The #OTESSA22 Recap and Resources

One of my favorite things to do after a good conference is to collect the resources acquired in a blog and re-share it with others. It is also a great way for me to tag a resources to a specific event (in my blog) in case I want to go back to it in the future. Don’t ask me why, my brain just works that way. Any who, last week I attended OTESSA 2022 which was her virtually and is organized by the Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association (OTESSA).

Here are a few thoughts on the conference:

  • Really enjoyed the conference sessions, social events, and the schedule.
  • I was also really appreciative of the active efforts to promote all sessions via social media, at times it served as a reminder to a session I wanted to attend.
  • I was not sure how the sessions were going to relate to theme of the conference “Critical Change” but at least based on the sessions that I was able to attend, there were several critical conversations happening about “what is next” and “how we do it in a meaningful, critical way”.
  • Going back to the schedule, it was a bit more challenging to catch the evening talks but glad I can catch the recording until the beginning of June.
  • The conference organizers did a phenomenal effort running is smoothly (i.e., sharing updates daily, the pre-conference info to check login information, and just attending sessions to make sure everything was going as planned).

At the beginning of the week I made a post on Twitter stating that I would be sharing resources during the week but honestly it was too much for me to tweet out every day. Trying to attend sessions, tweet giving proper credit (important to me), and trying to keep up with what is going at home was too much. So, instead I bookmarked and hope to proper share in this blog post. I will include the session the resource was mentioned or shared.

Metaphors of Ed Tech, Martin Weller

Surveillance in the System: Data as Critical Change in Higher Education (Research-Oriented), Bonnie Stewart (University of Windsor), Samatha Szcyrek (University of Windsor)

  • @bonstewart and @samanthaszc discussed findings on research related Surveillance in the System: Data as Critical Change in Higher Education. What do you know about datafication in your institution?

Online or Remote Learning and Mental Health (Research-Oriented), Stephanie Moore (University of New Mexico), Michael Barbour (Touro University California), George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University)

Hide and Seek: On Kids, Power, and Resistance in Education, Sherri Spelic, American International School Vienna

Outside-In: Openness as Subversion, Maha Bali, American University in Cairo

Embracing Feminist Pedagogies in Learning Design, Enilda Romero-Hall, The University of Tennessee Knoxville

Taking Experiential Learning Online During COVID-19 (Research-Oriented), Theodora Kapoyannis, Astrid Kendrick, Patricia Danyluk (University of Calgary)

Exploring university teaching during a pandemic to derive recommendations for post-pandemic times (Research-Oriented), Joerdis Weilandt, Sandra Dixon, Richelle Marynowski, Lorraine Beaudin, Rumi Graham, Stavroula Malla, Angeliki Pantazi (University of Lethbridge)

Multi-Section Open Course Design: Design and Implications for Faculty, Sessional Instructors, and Learners (Practice-Oriented), Valerie Irvine, Michael Paskevicius, Colin MadlandRich McCueVerena Roberts (University of Victoria)

The social events were lots of fun! The Bhangra dance with @GurdeepPandher was a great workout and I definitely need more of it my life. I was a bit uncoordinated at first and too shy to turn my camera on but I finally got it and still too shy to turn my camera on. The DJ session so much fun too! I didn’t participate in the trivia challenge but I enjoyed all the beats. Thank you again to all involve with planning and organizing the conference (Valerie, Aras, and Terry!) .

Everyone needs a “thank you card wall“

This week has been a week of cleaning. How do we possible accumulate so much crap?

Today I cleared my office at The University of Tampa. The pile of crap that I had in my office is so irresponsible. The funny part is that now I pretty much do all of my work using only digital files and a MacBook Air. Why on earth did I have all of that stuff? I don’t know.

Let’s talk about the phone. I never learned my office phone number and I would lie if I tell you I know how to check my voicemail. If you left me a voicemail here what I have to say to you: why?

