Visual Literacy Volume

I took a quick look at the Spring edition of “New Directions for Teaching and Learning”, a Wiley journal, today.  The theme for the  Spring 2015 volume is “Looking and Learning: Visual Literacy across the Disciplines”.

The full table of contents is accessible online at:

The summary paper in the volume, which pulls together a set of effective practices,  is an open publication and very much worth reading!

Little, D. (2015), Teaching Visual Literacy across the Curriculum: Suggestions and Strategies. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2015: 87–90. doi:10.1002/tl.20125

I really liked Anthony Crider’s paper:

Crider, A. (2015), Teaching Visual Literacy in the Astronomy Classroom. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2015: 7–18. doi:10.1002/tl.20118 (need subscription to view).

He does a good job of connecting visual literacy to  information literacy and gives a shout-out to the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) work.  He identifies three types of visuals – images, diagrams and plots – that also are important in geology.  I’d want to add maps to that for geology purposes.

Overall, the idea that we have an expert’s blind spot when it comes to images resonates really strongly with me. The amount of information that is contained in our visuals can be overwhelming to a novice learner.  For example, We can easily overlook the levels of understanding it might take to interpret a stratigraphic diagram:

  • the relationship between rock type and origin/environment
  • the sequence/ordering of units (time and missing time)
  • the nature of the boundaries between rock types

All of these things have geological meaning; if we are using text alone, we can look up words to find their meaning.  To understand a diagram, we have to process multiple pieces of information when we look at a diagram and that takes time to master.

Looks like I have some work to do before teaching again next spring….

Posted in Flexible Learning, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Visual Literacy Volume


I was thinking about the term curation today – the word is being used a lot in the context of streamlining/encouraging/promoting the integration of a mix of learning materials – including open educational resources –   into curriculum. I’ve seen it defined in a variety of ways, most of which involved finding, collecting, organizing and sharing resources. I ran across an interesting definition/discussion of  digital content curation on a social media-focused  blog that places it in the “experience” bucket in a way that I had not seen before (and like!):

“A curator [is*] someone who creates a specific experience using found objects and contextualizes those objects within a limited space. A curator not only collects and interprets, but houses that work to create unique experience.”

Erica Aoyette

The idea that we (educators) create a specific experience really resonates with me.  It underscores the need for us to provide context for learning resources.  If I am going to ask my students to watch a video, for example, in most cases I want to ensure that they understand why I have chosen that video – it may be that it helps them visualize a critical element of a particular process, or possibly provides a different example of something they have already seen…  Regardless, to enhance their learning, knowing why the resource is meaningful  – our pedagogical intention in their using a resource – is important.

So curation is not just about finding and organizing learning resources, it is also about  creating the contextual frame for the learning experience.

Food for thought.

*I added the word is in this sentence.

Posted in Flexible Learning | Comments Off on Curation

BCCAT JAM 2013 Session

The Province of British Columbia has a robust (world class) system for credit articulation and transfer, as one can explore through the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT) website  and the companion site, BC Transfer Guide.  Behind the scenes in all of this work are the councils and committees that make the system work.

One of my colleagues asked me to do a session on MOOCs for the BCCAT JAM session, and I was quite excited (and a little intimidated).  I titled the talk “Articulating… MOOCs?”, because I was curious about what the people who, on a day-to-day basis, help students gain credit for their learning experiences were thinking about this topic.  The beginning of many conversations I hope!

The slides I used for the talk are here.  There were a number of images and links in the presentation – and I wanted to outline and acknowledge them here.  This post is not intended to replicate the talk, just provide the links.

Slides 1-3

  • Title, Confession and Overview.  The photo in slide 2 is of me, taken back in -well, I’m not going to say – during PhD days.  That is a 5 metre coal seam, by the way… (that represents a lot of peat in one place for a very, very long time).

Icebreaker questions…. (slide 4)

MOOC image (slide 5)

Historical Confluence (1) (slide 6)

  • Graphic builds circle-by-circle; it is intended to highlight the historical, cumulative work and forces that have come together.
  • I know that not everything is captured here, but I wanted to give the sense that MOOCs – regardless of genre – are building on a significant body of work and aspirations.

Historical Confluence (2) (slide 7)

  • MOOCs are building upon/leveraging a platform provided by the body of work and aspirations of many.

