their own students, grading, administration, deadlines. I used to think I disengage because I can’t relate to their experience since I never worked as a teacher. Until I realized that I disengage because I do not want to an instructor. My engagement in the program has dropped to a dangerous bare minimum. I still want to graduate though. But how am I going to finish the remaining year? How much am I going to learn if my motivation is as low as it can possibly be? What can I rely on to stay afloat, if my internal resources are rapidly depleting?

The most useful thing I learned in this course is the importance of other people when it comes to engagement.
The team project was crucial, I felt like working together on a common goal made it more meaningful and increased my motivation as a result. It was also interesting to get to know each team member a little better. Everyone had their own unique strengths and talents, but what they all had in common is the ability to forgive me for being the weakest link, treat me fairly and engage me as their equal. I had to push myself harder to prove that I was worthy of being treated that way.
Irwin’s engagement was extremely important. It was the first time that I felt an instructor went beyond the responsibilities of their job. When someone actually cares to take the time and take a deeper look at what you are struggling with, it almost feels like a miracle.
I guess the lesson here is to seek out external resources when the internal ones are lacking. To not be afraid to ask for help. And to trust that it will come. To let go of the guilty feeling of being a burden.
This is my takeaway about engagement:

If I am struggling to engage, I need to help others help me. I might have little to no motivation of my own, but I need to reach out and be open to being filled with motivation by interacting with others.

Assignment 1: Critical Inquiry Part 2 – Team Awesomest Presentation

In our course for LRNT526, our team (Ash SeniniJonathan CarpenterKristin Beebe and I) has critically analyzed Video-Based Learning. We chose to examine a LinkedIn Learning course for our learning event.

We examined the applicability of this technology in terms of the 4 aspects:

  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Equity
  • Engagement

For a brief overview of our research approach and findings, you can view our infographic

References

Astleitner, H., & Hufnagl, M. (2003). The effects of situation-outcome-expectancies and of ARCS-strategies on self-regulated learning with web-lectures. Journal of educational multimedia and hypermedia, 12(4), 361-376. https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/14512/

Beheshti, M., Taspolat, A., Kaya, O. S., & Sapanca, H. F. (2018). Characteristics of Educational Videos. World Journal on Educational Technology, 10(1), 61–69. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1170366.pdf

Canadian Mental Health Association (n.d.). Fast facts. Canadian Mental Health Association. https://cmha.ca/fast-facts-about-mental-illness

Garrison, D. R. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century: a framework for research and practice. RoutledgeFalmer. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287556984_E-Learning_in_the_21st_century_A_framework_for_research_and_practice_Second_edition

Jones, T. H., & Paolucci, R. (1999). Research framework and dimensions for evaluating the effectiveness of educational technology systems on learning outcomes. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/08886504.1999.10782266

Keller, J. M. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance: the arcs model approach. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1250-3

Majeski, R. A., Stover, M., & Valais, T. (2018). The community of inquiry and emotional presence. Adult Learning, 29(2), 53–61.

Panesi, S., Bocconi, S. & Ferlino, L. (2020). Promoting students’ well-being and inclusion in schools through digital technologies: Perceptions of students, teachers, and school leaders in Italy expressed through SELFIE piloting activities. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1563. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01563

Stodel, E. J., Thompson, T. L., & MacDonald, C. J. (2006). Learners’ perspectives on what is missing from online learning: Interpretations through the community of inquiry framework. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(3), 1–24.

Weller, M. (2006). The distance from isolation: Why communities are the logical conclusion in e-learning. In Managing Learning in Virtual Settings: The Role of Context (pp. 182-196). 

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., & Schroeder, U. (2014). Video-based learning: A critical analysis of the research published in 2003-2013 and future visions. ELmL – International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-Line Learning, June 2015, 112–119.

List of references for Team Awesomest presentation

References

Astleitner, H., & Hufnagl, M. (2003). The effects of situation-outcome-expectancies and of ARCS-strategies on self-regulated learning with web-lectures. Journal of educational multimedia and hypermedia, 12(4), 361-376. https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/14512/

Beheshti, M., Taspolat, A., Kaya, O. S., & Sapanca, H. F. (2018). Characteristics of Educational Videos. World Journal on Educational Technology, 10(1), 61–69. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1170366.pdf

Canadian Mental Health Association (n.d.). Fast facts. Canadian Mental Health Association. https://cmha.ca/fast-facts-about-mental-illness

Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century : a framework for research and practice. RoutledgeFalmer.

Jones, T. H., & Paolucci, R. (1999). Research framework and dimensions for evaluating the effectiveness of educational technology systems on learning outcomes. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/08886504.1999.10782266

Keller, J. M. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance: the arcs model approach. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1250-3

Majeski, R. A., Stover, M., & Valais, T. (2018). The community of inquiry and emotional presence. Adult Learning, 29(2), 53–61.