Probably the best part of clearing my office was my “thank you card wall.” That wall and the messages I received at some moment helped me get through a difficult moment. So thank you to everyone that at some moment in the last few year has giving me a thank you card because hey you probably made a deeper impact in my life in another way.

Thank You Cards

Negotiating with Multiple Institutions

I want to start by saying that I really dislike the “negotiating part” that comes with the academic job market. But you have to be prepare to do it because as Stephen Aguilar mentionedYou are, in fact, taking important steps to make sure that you are positioned to be successful and also guaranteeing that you will earn a salary that can support you.”

Getting multiple offers is a pretty awesome and humble place to be, but the reality is that it can also be stressful. First, there are not that many resources that will help you if you get multiple offers. Additionally, you are constantly wondering “what is the best decision?” because likely if you made it to the “offer” stage of a job search you are definitely considering the institutions, the programs, and those who would be your colleagues.

My recommendation is to reach out to trusted colleagues who have your best interest in mind. This include colleagues who you feel comfortable talking about the numbers included in the offers and/or who have experience transitioning between institutions.

A few items to keep in mind with the negotiation process with one or multiple institution(s) is to think about what is most important to you. Here are a list of items you want to keep in mind:

  • Salary
  • Tenure
  • Start-up funds
  • Moving expenses
    • Initial trip to find a place to live
    • Moving your belongings
  • Institutional Computer
  • Yearly travel support
  • Graduate research assistant support
  • Teaching load

You may consider putting together a spreadsheet in which you can compare institutions side-by side. Once you get information on these factors. You will be better informed on how the institutions support new faculty. The next step is to consider other factors that are critical to you (and your love ones):

  • Location
  • Cost of Living
  • Schools (for those who have children)
  • Overall quality of life

Something to keep in mind is that there is a search committee waiting to hear your decision, take your time to make the best decision for you but also be respectful of their timeline and the fact that if you do not take their offer they have to go with the next candidate. It is always good to ask the person making you the offer, how much time you have to make a decision.

Start-Up Funds

  • For some institutions your start-up funds will include the cost of graduate research assistants for multiple years and other will negotiate graduate research assistants separately.
  • Start up funds vary widely depending on the institution, even among R1 institutions.
  • For most institutions you will be asked to itemize your start-up funds. However, some will just give you a specific amount of start-up funds and let you decide how to use them.
  • Some will have a specific amount of time for you to use your start-up funds. Others do not have a specific time frame.
  • It is wonderful to get a really good start-up funds but do not forget about your salary. Your salary should be at an amount that puts a smile on your face.

Resources

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, negotiation is not my favorite activity. So in order to learn, engage, and communicate I looked for resources that provided advice for those in the academic job market. These three in particular were very helpful (two were recommended by trusted colleagues):

Resources from #AERA22 #AERA2022

A few weeks ago, I attended the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2022 Annual Meeting. I really had two-days of sessions that I could attend and I wanted to make the most out of it. This post is primarily for me to compile the list of resources collected as I attend the sessions and that are currently in my Notes application.

Critical Race Theory, White Supremacy, and the Ongoing Fight for Black Existence

Cultivating and Expanding Equitable Education Opportunity by Implementing Multicultural Research, Policy, and Practice

Cultivando Metodologías Feministas: A Chicana/Latina Feminista Praxis in Educational Research

Women of Color Faculty: Persisting in a Colonized Academy

When Nothing Is Something: Null Results in Informal Learning Research

SIG Informal Learning Structured Poster Session

The Last Class

Wednesday, April 20th was my last class at The University of Tampa.

I did not know how my graduate students would respond to my resignation. I was nervous but determined to have a good end of the semester session. As I turned the corner and entered the classroom I was greeted with a surprise farewell party. I honestly felt like in the Grinch when his “heart grew three sizes.”

Their gesture was genuine and sincere. I was speechless. It just feels so amazing to know that they have my back no matter what, when, or where I am.

