Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Read this blog

As I hope many in our QEP group have been doing lately, I have been reading some education/writing/connectivity blogs.

By far, the best that I have read is titled "Helicopter Lessons," Mark Pesce's June 14 blog on childhood development and "hyper-connectivity"--http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=372

His two or three blogs leading up to this one are also top-notch, but in this blog he brings his thoughts more to bear on education.

Pesce's site is called The Human Network, and it has proven to be a rich source of ideas for our explorations of connectivity and networking. Please, everyone, check it out!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I was reading a blog by Stephen Downes this morning that includes a perspective that I feel has great bearing on what we are trying to do with our QEP design. Downes is an early proponent of Connectivism, with George Siemens.

In his article "The Future of Online Learning, Ten Years Out" (2008), Downes says that two of the most transformative factors for our students will be the two terms in my title: flow and syndication. "Syndication" we all know from our exploration through Google Reader and its use of RSS feed, which Downes identifies as Rich Site Summary--the aggregate tool that collects site changes at our whim and loads us with probably more sources to look at than we can handle.

His term "flow" signifies a type of information gathering and learning that is purely 21st century and that is unique to our use of the RSS feed, our cable channels, our social networking, our iphones and ipads, and however else we input data . That is, we have "suddenly" all adjusted to picking and choosing what we want to learn about, and what we want to learn more about, by working an information flow or stream, or multiple streams.

As we've said in QEP, students are already there, too. BUT not in their classes! What made me sit up and take notice of Downes' comment is the realization that this (flow and syndication) is where we should be starting with our students! We should be taking them to the proverbial stream and dunking them in during their first week or two of class--"Go forth and find knowledge, record it, and then share it, and profit from what your neighbor shares!" If the first experience is exhilarating enough, then QEP teachers and students both will want to repeat this immersion regularly and often!

Yes, these forays into the unknown probably will be buttressed by textbook lectures, quizzes, PowerPoints, essays--our 19th and 20 century academic paraphernalia that we haven't discarded yet. But it's in the in-between class time when QEP exists and when these new practices will take root . . . if they are scheduled, collaboratively carried out, and carefully nurtured. Our students' evolution depends on it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

First post

Welcome! This blog is my professional space for discussing the teaching of writing and various topics that arise through my work as Coordinator of a Quality Enhancement Plan [QEP] at Albany State University in Albany, GA.

Presently, our main point of discussion is the learning theory of Connectivism, as written about by George Siemens in his Dec. 2004 article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Here at Albany State, I and my fellow Coordinator Keith Hamon have been directed to construct a Writing Across the Curriculum program that uses student writing in an online environment to supplement classroom work. We work with about 10 faculty each year--this is our second year--to help infuse into their syllabi significant writing opportunities that support what the students are receiving in class.