Panesi, S., Bocconi, S. & Ferlino, L. (2020). Promoting students’ well-being and inclusion in schools through digital technologies: Perceptions of students, teachers, and school leaders in Italy expressed through SELFIE piloting activities. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1563. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01563

Stodel, E. J., Thompson, T. L., & MacDonald, C. J. (2006). Learners’ perspectives on what is missing from online learning: Interpretations through the community of inquiry framework. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(3), 1–24.

Weller, M. (2006). The distance from isolation: Why communities are the logical conclusion in e-learning. In Managing Learning in Virtual Settings: The Role of Context (pp. 182-196). 

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., & Schroeder, U. (2014). Video-based learning: A critical analysis of the research published in 2003-2013 and future visions. ELmL – International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-Line Learning, June 2015, 112–119.

Team 1 (Activity 2) Video-Based Learning: a critical inquiry into best practices

By Kristin Beeby, Jonathan Carpenter, Denys Koval, Ash Senini

Video-Based Learning (VBL) has become a more prevalent tool used in education in recent memory. VBL allows both educators and students to reflect upon and enhance one’s learning process (Perez-Torregrosa et al., 2017, as cited in Sablić et al., 2020). Collectively, our team will examine the use of VBL in various contexts to determine the effectiveness of this learning technology.

VBL originates from the early 20th century, with films covering topics such as Differential Steering and WWII soldier training (Origin Learning, 2020).  VBL has grown since, now providing edutainment through video games and sharing platforms such as YouTube. To inform our critical research pathways and better understand the use of VBL, we will examine LinkedIn Learning’s (formerly Lynda.com) “Becoming an Instructional Developer” learning path (Lynda.com from Linkedin, n.d.). 

LITERATURE REVIEW

We began our critical inquiry research by conducting a broad literature review on VBL to identify various research topics and critical issues to explore. Literature reviews by Sablić et al. (2020) and Yousef et al. (2014) aggregate years of VBL research to generate an excellent overview on VBL, serving as a foundation for our research approach. Once all group members gained a basic understanding of the theoretical aspects of VBL through the readings, practical research topics emerged. The following VBL critical issues are the result of our broad literature review.

Practical Effectiveness of VBL

One benefit of VBL is to provide theoretical knowledge. During the pandemic, VBL became one of the few ways students could gain practical or hands-on experience as well. Determining how effective VBL is in delivering practical information depends on the specific context. For example, we would welcome a conversation with someone who learned the language through VBL, but would be wary of professionals, like doctors or engineers, who learned through VBL. 

Social Considerations

Another critical issue in applying new technologies is to avoid potential harms, as Weller warns, “technology has often negative social consequences,” (2020, p. 173). We know learning is a social process, and VBL could diminish the social component of learning and increase students’ sense of isolation (Kizilcec et al., 2014). If so, are there pedagogical or design solutions to counteract such social side effects, or does the cost outway any benefits?

Student Engagement and Motivation 

Like classroom-based learning, VBL requires a considerable amount of planning and thought to engage learners. There are many variables unrelated to content quality that affect student engagement. Learner engagement variables include video length, annotation, accessibility, content delivery methods, level of cognitive load, social presence, and interactivity. Even though there is evidence that VBL can improve student learning and enhance student engagement (Brame, 2016), it can suffer from many of the same issues of classroom-based learning. The numerous technological layers of VBL pose many challenges and questions unique to this learning modality. 

Considerations for Design 

As with any learning modality, not all instances of VBL are created equal; therefore, it is essential to analyze the various elements of effective VBL design to deliver optimized learning outcomes and experiences. Effective VBL design empathizes with learners to promote VBL adoption (Pappas et al., 2016), initiates memory formation through appropriate learning theories and active learning principles (Brame, 2016), and sustains learner engagement through the use of interactive learning objects (Ouimet & Rusczek, n.d.) and production strategies (Beheshti et al., 2018). Further, VBL accommodates today’s mobile learner by integrating with multiple viewing devices, enabling on-the-go learning that compliments various learner needs, including strict schedules, conforming the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s educational consumer.

CONCLUSION

Like other digital learning tools, VBL has extensive and practical use in online education which can be seen in various mediums today. The prevalence of VBL allows users to gain practical knowledge in a given subject matter. From our initial examination, we will explore critical issues, including social implications, overall engagement, design and equity issues that can occur in the world of Video-Based Learning.

