Project Proposal, ED 650

iPad Distance Delivery of Student Services

Executive Summary:

Bristol Bay Campus in fulfillment of Title III grant objectives is charged with delivering Student Services to the four main hubs in the Bristol Bay region. This proposal is for the purchase, setup, distribution, and usage of iPads in Dillingham, King Salmon, New Stuyahok, and Togiak. The iPads will be configured with files, bookmarks, and applications which support Student Services functions (e.g.,  course applications, financial aid, career and academic advising, etc.), as well as resources that help student retention and program completion. Established audio conference communication protocols will be used to guide and communicate with the iPad users. While this pilot is focused on Student Services, it is a small reach to imagine using similarly configured devices


Bristol Bay Campus is a rural campus located in Dillingham, Alaska.  The campus is under the umbrella of University of Alaska – Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development. It specializes in applied science and vocational programs. Most courses are offered online. BBC’s service region extends from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian-Pribilof region covering more than 100,000 square miles.


Online learning is in ascendance and for locations with reliable, fast internet that is both a strategic and tactical move that all educators need to be making. However, in rural southwest Alaska internet is constrained both in bandwidth and in the amount of data. It is also prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Nevertheless, given the vastness of our geographic service area and the thinness of our population density educators have to take distance delivery seriously. BBC has a reliable infrastructure of audio conference lines.  By augmenting audio delivery with iPads, we can efficiently provide Student Services to remote locations throughout our regions. Moreover, we have Title III grant objectives that this project addresses.  Specifically, the objectives include deployment of technology and the recruitment of cohorts in hub communities.  An important aim of Title III grants projects that are sustainable after the grant is fulfilled. Deploying iPads and using existing audio conference lines to coach and advise remote learners on student service topics is more viable than flying personnel to remote locations.   And it avoids – or at least offers – an alternative to the conundrum of the slow and expensive internet.


It is proposed that five iPads be configured for each location. Each location will need a secure place to store the devices and a method for checking in and out. Cases to protect the devices and additional power adapters will be provided with the devices. Also, a plan for regular system and file updates will be implemented.

iPads are particularly useful because, first their portability, as well they can operate online or be set up with files and used offline. Since the students are required to interact with online interfaces, like Google Apps, UA Online, and BlackBoard this versatility is essential.

Screen captures of routine online interactions, UA Online, BlackBoard, will be created, saved in pdf format, and then saved to the devices. Similarly, video or audio files used as tutorial resources will likewise need to be selected or created and loaded. Browsers will need a standard set of both academic and student service resources.

One of the grant objectives speaks to using technology in the rural communities. Facebook analytics shows that our customers predominately use mobile devices to interact with our page. Accordingly, iPads are a small reach from iPhones and Android. Hopefully, our use of these devices, because of their ubiquity, will be transparent and require little instruction.

Managing iPads Inventory:

Part of this proposal is to review and learn about configuring, controlling access to settings, and proxy server settings as well as pushing applications and updates to the devices. We will explore the requirements of bulk purchasing, licensing of iPad applications, and the setup of customized printing based on each Center’s network and printers. Tools and plans for mobile device management (e.g., Apple Device Enrollment Program, Apple Configurator) offers device enrollment, configuration, set up, and assignment. The main thrust of this initiative is focused on delivering Student Services, particularly Career and Academic Advising to the rural areas and Centers of BBC’s catchment area.  A secondary benefit is that the project will serve as a pilot for learning both the back office aspect of mobile device management and the front end use.  As our learning curve accelerates, BBC will expand its delivery of instruction using iPads.

Screen Capture, ED 659

In this document, I drafted and illustrated directions for using GIMP to edit images. The same tasks I described doing with Photoshop in the photography unit for this course.

Screen Capture Assignment

To create this screen capture, I went old school and used the Print Screen key, Paint, and MS Publisher to layout the document.

The download time and volume on SnagIt killed the motivation to use that tool. As well that I was past due on the assignment caused me to go with efficiency.

Whatever my shortcomings in making a screen capture I do encourage folks to explore GIMP it is an outstanding photo editing program.

It is different from Photoshop obviously for patent and copyright reasons. That means you have to Google and YouTube how to’s because it is different, but it is full-featured and robust in its own right.

Statement Paper 3, ED 650

Chapter 6

Indeed, for a moment the bedlam of “learning styles” chatter caught my attention. However, I did struggle with the exclusiveness of some of the categorizations. Also, that I am not a teacher allowed me some distance from the theorizing. I find our author’s suspicion and criticism of learning styles to be refreshing. “Moreover, their review shows that it is more important that the mode of instruction matches the nature of the subject being taught, visual instruction for geometry and geography, verbal for poetry, and so on. When instructional style matches the nature of the content, all learn better regardless of their differing preferences for how the material is taught (146).” I think this is what I was intuitively resonating within the “learning style” discussion; I recalled my struggle as a learner in school being taught with mismatched instructional methods. Mismatched instruction is different from learners having different styles of learning necessarily.

