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Category: College Work

Beyond class, beyond grades: a reflection on “assessment”

Okay, we’re off and running and I am writing my first blog post for my edtech/online ed independent study here at the University of Mary Washington.

The first point I would like to make is this: I am more than a little overwhelmed.

I’m essentially taking this semester to give myself a crash-course in emerging pedagogies in edtech, and even reading through the first paper I picked out has confirmed that I’m coming into this as the humblest of padawans. Fortunately my adviser, Dr. Zach Whalen, is a little like really chill Yoda, and continues to remind me that I don’t have to know everything in order to say something.

That said, I would like to add the caveat that I’ve only scratched the surface of these topics and trends. If I say something ignorant, it’s probably because I genuinely don’t know better. Yet. But eventually I will.

The first paper I’m reading for this study is “Open Education in the Liberal Arts: A NITLE Working Paper” by Dr. Lisa Spiro and Dr. Bryan Alexander. It’s serving as a brilliant introduction to edtech/online ed, and specifically the culture of openness that is evolving in those contexts. I’m currently processing how ds106 fits into the definitions of openness they describe in their work (it is certainly an open course, but how does it embody open teaching? Open coursework? Open learners? How does the openness of ds106 challenge, change, and interact with the more “traditional” aspects of UMW’s teaching?) but this section on “open assessment” struck a particular chord with me:

Open assessment: Through badges, portfolios, and other mechanisms, the open education community is developing ways to certify learning that often depends upon open educational resources and approaches. For example, Mozilla’s Open Badges program provides an infrastructure for organizations to recognize skills that people develop outside of traditional educational contexts.

Independent Study Proposal: Edtech Boogaloo

I DID IT. I HAVE A PROPOSAL THAT MY ADVISER IS SIGNING OFF ON. THAT IS HAPPENING. TODAY.

rejoicing

 

So if you’re interested in what the Big Scary Research Project is (more or less) going to be about, read on! The short version is that I’m going to be picking apart what makes ds106 such a unique educational experience, connect and juxtapose it to larger trends within edtech and online education, and from there wax poetic (or wax critical, I guess?) on where I see edtech/online ed heading as the field continues to evolve. I’ll be framing my critique and discussion from the perspective of a student participant, and using the University of Mary Washington’s edtech initiatives as a starting point.

Once a week I’ll also be writing a 500-1,000 word commentary on what I’m currently reading here on aetherbunny.com. Hopefully I’ll solicit at least a little feedback from people actually working in these fields, so if you’re at all interested in a highly passionate and equally ignorant undergrad trying to teach herself The Meaning of Edtech, stay tuned!

Independent Study Proposal: Edtech Boogaloo…

What’s next on Aetherbunny?

TUNE IN AND FIND OUT!

Seasonal! Kinda! Also appropriate considering there is a LOT of new stuff! Starting with dusting off the cobwebs on WordPress and getting everything shiny and updated for 2013.

So. Here are my big scary awesome projects for the new year:

  • Big Scary Awesome Research Paper– I’m doing a research project! It’s about online learning and possibly my experiences with ds106! I need to have a proposal drafted in about a week and I don’t even have a proper thesis! This is where the “scary” part comes in! I will be flailing about it on a weekly basis RIGHT HERE!
  • RossRoads 2013: The Tour – My cousin is working on a music and art label based out of DC called Foreign Substances and he’s planning a road trip this year to promote it. I’m going to be helping him manage the content he wants to distribute across various platforms, including (we think) WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr, and Soundcloud. The best part? I have no idea what I’m doing!
  • Lewinsville Presbyterian Church online education – My home church is trying to sort out online Christian ed, and I’m going to lob some ideas at them to make their next class more effective than their first attempt. If they want me to, I might even be able to help them set up and manage the tools they could use to create a compelling online classroom. Exciting!
  • New Twitter Handle – Since my old handle is tied pretty closely with a bunch of personal stuff and I want to start using Twitter as a way to forge professional connections, I’ve got to come up with a new Twitter account and shut down my old one. Suggestions welcome!
  • New theme for Aetherbunny.com? – I like this theme, but it’s pretty cramped. I’ll be experimenting with new themes and widgets in my ongoing quest for BLOG PERFECTION.

My issue is, of course, that I always dream WAY way bigger than what I can realistically accomplish. To make all of this come together in a meaningful way, I’m going to need a LOT of help, especially with the research project…

“Answer the Unanswered Riddle”

“WHO IS THE STAR-BEARER,
AND WHAT WILL HE LOOSE THAT IS BOUND?”

In 1976, Patricia A. McKillip published a fantasy novel that became a quiet legend among those who read it and fell in love with the world she created. The Riddle-Master of Hed told the story of a man pulled inexorably away from his home and his family by a destiny spelled out in a riddle of three stars…

"What are three stars?"