Tech@Conestoga Panel Interview 2020

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

The following blog post is a summary of the questions and my answers for the Tech@Conestoga Panel Interview May 26, 2020

Q 1) Please share a bit about yourself in your role at Conestoga and about how you’ve embraced tech in your teaching

A: Hello my name is Kim Carter and I am a Professor in the Business School. I have been teaching at Conestoga for over 10 years

  • I noticed worrisome trends in the past few years.
    • Student were not purchasing textbooks
    • Students did not seem to have the digital competencies/computer skills that I was expecting
    • Ed tech options were multiplying so quickly that I didn’t have the time to keep up with them all

So, I went on a quest to update my own digital literacy skills and I discovered Open Educational Pedagogy (OEP) which is sometimes described as critical digital pedagogy (Rosen & Smale, 2015). OEP is a large topic to unpack in a few minutes but what it means to me is to view course construction through an inclusive lens, co-construct learning with students, build digital literacy skills, and consider when tech is problematic.

What I would like to share with you today is the Medical Terminology Open Educational Resources (MT OER) collaboration project.

  • I am co-creating with a collaborative team (from 8 Ontario Institutions) of SMEs, students, library, ed tech and many others on Open Educational Resources (OER) for Medical Terminology (MT) in context with Introductory Anatomy and Physiology.
    • These customized MT OER are targeted for health office administration (HOA) students and the plan is to replace two paid textbooks with these MT OER
    • Variations of the HOA program is offered at 18 colleges in Ontario and Medical Terminology and Introductory A&P are included in all of them
    • We will publish in the eCampus Ontario Open Library in August for adoption in the Fall semester.
    • To learn more about OER and why it is important to me, visit my blog post here
  • This Means:
    • Students will have resources that are customized to their program of study on the first day of class and at no cost to the student
    • The resources are interactive using PressbooksEDU platform with many formative H5P activities built into each chapter
    • Chapters can be linked individually to weeks in the LMS
    • The H5P activities can be embedded in the LMS for ease of use even before publishing
  • Students are Co-constructing the MT OER:
    • Students started participating in Fall 2019 by making (as low-stakes formative assessment) H5P activities
    • Students (Fall 2019/Winter 2020) edited and gave suggestions for the H5P activities as they were being built
      • Seeking out errors and putting forth corrections
      • Making suggestions such as the audio addition to the dialog cards
    • Students (Conestoga College and Georgian College) continue to collaborate by providing the student perspective on the MT OER, creating formative activities, and reinforcement activities
      • They have put in many hours (part of placement and co-curricular record) and still wish to contribute in the process
    • Future students will continue to co-construct because this is a living textbook to which we can pull back, add to, or publish future modified editions.

Q 2) How did the switch to remote learning impact you? In what ways were you ready to tackle this challenge?

A) Remote learning during a world-wide pandemic is stressful. Decisions need to be made quickly combined with heightened anxiety and stress, this wasn’t, and probably won’t be easy for a while.

  • Feeling somewhat prepared:
    • During the bus strike and prior to remote delivery, I had introduced students to virtual conferencing software, MS TEAMS was already set up in my sections, and students knew how to use it.
    • Students were familiar to experimenting and co-constructing with me.
      • For example, students knew that we were going to use FlipGrid for a scaffold assessment in therapeutic communications. They had to make the adjustment from videotaping their group skit together to using virtual conference software (physically distanced)
      • They exceeded my expectations with their ability to problem solve, find creative and kind solutions to the varying levels of computer access, internet access and schedules among their peers.
    • I have a large personal learning network (PLN) through my involvement with eCampusOntario and OEP both within Conestoga and outside Conestoga.
      • I was able to draw from and sort through the large amounts of information on remote delivery because I was able to leverage trusted contacts in my PLN.
      • I was able to anticipate problems because they were already being discussed in my network. For example, students not having access to internet.
    • The MT OER collaboration team proved invaluable. Since, we teach in the same programs we were able to share problems and solutions specific to our programs. We already had a good working relationship and a MS Team set up so that expedited those conversations.

