Webinar Recording:Universities in the Age of #COVID-19

This morning I participated in a webinar organized by the Società Italiana di Ricerca sull’Educazione Mediale dedicated to: how universities in different countries are coping with higher education in the age of COVID-19 and the future directions (immediate future and long-term suggestions). Special thanks to my colleagues in Italy for the invitation to serve as a panelist in the webinar and for the diversity of the speakers from Spain, China, Lebanon, New Zealand, and Brazil [Here is a link to the recording]

I would also like to share a few of the resources that were shared during the webinar by myself and other colleagues:

UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education: Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption

The International Council for Open and Distance Education: Tips for Distance and Online Teaching #LearningTogether

UNESCO: National learning platforms and tools

DQ Institute: Digital Institute, Culture, and Innovation

European Commission Education and Training: Coronavirus: online learning resources

The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)’s Response to the COVID-19 Virus: https://www.aect.org/aects_response_to_the_covid-1.php

 

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Instructional Design Practitioners, Students, and Faculty: Social Media Groups

I am putting together a list of social media groups, specifically Facebook and LinkedIn groups, to share with the students in the UT IDT program. I thought it would be a nice resource that would allow them to be expose to diverse groups of instructional designers in different settings, levels of experience, and locations. I remember when I first started my IDT master program it seemed like there was hardly anyone else who knew what was instructional design. In any case, I know it can feel like just you and your classmates are learning about instructional design. In reality, we have large communities of instructional design practitioners, students, and faculty. This is a work in progress list, I will add more groups as I come across them.

Photo Blog: IFDS in Tunisia

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Tunisia in June as part a faculty member participating in the international faculty professional development (IFDS) seminar titled: “The New Tunisia: Migration and Democratic Consolidation” organized by SIT abroad. My participation in the seminar was sponsored by an IFDS grant awarded to faculty members at The University of Tampa by the Office of International Programs and the International Programs Committee. I was honored to received this grant. Participation in this seminar gave me the opportunity to learn more about topics related migration in the African continent, specifically the Maghreb region. Several of our meetings with experts and NGOs focused on conversations that allow use to learn more about the social, political, and economic effects of migration in the Maghreb region, sub-Saharan Africa, and European countries. I plan to write more about the seminar in the near future; however, for now I want to share some of the photos taken during the seminar.

One of the many reasons I am sharing this photo blog is that in the months prior to my departure to Tunisia, I mentioned to a few colleagues, friends, and family members the destination of my IFDS. I was amazed by the number of people who do not know where Tunisia is located or that it even a country. So, I feel that it is important to let others see (even if just through the lens of my camera) a bit of Tunisia.

Tunisian NGOs and Resources

It is well past my bed time here in Tunisia, but I wanted to put together a list with the links to the organizations that we have interacted with or have been mentioned as part of the international faculty development seminar in which I am participating. The title of the seminar is: “The New Tunisia: Migration and Democratic Consolidation.” Over the last three days, we have talked to several experts on the topic and we have visited several NGOs. Below I am sharing the links to the organizations  and also other resources mentioned during the seminar. I will update this blog post at the end of the seminar in case there are other links or additional resources.

NGOs

  1. EuroMed Rights – TunisiaThe focal point of this NGO is the rights (social and economic) of migrants and refugees in Tunisia.
  2. Terre d’Asile TunisiaThe focus of this NGO is to provide guidance and support to non-Tunisian migrants.
  3. AMALThe focus of this NGO is to empower Tunisian mothers by providing accommodation, legal advice and vocational training to unmarried mothers [News Article]

Resources

  1. Maghrib Past and Present PodcastThis podcast is a forum in which artists, writers, and scholars from North Africa, the United States, and beyond can present their ongoing and innovative research on and cultural activities in the Maghrib. The podcasts are recorded at research centers, universities, and cultural venues across the Maghrib (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania).
  2. “The Cemetery of the Unknown” in Tunisia:
    • Rahma Ben Mansour recommended that we learn more about this place. She discussed how issues related to migration are sometimes dealt with by local communities. This cemetery and the burial of many migrants is one example.