I resonated with the turn to “intelligence” and particularly Stenberg’s analytical, practical, and creative model (150). Interestingly, our cultural moment has the IQ test to capture analytical ability, but not an equivalent for estimating practical and creative intelligence we kind of fly by the seat of our pants when estimating these, and perhaps with 20/20 hindsight. Warren Buffet we surmise could score well with practical intelligence, and “the artist formerly known as Prince” on creative intelligence. I also resonated with the examples of practical intelligence, Kenyan herbal medicine, as being suggestive of some of the phenomena we see in rural Alaska. Many young men do better with snow machines, four-wheelers, hunting, and fishing than the classroom. Conversely, many young women do better with computers, writing, and the work of the office comparatively displaying a higher analytic ability. As our authors mention, the family situation may explain children of different families excelling in different areas. But, in Alaska, we need the same family situation to interpret the various gender expressions. Schools seem to reinforce these by passing women through and preventing men. But, is this cast in concrete?

Dynamic testing is a tool to identify which intelligence(s) are lagging strikes me as a far more valuable diagnostic than learning that I am in the 95 percentile for verbal and written skills or 75th for math and analytics. Alas, what is unclear to me is that we have well-developed techniques for developing practical or creative intelligence? School just does not seem the place to remedy shortcomings in those intelligences, at least not as we have it configured currently.

Structure Building

Indeed, this is a strategy that I engage in as I map out mental models of known content. I try to find that fine line where I have stripped away everything but the essential elements versus the moment where I have torn away one feature too much, and the model falls apart. I learned the core elements of the piece stripped away, and I discovered the function in the model. I have as well learned to test my models in different situations this also reveals when I have stripped away too much or a flaw in the knowledge itself and then I engage in the creative process of grafting on an element, sometimes this is elegant more often a kludge until I find something better. Moreover, this is the third aspect of my structure building, the provisional quality of the builds.

Rule Learner

I tend as well to be a “rule learner” though again my rules are provisional and modifiable as I encounter exceptions. Trying to hold in memory all of the possible examples or counterexamples has felt too cumbersome to me. The efficiency of structures and rules has informed my learning.

Chapter 7

I have to say that this section was positively inspirational and I rarely enthuse like that. The chapter is lengthy and offers many examples. However, I like the pithy conclusion.

  • effortful learning changes the brain
  • growth mindset
  • self-discipline
  • grit
  • persistence
  • conscious mnemonic devices

Chapter 8

Is a summary of the entire book as such it works as a handy annotated table of contents. Also, they offer case studies of leaning and the importance of learning beyond school, business, professions, and so on with applications of their concepts. This book has an extensive bibliography and a useful index. Yes, it is written by scholars, but for a popular audience, so the style is accessible while still being credible and rigorous.

This graduate degree has been a long haul for me. Unfortunately here at the end, it has collided with job changes and relocation. So a lot of the shine has worn off for me. However, this book is quite inspirational. I have always prided myself on being a life-long learner and have been pretty good at it. However, I see in this text ways to become better and a bit of a prompt to do so and follow through. I am intrigued as well as I achieve late-middle age with practicing the memory techniques. Neuroplasticity and neurogenerativity are intriguing concepts to an old-dog wanting too learn new tricks.

I recall as a college student feeling cross as I learned some of these techniques the hard way and wishing that someone would just teach them in K-12. As a graduate student and teaching assistant, I recall trying to work some of that into the sections of English 101; I was teaching. As my life took turns away from being a teacher, I thought less about these topics as they applied to others and mostly focused on my learning for my purposes. My learning to learn was jump-started when my son started taking karate and jujitsu Dad joined in to support kid-grit and keep him engaged with activities rather than starting and quitting. And as well since I had to drive it gave me something to do rather than just sit and wait. There are physical mnemonics that martial arts create for memorizing patterns of movements and techniques. As well, there is a similarity between forms that create efficiencies in learning. As well interleaving, effortful learning, and a growth mindset are all regular parts of martial arts practice. I hadn’t made the full-circle connection and brought those techniques back to other types of learning, and in this our text is brilliant.

I had a fascinating conversation with a LEAN Process Engineer working creating standard work for Hospital Operating Rooms. She described how washing the room had been standardized so that when a second person entered the room, they could tell at a glance where the cleaning was at and could pick up and get to work. Likewise standardizing the room setup and equipment needs with “pick cards.” The thing that was impressive for me was the insight that our book was about individual learning/recall, the LEAN engineer was about group learning/recall. Much of the techniques in our text are about making our learning standard work, making systematic and methodical. My learning, however, is an internal process and self-referential, standard work in a workplace necessarily needs communication whether it is the location of a cleaner in a room, or, the same “pick card” for the same procedure. Again the exponential challenge of group learning and recall and at times the profound urgency of getting it right, surgery or space launch.


Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Three Videos, ED 659

So, I think this first video is most in the spirit of the assignment, that is creating an instructional video.  Don, previewed it and made some suggestions about timing the narration a little better and a couple of other fiddly details. And I appreciate that feedback. I have not made those changes mostly to show a progression in learning as we step through the videos.

All of these videos are filmed with a GoPro I borrowed from my son. I assembled them in Movie Maker, well because it is cheap, cheerful and ubiquitous. I used Audacity to create the narrative for the first video. I used Movie Maker’s narration tool in the second video. In the third video, all the narrative is captured real-time with the microphone on the camera. I think that audio quality and balance is a consistent weakness in my videos. If I were to continue making videos I would want to really get control of that element of the presentation. Some of it would be capture equipment, some would be editing software and a systematic approach to making the audio.

If you read other of my blog posts, you hear me riffing on YouTube content creation in two specific ways. First, is,

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence


Exploring Digital Citizenship.

I return to and explore these themes in other posts. However, in filming for these videos, I was testing my interest and passion for YouTube content creation. If I was a better photographer and perhaps had better equipment, I might be more passionate. I also felt like I struggled self-consciously turning my trips into narratives at the same time I was trying to experience them.

With this video, I begin to meander away from the instructional mission of this assignment. Although, I do get a few factoids into the narrative. I think I also do a better job of timing the story with the imagery.  Technically this video was much more challenging to make. I ended up loading the footage into Camtasia and stripping the audio track (an unpleasant roar of the airplane engine) once I did that recording the narrative was easy.

I think that with this third video I am pretty far afield from the direction of creating an instructional video. However, I like that the narrative filmed real-time hangs together and except for lacking footage of the thunderstorm I have a complete description. I think that better audio capture and a real selfie-stick or a tripod would significantly improve my use of the GoPro. Even better would be to have a digital SLR for the vlogging sequences. Because this third movie breaks my three-minutes or less rule I stayed entirely focused on setting up the campsite, cooking dinner, and surviving the storm. I had some excellent footage of paddling, wind, and waves, to the island, but in the end chose to focus the story.

Statement Paper 2, ED 650

 Chapter 3

I like how our authors call “cramming” out. “Cramming” has always been discouraged in my schooling, moreover, in my experience, I could see that it did not suit me. Interestingly they offer that intervals between study sessions, and allowing for a bit of forgetting seems to be a more optimal approach.  They introduce a multi-faceted concept “interleaving” which switches study between topics or skills and at its best may mix up the sequence of switching between practice sessions, hence stimulating attention perhaps.

I think my first recollection of this kind of learning strategy came from sports practices. Weirdly, it wasn’t until graduate school that I used the strategy intentionally for academic practice. In particular, I recall writing papers and stopping before all my inspiration from the previous day was recorded. I would reflect on the topic and the inspiration and the thoughts that the days writing had produced until it was time to write again on the paper the next day. In this way, I was able to keep the inspiration flowing over an extended time. I find myself necessarily doing interleaving in the workplace. I recall creating a practice of working on multiple projects across a day moving each forward incrementally and switching between them. I found that steady progress allowed me to manage my time better and that time was more productive. As an adult practitioner of martial arts in mixed-age classes, it was interesting to see the Senseis routinely employ all aspects of interleaving in teaching the skills.

Chapter 4

We meet a highly motivated Marine who discovered or recognized her fear of falling in being assigned to parachute school. The emotional tension, in this case, served her well heightening her motivation. The authors recycle the notion of “testing” that they introduced in the first two chapters here. The describe every practice session as equivalently a testing session and emphasize the importance of that.

They then begin to develop their notion of learning and develop encoding, consolidation, and retrieval as key elements.  “Encoding” moves sensory input to mental representation. “Consolidation” I love that they use a trope of writing an essay as an example of the mental process of stripping away the noise and focusing on the essential elements of an information/skill (consolidating information/skill is a personal favorite technique). “Retrieval” hinges on a healthy consolidation process that moved memory from short to long-term additionally is making associations either to existing knowledge/skill or some other set of recall cues.

The intensity of effort involved in the recall significantly improves they combine this with interleaving to create a potent tool for learning.  A personal favorite is a practice of creating of mental models, and the authors identify this as a major factor in their effortful learning model. Building mental models is a powerful technique because it allows one to test their knowledge in different situations. Testing refines the model and makes the knowledge/skill available in various locations rather than just one.

They continue developing their ideas with three additional concepts, fostering conceptual learning, improving versatility, and priming the mind for learning.The heart of interleaving is conceptual learning and interleaving with real variety. Repeating the martial arts advice “practice as you play, and you’ll play like you practice” they define their meaning when speaking of versatility. They describe the unfair but critical moment where a learner is called on to solve a problem before being shown how.

