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Tag: ds106

Where we’re going, where we’ve been

Austin Skyline at DuskAustin Skyline at Dusk by Randall Chancellor

 

Right now I am sitting at work, watching the minutes tick by until I have to field a call from a distance learning company to see if I can cajole them into paying me a living wage. Later I’ll have to squeeze in another phone call for a research position. Both jobs are in Austin, Texas. I live 1,500 miles away, and I’ve told my interviewers that I’ll be living in the city by the last day in September. That’s one day after I turn 26 and get booted off my parent’s health insurance plan, and one day before my landlady can legally evict me from the condo I’ve been living in, which she suddenly decided to sell.

I feel like I am going to puke.

ds106: teaching an ethos

My final paper is proceeding apace. And by “apace” I mean WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS LAST SEMESTER? What made me think this was a good plan? DEAR GOD I GRADUATE IN TWO MONTHS!

Panicking aside, I’ve made some decent progress on sorting out how I want to conclude my paper, and how I’m going to get there (kudos to my adviser Dr. Whalen for all the awesome conversations in that vein).

First and foremost, I think that for the purposes of this paper I’m going to define online learning as a branch of edtech. It makes a lot of sense to me: anything that happens on the internet is facilitated by technology, which, to my thinking, makes online education a function of educational technology. Therefore, when I use to the term “educational technology” or “edtech,” I’m also referring to online courses, open and otherwise. I hope to use “edtech” as an umbrella term, and then narrow my terminology when needed, such as when I’m referring to open educational resources or massively open online courses in specific. Then again, if that usage is completely wonky in the actual edtech/online ed world, I’d love some feedback so I’m not producing a paper that’s unintelligable.

I think one of the struggles I’ve been having in trying to pin down where I want my paper to wind up is that, as usual, my focus wasn’t narrow enough. I’m not going to be able to make large pronouncements about The State Of Edtech with this project, no matter how much I feel like that’s what I should be doing. What I can do is narrow my focus back down, like I keep talking about, and bring things back to ds106. Finally. After about three blog posts insisting that’s what I was going to do.

It’s spring break! Here’s the vague outline of my final paper.

Here we are, just about at the halfway mark, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout so far in my edtech extravaganza it’s that there is so much I still have to learn. Hopefully the conference next week can help me fill in a few more blanks, but man, I have a long way to go.

Considering that I’ve only got about half a semester left, I think it’s time to figure out where I’m going with the paper I need to write at the end of this project. My original proposal stated that I’d write about this stuff:

Within my final paper I will explore the history and structure of the Digital Storytelling class and how it functions as part of Mary Washington’s Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies. I will focus on the unique aspects of this course as compared to other open online classes, such as its small size, student-driven assignment creation and flexible interdisciplinary curriculum. I will then connect the elements I’ve identified to larger trends within the field of online education, which will constitute the bulk of my research. I will use the analysis I have outlined in my blog posts and throughout my paper to speculate on the future of online education and educational technology as framed by my experiences in Digital Storytelling.

That… might be a little more difficult than I originally intended. I’ve expanded my knowledge of edtech and open education so much that bringing it back in to focus on ds106 and UMW feels a bit limiting. I do need to focus if I’m ever going to get this thing done., though Ergo… outline time!

Back to the beginning: ds106 and open education

This week’s post is going to be a bit short, but I’m hoping to lay the groundwork for a return to where all this madness began: ds106! My initial proposal revolved around framing a discussion of open education and edtech with my experiences in that class, and while I’ve spent these first few weeks getting my bearings in an unfamiliar field, I need to start bringing things back around.

I’m dipping back into Spiro and Alexander’s NITLE paper about open education in the liberal arts this week. They’ve provided some excellent definitions of open education, and I think it might be useful to examine ds106 to see how it fits into those definitions, and how it is affected by being part of the curriculum at the University of Mary Washington.