Presentations, Workshops, Courses

  • Working on upcoming BCNet presentation on (what else) open textbooks.
  • Met with Gill and Barbara about our Open Textbook Summit presentation on the Geography booksprint.
  • Submitted proposal for OpenEd15 this fall with Gill and Barbara to present on same topic (ok, not quite done this yet, but will beat today’s midnight submission deadline).
  • Co-facilitated a live webinar with David Porter and Paul Stacey (Creative Commons), part of a 12 day Open Education course I am co-facilitating with Commonwealth of Learning and BC Ministry of Education.
  • Prepped for a Monday webinar with Megan Beckett (Siyavula) for same course.

Projects

  • Finished up a testbank for the Noba Project (a great Psychology open resource). They co-sponsored the Psychology TestBank Sprint last summer that Rajiv put together. I’ve been working with Respondus to make LMS import packages of the question banks for them. They have been very patient with me waiting for these files as it was one of those projects that always seemed to get delayed by the tyranny of urgent. Was nice to be able to do something that was a bit edtechish.
  • We’re planning a revamp of the Open site this summer and I’ve started brainstorming some notes on things I’d like to see changed.
  • The night before the Open Textbook Summit, we’ve decided to hold a thank you event for authors and adapters who have worked on open textbook projects we have funded. Did some work on that event, although Amanda and Lauri are handling the bulk of the work.

Reading

  • The Portable Z: We’re Doing Five Blades by Richard Sebastian. Following on the success of the Z Degree at Tidewater Community College, the state of Virginia is going to be rolling out Z Degree programs at all 23 state colleges. This is really exciting stuff; entire programs with $0 textbook costs, scaling up to cover an entire statewide system.
  • Finding the Problems OER Solves Martin Weller. I tend to think of myself as a pragmatic dreamer (a recipe for cognitive dissonance if there ever was one) leaning a bit heavy on the pragmatic side. Which is why I appreciate Martin’s perspective so much. This pragmatism was also evident in a presentation of Martin’s that I watched this week on The Battler for Open (which I am three chapters into) when he responds to the criticism that, after 10 years OER’s haven’t disrupted education with “has it just been useful?
  • The Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices in Online Education Geroge Veletsianos. Looking forward to the new edition of the book.
  • I read some posts about the Microsoft/McGraw Hill partnership, but honestly I tuned out after I heard Powerpoint. I probably should care more since McGraw-Hill does a lot of openwashing in their press release “McGraw-Hill Education’s embrace of open learning.” Yeah, right. Embrace. Call me cynical, but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of openly licensed content come out of this arrangement.

Other stuff

  • Took some time with the rest of the open textbook team this week for a celebratory lunch.
  • Met with the Faculty Fellows this week. All are going to be busy at various events around the province in the coming months presenting and talking about open textbooks. We have also been going over the findings of the faculty survey we did earlier this year with the OER Research Hub. The findings will form the basis of their presentation at the Open Textbook Summit in May. We’ll also be releasing the results on the open.bccampus.ca website over the summer.
  • Got the new @bcopentext Twitter account up and running.
  • Annoying login problem popping up with Pressbooks Textbook since we changed the login path in an attempt to stem the brute force attack that shows no signs of waning. Basically, if you are in as an editor or author in multiple books on the platform, you are being forced to log in twice. It may be an inconvenience we have to live with on our local platform (others who install Pressbooks Textbooks won’t have this issue – it’s something specific to our instance as a result of the persistent attack we have on our servers). Times like these, I am so grateful to have the skills of seasoned network administrators to rely on. I’ve spent too much time in the six stages of grief throughout my WordPress loving life.
  • Attended a presentation at my kids school on Internet Safety for Parents by Darren Laur. I was dreading this presentation since it was pitched to our school PAC a few months ago thinking it would be full of fear mongering. It didn’t make me feel much better after Googling about the presentation and finding out that Darren puts on the persona of a white hat hacker and creeps kids social media profiles befriending them as a 16 year old girl prior to doing his school presentations. Ick. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to see Darren present a pretty balanced view of digital citizenship. He made it a point to stress to the 50 or so parents in the audience that “your kids are doing some amazing things” and being positive digital citizens. I wish there was just as much emphasis on the role that schools should be playing in helping to create those digital citizens (I am still appalled at the lack of digital literacy education in my kids school curriculum) rather than placing the entire load on many parents to cultivate digital citizens, but overall I thought the presentation was good and not as fear monger-ish as I had expected.

Next week: packing my hiking shoes and off to Banff for OE Global, followed by a few days in Vancouver for the annual BCNet conference.

CC BY 4.0 Week 16 In Review by Clint Lalonde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Just a guy writing some stuff. Mostly for me these days.