That is how long I had been wanting to attend a Sloan-C (OLC) conference.
This was the year to make it finally happen. Thankfully, this was just in time to catch the last Emerging Technologies Symposium in Dallas Texas.
It was so good. I would even go as far as saying it was possibly better than the barbeque.
I’m late to the blog reflection thing, but when I read Michelle’s, Phil’s, & Patrice’s, I knew I had to dust of my blog again and say a little something. I will share a couple highlights and then end the post with a picture gallery of the trip.
Well, it would have been good if I had only attended the conference on my own, but there were eight of us that were there together who came all the way from East Lansing’s Michigan State University.
One of the highlights of the trip was that I finally was able to meet Michelle Pacansky-Brock (@brocansky) in person. I have attended many of her sessions virtually in the past. Because Michelle is an expert on humanizing your online courses, I felt like I knew her already. So, a hearty thank you not only to the internet, but to Michelle who helps me learn how to use it for good rather than be used by it.
This was the first session Nate Evans (@nateevans) and I attended. Michelle presented along with Jill Leafstedt (@JLeafstedt) and Kristi O’Neil (@kristi_oneil) from California State University, Channel Islands. Their session was filled to capacity, had lively discussion and even provided the best one-page session infographic handout I have experienced to date at any conference. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the likes of @brocansky. My favorite takeaway from this session was the epic quote: “Don’t be a robot.” Duly noted. That advice is probably far deeper than it might appear on the surface. Am I wrong?
If you want to see more scrambled thoughts on the session, you can explore my feeble attempt to invite publicly collaborative note-taking from attendees of the conference.
Between sessions, it was convenient to network and connect with others naturally at the constantly running technology test kitchen which was organized in part by my office roommate, the infamous and aforementioned Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott). I was pleased to have grown my personal learning network through this by connecting in-person with people like Laura, Ben, Amy, Michael, Patrice, Maha, Alan, Bonnie, Eric, Phil, & Gardner!
I was reminded of the importance of partnering with offices of institutional quality and improvement at Robert Rivas & Julie Lyon’s session. They presented on Creating an Online Teaching Certification Program for Faculty Development which they had done from Odessa College’s Global Office. The results they shared of retention numbers alone they had tracked was compelling enough to listen to what they had to say. Great work, friends.
Another major highlight was seeing that Dr. Steve Weiland was going to be presenting at the conference on “The Problem with Best Practices: Critical Thinking for Online Teaching.” Dr. Weiland is an MSU faculty member who teaches in the HALE program in the College of Education. I will leave you with a couple of prominent quotes that stood out during his talk.
“This field is in its adolescents.”
“Take a scholarly step back from the assumptions.”
“The written lecture in an online course has incredible advantages that are rarely talked about in EdTech worlds.”
“You don’t get to quality instructional products if you think the very people you are working with are dopes.”
“The second subject of any online learning is the nature of online learning itself.”
“Gain some distance from our habits and assumptions and help students to do the same.”
Of course, there were many other highlights and experiences I had at the conference that I could share, but I will let the following pictures speak for themselves.
What about you? What things stood out to you at #ET4online? Do you plan to go to OLC Innovate next year? I would love to see you there!