Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A List Apart: Articles: Elevate Web Design at the University Level

A List Apart: Articles: Elevate Web Design at the University Level: "We need to connect educators and practicing professionals through web and educational conferences. We need to encourage conversation between local web professionals and higher educational institutions."

Institutions risk becoming irrelevant if they are not in touch with the needs of industry and the workplace.

I'm very glad that my program - The Master's of Instructional Technology at UNCW - has a strong tie to and focus on job preparation. They do this through genuine, authentic projects which are featured in every course. And, interaction and involvement from community members and alumni.

It's my hope that they drive further with this philosophy and increase the community involvement. There aren't alot of examples of this and I hope they take their rightful position of leadership in affecting positive change in the industry and school.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inspired by Obama, cyclist riding from L.A. to D.C. | | Star-News | Wilmington, NC

Inspired by Obama, cyclist riding from L.A. to D.C. | | Star-News | Wilmington, NC: "Once Ryan Bowen decided to ride a bicycle from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., for Barack Obama’s inauguration, almost everything else took care of itself."

Just went down to the Durham Bike Co-Op yesterday and got the bike all fixed up. This story is inspiring me to ride to work... but it's cold outside.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An interesting link and an update

RefWorks Home Page: "RefWorks -- an online research management, writing and collaboration tool -- is designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies."

That's the interesting link. I think it might be a cool information sharing tool - like Diigo and Delicious - but it uses the existing University / scholarly standards of APA and bibliographies.

Anyway, a professor at DUSON (Duke school of nursing) turned me on to it and it's being used in the Duke Library. I am living and working in Durham NC now as a support specialist. Basically, it's the same thing that I was doing in Wilmington at UNC W, but I have my own office (WITH MY NAME ON THE DOOR!). I've been here about two months and I'm beginning to settle in. I'm sharing a house with a law student and his dog, Cosmo.

With the new job, I've been involved in many topics in instructional design and technology. Currently -- this weekend -- I've been interested in assessment and measurement. I've been tasked with evaluating courses at work. I want to get involved with the Blackboard exemplary course program. And Doug Noon is thinking about it. And Shane Baptista is thinking about it. So, I'm thinking about it, too.

We really become what we measure. This of course is a universal. ( I always find the universal. )For instance, high school measures memorization of vocabulary. It's easy. It's standardized. The results are students who can repeat vocabulary for a multiple-choice test, but who cannot use that vocabulary with understanding for problem solving and analysis.

Okay -- I'll tell a story. Bonnie Hellgate, my 9th grade English teacher. She was doing vocabulary tests -- basically spelling tests. The word was S T I N G Y. STINGY. I knew the definition and how to spell it. She had never asked how to pronounce it... Before that day. Anyway, I didn't get that question right. And as I recall, I had to take ninth-grade English again that summer.

Moral of the story -- We are what we measure. I didn't know she would measure pronunciation. So, I didn't know how to pronounce it. Universally speaking, I think this idea of measurement extends beyond the classroom. One of my favorite Bob Marley lyrics is "I know you don't know/what this life is really worth ". Perhaps Bob implies that he knows what life is really worth. That he could develop a test for a worthy life. But I don't think so. I think the reason he knows I don't know, is that he doesn't know himself. And he wants people to stop judging him. So I think it circles back to non-judgment.

So perhaps the take away is to assess/evaluate/measure without judgment. Can that be done? How can we assess students learning/progression/ability/competency without cold, critical judgment, which I think disrespects the learner and ... well, soul crushing.

School shouldn't crush the soul.

Have fun out there and be good.