All of this work on “desirable difficulty” puts me in mind of concept I learned about as an undergraduate taking a course on enhancing creativity. The notion was “activation level, ” and the point was that we could optimize our creativity by managing our “stress” so that we were at an ideal, though uniquely individual, level, eustress rather than distress. And when I turn to our authors’ discussion of “undesirable difficulties” it seems these are parallel constructions.

Chapter 5

The authors explore the illusion of knowing.

The truth is we’re all hardwired to make errors in judgment. Good judgment is a skill one must acquire, becoming an astute observer of one’s own thinking and performance…. One is that when we’re incompetent, we tend to over estimate our competence and see little reason for change. Another is that, as humans, we are readily misled by illusions, cognitive biases, and ths stories we construct to explain the world around us and our place within it.

So how do we interpret the stories we construct so that we can get back to the data as it presents? I like their recipe.

  • Testing — practicing retrieving learning from memory
  • Peer Instruction — social process aimed at understanding, explanation, feedback, and comparison
  • Cues –mental models, integration, with existing knowledge
  • Feedback — strengthens retention, delaying it may produce better
    • Teams — collaborative problem solving (need to avoid the Bay of Pigs)
    • Simulations — necessary to “practice as you play, and you’ll play as you practice.”

Important to each of these techniques is that all can be or are necessarily social. So the message is that other people can be both a source of reality. And accessing that is through the systematic use of these techniques.  However, what about when all the people we can access share an illusion, cults, or the team that ok’ed the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, for example? Perfect learning isn’t the same thing as perfect or even correct knowledge/skill/outcome. Perhaps, we are aiming at helping folks discover better ways of asking questions, of being self-suspicious as well as, practicing techniques like the ones listed above?


Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

6 photographs Assignment, ED 659

Photo manipulation is daily work for me.  My job involves sizing and optimizing images for the web, and print. I am handy with Adobe Photoshop. That is not to say that I am a good photographer. I started using 35mm film SLR when I was a kid. My Grandfather tried to teach me about his retirement-passion amateur photography. So, I am familiar with some of the concepts of this assignment.  I use a Canon EO5 at work. I purchased an iPhone just last year when I moved to Dillingham. I have amused myself a little with the native camera app. So, the charge to take six different quality photographs is perhaps the more challenging facet of this assignment.

Office Still Life
Office Still Life

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi., exposure speed 1/6 second, aperture f/9 with the default ISO of 400.

I was surprised that the picture was at 72 ppi and that caused me to optimize this image for web use. It also caused me to explore the camera setting to adjust the pixels per inch setting. (And I learned that that setting was not a camera setting but a Photoshop setting.) I cropped the image for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Brightness and Contrast for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the image to 600×450 and changing the quality to medium at 512k (I use 512k as my default for rural Alaska) this gave me a file size of 17.1kb for speedy web browsing.

Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II Version II
Office Still Life II Version II

Getting this image was an iterative process I tried to frame it with the camera as opposed to relying on Photoshop for cropping.  However, in Photoshop I selected the 5×7 crop and the Golden Spiral layout after seeing the plant leaves flowing to the KDLG logo. I had to turn the plant to emphasize that flow. I then experimented with shutter speed and aperture to see if I could distinguish any depth of field differences.

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi. For the first version, I set exposure speed .8 second, aperture f/8 with the default ISO of 400. For the second version, I adjusted the shutter speed 1/5 second and aperture f/4.5 and ISO 400 because I wanted to see the effect on depth of field (meh). I cropped the images for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Dark & Light and the snap to neutral mid-tones for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the images to 600×428 and adjusting the quality to medium this gave me a file size of 25kb, and 22kb respectively.

Because the point of an assignment is to learn something I decided to install the Camera! the app on my iPhone and see what that was about. On installing it, I learned that it wasn’t updated for the operating system on my phone. The one bug I’ve found so far is being unable to delete images. The app offers some interesting features over the native camera app. The effects, and some photo framing guides I was quick to discover. I am amused to use a phone to create a print quality image, so I offer this potted plant.


I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/40 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 2417×3912, 1.54 MB. I selected the “Roadtrip” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1942 and adjusted it (if I left it at 2417×3912 at 300ppi the file would have been 27MB). This file is pretty large for the web at 7MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Freezer Image

I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/60 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 3042×4032, 1.23 MB. I selected the “Roman Holiday” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1600 and adjusted curves and levels. This file is pretty large for the web at 5.5MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Monitor images intended for display on a monitor perhaps as a desktop image.

Dillingham Panorama

Both of these images were taken with my iPhone and accordingly the f/2.2 and exposure were 1/2000 with an ISO of 25. Both were modified in Photoshop. The one called Dillingham Panorama I used the healing tool to work power lines out of the image. I adjusted levels and curves and sized for monitor desktop. The sunrise image I adjusted levels and curves. Weirdly the camera meta-information doesn’t display with that image. I am not sure what that is about. However, it is within parameters normal to an iPhone.

