A sabbatical during COVID-19

Where do I start?

I guess I can start by writing that a few months into my sabbatical the world turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, I was able to use my time to complete the tasks that I had outlined for my sabbatical period. April and May did require a significant adjustment since we had to manuoiver a new work schedule without child care. Maneuvering this new schedule required being realistic about what I could accomplish and saying “no” to some invitations for new collaborations.

The first two months of my sabbatical were as planned. I worked on writing two chapters for the book “Research Methods in Learning Design and Technology.” Book chapter authors submitted their completed and revised book chapters to me by the end of January and I worked on doing final reviews of each book chapter. I initially had planned to submit the book to the publisher by mid-March, but I switched the format of the last chapter, and this required giving extra time to my co-authors to complete their writing. This meant that I had to delay the submission of the book documents to the publisher until mid-April. Thankfully, by the time the world turned upside down in mid-March, all my co-authors and book chapter authors had turned in all required documents to me.

One of the elements of my sabbatical that was partially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was work-related travel. I was scheduled to attend the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Convention in San Francisco in mid-April and the conference was canceled. I am glad it was canceled, I am also glad it was not held virtually. April was a month of re-adjustement, tension, and stress for many. I was also scheduled to travel to Florence, Italy to present at the DEPIT Annual Meeting at the University of Florence. This event was re-scheduled for an online format.

I had some personal travel plans changed because of travel restrictions. I was scheduled to spend all of March and a portion of April in Panama City, Panama, where I was going to work while spending time close to my family. So, I traveled to Panama at the end of February and was monitoring all the news related to COVID-19. Due to the way the virus was spreading, my family and I decided it was best for us to travel back to the United States, so we changed our flights to travel back on March 22 (which is the day Panama was scheduled to close their international airport). On the evening of March 20, I received an email from COPA airlines letting me know that our flights had been cancelled. I was shocked and extremely disappointed. However, we all stayed calm and determined that we would just ride the storm in Panama. That same evening, as a last attempt, we figured we would see if there were any flights on March 21 to Tampa with a different airline. Thankfully, we did manage to fly back to Tampa on March 21. My dad was in Panama with me and we were also able to find a flight for him to fly back to Toronto (within one hour difference of our flight), which gave peace of mind. I would not have left Panama without my dad.

The weeks after returning from Panama, were weeks of adjustments as mentioned at the beginning of this post. In addition to all the tasks for the book, I was also scheduled to write a manuscript (with a deadline) that I had not even started. It took discipline to stay focus. I admit that there were many emotions related to what was happening in the world with the pandemic, leaving Panama, and experiencing the “new normal.” I felt like I had to work hard on my “emotional intelligence” to get the paper written and deliver all the book materials to the publisher.

I am thankful for the sabbatical term. In addition to the tasks mentioned in this post, I also used the time to work in revisions to several manuscripts and continue mentoring my undergraduate student (we presented at a conference in February and are currently working on a few writing tasks). Of course, I spend time with my family (even more than planned due to the lack of childcare).

Since my sabbatical ended, I am back to serving as the Graduate Coordinator of the Instructional Design and Technology program and I taught a six-week summer intensive course on Learner Motivation in June. I definitely missed my students and the joy of our convos.

 

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.

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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Renata_Sindicic

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:

Instructional Design Research Women’s Caucus #AECT17

Please consider joining us during this Research and Theory Division panel session at the AECT 2017 International Convention:

Women Caucus
Lead Discussant:
Enilda Romero-Hall
University of Tampa

Discussants:
Zeni Colorado-Reza
Emporia State University

Ginger Watson
University of Virginia

Camille Dickson-Deane
University of Melbourne

Ayesha Sadaf
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Tugce Aldemir
Pennsylvania State University

See you in Jacksonville. Hope you can join us!

