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The Scrapyard

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Scott Johnson
13 January 2013

Scott's working area.

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Heather Peters
5:14am 14 January 2013 (Edited 5:30am 14 January 2013)


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Scott Johnson
6:34am 14 January 2013


Hi Heather, looks like you've found the way to add this cloud to the Peers cloudscape? Some of my technological "skills" are based on pure chance aided by a growing familiarity with web tools that all are becoming easier for the user.

To Answer your question, this cloud is an area for discussions and links to resources. The reason I called it the Scrapyard is to remind myself NOT to use it as a place to simply place links that appear useful or "related" but rather as a place to put selected and reviewed links. I've learned from my own mistakes and one particular link dropper at work that unreviewed "recommendations" are not helpful and become unnecessary noise in the background. So before I put something here I'll check it out.

Do we have a theme for this week? One of my biggest puzzles is how to get conversations started at work. Our instructors generally see our Learning Design and Technology office as intruding into their teaching spaces and an affront to their professionalism. Our original coordinator set a tone that we have since tried to repair but we are still at the cold formality level with most teachers and some are full scale non-cooperators. This is all needlessly unpleasant in an already stressful workplace made even more stressful by people being on stress leave without being replaced:-)

Anyway, peer to peer can't start until a conversation begins and my first observation would be the venue must be simple and safe to share with others. I've read some of Etienne Wenger's "Communities of Practice". I'll set myself the assignment of reading his chapter on "Identity in Practice" and report back ASAP.

Heather Peters
7:54pm 14 January 2013


Hi Scott,

Yes, I stumbled onto how to add an existing cloud - 'phew'! I'm really hoping that I won't need to come to grips with too many more new platforms. I'm not at all resistant to trying out new ways of doing things but can only get my head around so much in 9 weeks!

I'm a link collector too. I'm adding some (briefly) reviewed links to my learning journal (LJ) but will be certain to think carefully before recommending one in particular.

Your comment about instructors/designer relationships is right on a topic I added to my LJ . I think that it can be scary for teachers (at any educational level) to begin to work with designers (I'll call them ID for simplicity sake). Most 'good' teachers I know are incredibly passionate about what they do and how they teach is based a combination of 'knowledge/information' and experience. The 'good' IDs I have met not begin by acknowledging that experience. In turn, the teacher needs to acknowledge the value the ID brings into the teaching space.

The 'bad' IDs burst into the teacher's 'classroom' (this can be course materials, online spaces, etc) saying 'do this this way it's better', seeming to come from a space where the teacher is irrelevant. In turn some teachers have a kneejerk reaction to ID as they are viewed as a challenge to the teacher's own abilities - 'what do you mean I don't know how to teach?'

I have also experienced a toxic work environment where it feels like people who should be collaborators are acting like competitors. Once that expectation has been set up - it sounds like the teachers and IDs where you work are coming from a 'history' where they are pitted against one another - it is difficult to change expectations.

I think it is also about the need for mutual respect. I have run into IDs who actually do say that teachers are nothing but content experts and that the courses they design 'teach themselves'. I've run into teachers who say there is no way an ID knows anything about the reality of teaching. Not particularly helpful ways to begin a relationship.

My own approach has been to formally acknowledge my ID's experience but also to show that much of what I do comes from experience as much as formal education. This approach is working at the moment but we haven't hit a place where we both hold completely different opinions, so I'll reserve judgement on that one. :)

I'm looking forward to hearing a bit more about identity in practice. 

Heather

Scott Johnson
9:02pm 14 January 2013


Hi Heather,

It might be because I come from a family of teachers or my experience with working with and attempting to pass on the trade to apprentices that I appreciate where our teachers are coming from. Being without academic "qualifications" to do my job has led to being ignored, poorly paid and generally feeling disrespected at work so I can relate to having skills challenged--particularly by people who have no apparent functionality themselves:-) And yes, much of the disconnect is left over from a simultaneous set of changes that totally turned this place upside down but that's a whole story in itself.

Though I'm not formally trained in Instructional Design, my wife is and since she did the whole Masters in ID online I was able to pick up some of it, the rest is based on self-study and curiosity. Also have project management experience from the trades and owning my own companies and that helps when we get huge course revisions to do in unrealistic time frames.

Will get back to you on identity. The book I'm reading is quite good and explains organizational practice at a personal level quite well: "Communities of Practice - Learning, Meaning and Identity" By Etienne Wenger. Lot of his writings are on the net, just search his name or "communities of practice." Back to work.

Scott Johnson
9:57pm 20 January 2013


Hello Anita and Heather,

After looking over my committments I've decided to focus on another course in Mentoring over struggling with the chaos of this MOOC. Events at work have turned towards the possibility of setting up a small network of instructors who are having trouble going online and need a safe training program to the side of the institution.

This interests me greatly because it's a chance to become a part of my direct local community which is important to those of us working in isolated places. Still interested in PEER to PEER and will report back when I can. Good Luck with the project!

Very good article: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/mentoring/debut_of_new_column_on_mentoring_in_higher_education_careers

Scott

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