Interested in being part of my PLN? Follow me on Twitter @Kcarte02

Q3) How has remote teaching led you to re-think your pedagogy and practices? How does this impact the learners in your courses/programs?

A) Remote teaching has reinforced the core values of OPEN and critical digital pedagogy for me. The sudden shift required me to think through the accessibility and inclusivity of my delivery and assessments. Consider which tools I use and which tools (if any) did I need to adjust. I also needed to consider low-tech options for students with limited internet accessibility.

  • Moving forward one of my biggest considerations is the amount of assessments in a course and how efficient and equitable they are they at measuring course outcomes.
  • My re-think will benefit students through:
    • Increased flexibility and choice for how students participate in lessons and complete assessments.
      • offering multiple ways to participate: synchronous and asynchronous lessons including low-tech options for students to participate in courses.
      • Morris & Stommel (n.d) posit that we must have multiple entry points for students to participate in our courses.
    • Using a critical lens to view tech options particularly around assessments
      • heightened awareness regarding privacy concerns
      • building and keeping trust with students through assessment choice
        • A helpful tool for assessing tech is the SECTIONS model (Bates, 2019)

Q4) What advice would you give to others who want to pursue new learning to enhance their use of technology

  1. Model curiosity, experimentation, and innovation and be prepared to make mistakes in front of students.
  2. Be honest with students, that this is something you haven’t tried before and that you will be learning together. Most students are happy to help.
  3. Build time into your lesson plan to work through the tech without grade penalty.
  4. Digital literacy skills might just be the most important skills that you teach your students so build them yourself (JISC, 2018).

References

Bates, T. (2019). Teaching In A Digital Age (2nd ed.). Retrieved May 2020, from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/9-pedagogical-differences-between-media/

JISC. (2018, 09). Developing Digital Literacies. Retrieved from JISC Guides: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/full-guide/developing-digital-literacies

Morris, S. M., & Stommel, J. (n.d.). An Urgency of Teachers. Pressbooks. Retrieved from https://criticaldigitalpedagogy.pressbooks.com

Rosen, J. R., & Smale, M. A. (2015, Jan 1). Open Digital Pedagogy = Critical Pedagogy. Retrieved from Hybrid Pedagogy: https://hybridpedagogy.org/open-digital-pedagogy-critical-pedagogy/

Sharing Resources: What We Can Learn from the Little Neighbourhood Library

Kitchener Ontario: Neighbourhood Little Loaning Library

Today, I had the opportunity to meet with some inspiring individuals. Many like-minded in the concepts of sharing. Sharing in the form of creative commons licensing your work. Through this inspiring exchange a thought crossed my mind and it has been stuck in my head through two more meetings.

What if we promoted licensing our work (faculty created resources) openly with the same concept as those little neighbourhood libraries?
Give One – Take One

In the sudden shift to remote delivery, people in all levels of education have been working collaboratively to ensure students are supported in their studies. This has required efficiencies. Sharing resources is efficient. It takes a heavy workload and disperses it among many people.

Colleagues, like students are overwhelmed with balancing home life, work life and challenging internet stability. If we share the workload we are displaying kindness and empathy not only to our colleagues but by extension to their students.

I know, some of you are going to say that is very altruistic. People, do not want to openly share their work. How will I differentiate myself from others? What if my work isn’t good enough to be put out in the open. Who owns my work and the list goes on and on.

Here is my thought. I think we need to help each other out. It doesn’t have to be huge and require more energy than we can spare. Maybe we share just one thing.

I challenge you to openly license one of your educational creations and share.
Then look for an openly sourced resource you can use.
Give One – Take One

Even better… be the person who stuffs the little neighbourhood library full of books.