A quick and dirty review of one of our required readings. This useful but slightly dated article explains Braddeley’s Working Memory Model the authors then do an extensive literature review it appears both of research they then connect that model with learning theory starting specifically with multimedia learning. The literature review is extensive. They conclude: “Accordingly, we can conclude based on this review that working memory, by and large, is working during learning from text and pictures in the way one would expect it based on Baddeley’s model.” They also point out some inconsistencies between the theory and the way the model has been used in research. Accordingly, because the theory seems to be holding up they suggest several methods for more precise use of the model in future research.

While this is a very technical review article it puts me in mind of the text for my other course this term, Making it Stick. One point those authors regards the importance of retrieval of information/knowledge/skill in their definition of “learning.” In Schuler’s article, we learn about different memory channels, verbal and visual (for a quick and dirty summary) and they indicate that working two different channels doesn’t seem to overload adding to memory. However, reading (translating character’s to verbal, and visual, a picture) may compete for the same channel. Perhaps, rather than writing about an image speaking about it is better for embedding both image and thoughts about the image?


Brown, P.C., H.L. Roedinger, M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Schüler, A., Scheiter, K., & Genuchten, E. (2011). The Role of Working Memory in Multimedia Instruction: Is Working Memory Working During Learning from Text and Pictures?. Educational Psychology Review, 23(3), 389-411. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9168-5

Statement Paper 1, ED 650

Sometimes I find it more efficient reading to work backward from the author’s conclusions. In our text, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, et al. end the second chapter with this summary.

Practice at retrieving new knowledge or skill from memory is a potent tool for learning and durable retention…. Effortful retrieval and delaying subsequent retrieval… repeated retrieval. Simply including one test… testing doesn’t need to be initiated by the instructor… a better grasp of their progress… spot gaps and misconceptions… corrective feedback (2014, 43-44).

So, key concepts are captured in this ellipsesized version of their review. For the author’s learners demonstrated retrieval shows learning. Also, we see techniques for achieving “durable retention” including effortful retrieval, letting time elapse between retrievals and repeated retrievals as necessary tools for learning. Also, the authors suggest that learners can own their processes and direct their practice of retrieval. Learners, alone or in peer groups can facilitate monitoring progress, and be reflective of errors and gaps in knowledge/skills — a feedback/feedforward cycle.

I resonate deeply with any discussion of learning that puts the learner first and empowers them to own and control their process. Accordingly, I will be looking for this throughout the book. However, it is nice to see it explicitly developed so early in the text. Certainly, it is present in the two case studies they offer, the emergency plane landing, and the gunshot wound to the head implicitly, but by making it explicit the authors have my attention. Turning to their case studies, I think these are relevant examples. We often joke in the office setting that our work is not life or death and somehow that relieves the pressure or rationalizes less effort. Nevertheless, for a pilot and a brain surgeon, the margin of error matters significantly. I like very much that our authors start where learning is a high stakes issue.

I am fond of and return routinely to the example of the pro-Surfer that John Seeley Brown explores. I have summarized in several ways throughout this program; one is linked here. My quick and dirty summary of the main concepts includes these elements:

  • Shared passion
  • Face-to-face cohort
  • Practice capture technology
  • Play/practice (elements of gamification)
  • Online cohort
  • Published/peer reviewed (open)
  • Failure has a real cost (injury, financial loss)
  • Practice refinement and improvement (lather, rinse, repeat)
  • Success has potential for compensation/recognition in both real and virtual world

Although the case examples touch on many of these elements, I see three distinct points between the examples as relates to learning as retrieval. There does seem to be a difference between the two Browns, however. We see an emphasis on quizzing and testing in our text whereas our pro-Surfers have techniques, which better match their environment and activity. Interestingly this seems the case as well when in our book Brown et al. explore the pilot’s case study. Therefore, we need to think about quizzing and testing as figurative elements rather than literal and specific techniques. The important point I think is pulling the knowledge or skill from our memory rather than from a text, or any other representation.

I recall, as a new Scoutmaster, creating the first-aid scenario to test my troop’s knowledge and skills. The scenario was kids playing with explosives in a garage. The scouts heard the explosion, rushed to the scene, and were first on the scene. I recall an older scout thumbing through his handbook trying to find how to handle a severed limb; meanwhile, we had a bleed-out timer running on the actor playing the victim.

My Boy Scout needed to know how to apply direct pressure to an open wound, and he needed to understand pressure points or constriction/tourniquet techniques. His role was first aid, not reconstructive surgery – though we coached the Scouts on how to preserve the detached body part for possible reconstruction. Because moments of disaster are violent and frightening one of the points of scenario, practice is to desensitize the responder to their horror and fear instead of focusing and prioritizing. Moreover, I see this in our text though less graphically illustrated when the authors want learners able to retrieve knowledge and skills but also to create solutions. Solutions indeed based on past learning but not limited to past learning rather interpretive and flexible to the particulars of the immediate challenge – landing with a single engine, or repairing a vein before the patient bleeds out.