We encourage others with experience in the realm of VBL to comment on our pathway(s) and tell us your own experience with Video-Based Learning. Here are some guiding questions that may help you reflect on VBL:

  • Are there any particular aspects of educational video production that impact your ability to learn? 
  • Do you have a go-to VBL platform you prefer to use?
  • What motivates you to learn from the video?
  • Why is VBL that is used in institutional education often not as engaging as VBL used for personal learning?
  • Do you have sufficient access (e.g. consistent bandwidth) to video-based courses? 
  • Can applied sciences (eg engineering) adopt a VBL style in their education?
  • Could VBL be accepted as an alternative training tool for engineers? (considering that the professional field is highly regulated)
  • What could be taught (in online undergrad programs) through VBL and what should stay in the classroom?

REFERENCES

Beheshti, M., Taspolat, A., Kaya, O. S., & Sapanca, H. F. (2018). Characteristics of educational videos. World Journal on Educational Technology, 10(1), 61–69. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1170366.pdf

Brame, C. J. (2016). Effective educational videos: Principles and guidelines for maximizing student learning from video content. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 15(4), 1-6. doi:10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125

Kizilcec, R. F., Papadopoulos, K., & Sritanyaratana, L. (2014). Showing face in video instruction: Effects on information retention, visual attention, and affect. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’14, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 2095–2102.

Origin Learning. (2020, October 16). The Relevance of Video-based learning. [Blog]. Origin Learning. https://blog.originlearning.com/the-relevance-of-video-based-learning/

Ouimet, B. T. C., & Rusczek, R. A. (n.d.). Video-Based Learning Objects.

Lynda.com from Linkedin. (n.d.). Become an Instructional Developer. Lynda.com [Website]. https://www.lynda.com/learning-paths/Education-Elearning/become-an-instructional-developer

Pappas, I. O., Mikalef, P., & Giannakos, M. N. (2016). Video-based learning adoption: A typology of learners. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 34–41. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.1680.2163

Sablić, M., Mirosavljević, A., & Škugor, A. (2020). Video-based learning (VBL)—past, present and future: An overview of the research published from 2008 to 2019. Technology, Knowledge and Learning. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10758-020-09455-5

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. 

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., & Schroeder, U. (2014). Video-based learning: A critical analysis of the research published in 2003-2013 and future visions [Paper presentation]. ELmL – International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-Line Learning, June 2015, 112–119.

Does institutional education have to be boring?

I started asking myself this question in high school, continued to ask it in undergrad and here I am still wondering about it. Does a process of learning always have to produce some suffering? Must every learning journey include a path that we need to follow but don’t really want to take? If that is so, why does it often feel like there is more suffering than joy in institutional education?
     It is certainly unfair to place the responsibility onto the education system only. If I rephrase the question as “Why am I often bored?”, it points to a certain lack within me. I am responsible to some degree for what’s happening within me. I am flawed in many ways and it might just be another flaw of mine. But why can’t I stop myself from reading an interesting book till 3 am knowing that I am stealing time from sleep and that I will hate myself at 7 am for doing so when I have to get up and go to work. Perhaps, it is no one’s fault. There is just a gap between an individual and an institution. Is it possible to close that gap?
    Can video-based learning help close the gap or at least make it sufficiently narrow? We chose VBL as a team because all four of us find this medium engaging. While reading research papers related to VBL, it immediately struck me how many researchers suggest that there is an ideal video length when it comes to generating and maintaining student engagement. The general consensus is to keep it short. For example, Brame recommends making video lessons around 6 minutes long. Her rationale is that it manages intrinsic load and “it may decrease mind wandering” (2016, p. 3). Intrinsic cognitive load is the effort associated with a specific topic (“Cognitive load”, 2021). Did you interpret it as I did?
   So we need to create short videos because the content might require so much mental effort to understand it and it might be so boring unengaging that people can only handle 5-7 minutes of it. Am I the only one who is bothered by this? As a team, we chose the LinkedIn learning course, which follows the short video strategy. The content was not difficult to understand, but it did make my mind wander.
I went to Youtube instead and watched an extremely interesting lecture on psychoanalysis. It was 45 minutes long. While I occasionally watch short Youtube videos with a zero cognitive load such as music videos, cats fighting, drunken car accidents in Russia, I prefer long educational videos. Chess grandmasters teaching end game strategy, comedians teaching the art of creating a joke or a funny story, parenting experts teaching how to manage children’s difficult behaviours. A few days ago I watched a 2.5-hour episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast when a physicist Brian Greene came on as a guest and talked about black holes among other things.
I am sure that you all have your own curiosities that you are passionate about and can spend hours watching videos on the subject. Many of you are passionate about teaching.  Don’t you wish that video-based learning you encounter in institutional education was as engaging and as interesting as your favourite documentaries or educational Youtube videos you watch in your own spare time? Can you imagine watching hours of videos in this program and enjoying them? What would it take for that to happen? Is it really that naive to dream about a day when schools, colleges and universities provide video-based learning as engaging as Youtube? Does institutional education have to be boring?

