Writing during “Stay at Home” Orders

How much fun was it to write manuscripts during “Stay at Home” orders without childcare? Well if you have not experience this during the last year and half of the COVID-19 pandemic then consider yourself lucky! It is not fun at all. I wrote the following in a reflection I was putting together on what April 2020 was like:


Upon our return to the U.S. we were faced with the news that, due to the pandemic, our childcare center had closed indefinitely. My partner and I had to adjust to working from home while providing childcare for our 4-year-old son. I had to quickly realize that some of the projects that I was hoping to start before the end of my sabbatical were going to be delayed or canceled. The projects that I was planning to complete were going to require a massive amount of focus and dedication. In order to accomplish all our work requirements, my partner and I had to divide our days into three “shifts.” The morning shift (8 am to 1 pm) in which I worked and he would care for our son. The afternoon shift (1 pm – 6 pm) in which my partner worked and I would provide care for our son. The evening shift (6 pm until midnight) in which were are exhausted but aimed to spend time together as a family.”


In April 2020 during a three week period during my “morning shift” I wrote a manuscript for a special issue that was published in the Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D) journal. The realization that I was going to have less than the estimated amount of time to write this paper stressed me so much. But I had to channel that stress into getting the work done. During the process of writing the proposal I had gathered and read most of the literature and had put together an outline. Having this things done was a lifesaver! During the three weeks of writing I had to buckle down and eloquently put the literature and my ideas into a document.

I should give a little bit of context: I initially thought I was going to have a month of full-time work hours during a term in which I was on sabbatical. But because of the lack of childcare (due to COVID-19) I actually had three weeks with 4-hours per day (during week days) to write the paper. I do not know how fast others are at writing papers but gosh I am such a tortoise. To make it more interesting, this was a solo-authored publication.

Kind of funny, I can write without problem in a busy cafe with all sorts of background noise. I pretty much wrote all of my dissertation in a Panera a few blocks from my apartment when I lived in Norfolk, VA. But it was so hard to write this paper from home while having my family members’ voices in the background. I remember putting on my headphones and close the door and still every now and then I would still hear their voices and conversations in the background.

I think that been really passionate about the topic I was writing about made a huge difference on how I approached this writing project, despite the hardship endured in the process. I am grateful for Reviewer # 1 and the editors of the special issue for such wonderful and detailed feedback. I truly helped me improve the paper during the R&R submit process. The manuscript was published “online first” this January 2021 and is titled: Current initiatives, barriers, and opportunities for networked learning in Latin America .

This was the first of many experiences like this. Our son stayed home for 6 months while we worked from home without childcare. And, even after he went back to the childcare center, there were other instances in which he has stayed home and we had to maneuver the same dynamics of still completing our work. Having the deadline of special issue submission did add more pressure in this specific instance (shared in this post)! It made it hard for me commit to any special issue submissions for almost a year (hence why I missed out on so many opportunities to submit for COVID-19 related special issues in 2020, sadly)!

Happy Monday everyone!

Hello World!

As usual I have once again neglected my blog.

I really have not felt inspired to write in my blog. Since my last post on June 8th, I was busy teaching my summer course (which ended at end of June) and June was also an intense month with writing projects. It seems like everything was due in June.

Then I decided that July would be a month of recovery. Recovery meant spending as much time as possible outdoors. Working from home means I sometimes neglect to spend time outside during the work week. By July, I really needed to make time for the great outdoors, getting vitamin D, and fresh air. I needed it both physically and mentally.

August was a month of change. So much change. I really need to dedicate an entire blog post to describe it all. So, let’s put a pin on it for now.

So in order to hold myself accountable, I am going to write that over the next few months I will share more on my blog about some of the hobbies in the great outdoors that I have enjoyed lately, some of the changes in my life (and the life of those around me), and updates on some projects.

This post sounds so vague but it gives my some direction to make an effort to reconnect with my blog.


