With the new year comes a new challenge for me: as of 4th January I take up my new post as a Good Practice Adviser at the U of Glasgow. This is a brand new role in what will soon be a restructured service, and nobody knows how it is all going to pan out. But it’s a promotion, and an opportunity to make the job what I want it to be – and that’s exciting. I’m sad to be moving away from working as a learning technologist  – but to be quite honest I will not miss being the first person folk think of when there is a problem with Urkund. It’ll be an opportunity to talk about designing non-plagiarisable assignments – to look at alternative methods of assessment such as Patchwork Text – to think about putting together some resources for using the Jigsaw Classroom in out new active learning spaces – to work with Niall to publicise his ACJ software more widely – to use the skills and knowledge I’m gaining from working on my PhD and with all of you friends who I engage with online – and who knows what else.

So Michael’s challenge – to choose one word to define my hopes for 2017 – came at just the right time for me. I’ve been mulling it over in my head, but as I’ve been writing this post it became obvious to me which word I should choose.

My word for this year is interaction – something that is vital for everything I do. Peer interaction is the magic that often makes learning happen, imho – and my interactions with all of you enrich my life and my learning. Here’s to an interactive 2017 🙂

“Interactions.” flickr photo by Moses Noghbaudie shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

This entry was posted in #CLMOOC, Jigsaw Technique, Learning, Online learning, Peer interaction, Teaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Interaction

  1. scottx5 says:

    Hi Sarah, congratulations! My wife Leslie had a similar promotion that I’ll try and write about later today. Once the gate opens it’s amazing what can happen.

  2. buistbunch says:

    So glad to have been a part of your inspiration. Can’t wait to hear and read about your new position and how interaction plays a major role in your work. Hope that you and I can interact in 2017.

  3. scottx5 says:

    This isn’t necessarily a happy story as change here in Alberta post-secondary is moving away from grass-roots level community colleges to a more focused investment in the upper levels of the economy. Given that a great deal of ecucational expansion and democratization was enable by a glut of petro-dollars poured thoughtlessly into “schools”, I’m not sure this is even a bad thing.

    Anyway, arriving here in 2007, Leslie took on the task of developing and building online courses for a small community college serving a huge, sparsely populated northern area. Her department covered just about everything related to transferring existing courses, reworking them to function without the face to face interventions most familiar to the students and teachers, and of course fighting with instructors and administrators. Much of this was done under totally unnecessary political infighting and constant departmental redirection and actually worked quite well until 2013 when the Provincial Government, still awash in oil dollars decided to cut 13% from the post-secondary budget. No reason for the cuts beyond the government being both conservative and thoughtless.

    This first of the big cuts cost Leslie her coordinators position pushing her back Instructional Design. As a silver lining, the replacement coordinator turned out to be rather incompetent but excelled at meetings. Leslie could do her job plus the background pedagogy tweaks without time wasted on useless meetings. This lasted until the collapse of oil prices and Leslie’s job was cut altogether last year.

    In a lot of ways this was a relief. We’re both 67 and tired of fools and I will say that education has an overabundance of them. Also, the college is imploding. Staff are leaving, enrollments are down, student services are contracted out, the cafeteria that serves the residences is closed as is the day care. In spite of this, Leslie did get rehired on contract and now works directly with the subject matter experts to get courses developed, accredited and complete to the stage of being companion websites for the courses.

    Been a long slog and it’s a shame that so much effort and resources have gone into courses that were mismanaged into oblivion. But where else could a person work with almost every subject and learn trade-secrets too? Leslie’s final tech school courses to complete are Hairdressing, Water Process and Reclamation, and Heavy Duty Diesel Mechanic first year.

    Interestingly, the initial department was known as Teaching and Learning and it always really was about teaching and learning (and politics).

    Not that everything has gone to hell in Alberta:
    Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

    Take Care,

  4. Tania Sheko says:

    Congratulations on your new job and new possibilities, Sarah! I look forward to hearing about how you construct your role and especially how you will design non-plagiarisable assignments and create alternative methods of assessment.

    Surprise, surprise! I just received your little Nomad in the mail! Yay! How lovely to have one of the ten you made and sent around the world. Thank you so much. 🙂 and for the handmade card.

  5. Congratulations, Sarah! Thinking of your year – I am filled with joy and hope!! 😀

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