 With MOOCs, we’ve neither invented nor discovered fire – we’ve found an excellent accelerant (slide 8)

  • The photo is of a forest fire burning on the horizon near Quesnel, BC a few summers ago. (My photo, cc-licensed)
  • I know many of us that have been in this field a while find the MOOC dialogue interesting (in the Canadian sense).  It feels like reboot sometimes.  However, the appearance of MOOCs has sparked new and intense dialogues about teaching and learning, diverse forms of obtaining credit, open education…
  • There were a couple of other photos that I thought of using here: (who can resist fire-discovering cows?) and (everyone loves a good campfire), but I liked the mood of the forest fire shot.

The Players: Historical Perspective (slide 9)

  • Phil Hill, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 47, no. 6 (November/December 2012)  CC-licensed image, Figure 3 in the paper
  • In another figure in that paper, Phil Hill takes the history back a bit further (this one starts at 2008).  Illustrates major branches in the MOOC family, as well four key challenges.
  • FYI – I stood off to the left of this slide to represent where some of the earliest roots were…

Tracking MOOCs (slide 10)

Key Challenge: Patterns of Course Completion (slide 11)

Interesting developments (1)  (slide 12)

Interesting developments (2) (slide 13)

Iterating towards acceptability (1) (slide 14)

  • Bit of a play on words – wanted to have a highlight “acceptability” – from a credit perspective.
  • Drew attention to the photo – what is off?  Need for attention to detail (like any articulation process)

Iterating towards acceptability (2) (slide 15)

  • Image flipped to “correct” perspective

Example: ACE Credit & Coursera (slide 16)

Close to Home Example: University of Alberta: DINO 101 (slide 17)

  • Can be taken as a course or MOOC
  • Univ of Alberta will provide materials to students to facilitate transfer of credit (but up to institution)

New Player on the Scene (slide 18)

Questions (slide 19)

MOOC Image/Theatre Poster 1: slide 20)

MOOC Image/Theatre Poster 2 (Gratuitous fun ending) (slide 21)


There you have it!

Posted in MOOC, Openness, Teaching & Learning Online | Comments Off on BCCAT JAM 2013 Session

NIME Paper

I received a copy of Tony Bates’ new book, “Managing Technology in Higher Education” in the mail today… which was a welcome surprise. It reminded me that I needed to post a copy of a paper that he mentions in the book that kele Fleming and I put together for the NIME conference in Japan in 2008.  The paper, Aligning Institutional Culture and Practice:  The University of British Columbia’s e-Learning Framework, was attempt to summarize where we were (at that time) with respect to e-learning strategy, including the historical and institutional context.  One thing we tried to think through was the interplay between the life cycle stage of a technology, available programs and services and the provider of those programs and services. A lot has changed since that date, so its due for an update, but I realized that this was not posted anywhere!

Aligning Institutional Culture and Practice: The University of British Columbia’s e-Learning Framework

Lamberson, M.N. & Fleming, K. (2008). Aligning institutional culture and practice: The University of British Columbia’s e-learning framework. Invited Paper, NIME International Symposium 2008, Tokyo, Japan.

Posted in e-Strategy, UBC Strategic Efforts | Comments Off on NIME Paper

Flickr Galleries 2

OK!  Now I am excited.  I circled back to the Flickr Galleries feature I mentioned earlier, and noticed that they have now added (and I think this is new, but I could have just missed it) the ability to explain why someone

1) created the gallery and
2) selected particular photos.

VERY cool!  It’s now got the key features I am looking for as an activity for my course!

Posted in Course-Related, Distance Learning | Education, Geology Sites, Teaching & Learning Online, Web 2.0 | Comments Off on Flickr Galleries 2

CATac 2010: Diffusion 2.0: Computing, mobility, and the next generations”

A note from a friend (Leah MacFadyen) bout an interesting conference that will be here at UBC in June and is copied below.

CATaC (Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication) 2010: Diffusion 2.0: Computing, mobility, and the next generations”

On behalf of the Local and Program Chairs, and the CATaC Executive Committee, we are very pleased to pass on to you the Call for Papers for CATaC (Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication) 2010, “Diffusion 2.0: Computing, mobility, and the next generations”.