Sneak Preview: #AECT16 Research & Theory Division Highlights

Yesterday, I purchased my plane ticket to Las Vegas (to attend the AECT 2016 International Convention later this year).  This reminded me that I wanted to share a sneak preview of the AECT Research & Theory Division (RTD) sessions. As you know (if you read my blog posts regularly), I have the pleasure of serving as the AECT RTD Convention Planner as well as the Featured Research (FR) Sessions planner. The peer review process for all the sessions was earlier this year (it was not an easy process). The AECT RTD had a large number of good submissions and, at the same time, it had a limited number of allotted presentation hours (plus we had very rigorous reviewers). Now that the review process is completed and all accepted authors have been notified, all planners put together division highlights for the conference printed program. Below are the sneak preview or “highlights” for the AECT RTD and Featured Research Sessions. The full AECT16 schedule will be available in a few months.

Featured Research Sessionshttps://cloudup.com/cZomjap6oqL

Research and Theory Highlightshttps://cloudup.com/cs6T_t6JAID

For more info about the conference, visit the AECT 2016 website: http://www.aect.org/events/convhotel/

 

 

Photos of #CIEEIFDS Seville

Here are the images I was able to capture during the IFDS in Seville last week. I figured it was best to post this sooner rather than later because I wanted to acknowledge the amazing people that we (the seminar attendees) worked with during our time in Seville. Thank you to Oscar Ceballos, Carlos Pineda, Miguel Romero, Antonio Perez, Carlos Sanches, Ruben Diaz and Emilio Gonzales Ferrin. I would also like to thank the six ladies with whom I shared and collaborated with during the seminar: Collete, Rebecca, Nancy, Kaitlin, Ellen, and Rylan. Learned so much from you ladies!

#CIEEIFDS COMM Summer 2016 Radio Show #Sevilla #Spain

Ruben Diaz

Hopefully you have read my previous posts and understand the context of this post. Just in case: I am doing an international professional development seminar in Seville in which I am learning and practicing communication strategies (and using digital media). One of the assignments in the seminar was to record sounds of the city during our stay in Seville. We finally used those sounds today during the production and recording of a radio podcast. It was a two hour preparation time of scripting and sound editing before recording our radio show. I am really impress with the final product!

I have to upload more sounds that I captured this week (they are now updated). I have many more, including interviews and more street sounds. However, I want to share our radio podcast. Big thank you to Radiopolis for letting us use their space to work on the project and their recording studio.

Here is our story, narrative, experience:

IFDS Communication Strategies in Context Summer 2016 Radio Show

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The Sounds of Seville [Sonidos de Sevilla] #CIEEIFDS

The Assignment

As part of the seminar I have a bit of homework and will be sharing (or at least try) to share it every day. The homework consist of audio recordings of sounds, conversations, audio reflections, interviews, and other audio recorded during the next few days in Seville. Each audio recording should be no more than two minutes long.

The Recordings

CIEE Seminar Director: Oscar Ceballos:

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Local Hero

 

Walking Tour of Old Town Sevilla:

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Carlos Sanchez

 

Reggaeton on the Streets of Seville:

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Street Art

Morning Walk to CICUS (Universidad de Sevilla) 

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Cobblestone Streets

Visual Narrative (Operation Just Cause)

US Invasion of Panama_Operation Just Cause
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Importance of Context [Games of Thrones Example]

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Emilio Gonzalez Ferrin

 

First Impressions of Seville [Nancy & Enilda]

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Royal Palace

Horse Carriage

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Old Town Seville

Church Bells

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Church Bells

What is information? 

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Ruben Diaz

 

Interview in “El Corte Ingles”

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El Corte Ingles

Coffeeshop Conversation with Local Sevillanos

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Flea Market “El Jueves”

 

Note: Here is the updated post with all the audio recordings from Seville, Spain.

 

Greetings from Seville! #CIEEIFDS @CIEESeville

Thrilled to be in Seville, Spain for another CIEE International Faculty Professional Development Seminar. Thankful for the CIEE Alumni Scholarship which helped sponsor my participation in this seminar. The title of the seminar is “Communication Strategies in Context: Culture Learning and Community Engagement through Digital Tools.” I hope to provide regular updates throughout the week related to the seminar.

Homework:

Also, as part of the seminar I have a bit of homework and will be sharing (or at least try) to share it every day. The homework consist of audio recordings of sounds, conversations, audio reflections, interviews, and other audio recorded during the next few days in Seville. Each audio recording should be no more than two minutes long.

Now it is bed time. Buenas noches!

Museo del Baile Flamenco (Sevilla, España)