Music

One of my colleagues in the program mentioned these great pieces of Jazz. Although they are not from Tunisia, I thought it would be good to share them in the blog.

Podcast Episode (@VisionOfEd): #SocialMedia in #HigherEducation

This past week, I was invited as a guest speaker in the Visions of Education podcast series. I am sharing it here for anyone who is in the education field and wants to subscribe to the podcast. Also, I want to share the link to the podcast episode. I discussed SocialMedia in HigherEducation:

You can click on this link to access a full list of resources (articles, books, and videos) mentioned in podcast episode: https://visionsofed.com/2019/03/10/episode-108-social-media-in-higher-education-with-enilda-romero-hall/

This is a one of five podcast episodes that focus on #SocialMediaEd discussions leading up to the SITE conference next week in Las Vegas, NV.

In honor of International Women’s Day: “Undisclosed stories of instructional design female scholars in academia”

It is International Women’s Day and I would like to re-share a journal article that I co-authored with other Instructional Design Female Scholars: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277539518302231

In addition to sharing a link to the article, I am also sharing a short excerpt from the discussion section of the manuscript (which complies with the copyrights set by the publisher). If you would like to get a copy of the full article, I will gladly share it via email.

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Significance of this Research

Why are these issues that we present through our stories of significance to the ID field? Because we teach, practice, and research this field. We aim to present our field as a process-based, relational, inclusive, equitable, and transformative community.  Yet, instructional design practices, research, and teaching are heavily influenced by the male dominance that permeates higher education institutions. We attempt with this paper to raise awareness, seek understanding, and open the doors for discussion of women’s issues in higher education and the instructional design field.  In the past, “feminist approaches to design have problematized a range of taken-for-granted assumptions (Campbell, 2014, pg. 233).” These assumptions continue to marginalize and oppress through our practice. It is a trickle down effect: if some voices being part of the IDT community are ignored, oppressed, and marginalized , how can we expect the outcome of our design, research and teaching experiences to be inclusive, equitable, and transformative? In the global economy, we talk about reaching out to diverse groups of learners. If those diverse groups can be represented in the decision making mechanisms, then, it might be easier to develop empathic relationship with the diversity, we strive to address.

As an attempt to challenge the hegemony of patriarchy in academia, this paper explores gender-related challenges and issues female scholars experience in their lives. The male dominance in academia and socio-cultural roles assigned to females create conflicting roles. As female academics are assigned with a range of social, cultural, and professional responsibilities in a male-dominant context, it is essential that they are provided with support (Misra, Crist, & Burant, 2003). Changing this mental frame is not easy since it is legitimized and encouraged by power dynamics. As a socially-accepted and culturally-valued role, females are supposed to take care of domestic responsibilities first. The role of parenthood and marriage once combined with the gendered and biased institutionalized norms conflicts with the role of a scholar (Acker, 1992). As a potential strategy to solve this problem, it is essential to recognize gender as a social construct that is shaped by the patriarchy to designate social and cultural roles to women as a tool for suppression and marginalization (Acker, 1992); thereby, allowing us to perpetuate these inequalities that we have been trying to overcome (Valian, 1998).

To make matter worse, the lack of collaboration among the female academics aggravates the practical impacts of these anomalies. Women’s issues are an important part of the female academic identities that are embodied and situated in a social and cultural discourse dictated by the dominant socio-political forces through the gender, power, and context sensitive knowledge creation process (Nightingale, 2003). It is vital for female academics to have an open forum in which they can share their experiences and insights on women’s issues, and triangulate the silences and incompatibilities across the settings. It is important to raise skepticism concerning the neutrality of the knowledge creation through the practice of normal science, and uncover the silenced and empowered voices by the hegemonic forces situated in a social context (Vaivio & Sirén, 2010).

 

The EduTech research group at #FURC2019 (@UTinquiry)

This past weekend The University of North Florida hosted the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC). Many undergraduate students from The University of Tampa presented topics in which they engage on research. One of these students was Renata Sindicic, who has been working with me and collaborating in research since last August 2018. I feel extremely proud of Renata, #FURC2019 was her very first time presenting in a conference! She worked hard on the design of the poster and practice her presentation prior to the event. I am thankful to have her as part of the research team!

Renata presented preliminary results of our research related to the use of social media by undergraduate students.

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The Instructional Design Interview

Last week, in preparation for a class, I reached out to professional instructional designers (ID) via Facebook and asked them to share good instructional design related questions that they had to answer in an interview in the past. The reason for collecting these questions was to engage my graduate students in an mock interview exercise.

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The response from the ID community in Facebook was great. I am still getting notifications of questions that are getting posted. In addition to the questions posted by ID professionals, I also asked the graduate students in both the Intro and Advance IDT Seminar courses to create questions that would be a good fit for an ID-related interview.

Here is the final Google document with all the interview questions, including those: a) crowdsourced from Facebook, b) UT IDT Intro seminar students, and c) UT IDT Advance seminar students: The Instructional Design Interview

If you are interested in becoming part of this ID FB communities, here are the links:

Failure

I really enjoy celebrating accomplishments but I also like normalizing failure. We do not always achieve what we want or it make take several tries before we accomplish a goal. If we are mentally prepared to understand that failure is a possibility, we are more likely to build strength to pick up the pieces and try again. So here are some things that I have failed at in the past, yet they did not stop me from continuing to pursue what I wanted to accomplish in the long run.

When I graduated high school, I decided to study computer systems engineering. That did not go too well! At that time (and still today), I was a social butterfly. College was a great place to hangout with my friends. Becoming an engineer was not really a priority. After the three semesters studying engineering and failing many courses, I decided that it was best to throw in the towel. I took a year off from college level courses to work and save to pay for my education. I eventually when back to college and started with an associates degree in Computer Programming which I completed with honors. I went on to successfully complete an undergraduate, master, and doctoral degree.

Another moment of failure in my life was when I applied to doctoral degrees. You see, I was determined to move back to Canada and in particular to Montreal. I had fallen in love with the educational technology program at Concordia University. After spending 5 full years studying in Emporia (Kansas), I was ready to complete my application, get accepted, and start a new chapter of my life as a doctoral student at Concordia University. That did not happened! I applied to three universities: Concordia University, Boston University, and Old Dominion University. A few days after doing my doctoral interview (a phone interview with all faculty members of the educational technology program), I received a letter from Concordia University letting me know that I was not accepted. I cried so much!

However, I was accepted to Boston University (with a graduate assistantship but no tuition reimbursement) and to Old Dominion University (with a graduate assistantship with full tuition reimbursement). Eventually, I decided to attend Old Dominion University and that let to so many wonderful opportunities that have shaped my personal life and career. I decided that although I was not at my number one choice, I was still going to earn a doctoral degree and make the most out of it!

Of course, there are many instances of failure in every day life: the article that gets rejected, the class activity that does not go as planned, the award that I do not get, etc.

Why am I sharing this? 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.

Moment of Honesty

Moment of Honesty A:
I was really dreading attending AECT 2018.

Moment of Honesty B:
I feel that I am changing as a scholar, as person, and a member of society

I attended my first AECT conference in 2009 and felt welcomed. I knew immediately that I would come back every year. I became involved in the leadership as part of the Research & Theory Division (RTD). I started serving in the RTD board in 2010 and I am stepping down from my leadership role this year. As an active member of AECT it has been a very rewarding experience.

This year, however, I felt a bit different and I think it is related to the “Moment of Honesty B.” I wish I could articulate all of this in a better way but that seems to be work in progress.

I do want to say that although I was dreading attending AECT 2018, I am glad I attended this year. First, I had a pretty awesome roommate (Dr. Valerie Irvine)! Also, I got to hangout with the usual suspects that shall remain nameless and with whom I can be brutally honest. Third, I got to see colleagues from around the globe and talked about the projects they are working on (great intellectual discourse!). Last, I joined several panels and contributed to conversations related to the IDT field, higher education practices, and our role as scholars.

I am very much looking forward to AECT 2019! We are so lucky to have Dr. Michael Grant as our president-elect (and as the person who will be leading the planning of AECT 2019). Based on my past experiences working with Michael, I know it is going to be amazing!

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