If Trump Led Our Public Universities…

Red wall iconLet’s build a wall in education.

No-one can be admitted unless they meet our carefully crafted requirements.

The ones who don’t get through we will make pay for it.

That way we can only admit the people who are like us so that we can make more and more of us and trample out the masses.

…or let’s not.

Bridge icon

Instead, we will build bridges for the brilliant and beautiful public.

We will work toward setting them up for success so that they can learn from us and we from them.

Sure, it will be messy work and hard work, but it is our job as a public university. It is what we are payed to do by the public we serve. We will likely even have to actually pay for the bridge construction.

But which kind of learning organizations do you think will make a better world?

Ones with walls? Or ones with bridges?

These are the questions we face in our organizations.

Spartan helmetI am proud of being part of a public university reputedly building bridges. #SpartansWill

Truly and astonishingly, these are the questions we face in our world, today.

(I probably goes without saying, but anything I post on my blog having anything to do with politics or opinions in general are not and should not be considered a representation of any organization I work for, but are my own alone). 


People Trump Technology

Image of Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

“Before the internet there was just a man running around saying, ‘I know, I know” – Robin Williams

This morning, I came into work and was glad to see Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf using our new open office working space here in Wills House. Her recent campus open office working tour has been so fun to lurk behind to find new nooks to study and collaborate. Thanks, Leigh.

So, I walk in the door and she asks me if I know anything about birds. These are my favorite kinds of delightful questions.

I know a couple things here and there just due to personal interest. I have sat in on a college ornithology course once and I have met up with our Jackson Audubon Society on random occasions over the years.

Lucky for me, she had recorded the sound of the call that was distinct to her as she was walking to our building. She played it back for me. I thought it was an Eastern Towhee possibly, but I just had to get to the bottom of it.

Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-Capped Chickadee

So, I turned to my friend, Google. After grueling seconds of not getting anywhere due to having a hard time figuring out how to identify a bird on the internet with only the call sound in my head, I realized that a much more efficient searching rout would be to call up my friend Gary Mason who I used to work with at Spring Arbor University. Gary is heavily involved in the Jackson Audubon Society and knows more about Michigan Birds and other natural wonders than anyone I know.

So, I did what anyone frustrated with the limitations of technology would do. I used an older technology of the telephone land-line to give him a ring at his desk. He not only answered right away, but was able to identify the bird immediately even with my own botched attempt at trying to make the sound over the phone.

It was the Black-Capped Chickadee.

I was way off.


A funny looped scene from Dumb and Dumber where Loyd and Harry mistake the last name of the girl they are looking for with the brand of the suite case they are holding.

#ET4online Reflection

Eight years

MSU Group Picture at #ET4online 2015That 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.

Why was it so good?

MSU ShoesWell, 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.

That’s right, eight. It was awesome. We presented multiple times and represented MSU well, I’d say. Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott) even wore the shoes to prove it.


Jess, Michelle and Dave SelfieOne 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.

Technology Test Kitchen

People interacting with technologyBetween 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, MahaAlan, Bonnie, Eric, Phil, & Gardner!

Faculty Development

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.

Critical Thinking for Online Teaching

Dr. Weiland giving his sessionAnother 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!

Born ReadyTechnology Test KitchenRow MSUStephen, Dave and Nate Present on A11yNate talking about camping in the winterDave and EricDave Presenting on REALJess, Laura and DaveIMG_4997.JPGIMG_4998.JPGIMG_4972.JPGIMG_5013.JPGDave and Gardner

Faculty Focus Link on Online Course Development Tips

Bulb License Free for commercial use (Include link to authors website)  Designer Webdesigner Depot - http://www.webdesignerdepot.comOne of my favorite go-to blogs that I enjoy tweeting about from time to time is Faculty Focus. There are consistently strong contributions from a variety of disciplines about pedagogy and research-based best practices that are practical for multiple learning environments. There was a post today from Rob Kelly who references Dionne Thorne on the topic of Nine Online Course Development Tips. Although I would contend with some of the points made for the 8th tip Thorne lists, there were solid recommendations in the concise post that may make it worth a mouse click.

Wiley on OER and Open Course Frameworks

Commons, Creative icon | Icon Search Engine | Iconfinder http://goo.gl/6DoMBThis recent post by David Wiley will be stirring a another good conversation with interesting links that I couldn’t resist sharing here:


  • Open Course Frameworks: Lowering the Barriers to OER Adoption | iterating toward openness http://goo.gl/j1B4y
In it, Wiley mentions that,
“The biggest barriers to OER adoption are the time and effort it takes faculty to find resources, vet them for quality, and align them with course outcomes.”
He asserts that Open Course Frameworks can help solve these problems by helping institutions adopt evidence-based approaches to using OER for eliminate textbook costs and improving student success.

LearnDAT Farewell Post

LearnDAT Holloween Party 2012

LearnDAT Halloween Party 2012

For over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with the incredibly talented instructional and educational media designers at LearnDAT (this is a picture of some of us at our 2012 halloween party). Together, each member of the LearnDAT team makes up an amazing pool of talent, creativity, knowledge, skill and experience in the field of distance education. I will miss them very much.

Friday is my last day in LearnDAT as I have accepted a new instructional design position at Jackson Community College. I look forward to venturing into this new role that is closer to home and plan to stay in touch with my colleagues here at Michigan State. Thank you, for everything!

The team assembled here is so innovative, creative, collaborative and effective. Since being here I have learned so much from each person. There is a rich history here and notoriety not only in the MSU community, but in the field of instructional design and instructional technology in general. It makes me incredibly proud to have been able to contribute to a handful of the ongoing great things going on here.

Web Equation

20, Math, Openofficeorg icon | Icon Search Engine | Iconfinder http://goo.gl/nI3mn
I want to share this tool I came across the other day that allows you to write out your math equations, calculations, or chemical formulas and instantly get the MathML, LaTex, WolframAlpha, or SymbolTree goods translated.

I haven’t yet tried it to see how it works on an iPad, but it seems like it would really be a nice tool for STEM faculty who use tablets? Thoughts?

Here it is. It is the tool on the lower left called “Web Equation”.

Digital Research: The Double Edged Sword

Thanks, to Allison for passing along this interesting graphic for me to share here on the topic of online research practices. There are some interesting survey findings and helpful advice such as searching relevant terms, to not multitask and to consult with a librarian. I know my librarian friends continue to help me find sources available to me to tap into that I would have never found on my own (shout out to Robbie Bolton).

Attribution to OnlineEducation.net for this graphic Digital Research Infographic

Google, are you losing me?

In the past couple weeks, I learned that Google Reader is going away and nearly cried.

After pulling myself together, I discovered that Feedly has been so much better all along and I have actually been missing out on an even better blog connection experience.

Today, I learned about Google Keep which really peaked my interest due to my near obsession with task lists. I am sorry to report that I am currently not impressed. No reordering? No connection to google calendar? Tasks don’t disappear when checked off? The search doesn’t seem to work? How was this even released without things like this addressed?

Google, are you losing me?

I hope not.