 

References

Brame, C. J. (2016). Effective educational videos: Principles and guidelines for maximizing student learning from video content. CBE—Life Sciences Education15(4), es6. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125

Cognitive load. (2021, March 25). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_load

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unit 4, Activity 3 | Final Reflections

When I entered into the MALAT program, I hoped that it would help me transition from a career in social services to education. I wanted to become an instructor, so I was happy to get an opportunity to collaborate with other instructors and learn from them. What I learned over the year is that the academic environment and its structure are not the right fit for me. This course and the final project were the last nails in the coffin of my idea to become an instructor. While writing this project plan I kept asking myself why is it such a struggle for me? Sure, English is not my first language, so that is one obvious obstacle, but not the biggest one. Even when I speak Ukrainian I tend to use an informal lexicon and shy away from academic/formal language. When I speak English, the need to use a formal/academic language slows down my brain to an unacceptable degree. I also do not think like instructors do(this has become apparent after doing numerous team assignments and talking to other students in a MALAT discord chat). Some people say that academic writing is just like any skill that you can master over time, but writing assignments like the final one we just did, reminds me of how the formal/academic language is sucking the life out of my soul. It is the reason why I am never happy with the final result. I perceive it as just hideous because there is no life in it. It’s dead but forced to live like Frankenstein.
And yet this realization does not feel like a disaster. I still want to be an educator, but perhaps, my path lies outside of academia or the traditional education system such as school. Someplace that is less structured and less cultured. Somewhere where I can speak simply to people who appreciate simple language and don’t mind me swearing once in a while. I might have to stay in community services because I feel like my flaws are often seen as gifts here.
At the same time, I really appreciate all the concepts I learned in this course and this program. Even though I do not see myself as an active agent of change or a leader, I want to be useful to leaders as an educator or an expert, so learning about different leadership styles and project management was great. I feel like now I can offer a critical eye if I am asked. This course has once again confirmed my suspicions that the quality of anything I produce is directly related to how passionate I am about it. Looks like writing plans, proposal and policies does not consume my soul. There must be another way to support change. And hopefully, there is always a place for a passive supporter of change within an organization.

Unit 3, activity 2

     The Youth Transitioning program is dedicated to helping at-risk youth successfully transition to adulthood. Success is defined as the presence of positive outcomes such as independence, having a social network, life skills and goals, and the absence of negative outcomes such as homelessness, addiction, self-destructive behaviours and criminal activity. These outcomes are tracked through online reporting, which is a part of a database of past and current clients. Before, the daily reporting was not goal-based. It was calendar-based. “On December 14 at 5 pm, I met with J.W. and did this, talked about that”. Every 3 months a paper report of goal progress had to be completed, scanned and uploaded into the system. It was problematic for anyone outside of the program to assess its effectiveness. Imagine having to read hundreds, if not thousands of these individual or quarterly reports in any given year. This issue was supposed to be solved by a modification to the online database which would allow submitting goal-based reports. For example, you could create a goal “Get a driver’s license” or “Graduate from high school” and then either close it once it is completed or mark it as incomplete when the youth turns 19 and leaves the program. You could also generate a report of all complete or incomplete goals for individuals or all youth in the program. Sounds amazing, right? It was announced in advance and it took a while before it was done by a 3rd party software development company. The management clearly communicated the goal to make this change and help everyone adapt to it. I loved it and switched to it immediately following a training session. It was beneficial not just to our management and the government agency overseeing our non-profit company, but also to us, employees because it was a more efficient way to track progress. And yet many of my colleagues who were too used to the old system struggled with this change. More training sessions were offered. The management was patient and supportive. I think the planning and implementation were going well until it came to managing stakeholders. Which dragged on for months until three distinct groups appeared: those who completely switched to the new system, those who continued to use the old system and those who created their own mix of the two. I was just hired to work for another program within the same company, which has a different manager and it was revealed during the interview that they also use the same database, but no one switched to a new system. What were the barriers? I am not familiar with the new program yet, but I agree with Watt that “key stakeholders can make or break the success of a project. Even if all the deliverables are met and the objectives are satisfied, if your key stakeholders aren’t happy, nobody’s happy.” (2014, p. 42). It seems that not enough key stakeholders supported the change and those who supported it, did not push for it hard enough. In the end, it seemed that everyone in the Youth Transitioning program (me included) was happy with the outcome. Is this not a win-win solution? Although, I can imagine that the initiator of this change, someone either higher up or outside of the organization, would not classify it as a success. What would it take for the project to be fully implemented? Perhaps, it required several autocratic leaders (p.114) at various levels. It’s not the leadership style I prefer and I actively avoid working where it is employed, but if the change is required to be adopted and it is arguably a positive change, then perhaps the people within the organization should not be given a choice to ignore it. 

References

Watt, A. (2014). Project managementhttps://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/