A few days later I posted the photos from that day in the social media of the program and even though it was not a direct message stating my resignation, they knew. The outpour of unexpected text messages and emails of support just filled my heart with love.

Thank you. To my dear students (current and former) I wish I could find better words but all I can say is thank you for letting me be part of your journey. You have made the last 9 years at The University of Tampa amazing! Cheers to New Beginnings 🥂 – Dr. Enilda Romero-Hall”

The On-Campus Interviews

After 9 years, this spring 2022, I had two on-campus interviews. One was a virtual on-campus interview and the other was an in-person on-campus interview. I want to start by saying that both groups of search committee members were amazing. In addition to the on-campus interviews, I also had two additional Zoom interviews (with other universities that did not lead to an on campus interview). Overall, great experiences with all of the search committees.

I am also here to tell you that the on-campus interview (virtual or in-person) are honestly so much work for the search committee members. Perhaps it is because I have served in a few search committees myself that I feel a great deal of empathy for those who were inviting me for interviews. I know it takes a lot of email, coordination of schedules, time, and energy. So huge thanks to everyone that takes the time to participate in a search committees and give your candidates a good experience. I consider myself lucky during this 2021-2022 job search period, I was treated with a great deal of respect.

During the virtual on campus interview, the committee divided the search into two days and that was really nice. It was an afternoon and then the following morning. It was enough time in front the computer to give the best of me, but not too long that I was Zoomed out. It was also nice that break time was incorporated in between meetings.

The on campus interview was with The University of Tennessee Knoxville (where I accepted an offer) and I have to be honest one of the highlights was flying over the Smoky Mountains on my way to Knoxville. The interview was a dinner (the day of arrival) followed by a day of meetings and a research talk. I also decided to stay an additional day to see the different neighbors and learn more about the area. I will share more in a future post about my decision to accept the offer at University of Tennessee Knoxville, but I am just going to say that I am very excited and happy!

Guest what? Even after 9 years I still followed the advice I gave back in 2013: https://enildaromero.com/2013/07/

These are a few snapshots from the UT Knoxville on-campus interview:

Sometimes in order to reconnect, you have to disconnect

A few weeks ago, all of a sudden, I just decided that I needed to take a social media break. I wanted to think about my use of social media and what I was truly getting from it. Also, what was I giving up in return. I wanted time to think about the relationships I had formed with others in the different social networks I use.

The time away from all the social network platforms, in all honesty, was great (thank you all for your text messages of care and concern). I was able to channel my energy on other activities and thoughts. Also, anyone that needed to get a hold of me was still able to reach out using email, text, or a phone call.

The time apart from the different social networks also truly allowed me to determine what I want to do moving forward. The reality is that some social networks no longer serve a purpose for me and I am completely fine letting them go. But for some reason my relationship with Twitter is just such a love/hate relationship that I find myself struggling with how to move forward. I think that for now I am going to focus more on blogging. Please consider this the “I am taking a social media break” formal announcement.

I attended my first in-person conference: #NSEE 2021

This past week I attended my first in person conference since February 2020. It was the Annual Conference of the National Society for Experiential Education. Back in early Summer, when I received the email from the Center for Teaching and Learning about attending the conference I felt good with attending the conference. Florida at that time was doing better with the number of COVID-19 cases but that quickly changed and I was starting to become hesitant about attending the conference. Thankfully the numbers are starting to decline after a massive spike due to the Delta variant. Another encouraging aspect was that the conference had a mask mandate for all attendees. It was sent out via email several times prior to the conference. It was also nice that the conference was in Orlando so if I didn’t feel comfortable with the COVID-19 measures, I could drive home in 45 minutes. Thankfully after I walked into the keynote session I immediately noticed that everyone was wearing their masks and wearing them properly. The conference did include a lunch but I didn’t attend because I didn’t feel comfortable attending this event so I just ordered some UBER eats.