One of the few relaxing things that I did manage to do in June was to spend a weekend alone while my partner and son went camping. It had been 16 months since I had been apart from them overnight and felt super weird. I did used some of that weekend to do some writing (which I hardly ever do on the weekends) but more importantly I made sure to spend plenty of time relaxing. One of the relaxing experience that I had that weekend was pottery painting. It was seriously so calming, relaxing, and such fun experience. I spend nearly 4 hours painting. I should do it more often. Use the slider below to see some before and after pictures of my “work of art”. I am not Picasso but I think did pretty good!

Pottery Painting

Your Goals

Unless you are independently wealthy or a master manipulator, you will have to work hard and make sacrifies to achieve your goals. I know to most people this may sound like a pretty obvious statement, but for some reason I get the impression that there are some who think that success just happens overnight. Trust me when I tell you I have made plenty of sacrifices to achieve pretty much everything that I have been able to accomplish including becoming a mother, purchasing materialistics things, and my professional accolades.

Right after I completed my undergraduate degree, I went on to do my master and doctoral degree. I studies non-stop for from my associates degree to my undergraduate to my master and then to my doctoral degree. Yes, I was a professional student for 12 consecutive years of my adult life. This does not include the two previous years of undergraduate studies that I did while I live in Panama (after graduating high school). By the time, I started my masters program, most of my friends (in Canada, the Unites States and Panama) were buying cars, buying houses, getting married, having kids, going on fancy vacations, and affording a lifestyle that I could not live because I was on a graduate student stipend.

But, I had a goal in mind. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Therefore, I just stayed focus.

Why do I share this? I share this because I see graduate students comparing their journey with the journey of others. Trust me when I tell you that those who made it to the end (who earned their degree) also made sacrifices. You may not see how they worked hard or the sacrifices they made, but as someone who has been there I can honestly tell you it was not easy for them either.

It is also here where I would like to re-share a prior post I wrote called “Failure.” Here is a quote from that post:

“In academic circles, it gets really competitive. Heck, in life people get really competitive. We start looking at what others are doing and assuming that everyone is “doing things,” “going places,” and basically just “living the dream.” But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failures. That is just life.”

I would like to modify the last sentence of that quote and say: But the reality is that we are all working towards our goals and we all have moments of failure, sacrifices, and hard work. Stay focus on your goals and what you want to achieve.

By the way, sometimes I need this reminder too.

CFP: Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online

The curators of the Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online guide (Jacquelyne Thoni Howard, Clare Daniel, Niya Bond, Liv Newman, and myself) are putting together a new edited collection on this topic. A list of potential topics is included in the call.

Please consider submitting a book chapter proposal by July 2nd, 2021. The book will be proposed to the Distance Education series at Athabasca University Press for publication in an open-access format.

For more information about the CFP or to submit a proposal visit: http://tiny.cc/FemTeachOnline

Recent AECT Interactions Post about #FeministPedagogy

I was recently invited to write a post for the newly established AECT Interactions digital publication. I welcomed the opportunity to write about a topic of my choice and was honored to be amongst those invited (which included colleagues who I deeply admired and whose work I value). Since I am starting to explore and write about feminist theories in various ways in my work, I decided that I wanted to write a short practical piece about feminist pedagogy. The lead of this new AECT initiative, Dr. Michael Grant, encourages us to write pieces that serve as a reflection of our own teaching experience and/or research outcomes. It seemed natural to me to write about my own experience embracing feminist pedagogies in my teaching. You can read my published post in AECT Interactions here: How to Embrace Feminist Pedagogies in your Courses

I shared the post widely online in different social media outlets and received fairly positive feedback on the topic and content covered. One of my favorite comments was shared in a Facebook group. It put a smile on my face. Below is a screenshot of the comment.

Facebook Comment’s Screenshot

I know that AECT is looking for authors who would be interested in contributing posts for this new publication. To learn more about AECT Interactions or how to submit a post for publication, click this link: Launching a digital publication to impact educators and learning professionals.

