Monday, January 11, 2016

Dear Blog, it's been a while...

Looking at the date of my last post, it’s obvious that it has been a while since I last ‘blogged’ (at least, long form!). It’s not that I don’t see the value of blogging for an educator. I do. I believe that it is a great tool for both personal reflection, and sharing. My last blog post was in November 2014, when I was in Istanbul, Turkey, for mLearn 2014. Anyone who knows me is well aware of the challenges that befell my family shortly after returning from that conference. Long story short – since then my family has travelled over 20-thousand km from Doha, Qatar (where I was working as an Instructional Developer with the Advanced Learning Technologies Centre at College of the North Atlantic-Qatar).

The Corniche (waterfront) in Doha, Qatar
We journeyed first St. John’s, Newfoundland, and then, finally, to Surrey, BC. Professionally speaking, I’ve been blessed. I’m now working as the Leader, Online Learning, with the Fraser Health Authority. And, I’ve accepted a teaching appointment as an Adjunct Professor of Educational Technology with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). It’s the latter that has prompted me to ‘hit the keyboard’ with this blog once again.


I’m teaching two courses with UOIT this term: EDUC 5101 G(Digital Tools for Knowledge Construction) and EDUC 5103 G (Online Technologyin Education). Particularly in EDUC 5101 G, I’m promoting the use of blogging for reflective practice (as a form of knowledge construction). I’ve asked course participants to post at least one original blog post per week, and to respond to at least two other classmates’ posts. I figure that I had better lead by example! My hope is to post at least once a week this term. And my objectives are threefold. First, I want to lead by example, and demonstrate the use of blogging for personal reflection (I’ll be reflecting on what I’m learning as an educator during my first official term with UOIT). Second, I want to demonstrate the use of blogging for sharing – sharing personal goals, problems, solutions, and expertise (something which I would like course participants to start doing, if they don’t already, as emerging leaders in the field of educational technology). And, third, I want to continue to build my PLN.

What is a PLN?

A PLN is a Personal Learning Network. It’s the combination of formal and informal professional communities of practice that I’ve built, and maintain, through digital technologies. I’ve made a lot of great connections through my online presences, which would have otherwise been impossible. And I’ve learned a lot (and shared a lot) through those communities. My PLN has also been instrumental in my career progression. As an online learner (and educator), one of the first places to start with building (or expanding) a PLN is my online class roster. I hope to use blogging, as well as Twitter and other channels, to forge mutual collaborative learning relationships that extend beyond the 12 weeks of this term. This is the reason why I’ve asked my course participants to share links to their public blogs, and why I’ve posted the course websites outside of the locked-down LMS. I want my courses this term to be starting points (home bases, if you will) that we can return to whenever we need… not fixed duration experiences.

Classes for EDUC 5101 G and EDUC 5103 G officially start this week. With that in mind, here are just a few resources that I’ve found that might be useful to participants who are just starting in the blogosphere:
And, remember, blogging doesn’t need to be exclusively long-form. I’m a huge fan of micro-blogging. I do that through my Twitter feed @xPat_Letters. And you can follow our course conversations on Twitter using the hashtags #EDUC5101G and #EDUC5103G.

Until next post…
Rob

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