Virtual Symposium

LRNT 521

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

As I reflect on this week of the virtual symposium and unit 1 of LRNT 521, I was confronted with feelings of exhilaration and apprehension. Excitement for all the novel things that I am learning and the fascinating people I am meeting. There is the spirit of potential that I felt listening to Dave Cormier’s presentation: Intentional Messiness of Online Communities. Cormier reflected “Open learning can get messy. You do get the learning all over you”(Cormier, 2017, 26:56). Diluting the last three weeks I have read papers and watched videos that inspired me. One hour of planned study turned into a day. I am trying to savour all these moments not just because doing a masters has been a dream of mine for many years but also because I know these two years will be over in a blink. Although excited, I have experienced nervousness for all the things I do not know. I was especially comforted by Elizabeth Childs’ words of  “[y]ou have to trust the process.” So I will trust. 

 

One of the many surprising ideas that I encountered during the symposium, its related links and readings was that open learning goes by many names and that open learning can mean accessibility. Accessibility for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to learning because of time, money or distance. As I was overwhelmed by the flurry of acronyms that I was not familiar with regarding open learning, I googled them and tried to memorize them all. I was better able to understand the terms, deepen my understanding, and connect to all my past experiences, and create exciting questions.. Watching Amanda Coolidge’s presentation I was struck when she proclaimed that she had never finished learning and that she sought to do better in relationships and “to be in a community as a steward of this land and use my power of leadership and collaborate to not just be aware but also be an action [sic] of reciprocity” (Coolidge, 2021, 5:33). These words seem to touch on many questions of our day. How exciting!

 

Especially intriguing to me was the idea of risk and of learning in the open, in an ever increasingly connected world. These were themes explored in many of the presentations and highlighted in Catherine Cronin’s presentation. Cronin’s presentation Choosing Open resonated with me. Quoting Martin Weller she stated “It has never been more risky to operate in the open. It has never been more vital” (Weller, 2016, 5:38). Understanding the problem of students’ confusion between formal and informal spaces is a theme that I would like to better understand. In addition I wonder what it would look like through the different cultural lenses of my students as they perceive formal and informal learning. Open educational practices with regard to digital networking practices, digital teaching practices and personal values are something that are constantly evolving and should be continually renegotiated over time. Moving from less openness to more openness on a continuum is not a precondition and that as teachers, it is acceptable to change how open we choose to be and that it is not static. From day one of the MALAT program, I have been able to apply what I have learned from RRU in my classes in collaboration with my colleagues. I anticipate the next few weeks as they promise to be even more fulgent.

References

Coolidge, A., (April 12th 2021). Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact!. Blackboard Collaborate. http://bit.ly/CoolidgeVS2021

Cormier, D., (April 18th 2017). The Intentional Messiness of Online Communities. Blackboard Collaborate. https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/dave-cormier-virtual-symposium-presentation/

Cronin, K., (April 20th 2017). Open Culture, open education, open questions. Blackboard Collaborate.https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/catherine-cronin-choosing-open/

11 thoughts on “Virtual Symposium

  1. Beautifully expressed, Sam! I love that what you have shared embodies many of the tenets of open learning, from its personalization, creativity, accessibility, and even risk. I wasn’t able to catch all of the sessions last week, and you have inspired me to go back and view some that you have shared about. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Alisha. When I posted my reflection, I had wondered if others had gravitated to the same presentations. Thank you for the Coolidge recommendation or I would have missed that gem. Looking forward to dialoguing with you soon.

  2. Hi Sam,

    So many of us have written about the open education and the language around it. There is so much to learn and I could sense your excitement in your blog. I love the fact that you have been able to apply what you’ve learned so far from the MALAT program in your work and with your colleagues. I’m intrigued as what you started collaborating on with your colleagues… could learn from you in that perspective – Stephanie

    PS. I love your blog page! Where is it?

    1. Hello Stephanie,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Well Stephanie, this pandemic has been a huge strain on our organization and many others I am sure. Many of the people working with me have been struggling to find new ways to present lessons and information in more efficient and exciting ways. For me, I have been able to lean how to use tools that RRU has been using with us. One thing I have adopted is Padlet and I have been trying to teach my colleagues how to use it. Another instance would be all the perspectives we as RRU students have been digesting and that many of the doubts and questions I have been reasoning with, are questions that many authorities/specialists in the field of open learning are still questioning and reevaluating. I am not completely sure why but I found that reassuring and I want to pass that on to my workfellows. Many of them do not have the time or money right now to do much more that try to keep afloat. How have you been negotiating the pandemic? Has the program helped you feel a little more confident as well? 🙂 Sam

      1. Hi Sam,
        I haven’t yet share any of the MALAT resources to my team or business partner. We’ve been working virtually for now 10 years and everyone is fairly adept with collaborative technology. Padlet is a good idea to share. Never thought of it that way. As for the pandemic, MALAT could not have been more timely with lockdowns and stay-at-home order. It gives me time to get in the flow, experiment a little further than if i would have been travelling for work or kids’ hockey games. The fact I can spend more time reading, writing and connecting is increasing my confidence. 🙂 – Stephanie

  3. Sam!
    Your reflection post mirrors your picture on your blog. A city where some of us may feel overwhelmed or lost, others more able to find the way forward, but if we “trust the process” as Elizabeth said so wisely, soon we will be comfortable navigating these streets and become efficient residents of our new education. I agree with your comments about the Cormier’s messiness lecture, learning if often a messy process. Here’s to learning together!

    1. Hi Emma!
      Haha! I am looking forward to being more efficient and learning with you. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I am excited about the debate activity. Are you? I hope we work together again. The photo is looking east toward Burnaby, Indian Arm and the Downtown Eastside.
      Sam

  4. Hello Stephanie,
    Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Well Stephanie, this pandemic has been a huge strain on our organization and many others I am sure. Many of the people working with me have been struggling to find new ways to present lessons and information in more efficient and exciting ways. For me, I have been able to lean how to use tools that RRU has been using with us. One thing I have adopted is Padlet and I have been trying to teach my colleagues how to use it. Another instance would be all the perspectives we as RRU students have been digesting and that many of the doubts and questions I have been reasoning with, are questions that many authorities/specialists in the field of open learning are still questioning and reevaluating. I am not completely sure why but I found that reassuring and I want to pass that on to my workfellows. Many of them do not have the time or money right now to do much more that try to keep afloat. How have you been negotiating the pandemic? Has the program helped you feel a little more confident as well? 🙂 Sam

  5. Hi Emma!
    Haha! I am looking forward to being more efficient and learning with you. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I am excited about the debate activity. Are you? I hope we work together again.
    Sam

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