I wonder, however, about more complicated moments in organizations, for example, where a single person does not cannot contain all the knowledge. In their case studies, our authors do not speak to any of the other players in the surgery, or the air traffic control and airport ground crews. I wonder if they over simplify when they forefront the rock stars the pilot and the surgeon. In the example of the surgery, they do talk a little about how the surgeon prepares the room and the team by offering likely scenarios and desired responses. However, I am a little disappointed by the thinness of the example.

In the military Special Forces, units prep for missions as a team of equal footed experts each contributing to the mission planning. Entire missions can be scrubbed if the team shows the impossibility of the task. Missions can be modified if a team member shows a specific and better way to accomplish the objective. My point here has to do with specialized knowledge and teamwork. Why did our text authors ignore the Anesthesiologist or the Head Nurse in the case studies? I doubt our star surgeon did. The reason the patient lost the blood he did was that it was inevitable – or did it represent the pride of our doctor unable to take suggestions from his team? I am a little unfair to the authors here, and they do capture the importance of cohort learning in other moments of their text. But, what does it mean when we depend on the knowledge and skills of other teammates (or in the case of Special Forces as well the physical fitness and mental toughness)? I suggest that communications skills matter as much as retreival skills for moments of team learning, or team execution.


Brown, Peter C. (2014). Make it stick : the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts :The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Brown, J. S. (Producer). (2013). John Seely Brown on Motivating Learners (Big Thinkers Series). Retrieved from

Advice for Future Students, ED F654 : “Digital Citizenship” & Intellectual Property

This class feels overwhelming pretty much all the way through. I think this is a function of choice, complexity, and pacing. After receiving grades for the first two sections, I settled down a little bit.

Chris replicates the richness and complexity of the internet in both his content and his assignments, and I believe this is an entirely intentional instructional design choice. Beyond simulating the virtual world, it also calls into question our approach to pedagogy, chunking, scaffolding, sequencing, and guiding learners to projects and strategies that are comfortable.  Instead, the things we made and worked on routinely took us out of our comfort zones. I think that is an essential experience for educators. What if the better thing for the learners we are responsible for is to make a mess, or to thrash about in confusion, to fail, and to experiment, to engage with a new content creation and each other. Of course, it is a challenging question, how do we scale that appropriately for a six-year-old or a thirty-six-year-old?

Part of feeling overwhelmed is the relative freedom that Chris offers. We are unaccustomed to that in school.  So, it is refreshing to see it work.  And that again informs a challenge to us as educators. The world might be otherwise.

Engaging with other learners is a potentially messy, unpredictable and difficult to measure an aspect of schooling.  In this course, you are forced to participate in that sloppiness, and it works. However, to understand citizenship we have to engage with each other, and I would encourage you to do this earlier and more even than Chris requires. I just completed two courses with Skip Via, and I think an important pedagogic practice that Skip explicitly says and which Chris more implicitly encourages is using the cohort in the role of “teacher” if you have a question then post it to the class rather than the teacher. Again, this is fairly uncomfortable to many of us.  We see the role of the teacher as central, not peripheral.

Do not fall behind is perhaps the single biggest and most prescriptive bit of advice I can offer. Spend the time, roughly twelve hours per week, to keep up. You cannot work ahead, and that is probably a good thing.  Chris does offer a change of pace, and a shorter unit and many folks took advantage of that to catch up, but better to not fall behind.


Not-So-Final Project

Digital Citizenship OR topic X for a particular audience;

For, my purposes I am interested in making the distinction between residents and visitors do more work rather than parsing the audience out along gender, generation, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, creed, national origin or religion.

Particular Audience

Perhaps it is useful to imagine online residents along a continuum, and at specific nodes, participation ratios vary.

Resident Map

Here we see XY coordinates visitor:resident, and personal:institutional I would add a third dimension, Z and label it virtual:embodied. Perhaps we could insert the fourth dimension a temporal continuum as well, thinking about participation over a person’s lifetime or the lifetime of the internet (I remember dial-up modems and line commands).  My post, Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence was my first attempt at building such a notion. There I developed two case studies, one that was self-referential in that it was extremely virtual, the other, was more porous sliding back and forth on the virtual:embodied continuum. This demographic is who I am interested in engaging in a conversation about digital citizenship. These folks are deeply involved in both embodied and virtual pursuits and have been for awhile as they have built a body of online content.

