Reflections on Spring Teaching


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Just got my course feedback. My students hated my online classes They really wanted me on Blackboard, I wish they knew how much of their data got sucked up. More importantly I want them to understand why they need to #ownyourdata #digped
This is such an importance #literacies lesson, such an important skill for educators to model. We have to #teachtheweb just as much as any "Big Five" they are missing this take away. It is essential to our civil society
And I thought I really nailed the navigation. I removed a third party chat app, removed an annotation app, got it down to just two websites, theirs and mine
Yet people still felt it too hard to move around. I embedded an RSS feed, created specific feeds for class updates that fed right onto the homepages and recorded videos all openly availlable on
But they all want to be on Blackboard, not sure what to do. Owning your content as an educator and teaching students to read, write, and participate online is a basic literacy skill. Teachers must be pushed
Also got a lot of criticism that the class required self teaching and how bad that was an experience.

I call this good instructional design. I can't teach you to teach kids to read without children this class is superficial from the outset.
So instead I want teachers who have core background knowledge and can then know what they don't know and how to go out and learn it when they have actual students to teach to read.
Organization was also a constant complaint. Been that way since birth.sorry....maybe I will discover the magic potion...but #literacies and meaning making are not linerar no matter what Big Five models tell us
Still sometimes links did not work, A: SSO to get from library link to journal article without violating copyright is no easy task. I was hand spinning these classes in HTML and for good reason
We all teach the same stuff. In #HigherEd we need to support each other to survive. HTML provides the resilient pathway to #OER, we all talk #OER and then hide courses in Blackboard.

We need each other as an an Academy
We have a 4/4 load, our Dean told to us to apply for 10 million in grants, I was also grad coordinator, which is 80% customer service rep and 80% filling out spreadsheets for accreditation or a constantly shifting regulatory environment.
This is just a theory but I argue teachers are one of the most regulated industries in the country. Some argue pilots but if you take page counts of existing bills , federal regulations, state regulations, federal laws, state laws, state proposed laws, federal laws...dunno
So you are forced to choose some element of you job not to be good at between research, teaching, service, and professional development.