Want to take the challenge?
Start Here

Finding Joy in the Creation of OER

Jumping for Joy
Photo by Mohammed Hijas on Unsplash

If you had the opportunity to give each of your students a financial scholarship would you? What if I told you that you could, in the form of open educational resources (OER). Initially, that was my motivation to find and use OER. I recognize that I am gaining so much from the experience and to borrow a sentiment from Marie Kondo, It brings me joy and I am going to keep (doing) it.

In this blog post I will share what I have learned about OER and why I think that they are important to students and to educators. I will interject with questions that I am still pondering and I welcome your participation (in my reflective practice) by commenting below the post. In a series of blog posts I will reflect upon and share my journey exploring Open Educational Pedagogy (OEP).

What are OER?

According to United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) the definition of OER first emerged in 2002 and is defined as:

teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.

UNESCO (2019)

Why I was intrigued?

I was initially intrigued by the idea that a textbook could be a living resource, meaning that educators could make corrections, add content and update the textbook regularly. I teach in programs that are part health and part business and it is rare to find resources that match perfectly to the outcomes of my courses. This means that I am continuously editing, adding, and modifying content to ensure course outcomes are met.

Students Challenged by Costs

One of the main challenges with paid textbooks is that students do not have the required resources on the first day of classes. The reasons are complex but often tied to finances. I attended a Textbook Broke campaign and students explained that sometimes they had to choose required textbooks and access codes over groceries, signing their children up for sports, or future courses.

To see more reasons log on to twitter and look for #TextbookBroke

Aren’t Textbooks Part of Education Costs?

I know you might be thinking aren’t textbooks just part of the cost of going to school. Certainly, this has been the accepted practice. I am not suggesting that authors and businesses should not be fairly compensated for intellectual property and production of textbooks. However, it has been reported that textbook costs have out paced inflation significantly and that 65% of students do not purchase textbooks because of it (Del Valle, G, 2019). Is this a problem? I think so. Is this fair? I do not think so. Something to pause and reflect upon.

OER Increase Student Completion Rates

The benefits for students go beyond saving money on textbook costs. The benefit to having the resources the first day of class means that students can engage at the start, stay on top of homework, and course preparation. So it should not be a surprise that this leads to higher course completion rates and we can anticipate higher program completion rates (Skidmore, 2019). This impacts students who may be disadvantaged, marginalized, and first-generation students (Jhangiani, 2018). The notion that OER/OEP can address concerns in regards to equity, diversity and inclusion is certainly worth exploring.

Benefits for Educators

OER do so much more then save students money the curation and creation of OER also benefits educators. Skidmore (2019) found that when faculty are engaged and involved in the process of creating resources it leads to high quality teaching. As I curate and create OER I am realizing that I am deeply engaged with the material. As I work collaboratively with colleagues and students I am challenged to decide what is required, to view from their perspectives and this process is transformative. My courses will now be driven by collaboratively created OER in a different way then paid textbooks have been. My engagement with the material is deeper and my hope is this will be reflected in my teaching and in my student’s learning.

Why Does it Bring Me Joy?

Curating, creating and organizing collaborative OER is hard work and time consuming but it is breathing new life into my teaching practice. The challenges that OER may assist in addressing are exciting and worth exploring. I have had the opportunity to talk to and learn from OER advocates, students, and colleagues at a deep level and this brings me joy. So, I am going to keep (doing) it.

References

CC BY 4.0

About Me

My name is Kim Carter and I am a Professor at Conestoga College in Southern Ontario, Canada. I am passionate about teaching, learning and aspire to become an effective advocate for open educational pedagogy (OEP). I am collaborating with a team to curate an open educational resource (OER) with the goal of publishing in September 2020.

I started a blog when I participated in eCampus Ontario Extend mOOC. Read those reflections here. I use blogging as a form of reflective practice for my own teaching, my own learning, and now as I explore the open educational pedagogy (OEP) space. I hope you find something helpful in my reflections.

Image Kim Carter