The conference this year had an overall theme focused on social justice in experiential education. My first session was the keynote by Dr. Raja Gopal Bhattar (they/them/theirs) on Tuesday morning. As stated in the website of the conference: “Dr. Bhattar is a nationally recognized higher education leader, advocate, consultant and author. Raja will address how effective experiential learning requires intentionality and clear understanding of outcomes for our communities. Through storytelling and reflections, this keynote will offer insights and strategies on how experiential education leaders can incorporate equity, inclusion and belonging in all aspects of our work.” I loved the keynote speaker! I like it when keynote speakers make me reflect and this was a perfect example of this. Some of the questions I had to think about white listening to keynote speaker:

  • How do we show up?
  • Identity versus perception?
  • What is our role in upholding/disruptive inequitable systems?
  • How our students receive us?
  • Whose perspective is not on the table?
  • How do societal systems enhance or inhibit student success on campus?

We also had to do an identity grid that helps us reflect on “how often do we think about who we are beyond our titles? ”

Identity grid.
Identity Grid at NSEE 2021

Other sessions that I really enjoyed were:

  • Social Justice and Antiracism in Career Education and Experiential Education: Session discussed a process for creating a Call to Action with accountability measures, equity-oriented course syllabi, and a 5-step model to consider in your own work. This is a wonderful resources shared during the session: https://tinyurl.com/4j2tmxaw. This resources were used to create the Social Justice and Career Education infographic. Please see image below.
  • Providing career readiness support to female students in male dominant industries: This was a nice round table session focused on different kind of events that staff and faculty can use to create opportunities for networking, grow , and support for female students and those who identify as woman.
  • Using immersive virtual reality in higher education to facilitate authentic learning experiences: This was a very introductory session into VR and how a university had employed VR experiences into the curriculum to provide learning experiences related to manufacturing at the start of the pandemic in lieu of in person field trips. We got an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for our own curriculum.
  • Learner-centric virtual exchanges: No travel, no problem: This session related to a virtual global challenge that an institution took at the beginning of the pandemic in lieu of study abroad programs. As soon someone who has coordinated a study abroad program in the past and who is considering one next Spring I want to think of alternatives in case the pandemic requires me to make a change in plans. This session helped me think about different approaches that I can take virtually.
  • Influencers abroad: Enhancing cross-cultural awareness through social media activities: This session explored leveraging strategically designed social media learning activities to enhance cross-cultural awareness. I thought it was a creative to consider alternative assignments during study abroad experiences. Some of this assignments included: Vlogs, Instagram stories (academic versus personal accounts) every day, Instagram food related posts, and end of a program presentation/reflection.
Social justice and career education infographic

Dense Breast Tissue and Mammograms

Do you know what kind of breast tissue you have?

Until two days ago I had not idea the kind of breast tissue that I have. Until two days ago I didn’t know that women can have fatty breast tissue or dense breast tissue.

As you may or may not know, I turned 40 this year. You also may or may not know that I had a hysterectomy last year. After the hysterectomy, I had a check up with my OB/GYN and he reminded me that because I was turning 40 I should start having my yearly mammogram. So late this summer, I went ahead and schedule my first mammogram.

Woman in pink with a breast cancer ribbon.
Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash

One of the most frustrating parts of this experience is that the process lacks an “educational” component that would allow me to truly learn about the health of my breast, the mammogram process, and health screening for breast cancer. So this is what happened:

  • I visited the doctor’s office and had my first mammogram. The experience simply involved having the 3D scan of my breast with the mammogram machine (I am sure there is a proper name for the machine).
  • I got a call from the doctor‘s office 5 days later letting me know I needed to schedule a follow up mammogram at the hospital in the breast cancer center (scary!).
  • I when to the follow up mammogram. I met the technician who told me that she would have to take additional 3D imagines for both of my breast. I had to ask why. Her response: “the doctor’s office notice something in both of your breast”.
  • After the follow up mammogram, I was put in a waiting area and told that it is possible I would have to have an ultrasound of my breast.
  • After a few minutes an ultrasound technician took me to a room where she quietly performed the ultrasound of both of my breast. After completing the ultrasound she told me to wait there while she shared the imagines with the radiologist.
  • After what seemed like forever, she returned and told me that what they were seen in my breast scans and ultrasound images were lymph nodes in one breast and “dense breast tissue” on the other. She simple said: “ But are fine. The radiologist didn’t fine anything abnormal.”