Maybe it was teaching's turn???
My colleagues have also been fighting to get rid of #edu307 for years after an edict from down high all programs must be 120 credits (because Carnegie hours equal learning)
Be back, a planting lattice fell down and my wife wants it back up, their is a robin nest in it....the birds never make it....they try every year....good metaphor for my instructional design
But it wears on you fighting for a course and then you lose, but this being #highered it will be years to make program changes, yes years, so it is hard to show a course the love when you know it is already dead
Yet I thought I did, students also did not like shifting deadlines but I tried one week than I did overlapping weeks to create two week modules. Yet I never wanted to move on until majority of class had caught on.
Students just want a class that goes read this article by Tues, write a reply by Wed and respond to two peers by Saturday. the commodification of #highered has taught our kids to expect a bad course by mail as an online experience. They want plug in play experience
Also their lives demand it. My average @scsu student doesn't plan summer and spring break. they pick up extra shifts, at both their jobs, while taking care of family and choosing diaper or rent. Plug in play equals survival
@SCSU but it is bad teaching. So many of these students have had their learning ruined by education long before they get to #highered
@SCSU I want them formulating ideas and pictures of their minds around children's #literacies I asked them to consider different worldviews and think about silenced voices #digped
@SCSU Also a ton of feedback about my assessment policies, and I thought I nailed this. Yes I did not assign number grades, and wow are kids addicted to number grades. It's the original opioid of the masses for k12
@SCSU In fact I have been working so hard to model new assessment I rolled out and invented webmention badges with the help of a few folks:
@SCSU but still everyone wants their numbers, how am I supposed to say you have an 83% in understanding of the importance of #diversity in children's literature but that other person has a 92% because they had one more rubric box checked off?
If you come away with one thing please note grades are meaningless, they serve adults and the system, not the learner. Do not fall into this trap. That said I will be more explicit about my ungrading policy.
I also thought we developed a good worflow for feedback, public comments for praise, and then use native comments to provide more critical feedback, and email for the super nudge.
Another note was that i was not always present, yet this is hard for me to believe. You can see my feeds here: and here hundreds of post per class
I can also see that only about 50% of the class watched any of my instructional videos: and only 50% of people in both classes responded to the survey, many saying their were no videos, this perplexes me
I then also made specific feeds just for updates and then had these feeds display through RSS directly on my class homepage: It was updates through RSS right on homepage not sure I can ....but students were not seeing this.
More importantly I tried to model how I connected with the #literacies community as a whole and engaged and reflective public scholarship as a teacher. Students watched me work through ideas in my own feeds and networks, but they only want to know what is bare minimum to get an A
So I will have to think about greater notifications =, I really don't want to use the LMS it isn't real learning is the #HigherEd version of data mining and education.
I did learn that 6:00am is a popular, if not the most popular time to learn...heck I am doing it open office hours the 6:00am slot was the most popular.
that's another thing that I find perplexing. I offered open hours in person on campus every Wed from 12-2 and every other Wed at night from 5-7 for people that work. The same 3 people showed up every week. i wonder how many times the people complaining about my availability came
I was most proud of this feature of my class design. just come in sit and work at your pace I am hear to help, but in online learning their is an expectation of me bending to their schedule rather them meeting my availability
So I need to find a balance. My partners work 12 hour shifts all weekend, I am the coach of every sport in town and run Cub Scouts, I explicitly set I am offline on weekends on policy.
The hours of 3:30-8:30 are also extremley tough for me with three elementary age kids so I set in person help every Wed 12-2, every other Wed 5-7, 6am online Thursday, and 8:30pm Thursday on demand
I was asked to move the Thursday night since that is a big "go out" night....not much sympathy there but in terms of turn out I will move but MTW, F booked with coaching. I don't want to choose kids over career. I love my job and it will lose everytime
I also do not want email to be the primary point of contact. As coordinator I ran three programs, ahd to advise close to 60 students, and deal with an obscene amount of paperwork that has so little to do with actual learning. Email is tough, its overwhelming
I did try to add a chatroom but I will admit I did not always keep it open. I may try microsoft Teams, I saw an option for a class, but I have never figured out the network magic in my teacher prep classes.
I want students hanging out and learning and trying and failing like we all do all the time. I want them teaching themselves (I take this criticism as pride)
Also got many complaints about work load being too much. I thought I keep my instructional design pretty simple, read, write, and participate. The flow was designed so they take notes as they read, synthesize this into a post, and then do a performance task to demonstrate growth
You are getting a college degree not q prize out of a cracker jack box. I also take this criticism with pride. You think reading two articles, writing a blog post, and doing an activity is too much wait until you have a classroom
It was also my first time teaching #edu407 and the first time the class has been online. We get no extra support or time to do this. I hope students know how difficult the initial instructional design of an online class can be.
There were complaints about my syllabi and the class schedule being out of whack. That is fair, but I hate setting my schedule in Jan until May, goes against all I know about good teaching. You need to adjust your pace, important differentiation
I also need to figure out away to keep it DRY, maintaining the same info in both my syllabi and homepage make little sense. Leads to errors, but I am hand rolling HTML and don't yet know how to make dynamic content
I am learning PHP and @getkirby this summer so i can make templates for course building. This should help and in my later classes the syllabi got folded into the homepage, will be able dynamically echo snippets soon
@getkirby and I liked #edu407 it was the closest thing to what i actually taught and studied for my PhD. Plus many students had prior experience with my workflow so i thought they could drop in but this is programmatic issue where different programs follow different
@getkirby I was a middle school teacher who then studied adolescent #credweb skills at kids read online. My first Dean (he lasted a hot minute) hired me to design a literacy and technology program, my department hired me and made me the early childhood reading expert
@getkirby This is now defined as anyone who can raise Foundations of Reading test scores, yep the data #fetishization that undermined #literacies learning for the last 30 years has struck higher ed hard.
@getkirby Literally the first words the University President said to me when we met at new faculty orientation party was, "How are you going to raise my Foundations test scores"
@getkirby We are supposed to be a #socialjustice schools but nobody will stand up to the accreditation boards and politicians that are destroying teacher prep
and that is why I am so committed to teaching students to get their own place online that they own. Blackboard isn't learning, it is a data scraping tool, it is bad discussion boards, it is a company that literally tried to patent online learning.
But more importantly we need every child to finish the sentence, "My url is" that is an essential element of Children's literature and #literacies for too long others have decided what counts. i think it is time to ask the children.
TLDR, I need to change my class.
-Not sure I will use blackboard, after these reviews i could see someone making me
-only 50% response rate. we know happy customers do not review
-All modules must be ready to go before a class starts (each iteration better )
-Still unsure about due dates, so much time has to be spent learning how to learn and i want to adjust to needs
-I have students build and teach an online module for each genre of children. This hasn't been going smoothly. Need to revise
-I need to simplify navigation farther
-Students expect links to all readings they do not want to be responsible for going to the library or signing into library website.
-BlackBoard Sucks
-Go #OER
-Let's remix each others' courses
and done, that was cathartic and provides me a good plan to move forward

Now to go and copy and paste all these notes to my blog where they belong but my account is still suspended by @Twitter for who knows why...
oooh and what the heck is oerschema...half of my effort into HTML is because I hated the black box of so called #oer systems and hidden metadata
Ohh education the last place metadata goes home of dublin core and soon RDF, what is xAPI but just even more vocabularies and affinitiy spaces
I will follow project and all websites carries all the metadatas, but just drawn to idea of metadata not being hidden behind the scenes, up front in the HTML for all to read. but can't wait to learn more about the project.
@oerschema meant my website. that it is embedded in the HTML in ways I haven't seen before, think some of the vocab a little robust for my style but this looks interesting. I hated how hidden OER resources are from each other
@OerSchema Here is an example of the webmention badges I created run through a parser:
@OerSchema ooh just saw the TWIG templats, trying to teach myself a bit of PHP this summer to help me keep it DRY and make improvements better for students.