Week in Review Dec 20

I took Monday off, so I caught up on some podcasts and painting. I also booked a January (brrr) flight to Edmonton where I’ll see my daughter compete in the Junior Nationals Olympic lifting. I’m hoping for good weather which means nothing worse than -15C.

The rest of the week was a lot of going through my lists and crossing things off in anticipation of a nice break. Our team did some more work on our strategic bucket planning, we had an OpenETC meeting and wrapped up our roadmap and budget proposal, I sat in on a great presentation by Selina on the OER findability project here at BCcampus which included her fantastic hand drawn slides (#goals for my next presentation)

Drawing and slide by Selina McGinnis

The ISAT research team had our 4th data analysis meeting, which wraps up this phase. I love our discussions and curiosity about the pieces that institutions are putting in place to get to openness – some of it is deliberate, some of it is organic, some of it is just good timing.

For a variety of reasons I was also thinking quite a bit about diversity, equity and inclusion and executive search firms. I’ve begun asking search firms how they are taking DEI into account, whether they are following the Universities Canada (see #4) or other principles and guidelines. If I still worked at an institution, I would ask this of HR or hiring committees for certain searches as well. This is a needle that I would really like to see moved in a significant way and I wonder if small but frequent poking might be a strategy here.

Reflecting on reflective practice: Amanda started a SPLOT and hit it out of the park on her first post. At the same time as I returned to more frequent blogging, I also returned to paper, using notebooks to plan my days and take notes. For this to work, I realized that I am very particular about the type of pen (gel, smooth glide) and type of paper (smooth) and size of the book (medium, thin – the Moleskins are a fave but I’m good with the Muji versions as well). I also use Apple Notes a lot more for both personal and work related notes. Why? They can be very reliably accessed across my devices and the search function works really well. I like the distraction free part of it too, and I’m finding I’m returning to a workflow that limits distraction and compartmentalizes my activity a bit more.

For my week in review blog posts I keep a tab open to my WP site, open up a page, and jot down things all week. On Fridays I massage it a bit and hit publish. What works about this is that I grab some of the interesting stuff that comes in my feeds and don’t lose or forget about them. It’s a problem to find time to really read and reflect on the things that you tweeted or liked, so this is working a bit better for me.

And via Krista Lambert, Year Compass is a lovely CC licensed printable to reflect on your year and plan your next one. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions…but there’s a reflective element to this one that really appeals to me.

In the category of stuff I grabbed and liked this week, there was quite a bit of good things that caught my eye.

On a scratch-and-sniff map, what does your state or province smell like? (h/t Reddit)— Dr. Alec Couros (@courosa) December 17, 2019

This first one from Alec Couros was hilarious for the responses but also had me thinking how this could be a great icebreaker or opener to a keynote. You could share a link to a map, have people annotate with their scents. How fun!

In the same vein, this How Might We game activity had me excited and wanting to be an instructional designer all over again. I love how this is a game, I love how it could be used in strategy sessions, and I love thinking about how other techniques, like liberating structures, could spin into a game-like format. I’m not even a big fan of games, but there’s something about taking a new spin on things that leads to fresh energy.

This was the week for end of year roundups and Tony Bates nails it with this quote:

  • in general, instructors and educators are still in control of education, but that control is beginning to slip away as uninformed politicians (e.g. Doug Ford in Ontario), commercial organizations (e.g. OPMs), and computer scientists (AI applications) begin to look for cost savings or ‘efficiencies’ through automation and/or online learning
  • in some ways we are also beginning to lose control of educational technology as the application of AI grows, due to lack of transparency and explicability in the design of AI and learning analytics applications. Educators need to educate themselves on AI, and its strengths and weaknesses in education, and fight back against false understandings of learning and of the function of education often reflected in AI applications in education.

<Ok, sidebar here. You know when that new thing comes out and everybody is talking about it and you have so many questions but you don’t want to appear dumb? But then you start asking questions and you realize that nobody really knows? That’s me with AI and machine learning, so I’ve been digging into it a bit. Last week I sat in on a webinar on How AI is Taking over Training, led by a former academic turned Senior Evangelist at a Big Tech Company. I asked this question: Since the AI that drives ML and the platforms requires large data sets, do we know where these data sets are coming from and how they are being collected? Guess what? No, and yes that’s a concern, but we have to keep moving ahead.>

And finally, in the category of end of year blog posts, a heartfelt, honest long read from Brian that is so relatable to anybody who has made the transition to admin. We really shouldn’t struggle at this stuff alone, so let’s endeavour to support each other more in 2020…it’s the one thing AI can’t do yet.


  • Cog.Dog

    Commenting, likely ending up in spam bucket, but that shall not daunt me.

    Nifty to see Amanda using Writer SPLOT for note taking, curious what the affordance there is over just using the Radcliffe theme and blogging, but I’m not complaining 😉

    Am thinking about the note taking methods. I never quite became regular with Evernote, but an interesting feature was that words in images became searchable, it does some kind of OCR. Google Drive might do that too (both with their platform/privacy caveats). I as curious about Roam Research https://roamresearch.com, it automatically creates daily notes, but I have not quite conceptually wrapped my head about how it works. There is something interesting there.

    Until then, it’s a paper notebook next to the machine.

    Merry Xmas from 2 provinces away! Nice to see more blogs lighting up the feed reader.

    • admin

      Apparently the more you leave comments for me, the more my blog likes you ( I did find 4 comments in the spam folder but none were yours). Thanks for pointing me to Roam research, it looks really interesting! I’m going to give it a whirl. Happy Hols to you too.

  • Brian

    I found this weekly review encouraging. It’s easy to fixate on the negatives, but there are so many promising things happening… You are up to all your usual interesting stuff, and asking important questions on DEI and this great wide open future of AI and machine learning (I’m hoping I can remember what you asked that Evangelist next time I am in a similar position). Amanda is blogging (subscribed), the Year Compass is provocative, and I am wondering if I can use Cards Against How Might We as a team activity in the new year.

    I had read Tony’s post and like you was struck by the clarity and urgency of those statements. Things feel like they are slipping away, which makes it all the more important to use what agency that we still have.

    I don’t know if I have the discipline (or the courage) to manage weekly reviews, but I always enjoy reading yours and appreciate you taking the time to do them.

    • admin

      Glad to hear you are one of my 5 Week in Review Readers! I’d love to know more about the good stuff you are up to on a weekly basis, so I hope you’ll continue to blog. I’ve said this a few times how many tech purchases I made at JIBC from reading D’Arcy’s Week in Review posts when he was doing them. I feel like this a good way to share interesting things that might be helpful to others.

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