Perhaps for the technicians, radiologist, and other health care personal assume that all of the language that they used was familiar to me or I understood all the consequences of what was happening. But I actually ended up doing a lot of googling throughout the process, the terms, and the research. I came across all sorts of different resources. One major finding amongst the sources I read and listened to is that women with “dense breast tissue” are more likely to have undiagnosed breast cancer: https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/dense_breasts

Two takeaways from this experience that I hope help others that read this post:

  • I felt that there was a lack education during the process. I wish someone has sat with me an explain the process, the terms, and potential outcome in more detail. I will be talking to my OB/GYN in more detail about this. But, it also means you have to do your own research too. So, seek education from a professional but also spend time looking a reputable sources to better understand women’s health.
  • If you are 40 years and older get a mammogram every year. If several mammograms are inconclusive, request an ultrasounds of your breast. I found the TEDx Talk below to very helpful (I know not all TEDx Talks are helpful, but this one truly aligned with research from reputable sources).

Recent Publications related to Online Teaching and Learning

In this post, as I have done in other posts, I want to share some research that I have co-authored and published so far this year related to online teaching and learning:

The three-tier design process: Streamlined guidelines for designing and developing a course in a learning management system to promote effective learning” You can access this journal article here

This is a collaboration with Weiwei Ji (Instructional Designer at Arkansas Tech University) and Pauline Salim Muljana (Doctoral Candidate at Old Dominion University). It is a design framework supported by research-based evidence and influenced by the instructional design practice of WeiWei (Will) and his experience as an instructional designer. Of course, it is also supported by the knowledge, skills, and experience of Pauline and myself. As we state in the abstract: “We propose a set of guidelines called the Three-Tier Design Process (TTDP), providing a pathway for faculty and other higher-education professionals who intend to design and develop a course in a Learning Management System and to promote learner-centered experiences. This paper includes detailed discussion about each tier of the TTDP, its subcomponents, and an example of its application. The TTDP borrows from existing theories, models, and literature in the instructional design field that focuses on key aspects that help create positive learning experiences. Tier 1 focuses on course design and serves as a foundation for the next two tiers; Tier 2 emphasizes course development; and Tier 3 concentrates on the user-experience considerations. Examples from a real course are additionally provided.” We were invited to write a blog post about the journal article for the Online Learning Research Center. Here is a link to the blog post: https://www.olrc.us/blog/designing-and-developing-courses-in-learning-management-systems-how-do-we-enhance-learners-experiences

“Hybrid flexible instruction: Exploring faculty preparedness” You can access this open access journal article here

I was excited to see this journal article finally published. This journal article is the result of a collaboration with University of Tampa undergraduate elementary education major, Caldeira Ripine. It is a research project supported by the Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Grant from the University of Tampa. The data was collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic during Fall 2019. As the pandemic started and plans for continuity of instruction were shared by higher education institutions, I knew that the data Caldeira and I had collected needed to get publish as soon as possible. But, due to a number of factors (including lack of childcare) it took a while a to get this out into the review pipeline and of course, then it had to go through the peer review process. In any case, as stated in the abstract: “The aim of this investigation was to survey faculty members on their perceived level of preparedness to design and implement hybrid flexible (HyFlex) instruction. Participants included 121 full- and part-time faculty. Using an electronic survey, faculty members: a) rated their preparedness to engage on different HyFlex instruction competencies, b) shared which pedagogical strategies they felt prepared to use in this instructional modality, and c) listed the resources and support that they felt were needed to successfully implement their course.” The journal article is open access, you are welcome to download, read, and share.

Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash