Thursday, September 11, 2014

Canvas for Professional Development

Building on the Global Online Academy experience, we can create an ongoing professional development course by faculty for faculty. 

All schools are busy places. It's difficult to find time to meet and share in a meaningful and productive way.

In GOA courses, we talked about asynchronous teaching and learning. When I think of the scheduling task force and other initiatives - especially the GOA cohort - we can collaborate and share via Canvas with ongoing asynchronous discussions.

When it comes to technology, it's not about getting on the bus.
But rather sharing what works - as well as what hasn't - as we try new lessons and technologies.

We are all on our respective places on the path.
Let's share where we are on the path when it comes to technology.
Through Canvas, we create conversations both online and in person. 

What is Canvas? What is an LMS? 

With Canvas, we could host meetings like the innovation committee groups, offering more input, dialog, and greater transparency.

With so many initiatives on the drawing board, the faculty can see big picture where we are and how we can help.

For instance...

    - course descriptions 
    - lessons in project based learning
    - integration of technology - best practices
    - final projects 

1:1 program
    - LMS integration
    - 21st century pedagogy
    - best practice possibilities 

LMS selection committee

Schedule Review committee
Other Committees - discussions, video conference
Points task force and other task forces 

GOA for Faculty
GOA for Students

I can also envision Canvas courses for...
Advisory - like a MOOC - course info by grade - curated by dean - integrated with...
  1. Advisors
  2. College counseling - course begins freshman year
  3. Academic Support - Learning specialists
  4. Student Health and Wellness
  5. Library - leading student digital literacy course
Other possibilities: 
Clubs and student groups - courses that have content and calendars

Athletic teams - communication, schedule, playbooks, videos

Jterm prep and courses.  

And ONE clear calendar for everyone - think of Canvas as an institution's calendar - for everyone and everything.

Yet each individual would have a To Do list - and upcoming agenda. See attached screen shot. 

Canvas is like a clearing house - and a switchboard for a school.

Please read the Canvas press releases - and the news - not just US colleges - but world wide schools are choosing Canvas - and major corporations are using Canvas for professional development. 

Canvas open source paradigm and integration with major publishers and start ups will allow it to evolve exponentially. The more I read about Canvas...and use Canvas for my classes.

This is the LMS we have been waiting for  - Canvas is revolutionary.

A game changer that will transform education.

Let's all collaborate.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sting: Old School Academic Policies in a Digital World

We are setting up our students to fail, to cheat, and to steal when we pretend the Internet does not exist.

Plagiarism in a world of remix, sampling, remakes, and Wikipedia can be confusing to children to say the least. They are digital natives. We are not.

I can write another long post, or share another anecdote, but recently I have curated content that I must share...

1. To begin, Flipboard should be shared with all teachers - more on that later. I curated a magazine on Flipboard about Plagiarism and found Beg, Borrow, Steal by Marcelle McGhee - and more!

2. Take the time to listen to NPR's TED Radio Hour "What Is Original?

3. From PBS: Published on Oct 3, 2013
Creativity has always been essential for our cultural growth, but there are still many misconceptions about this elusive process. Not the left-brain/right-brain binary that we've come to believe, being creative is considerably more complex, and requires a nuanced understanding of ourself and others. Being a powerful creative person involves letting go of preconceived notions of what an artist is, and discovering and inventing new processes that yield great ideas. Most importantly, creators must push forward, whether the light bulb illuminates or not.

4. From NYTimes via Brainpickings plus more Brainpickings on Mark Twain:

5. When academic policies are debated, I wondered what my alma mater does...and I found a pdf version of Andover's Blue Book. What I like most is the tone by beginning with expectations - and how honesty is foundational to a community; then, the policy acknowledges: 
"All scholarship builds upon the ideas and information of others; the honest person makes clear in written work exactly what the source of any borrowed information or idea is, whether it be library materials, the Internet, classmates, or family members." 
There is no scholarship without reading the ideas of others. It doesn't say don't use the Internet. 
It doesn't mention reading guides. It doesn't say be original. It doesn't don't talk to anyone. It simply says honesty is vital and the honest person gives proper credit where credit is due. 

In my opinion, reading guides are much ado about nothing. They give the basics. Most students would rather read the book, if they have time. They can help weaker students and he/she need not feel shame about using them. And when you say DON'T - some students will read them for the sake of rebellion. 

We should focus on teaching the importance of honesty, and how to become digital citizens (proper citation in a digital world, the consequences of plagiarism, etc). 

While students may be digital natives, they must learn digital citizenship. Where else are they going to learn these lessons? College is too late.

At the very least, we must end the denial about the Internet and let go of the nostalgia for the primacy of physical books (and that's really tough for me to write as a self-confessed hoarder of books). 

Then, both teacher and student can learn in an environment of integrity.