Learning Thing

I say “conversation” rather than anything teacherly like a unit/in-depth lesson. Perhaps instead I am creating a model or framework. I am fairly confident that digital citizenship is being made in real time by the participants, as I write, and so it is odd to extract myself from that activity and become abstract in the way crafting a lesson plan would require. A conversation suggests to me multiple voices and a flexible and changing sense of self as I reflect upon and change my mind across the conversation.

…It turns out that my neighbor turns out to be a 20-year-old kid, moderately world-famous in the surfing world named Dusty Payne. And what got interesting to us is that Maui has never produced a world-class champion before. They basically come from Oahu, from the North Shore and so on and so forth. But all of a sudden four kids make it big, big time here in Maui. You say “What Happened?”

And it turns out that if you kind meet these kids they have all come together very much like a guild in World of Warcraft, and what they do is they compete with each other and they collaborate with each other incredibly intensely. They think up a new move, they dash down the hill, they try it out, they take their video cameras with them. They’re videoing each other. They dash back up here. They start kind of analyzing what worked, what didn’t work, build new ideas, dash down the hill again, try it out. And then what they start doing is they start looking at, of course, all the other people surfing around the world, which they get from YouTube. They have all this kind of stuff. They start picking up new moves like that. That’s a kind of interesting way that digital media has enhanced the ability of these surfing kids to pick up all kinds of new tricks. And I can actually show you how a particular move now on a surfboard takes about 48 hours to propagate around the world before all the key surfers of the top edge are trying it out themselves, okay? And of course any time something changes they’re the first to try it out and to appropriate it, so these kids live for picking up something new. They live for trying out something new. And some of this stuff, by the way, is moderately dangerous. So these are high-cost mistakes, but the passion that they have to do this is really awesome.

Well, guess what. The passion that I see in the World of Warcraft of the high-end high performers is also awesome, but it doesn’t stop there. If you look at the artists, if you look at the musicians, if you look at the dancers, if you look at athletics in general and to the extreme edge what you have is kids that are turned on. And when they get really turned on in the right context there’s almost no stopping.

Any interest that any kid has, I am sure there’s already existing out there a passionate community of interest group or a community of practice that you can try to join…. (Brown, 2013)

I love this example for me it does double work. I see it as an example of the demographic I have isolated. I see it as well as an example of my meaning of “conversation.” Certainly, we see face-to-face conversations between the surfer buddies; we see “conversation” take on valences as the videos are posted and commented on and video responses posted. Indeed other social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all play into the conversations and in nuanced and different ways.

Perhaps, the place I might insert myself and raise a self-reflective moment with this demographic is the distinct model of learning that is constructed in this example.  As well, that the learning model maps between entirely virtual activities, World of Warcraft gaming and fully embodied activities of professional surfing. I think this is a fundamental realization that the model of learning maps across this continuum. This type of learning is about identity, about curiosity, about real compensation. I think these definitions of online learning and online learning community is substantially different from the online learning in which universities or human resource departments engage. To understand better, the process that Brown describes includes the following elements:

  • Shared passion
  • Face-to-face cohort
  • Practice capture technology
  • Play/practice (elements of gamification)
  • Online cohort
  • Published/peer reviewed (open)
  • Failure has a real cost (injury, financial loss)
  • Practice refinement and improvement (lather, rinse, repeat)
  • Success has potential for compensation/recognition in both real and virtual world

Here learning, and community is learner/passion-centric. Inquiry originates with passionate individuals following their dreams. That is, less frequently, or not at all how we describe school students. More often in schools, our starting assumption is that learners are deficient in the knowledge we also assume that they need development across a broad curriculum. This approach to learning puts identity, curiosity, and real compensation at the far end of education.

Reflecting on how your idea — Thinking About Your Thinking

So this represents my thinking across the last several years, in a nutshell. But it is interesting to pose the question how has this class ED 654 changed or discomforted my thinking. I suspect the biggest change was nudging my thinking along, from web presence to online learning and now to digital citizenship. Each turn is adding layers and nuance.

Belshaw, D. (2014). The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from <>


On the whole, I liked and agreed with Belshaw’s’ argument. I was fascinated that he wrote the book in public, online, as kind of conversation. Alas, in chapter eight he, for me, took an unexpected turn making a distinction between digital literacy and web literacy. It is a distinction I am still struggling to understand. It is simply an argument and difference I would not make. I simply cannot make sense of a claim of digital literacy in isolation for me literacy must occur in a social environment. A counter example, to make a point, I use audacity to make an audio on my local desktop in the privacy of my home.  Without reference to podcasts, to the radio, to a history of recording conventions my literacy claim is a solipsism. I might subsume web literacy within digital literacy if I were taking Belshaw up on his invitation to remix his book.

Having worked for years in an academic library, I had hoped to leave copyright behind me, alas. I enjoyed my time learning about Creative Commons. Interestingly, very relevant to the work of many of the content creators in the audience I am addressing in this framework/model. I learned from the process of selecting a license, the wrong one at first. As well learning about the CC licenses as an important way for content creators to collaborate/mash up/remix on work. I think my documenting my mistake makes the conversation more accessible, but that might be just a conceit.

Perhaps these are less about changing my mind and more about enriching my thought, my model. I am intrigued with the virtual:embodied continuum especially in light of task of defining “citizenship.” It seems people who move widely and deeply on this continuum participating in both realms are likely to demonstrate a vibrant “citizenship” across their lives. Perhaps like the leaders during the revolutionary period of US history, these folks are the role models for a new kind of citizenship and maybe a new form of political order. Or, not. Perhaps, less grandiose in what is built from lives shaped and moving in a similar direction, maybe just an observation of socializing. Perhaps, that represents a significant modification of my thinking that is moving from “web presence” to “digital citizenship” a sense that many of us are participating together and moving social-ability and socializing in new and varied directions.

I am not confident that my style of online participation will change as a result of this course. However, my self-reflection has changed as a consequence of a comment that Chris offered about my online participation.

 My position: your discomfort might reflect just the opposite than what you purport…perhaps, because your discomfort doesn’t stem from shallow reasons of worry about using a different technology or the like, it is an indication that you are not just resident, but perhaps should run for office?

I do think this is a significant reset for me.

I am intrigued by the collaborative work done with relative strangers in the online environment.  Here I have in mind the Collaborate (a little)  assignment.  In the workplace, this is a relatively standard accomplishment and is expected. Perhaps for younger people, this expectation extends to play and social causes outside of work and entirely online. Hence, such collaboration is standard even only with “web presences.”

I was surprised that we did not spend time on security, and perhaps, issues of privacy in the online environment. The extra-credit assignments are set up in such a way to allow that topic to inform the conversation. However, I was surprised, in hind sight, that it is not a facet of one of the units. Perhaps a sub-theme in the literacy section?


Connecting ADA and IDEA to Instructional Design

Owen Guthrie in ED 653 challenged us to work through some of the issues linking ADA, IDEA and or work as Instructional Designers and teachers in the online environment. My post and work are linked here:

Document Accessibility, ED 653 

Owen’s original assignment is linked here: Designing for Accessibility

It was good for me to go back to it and review the learning objects in light of Chris’s assignment here in ED 654. The core readings were taken from this ebook, available through the UAF library.

Coombs, Norman (2010). Making Online Teaching Accessible: Inclusive Course Design for Students with Disabilities. Jossey-Bass. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from Ebook Library. 

From Coombs book, I recalled three concepts that we should build into our thinking about instruction and design (pages 13-14) “Effective Communication, Timeliness of Delivery, and Undue Burden.” The heart of his message is that building these priorities into our planning is cheaper and easier than retrofitting or remodeling.

I like using Audacity and SoundCloud to deliver some instructional content, and that is well, and good except it excludes a deaf or hard-of-hearing-person. Accordingly, if I remember to create a pdf transcription along with my audio (and I work from a script so not a hardship) then I have built effective communication in at the outset, and that addresses the timeliness of delivery, as well. By anticipating this possible use, I have eliminated criticism regarding reasonable accommodation and reduced the burden on myself.

Another important source of information and insight comes from the W3C (International World Wide Web Consortium). Specifically, their policies on Web Accessibility are beneficial for teachers and designers. One interesting pressure on us increasingly as we seek to extend our delivery of online education internationally is our obligation to laws in other countries. Closer to hand, however, is just good practices in search engine optimization and basic web accessibility standards. Coombs offers four principles to help us organize our thinking (page 16):

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

“Perceivable” speaks to text and non-text alternatives, captions, and image alt tags also contribute. As well design principles that remember contrast, font, and size aid in making content perceivable are necessary. Keyboard accessibility, the pacing of video to permit subtitles to be read, and assistive navigation all contribute to improved operability. Understandability along with design elements like font and layout, also, might include paying attention to reading level analysis. Using the screen reading tools and staying current in that area, as well, can contribute to a “robust” or at least more thoughtful approach to design and instruction. I think one of the most important elements of this is not taking my abilities for granted. Certainly, as I age, I understand more about vision and sound as my sight and hearing change. Perhaps a key here is becoming learner-centered rather than self-centered in either the designer or instructor roles. However, it takes both learners and facilitators to create an online learning experience, and so I think there are obligations on the learner’s side, Coombs identifies:

  • Up-to-Date Technology
  • Skill in Using Adaptive Technology
  • Doing Good Work

as responsibilities of the learner (page 29-30). I am glad to see someone addressing responsibilities of the learner. My experience in rural Alaska further complicates the tension between facilitator-learner interactions. Our communities are relatively poor, our educational resources uneven, our internet access is expensive and slow, and our definitions of “good work” vary widely. And yet we know that online learning is incredibly important for our future and the continued existence of these rural communities.