• Open universities and the broader open narrative

    Today Martin Weller gave a really nice talk at the OU that was streamed for a global audience that was no doubt numerous. I’m told there’s a recording that will be posted for those who have missed it. There was a lot of rich information in his talk but Martin punctuated a few big points for me: Open universities were a higher education innovation and continue to be an innovation (I wholeheartedly agree). In fact, “innovation happened around an idea of openness”, which ensures its relevance. The Open University has been innovating open and ed tech for a long time (they were early adopters of Moodle and the biggest contributor…

  • Open infrastructure and open education practices

    One of the questions that I’ve been percolating and discussing with my OpenETC collaborators is the extent can you do open and engage in open education practices without open infrastructure. The timing is perfect, as I’m about to embark on a two week guest speaker gig for the MET course Planning and Managing Educational Technologies for Higher Education. This is the third year I’ll be doing a guest speaker spot in this course, and while in the previous years I focussed on the institutional organisation of educational technologies, this time I’m going to focus on the growing importance of considering open educational technology as part of the educational technology infrastructure of an institution.…

  • A crash course in ed tech and online learning for higher ed leaders

    One of the things I’ve come to appreciate is how challenging it can be for an institution to grapple with online learning and ed tech.  Leadership is so important and yet the top layer of an institution is generally not selected for their in depth knowledge of something many of us have dedicated our careers to. Even Directors of Teaching and Learning centres may specialize in other things, and have only an operational level understanding of ed tech and how it supports teaching and learning. The online learning in Canadian universities and colleges 2018 preliminary data is pointing – with a few exceptions –  to the growth of online and…

  • The gem of a conference that was ICICTE 2016

    Image by Gorg Malia, cartoonist, instructional technologist, and one of the incredibly interesting ICICTE organizers and attendees. A couple of weeks ago I had the great privilege of being the keynote speaker at #ICICTE 2016 in Rhodes, Greece.  I’ve got a couple of posts planned about the keynote and what I learned from the great presenters there, but first want to share some thoughts on what I thought made this conference a really fantastic 4 days. I’ll admit to having had a fair bit of conference fatigue for the past few years.  In the past 15 years I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a lot of ed tech-related conferences and the…

  • Dear LMS companies (and other ed tech sales people),

    Thank you for getting in touch with me, and for not bothering our VP and President and CIO after I didn’t initially respond to you voice mail or email request to talk about the latest features that your LMS has to offer.  In the six years I’ve been in this job, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of you, both in person and via other means.  I admire the enthusiasm and patience you have in a role where I personally would struggle, especially when trying to get people like me excited about your latest offerings.  I suspect it must be very deflating to talk to people like me, and I…

  • #ETUG and the 1994 flashback

    I spent that last couple of days at the ETUG Spring workshop, which was a bit of a special one for the ETUG crowd given that it was the 20th anniversary edition.  The Langara location was itself a bit of a flashback for me, given that my first real post secondary job was at Langara only 13 short years ago.  For added fun, ETUG  invited us to think about the state of educational  technology 20 years ago in relation to our lives at that time. The backstory I found myself thinking about that a a fair bit during the 2 days, since there were so many subtle reminders of where…

  • Innovation in Higher Education

    I spent the better part of last week at CNIE 2014 in Kamloops where I got to enjoy some good sunshine, great TRU hospitality, great music, and good presentations and conversations with old and new colleagues.  It was probably the first time I’d been to a conference where I left with a feeling that there was a common angsty thread in many of the discussions around innovation, nicely kicked off by Audrey Watters and already captured on her blog Hack Education (how does she do that so fast??) and wrapped up by Brian Lamb (not yet posted but hopefully captured). The purpose of my presentation–slides here–was to talk about how an over-investment…

  • Why universities shouldn’t forget about institutes and colleges

    There was a piece in the Globe and Mail this week that found its way into our inboxes at our little institution.  If you missed it, or have exceeded your free article count for the month, the President of Brock University made an important case that universities shouldn’t be held to an Ivory Tower stereotype and as the title of the piece suggests, universities play an important role in the community.  Perspectives like this one are important and I found it to be an interesting summary of some of the things that are happening in the university sector in Ontario.  However, there is some irony in the ‘we are not…

  • Disruption, higher education and other vague discussions

    Brian Lamb’s recent post has me reflecting on much of my discomfort with the disrupting higher education rhetoric, which, if anything, only seems to be gaining ampler.  I’m not sure if he intended this, but in the last paragraph he grounds the mile high disruption conversation in what really matters–innovation that addresses problems of meaningful access to education for students with varying access needs. My discomfort with much of the disruption rhetoric isn’t that higher education doesn’t need a shakeup, but rather it makes sweeping assumptions of “students”, “institutions”, “courses”, “faculty”.  Increasing, disruption is tied to MOOCs, and somewhere in the MOOC-disrupting-higher-education-leading-to-a-learner’s-bill-of-rights mania, “higher education” has never been questioned as…

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