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!

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.

 

Thank you, 2018. Looking forward to meeting you 2019!

I’ve been wanting to write a few sentences in my blog for a while, but it has been a “busy” end-of-the-year and also I have been choosing to stay away from my computer. So, while everyone at home is taking a minute to rest, I am writing this blog post.

When I think of 2018, so much comes to mind. It was a year of writing, data collection, and leading. I wrote grants, manuscripts, a book proposal, award applications, conference presentations, and my T&P narrative. I collected data on four different projects. All of this projects are now manuscripts in progress. Last, but not least, thanks to the grants I was awarded I was able to hire and mentor three research assistant this year (Spring and Fall). Of course, in addition to these research related tasks, I also served and taught several courses. I also do not want to forget the study abroad program to Switzerland (hopefully my Swiss friends already received the “Christmas cheer” I sent them in the mail)!

There were moments in which I wondered how I was going to do everything I wanted to do. At the end of the day, I tried my best to never look back, instead I just kept looking forward. One lesson that I believe is extremely important as part of your career (even if you are not an academic) and personal life is to surround yourself with people that have the same vision you have and that share similar values. I know “values” is such a loaded word. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is important to surround yourself with others who will cheer you during the good and bad times. These individuals will keep you grounded when you need to eat a bit of humble pie and will listen when you just want to vent. As Dr. Becca Kennedy mentioned: “it is important to find your people.”

Anyways, 2018 was overall good to me. I guess a better way of saying this is: there were many hours of hard work, emails, meetings, and basically moments of “making magic happen,” BUT in the end I feel good about the outcome(s). Also, this year serve as seed for many more “outcomes” to come.

Wishing you and yours a 2019 full of health, prosperity, and love!

 

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!

Reflecting on the 2013 – 2014 Academic Year

It is officially the end of the 2013 – 2014 academic year (well except for the summer course I am teaching) and it is time for me to reflect on this academic year.

It has been an interesting year! First I should say that, I felt welcomed into my new position at the University of Tampa (special thanks to the EDU faculty and admin staff). I was a bit worried that after spending five years at Old Dominion University I was not going to feel that same level of comfort. Thankfully, I was able to settle in the fifth floor of Plant Hall and have great office neighbors. I also met a great group of ladies during my new faculty orientation and we made an effort to get together for lunch throughout the academic year. It is great to have cohort buddies that can relate to the new faculty experience. Last, but definitely not least, I am very thankful to the amazing students that I have in my classes. They definitely make it easy for me to enjoy the work that I do.

I remember reading a post by a colleague my last year in the doctoral program in which she mentioned that been a faculty member at a university was a “24/7” job. I though that was a bit too much but the reality is that she was 100% correct. It is a career choice that requires a significant amount of commitment and dedication. I do it because I love my profession and I am passionate about it. I do recommend taking time to “take a break” and enjoy life, when possible, otherwise it can be overwhelming. Do take time to stop and smell the roses!

A few updates:

  • This year I taught several courses in the ID&T program. I think I underestimated the amount of time and energy it takes for me to complete a “new prep” for each of my courses — every week. Wow! It was a massive undertaking.
  • On the research side, things are going well. I have research projects in different stages: accepted for publication, under review, in preparation and in data collection. I also have a few projects and collaborations that will be starting in the next few months. Some of this projects will be with colleagues and others will be with students. I am pretty excited!
  • I am participating in a panel session later this year at AECT titled: First-year experience, tenure, and scholarship: Supporting international faculty in instructional technology programs; so I am putting together a list of suggestions/recommendations for new faculty. I will upload my slides closer to the presentation day.

I hope everyone has a productive as well as relaxing summer! Saludos!