Venue: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Dates: 15-18 June 2010

CATaC’10 will feature keynote addresses by Dr Linc Kesler (First Nations Studies, The University of British Columbia) and Dr John Willinsky (Stanford University School of Education).

The CATaC conference series provides a premier international forum for current research on how diverse cultural attitudes shape the implementation and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The conference series brings together scholars from around the globe who provide diverse perspectives, both in terms of the specific culture(s) they highlight in their presentations and discussions, and in terms of the discipline(s) through which they approach the conference theme.

Original full papers (especially those which connect theoretical frameworks with specific examples of cultural values and practices) and short papers (e.g. describing current research projects and preliminary results) are invited. Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to:

  • Mobile technologies in developing countries
  • New layers of imaging and texting interactions fostering and/or threatening cultural diversity
  • Theoretical and practical approaches to analyzing “culture”
  • Impact of mobile technologies on privacy and surveillance
  • Gender, sexuality and identity issues in social networks
  • Cultural diversity in e-learning and/or m-learning
  • Both short (3-5 pages) and long (10-15 pages) original papers are sought.
  • See “submissions” on the conference website – for information about submitting papers and formatting guidelines.

The conference web site also provides further details regarding accommodations, submission procedures, etc.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and to welcoming you to Vancouver in 2010!

Local Co-Chair: Leah Macfadyen (UBC)
Local Co-Chair: Kenneth Reeder (UBC)

Program Chair: Herbert Hrachovec (University of Vienna)
Executive Committee:
Lorna Heaton (Université de Montréal, Canada) Maja van der Velden (University of Oslo, Norway)

Fay Sudweeks (Co-Chair, CATaC)
Charles Ess (Co-Chair, CATaC)

Posted in Conference Postings | Comments Off on CATac 2010: Diffusion 2.0: Computing, mobility, and the next generations”

Flickr Galleries

Flickr has added a cool new feature to its repetoire – galleries

This feature allows one to create a collection/set of other people’s photos

I can see some interesting uses for this – including a “webquest” of sorts for students….

As students to create a gallery of minerals or silicate minerals… or other types. Specify that they cannot use more than 2 photos from anyone person.. and ask them to create an introduction that describes what those minerals are, why they are important..

Ask them to create a gallery of photos on a topic, and reflect on the significance, or what they learned…”

Hmmm… maybe that would be a good intro exercise for students to find examples corresponding to items on the geologist’s “Lifetime list”…

If all students have their own account, ask them to create galleries for a specific purpose from other students’ photos…

All kinds of ideas floating…

Posted in Course-Related, Distance Learning | Education, Teaching & Learning Online | 1 Comment

Two OER Resources

From Susan D’Antoni of the iiep-0er-opencontent communities list comes a reminder of a few relatively recent OER publications:

“…Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace, was released by UNESCO in print in March as the organisation’s first openly licensed publication. It is now also available for free download online. The book brings together the background papers and reports from the first three years of activities in the community. As such, it makes reference to a specific period in the development of the OER movement.  The book is also a fascinating record of our earliest debates and discussions of issues – some of which are still active.”

She also points to the special issue of Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning on Open Educational Resources, which is accessible online:

Thought these would be good to note and share!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two OER Resources

Trucker Parables

Perusing through the Chronicle and came across Davis Wiley’s “The Parable of the Inventor and the Trucker“: a reflection on the case for open access scholarly journal publishing. The post is entertaining and pointed, but reading through the comments is even more fascinating as people comment on all aspects of the research/publishing spectrum – journals, books, the role of editors, the various roles of faculty members in different kinds of institutions, peer-reviewers….

David certainly started a conversation!

Posted in Openness | Tagged | Comments Off on Trucker Parables

WordPress, eh?

Ok… I’ve now done it… the new blogging platform is WordPress.  So far, it seems like:

  1. I login using my CWL
  2. I see this dashboard thing at the to
  3. I click on it.
  4. Looks like I’m in this blog here
  5. I click on Write Post
  6. This form thingy comes up
  7. I type in it.

Hmm… this seems tough.

Wait… there’s an add media thing. Stretch those wings

It’s a link, ok…

Need to find the Flickr plugin.. think we have it.

Not sure if I can use this … seems complicated…   😉

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment