I can’t remember my password #elearning #careers #edtech #resilience

Hi,

I set up a new blog a while back, but I can’t remember my password to get logged into said blog, so… we are here at this old friend, today.

Recently I completely biffed the interview for my dream job. Yep, I’ve been after this job for 4 years, but I have this uncanny ability to put immense pressure on myself and I cracked. I didn’t even get through the first question… it’s a long story. They tried to call me back, but I was a little inconsolable.

One of those rare times in life where a do-over would be most welcome, but based on how little time it took for the hiring manager to make a decision the last time I was part of one of her interview committees, I’m sure they’ve decided on someone by now. This morning it sounds like they’ve either hired someone or decided not to hire anyone. Is it bad that I’m [not so] secretly hoping for the latter?

The best I can hope for is to move on from this debacle as gracefully as possible. Fortunately, not getting that job in no way changes who I am – I am still passionate about helping students succeed, working with faculty, and pretty much anything relevant to distance learning.

So, I’ve signed myself up for a webinar (and invited my co-workers to join me), found myself some interesting reading material and put my head down, intent on keeping on keeping on.

ID Reading Conglomeration

Hi. I was looking for some things to read to better keep up with the world of instructional design. Found one massive list, so posting selections from that list and the comments on that post, as well as others… ha. There’s no rhyme or reason to any of this, yet, but feel free to click through and comment w/other suggestions. I’ll try to come back and organize at some point :).

I may have bit off more than I can chew, so help part it down, I left off [most] blogs who’s most recent entries were a ways back:

  1. Ten Steps to Complex Learning (book)
  2. Complex Learning, Step by Step (blog entry)
  3. Writing Training Materials That Work: How to Train Anyone to Do Anything (book)
  4. First Things Fast (book)
  5. Job Aids and Performance Support (book)
  6. Oh dear… 30 top online resources for instructional designers to keep up with (blog entry)
  7. G’s View of the World (blog)
  8. Big Dog, Little Dog (blog)
  9. bozarthzone (blog)
  10. Cammy Bean’s Learning Visions (blog)
  11. Discovery Through Elearning (blog)
  12. elsua.net – A Knowledge Management Blog: Thinking Outside the Box
  13. Elearning Leadership Blog
  14. E-Learning Curve Blog
  15. ID and Other Reflections (blog)
  16. Information is Beautiful (blog)
  17. E-learning and the Science of Instruction (book)
  18. Michael Allen’s Guide to E-Learning (book)
  19. Design for How People Learn (book)
  20. Gagdets, Games and Gizmos for Learning (book)
  21. The Conditions of Learning and Theory of Instruction (book)
  22. Training Complex Cognitive Skills (book)
  23. The Design of Everyday things (book)
  24. E-Learning by Design (book)
  25. What Every Manager Should Know About Training (book)
  26. The Non-Designer’s Design Book
  27. Blueprints for Complex Learning: the 4C/ID Model (pdf)
  28. …Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting (book)
  29. Instructional Design for Elearning (book)
  30. Instructional Desgin, 2nd Ed. (pdf)
  31. Don’t Make Me Think (book)
  32. Lessons in Learning, E-Learning and Training (book)
  33. Designing World-Class E-Learning (book)

That’s all for now. My current professional interest is in this list, somewhere… I haven’t honed it into a particular couple of words, and it’s slightly different but also very similar to the work I hope to be doing, soon, so I don’t want to introduce confusion somewhere, either :D. If you have other suggestions for good books/blogs/recent or not-so-recent articles, please post in the comments. Gracias.

Open Educational Resources – A Primer

Open textbooks have been discussed via email as an option for instructors at Tillamook Bay Community College. I was asked to provide a bit of a primer on Open Educational Resources and where faculty can start to look in order to explore these free resources. Here are a few questions you might have on Open Educational Resources and my attempts to provide you with some information to help you answer them. I thought I’d write it as a blog post in case others find this information useful.

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

Free! Resources! To use! Open typically means that you can use, share and modify them for educational purposes with attribution (give credit where credit is due). Usually some form of a creative commons license applies. Click the link for more information.

How do I find them?

I usually stumble on to them. One website I frequent, Open Culture, has links down the right hand side to free movies, textbooks and more. Often you’ll have to look at the website for a resource (look for the badges mentioned in the Creative Commons License link above) or contact it’s creator in order to find out if it’s covered by a CC license.

When I was working at Southwestern, I was often looking for educational resources for their math instructors, and found a website called Merlot. It has resources for online learning in subjects ranging from Algebra to Sociology. Just click on “Search Merlot” on the main page and you’ll be on your way to exploring an overwhelming number of resources, depending on your subject area.

Another neat feature of Merlot is that if you click on a resource, you can get more details about whether it’s copyrighted or if it’s been created under a Creative Commons License.

Columbia Gorge Community College has put together a great page with additional resources pertaining to Open Educational Resources, including information on Quality Considerations when selecting OERs. They have also collected many links to different sources for OERs on that page.

Finally, one of my favorite resources is Twitter. Really. If you explore the #oer hashtag you can find resources, webinars and people to chat with.

Learning Online, Part 1

There’s a new term of school upon those of us in higher education on a quarter system, so I thought it might be helpful to talk about a few of thing I’ve learned in 5 years of taking online classes (and a few spent supporting students taking online classes).

When I initially started taking online classes, I wasn’t very successful even though I had been through classes where instructors used Blackboard as a resource center.

My biggest problem with online classes has always been time management (& I’ve taken a lot of online classes). So, pace yourself. Don’t wait until the last minute to get things turned in. Use a calendar… and I mean really USE A CALENDAR. Don’t just write the assignment due dates on it and never look at it, again.

Here are some tools I like (there are probably better/ different ones out there, but these have been good org tools/ friends to me).

Paper planners

Apps/ Electronic Calendars

Other Productivity Tools

Good luck!

Gender gap in tech careers

I’m enrolled in an undergraduate class online at Portland Community College, this summer: Technology in Education. It’s worth taking for the content and the sheer good-naturedness of the instructor. It’s a decent class – I wish I spent a little more time participating in the discussion forums. I thought maybe this could be an extension of my participation there.

In our most recent assignment, she asked us to examine the gender gap in tech careers. One of the comments I found interesting came out of this article in the TimesOnline.

“I just think that people don’t see clear areas to be promoting women,” she explained. “Whereas it’s always been the case that men went into engineering. You didn’t have to promote it, it’s just something you saw around you…”

This has gotten me thinking about a couple of the programs that we offer at the college I currently work at. In the past 2.5 years, I have knowledge of very few women enrolling in coursework with the Industrial Maintenance Technology program. This is not something that I am overly concerned about – I think people will find their way to whatever path or occupation is best for them.

In things like IMT or agriculture or computer science, it still seems like it is very commonplace for men to be doing it; it’s just accepted.

Wouldn’t it be great if at an earlier age woman discovered that they want to be computer scientists or mechanics or civil engineers? Pacific University recently wrapped up their summer computer science program for middle school girls. I worked in a middle school for a few months – I constantly heard that students in that age bracket are some of the most impressionable.

On a related note, Dr. Juliet Brosing, the professor that started this program up at Pacific, was named the 2012 Professor of the Year in Oregon and she has been doing this kind of stuff for years – helping middle-school aged girls get interested in science and computers. I just think she’s a good example to look at – we should all be advocating for young people to have exposure to things they may one day be passionate about.

In my own life, I think I’ve had good advocates for science, technology and engineering. In junior high and high school, I participated in summer women in technology programs, and when I went to college, I had remarkable advisors (Dr. Brosing among them) that encouraged me in whatever I chose to pursue. I wound up back in education primarily because I have always had enormous respect for HS and college-level teachers.

[To Be Revised a bit]

Learning to Learn (again)

I have been trying to figure out how to keep learning things, now that I’m done with school for a while. I’ve been in formal education settings since I was 5, so… 27 years? That’s ridiculous, but I’d venture to say that in this case more than a lot of cases, old habits die hard.

I don’t just want to learn: I want to be taught. I have to retrain myself to think of me as both the learner and the teacher, now. It’s quite an adjustment. To help me along with this, I’ve come up with a few “Learning Goals” for this summer.

My Summer Learning Goals

1. This summer, I am learning how to use SolidWorks, a 3-D drafting software, so that I can help out with a friend’s class this fall if I’m needed. I was originally going to be able to teach the class, but you know how way leads onto way… and we ultimately figured out that I wasn’t qualified!

Tonight, I want to complete the “Getting Started” set of tutorials. I have been looking at it for a while, already, but have been getting confused, so I am trying to approach it in an organized fashion: “Today I will do this. On Monday, I will do this. Etc.” Here’s tonight’s list:

  • Introduction to SolidWorks
  • Lesson 1 – Parts
  • Lesson 2 – Assemblies
  • Lesson 3 – Drawings

I was initially a little perturbed at having to battle my way through SolidWorks on my own. For the level that the students are going to be using it this fall, however, it’s not that complicated. I’ve decided to enjoy the opportunity to learn this software. Uncomplicated doesn’t make it Sarah-friendly, but it helps.

2. This fall, I will be teaching Basic Math online. So, this summer I am working on learning to use a new-to-me LMS (Jenzabar’s e-Racer). If you have been reading my blog for any great length of time, then you know I have a soft spot in my heart for another LMS. I don’t want to use anything else except maybe Desire2Learn. E-Racer isn’t treating me too badly, however – it has been pretty simple to customize the layout. I am familiar with the web interface for Jenzabar, so it was a surprise to find out that when you enable e-Racer, it’s just another module within the web interface.

3. This is a great lead-in to the third piece of software I am learning, this Summer – Hawkes Learning Systems. I explored this as part of my job about 5 years ago, in my first position with a community college. I don’t remember why we opted not to use it and I don’t think it has changed too much, but at some point in the intervening 5 years, the school has decided to use it in order to teach basic math.

I’ve looked at Hawkes and it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, which I have come to think is probably the best situation for online Math 20 students. Anyway, I am using this software for most of the course homework. I know from experience that this has it’s own inherent set of challenges and hopefully I am more prepared for it than I was the last time I used an online homework system.

That’s what I’m doing, this summer, for the most part. I am also trying to figure out for the life of me how I can be ahead of the curve in terms of educational technology and elearning. Here are my current sources I like:

Anything else you would recommend? Are you yourself or your institution working on something really awesome in the world of virtual education? I just graduated from Boise State University in May, and one of the things they do that I think is cool is their 3D Gamelab. It’s a quest-based learning platform that keeps students engaged with gaming principles. Check out the video below for more information:

The last thing I’m trying to do this summer is blog more. Consider this my tentative step forward on that goal – I’ll try to start finishing up/ posting some of the other posts I have in draft form.