#AERA21: Session Info, iPoster, and Published Paper

It is that time of the year! The American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference is here. However, this year it is a virtual conference. I will miss getting to learn from, connect with, and meet 15,000 other educational researchers from around the world. I don’t want to make this post about the AERA21 virtual setting experience. Perhaps I can write about that topic in a future post. Also, I am sure someone is already collecting tweets for a paper about it! I do want to share our session info, link to our iPoster, and link to the published paper.

Session Information

Presentation Date:
Sunday, April 11, 2021  [10:40 AM ET – 11:40 AM ET

Instructional Technology SIG Poster Session:
Instructional Technology in Higher Education and Corporate Settings

Title of our Presentation:
Critical Competencies for Practice Among Educational Technologists in Latin America and the Caribbean

Event Link: https://aera21am.simcita.net/fast/evt36972

iPoster

Use this link to explore and read our iPoster: https://bit.ly/32236Kc

iPoster Presentation Screenshot

Published Paper

If you want to learn more about this topic. We published a book chapter discussing our research project and findings. This is the citation and link to our book chapter:

Romero-Hall E., Adams L., Petersen E., Vianna A. (2020) Educational Technologists in Latin America and the Caribbean: Perceived Importance of Competencies for Practice. In: Spector M.J., Lockee B.B., Childress M.D. (eds) Learning, Design, and Technology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17727-4_169-1

Hope everyone has a good conference and hope to “see” you next year!

“We should all be feminists” Yup. I totally agree.

I put together a list of feminism related books that I want to read and I am very slowly starting to read them. One of the books that arrived this week and was in my list is “We Should all be feminists.” It is a book but honestly you can read it in 40 minutes. I feel like I am going to put it right next to my bed and just re-read it whenever I feel I need some words of wisdom. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the authors of We Should all be Feminists, said it all so well! It felt as if she could read my thoughts.

I laughed out loud when she discussed the views that others have of feminist women: angry, hate men, who refuse to shave their legs, don’t like to wear make up, and refuse to wear high heels. I wonder if people still have these views of feminist? I bet it is very different in different regions of the world, countries, and even within countries.

Anyways, there are three specific quotes from the book that made me nod my head and say “Yes!“:

“What struck me, with her and with many other females American friends I have, is how invested they are in being ‘liked.’ How they have been raised to believe that their being liked is very important and that this “likeable” trait is a specific thing. And this specific thing does not include showing anger or being aggressive or disagreeing too loudly.”

I have countless example of this in academia. God forbid your disagree too loudly! lol I will just leave it at that.

“We teach boys to be afraid of fears, or weakness, or vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak, a hard man.”

As a mother, this is an important message. How are we raising our sons? Feminism is not about a bunch of women trying to change the world, it is really about women and men working together. The way we raise our sons today, will have an impact on the type of men they are tomorrow.

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be. I like politics and history and am happiest when having a good argument about ideas. I am girly. I am a happy girly. I like high heels and trying on lipsticks.”

It is truly disappointing when people think that you cannot be girly and be an academic. Wearing make up, red lipstick, and wearing a dress? It probably means you are not smart enough. I have actually heard women in academia say that the more they behave like a man, the more accepted they are in academic settings. Sad! I love embracing my femininity and I plan to continue doing just that.

There is a lot more that I can quote, but I just want to leave it there for now. I am moving on to read Audre Lorde “Sister Outsider” and I really need to finish “I am judging you” by Luvvie Ajayi (this is not a book about feminism, but about keeping it real).

Let’s talk about ID Project Management

For the last few years, I have taught an ID Project Management course. I normally teach this course during the Summer term, which is a 6-week intensive session (and I mean truly intensive!). However, the rotation of electives in our program now allows me to teach the course during the regular 14-week term. This meant, that I now have room in the course for guest speakers who share their experiences related to project management in instructional design in various settings.

This semester, I was able to record the guest speaker sessions and share them with the students who are not enrolled in the course. These recordings are now uploaded to YouTube. Apologies in advance if YouTube is unavailable in your area due to Internet restrictions.

Guest Speaker: Camille Dickson-Deane, Ph.D., PMP.


Guest Speaker: Adriana McKinnon


Guest Speaker: Kiran Budhrani

Reflections on “Open at the Margins: Critical Perspective on Open Education”

I do a short writing assignment every semester in my “Intro Seminar to Instructional Design and Technology course.” The main purpose of the assignment is to expose students to diverse topics in the instructional design field, to share an open access book with them (so that they can have as a future reference), and to assess their writing abilities (in order to provide support or share resources when needed).

Last semester, the students read “Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology” and they shared wonderful reflections from the various topics covered in the book. This semester the open access book I shared with my students was “Open at the Margins: Critical Perspectives in Open Education.”

The assignment is the following:

  • Please select ONE chapter of the book “Open at the Margins: Critical Perspectives on Open Education
  • Write a reflection on the chapter you read
  • The paper should be:
    • MS Word document
    • 12 point font: Calibri or Times New Roman
    • Two-pages maximum
    • Include the title of the chapter you read in the first paragraph
    • If you use additional references, please include a reference list at the end (otherwise, you do not need to include references)
    • Use the submission link provided in the next Module [Nov. 2] to submit your reflection

Some of the chapters that the students reflected on this term included:

There are so many great reflections this semester. One of the main takeaways was “openness as more than just textbooks and access but as a way of to improve our practice, sharing, and collaborating.” The chapter “Open Education in Palestine: A tool for Liberation” was selected by three different students and “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Research and Education” was selected by two students. Clearly, the topics/titles peaked the students’ interest.

Next week, I will ask the students if it is okay to share some of their reflections. Happy Friday!

Recent Publications Related to Social Media in Education

It feels like I have not blogged in a while, so I decided to take a break from other social media and give some love to my blog. In this post, I want to share some research that I have co-authored and published this year on the use of social media in education:

A Syllabi Analysis of Social Media for Teaching and Learning Courses
You can access this journal article here.

Earlier this year, my former student (Linlin Li) and I published this journal article. It was a really neat experience doing the syllabi analysis. It helped me understand some of the topics that are often overlooked when we teach about social media. It also allowed me to see what books and sources are used in the curriculum. The reality is that we have so much literature related to social media and it understandable because the experiences, the environment and the individual using them are constantly changing. This was an open access publication.

An Exploration of a Social Media Community: The Case of #AcademicTwitter
You can access this conference proceeding paper here.

This was my first collaboration with colleague Lina Gomez-Vasquez, a fellow Latinx researcher. It was a high level analysis of the #AcademicTwitter hashtag and those who often post to this online community. Love that we can look at how faculty (and other academics use social media). As the abstract stated: “This paper examines participants and communication patterns in the #AcademicTwitter community. Using content analysis and social network analysis techniques, the researchers examined tweets including the #AcademicTwitter hashtag to discover the community’s network properties, roles of the participants, sentiment, and conversational themes.” We have other follow up projects related to the #AcademicTwitter hashtag, so stay tune.

Most versus least used social media: undergraduate students’ preferences, participation, lurking, and motivational factors: You can access this journal article here.

In this paper, we surveyed 769 undergraduate students and asked them about their social media preference and participation. Snapchat and Instagram were their preferred social media. We also asked questions related to lurking. As we mentioned in the paper: “It is equally important that as part of the research focused on the use and participation of undergraduate students in social media, we also address lurking behaviors. In comparison to the large number of research efforts focused on active users of social media, very little research has focused on lurkers in online environments or even consider lurking an important form of online behavior (Edelman, 2013). The 90-9-1 rule states that amongst members of an online community there are ninety percent lurkers who never contribute, nine percent who contribute very little, and one percent who actively create new content (Sun, Rau, & Ma, 2014). There are multiple reasons why people lurk.”

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash