Category Archives: My presentations

Upcoming #TvsZ game and presentations at #et4online

#TvsZ is back! Running April 22-24, 2015. See the main website, here.

Plus, next week I and several other people are presenting on #TvsZ at the OLC “Emerging Technologies for Online Learning” 2015 conference.

What is #TvsZ?

That’s surprisingly difficult to answer. Here’s how I tried to describe it recently in an application for a teaching award, in which I discussed my work in open education.


Originally designed as a zombie game played on Twitter (and thus called “Twitter vs. Zombies”), we have also created a new version called “Technology vs. Zen.” Both games are played through Twitter, and are meant to bring people together in order to create collaborative stories. The other part of the purpose of the game is to help people learn how to use Twitter, and to give them motivation to create and share digital artifacts such as blog posts, images, videos, and more. The game usually happens over the course of a weekend, often lasting about three days.

Apocalypse, Flickr photo shared by Charles Hutchins, licensed CC BY 2.0

Apocalypse, Flickr photo shared by Charles Hutchins, licensed CC BY 2.0

In “Twitter vs. Zombies” the overall setting of the game is a zombie apocalypse, where there are zombies who have started to infect humans. You can see the website for the third iteration of the zombie version, here: On Twitter, one can be bitten by a zombie through the use of a hashtag, and then has a certain number of minutes to dodge or be rescued by someone else before they turn into a zombie themselves. But the game goes beyond this; the most interesting parts of the game are when people take on missions where they have to add to the ongoing story in the game through a blog post, a picture, a video, a drawing they take a picture of, a song, or many other things. These aspects of the game happen through new rule releases that occur about every 12 hours:

In “Technology vs. Zen” the setting is an apocalyptic scene of unknown origin; participants are to imagine that they have woken up to find a wasteland around them, dead and dying plants, deserted city streets. The game site for this version is here: The point of the game is to figure out what has happened and to determine how to approach solving the problem. Players begin on one of two teams: “technology” or “nature,” each team devoted to either a technological solution or one that has to do with working more in tune with nature. Participants start out recruiting others for their teams, but then are asked to engage in missions such as finding food, building a shelter, describing what they think has happened, and determining an approach to solving the problem (examples of such missions can be found here:

A number of people have used #TvsZ in their courses, asking students to play in order to experience collaborative storytelling and connecting with people around the globe in a team that has to work together in order to accomplish their missions. They have also used it to show an example of open and emergent pedagogy, though outside of a specific course context. Finally, it serves as an engaging way to encourage students to learn how to create and post digital objects—though the game sites don’t have information on how to do so, participants learn this from each other (or from their instructor, if they are playing the game as part of a course). As the current TvsZ planning team wrote in an abstract for an upcoming conference presentation:

 This game builds digital literacy through creating avenues for participants to engage in international collaboration, to compose for a visible and active audience, and to craft personal learning networks. It is a dynamic experience for engaging students in transmedia storytelling and narrative collaboration, and it can democratize the classroom by blurring the line between teacher and student. The game design itself is democratized through emergent rules: players re-shape the rules and revise the narrative as the game unfolds. (This quote comes from the abstract reprinted below)


But even since writing that, the game has changed again. This time we’re thinking of not having any teams to start with and asking people to create their own teams. Thus, there might not be a “technology” team or a “nature” team, but entirely different ones.

That’s one of the wonderful things about this game: it is continually evolving. And not only between games, but within the game itself: rules change over time, new missions are created for teams to complete, and participants are asked to suggest changes during the game as well. And actually, participants sometimes just change the game themselves by choosing to do something quite different than what we designed; in a recent version, which had a divide between humans and zombies, a group of people decided they didn’t want to be either humans or zombies and participate in biting or escaping bites, but to rather be neutral commentators who created poetry about the game.

What does one get out of playing the game? Here are a couple of blog posts I found with reflections on experiences in various versions: one by Karen Young, and one by Kevin Hodgson.

And here’s a fabulous artifact created out of what the teams did in #TvsZ 6.0, thanks to @nanalou022, which gives a good sense of what that version of the game was like.


So what are we doing at the conference?

I think I’ll just let our abstracts, which are pretty detailed, speak for themselves. We have two presentations, a longer one and a shorter one.

Here’s the abstract for the long, 2.5 hour workshop. This one is called Perforate Your Classroom: Collaboratively Hack the Open Online Game #TvsZ 6.0.” During this workshop, people will learn about the game, start playing it, learn how it has been used in courses, and work together on how they might change it for their own educational purposes.

All of the following is from this #et4online webpage.


Participants will learn about and play the open online Twitter game #TvsZ, go through the process of hacking it, and discuss pedagogical benefits and challenges.

Extended Abstract

This workshop will invite participants to explore the pedagogical value of perforating oneÍs classroom: opening it up for students to learn with others online in loosely facilitated social media experiences. The seven international collaborating facilitators will share their experience of co-facilitating an open online game. The facilitators, who teach in Egypt, Canada, New York, Georgia, and California, will share their cross-institutional, cross-border experience of hacking #TvsZ and playing it with their students.

#TvsZ is an open online Twitter game played across an increasing variety of online sites and apps. The game, created originally in 2012 by Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel, is usually played over 3-4 days by anyone who chooses to follow the Twitter hashtag #TvsZ, as well as students in participating classes. Players, who are often meeting virtually for the first time, interact with each other on Twitter via a basic game dynamic which encourages informal, spontaneous tweets relating to the game premise. As players develop increasing familiarity with other players and with the basic syntax of game tweets, additional game dynamics are introduced, often in response to player suggestions and initiatives. These additional dynamics encourage players to create a wide variety of media objects, to experiment with new modes of networked collaboration, and to refashion their roles in the game itself.

This game builds digital literacy through creating avenues for participants to engage in international collaboration, to compose for a visible and active audience, and to craft personal learning networks. It is a dynamic experience for engaging students in transmedia storytelling and narrative collaboration, and it can democratize the classroom by blurring the line between teacher and student. The game design itself is democratized through emergent rules: players re-shape the rules and revise the narrative as the game unfolds. Although #TvsZ had been played multiple times before, the diverse interests and backgrounds of the co-facilitators as well as the international flavor, led to an interest in hacking the game in order to meet the different needs of their students and their own diverse teaching agendas.

The basic structure of the game can be revised in numerous ways, however, and participants in the workshop will brainstorm how they might do so for their own teaching and learning contexts. For example, while most versions of #TvsZ started with a Zombie narrative of biting and converting human players, the 6.0 version was intentionally kept zombie-free and non-violent.

Our workshop will be experiential: one must play the game to get a good sense of how and why one might want to hack it. Workshop participants will play a short version of one of the #TvsZ games and brainstorm their own forks of the game, and discuss possible repercussions of various modifications to such a game. They will also discuss possible pedagogical benefits to including a game like #TvsZ in their curricula, as well as potential problems one might encounter when doing so (and how such problems might be addressed).

Workshop Interaction/Takeaways:
Participants will play a version of #TvsZ, go through the process of hacking it, and (time-permitting) try out aspects of their hacked version during the workshop. Participants will discuss pedagogical benefits of using such a game in their classes, possible challenges and approaches to assessing learning.

Pete Rorabaugh (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA)
Andrea Rehn (Whittier College, USA)
Christina Hendricks (University of British Columbia – Vancouver, Canada)
JR Dingwall (University of Alberta, Canada)
Maha Bali (American University in Cairo, Egypt)
Additional Authors
Janine DeBaise (SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, USA)
Lizzie Finnegan (D’Youville College, USA)

Here are the slides for that workshop:



Here’s our abstract for the shorter session. This one is called “Perforating the Classroom: How Hacking the Online Game #TvsZ 6.0 Brings Together Faculty, Students and Community Members.” It is just for talking about how we changed the original #TvsZ from a zombie narrative to a more generic apocalypse narrative, and why, and how we engaged in cross-world collaboration to do so.

The following is from this webpage for #et4online.


Learn about the collaborative hacking and hosting of #TvsZ, an open online Twitter game which fosters digital literacies/network fluencies

Extended Abstract

#TvsZ is an open online Twitter game played across an increasing variety of online sites and apps. The game, created originally in 2012 by Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel, is usually played over 3-4 days by anyone who chooses to follow the Twitter hashtag #TvsZ, as well as students in participating classes. Players, who are often meeting virtually for the first time, interact with each other on Twitter via a basic game dynamic which encourages spontaneous tweets relating to the game premise. As players develop increasing familiarity with other players and with the basic syntax of game tweets, additional game dynamics are introduced, often in response to player suggestions and initiatives. These additional dynamics encourage players to create a wide variety of media objects, to experiment with new modes of networked collaboration, and to refashion their roles in the game itself.

The rationale for #TvsZ is simple; we call it the “perforated classroom” mode of teaching and learning. In this era of information abundance and fast-changing socio-economic paradigms, both students and teachers require new and different skills. Students need to learn to contextualize ideas through efficient web-enabled research practices, to share their results through effective multi-modal communication, to discover new resources and connect to emerging networks of experts as they prepare for lives which may require many transitions among fields. Teachers need to learn to model these these skills by interacting with students as curators of information and connected, public co-learners. The perforated classroom thus embodies these various methods of connection, while also enriching the possibilities of teacher-student, student-student, student-community, and student-teacher-community-global rapport beyond the classroom itself.

#TvsZ 6.0, played November 14-16, 2014, refashioned the premise and dynamics of play to respond to contemporary events, and to better adapt to the cultural and temporal distances among players and game facilitators. The global nature of the #TvsZ 6.0 facilitation team and their students resulted in some unique emergent dynamics during the game, which this presentation will highlight. While previous versions began with a Zombie infection narrative, the 6.0 version was intentionally kept zombie-free and non-violent.

#TvsZ 6.0 was hosted by a group of seven international collaborating scholars with varying types of expertise (and familiarity with the game itself) and with different institutional roles and teaching goals. We, and our students, live in three countries (Canada, Egypt and the US) and four widely separated time zones. While our students all speak English, many also use at least one other language as a primary mode of communication. Our students ranged from freshmen to seniors in college, and the participating classes focused on disciplines and topics. Two of the game hosts did not directly involve their own students, but facilitated the game out of a commitment to open learning itself. More than 150 players participated in the online game: some as students completing assigned work, some participating in extra credit activities, some who were invited to play to help them learn twitter literacy, some to learn about creative game design. In addition, many players from the Twitterverse (including veteran #TvsZ players from previous iterations) participated for the sheer fun of it.

This presentation will focus on #TvsZ 6.0’s cycle of collaborative development, focusing on the value of social networks for instructor collaboration, and sharing our experience of a cross-border, cross-institutional, and cross-cultural collaboration between teachers and students, from game host & student perspectives. By exploring a few of the media objects created by game participants, we will also discuss various methods for evaluating the outcomes of student, teacher, and community peer-learner collaborations. Each step of development and implementation exemplifies a stage in the digital fluency that the game promotes by involving people in the fun and frenzied creativity of participation, by inviting participants to collaborate and co-learn techniques of multimodal media creation, by tempting collaborators to become partners in the management of the game during gameplay, and by player-partners becoming hosts and hackers of future iterations of the game itself.

Open online games extend learning opportunities beyond the classroom, augmenting studentsÍ understanding of knowledge networks. The reflexive nature of #TvsZ and the other games it may spawn creates space to enjoy the game experience while critiquing its shortcomings (e.g., in terms of how language, pop culture, and even time zones affect players in different parts of the world). Students engage in collaborative, experiential, and self-directed learning, developing Twitter literacy about the values, as well as the potential risks, of using social media to network. They learn by doing; rather than following linear modules, they learn from how others are playing the game and they ask the community for help. They also learn about power dynamics in gaming and social media. Hacking the game into a more collaborative narrative, and playing it with students from different countries and cultures provided insights not previously visible in #TvsZ iterations, such as how game rules (in terms of time limits and timezones) could affect equity in the game, how cultural attitudes could affect students’ gameplay, and how to develop game dynamics that would encourage students to venture outside the safety of their classmates and play with strangers online.

Andrea Rehn (Whittier College, USA)
Maha Bali (American University in Cairo, Egypt)
Pete Rorabaugh (Southern Polytechnic State University, USA)
JR Dingwall (University of Alberta, Canada)
Christina Hendricks (University of British Columbia – Vancouver, Canada)
Additional Authors
Lizzie Finnegan (D’Youville College, USA)
Janine DeBaise (SUNY-College of Environmental Science; Forestry, USA)
Sherif Osman (American University in Cairo, Egypt)

Here are the slides for that shorter workshop:


Presentation at Open Ed conference 2014 (on UBC’s Policy 81)

I have been waiting to make this post, because like last year, all the sessions this year were videorecorded, and I was going to wait until the recordings were posted on Youtube so I could embed mine here. But the conference was in November of 2014, and it’s now February of 2015, and the Open Education Conference Youtube channel still just has the keynotes from the 2014 conference up. So I’m going to at least post my slides here.

This presentation is from the Open Education Conference 2014 in Washington, DC. It was about UBC’s Policy 81, and my fears that it may have lead to enough bad feelings among some people at UBC that they are no longer willing to share teaching materials with an open license. I did a small survey (28 people responded) of faculty members at UBC who had opted out of Policy 81 by signing up on a registry to do so, and found that that was indeed the case for some.

Now, just this week a revised Policy 81 has come out, and the university is asking for comments. I have a blog post about that too.

Here are the slides from my presentation:


I also have a lengthy set of notes for the presentation (surprisingly lengthy, given that I spoke for about 20-25 minutes, if I remember correctly (so obviously I skimmed over much of this!). In case you’re wanting more background on any of this, you can check out the notes:


Finally, as a result of this presentation, I was interviewed by Jenni Hayman of the Open Policy Network about UBC’s Policy 81. You can see a video recording of this interview, which was done via Skype, on the OPN blog.


Governance at UBC

At the presentation at the conference, some people asked about whether or not there was shared governance at UBC–how could it be that the administration and the faculty union were so at odds on this issue? A good question. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how governance works at UBC, but here’s what I do know.

The policy was passed by the Board of Governors, which consists of (according to the University Act of BC)

  • the UBC Chancellor
  • the UBC President
  • 11 people appointed by the lieutenant governor, two of whom should be from a list of nominees from the alumni association
  • 3 students (undergrad or grad)
  • 3 faculty members
  • 2 UBC employees who are not faculty members

So there are just three faculty members out of 21 people on the board, and 11 out of those 21 are not currently at UBC (though two of those 11 are probably alumni, from what I can tell). The faculty voice, then, is pretty small.

There is also the Senate of UBC, which is part of the overall governance. The membership of the Senate is pretty complicated, so I’ll just copy here from the University Act, part 7:

(a) the chancellor;

(b) the president, who is the senate’s chair;

(c) the academic vice president who must work through a part not specified under section 3.1 or equivalent;

(d) the deans of faculties who must work through a part not specified under section 3.1;

(e) the chief librarian or a person designated for the purpose by the chief librarian;

(f) the director of continuing education or a person designated for the purpose by the director;

(g) a number of faculty members equal to twice the number of senate members provided in paragraphs (a) to (f), to consist of 2 members of each faculty elected by the members of that faculty, and the remainder elected by the faculty members in the manner that they, in joint meeting, determine, but only faculty members employed through parts not specified under section 3.1 can vote or be elected;

(h) a number of students, equal to the number of senate members provided in paragraphs (a) to (f), elected from the students who are members of an undergraduate student society or a graduate student society, in a manner that ensures that at least one student from each faculty is elected, but only students studying through parts not specified under section 3.1 can vote or be elected;

(i) 4 persons who are not faculty members, elected by and from the convocation;

(j) one member to be elected by the governing body of each affiliated college of the university;

(k) additional members, determined by the senate, without altering the ratio set out in paragraphs (g) and (h).

So clearly, the Senate has a much greater representation of the faculty than the Board of Governors. But which body does what?

The Board of Governors website lays out the different responsibilities of the two. Briefly, according to that site:

The Board of Governors is responsible for the business of the University – its administration, finances, operations, assets and place in the community – and the integrity of such.

The Senates have a more focused responsibility for the academic integrity of the University, subject to the Board’s involvement where academic matters interface with matters of business and the larger community.

According to the longer list on the site, the Board of Governors has a say in most of the activities and policies of the university. The things that the Senate determines on its own are mostly to do with academic matters, such as academic discipline, final exams, admit students, grant degrees, and manage the library.

The procedure for adopting policies by the Board of Governors, such as Policy 81, seems to be that the policy is proposed, then there is a comment period, and then a vote is held among the Board. The UBC Faculty Association (our faculty union) expressed serious concerns about Policy 81 in February 2014, but the policy was passed anyway.


A revised policy

In February 2015, a revised policy 81 was put forward for comment. Please see a later blog post for information on that.

Two presentations on open education and MOOCs at UBC in 2013

I am trying to keep a record of all my presentations here on this blog, because otherwise I forget about them! Which I did; there are two presentations from 2013 that I gave at UBC on open education and MOOCs. The slides for these have been on Slideshare for awhile, but I’m posting them here so I have a record of everything in one place.

However, these presentations are not terribly self-explanatory on their own (lots of pictures sometimes w/o a lot of text), and I no longer have my notes for them, unfortunately. So really, this is just as a record that I did them, for myself.

Here’s one I gave at the CTLT Institute at UBC in May of 2013, on open education and connectivist MOOCs. I talked about the difference between “xMOOCs” and “cMOOCs,” gave some examples of cMOOCs, and used my recent experience with ETMOOC as an example to illustrate the cMOOC model.

And here’s a similar one I gave during Open UBC week in October of 2013, but this time talking about what I myself am doing in terms of open education. I talked about two open online courses that I was part of designing and facilitating: OOE13 and Why Open?. I also talked about what aspects of my on-campus courses I was making openly available, including in Philosophy 102 and through the Arts One Open site. There is a recording of this presentation available on YouTube.

The “open” in MOOCs

I was part of a debate on the value of MOOCs for higher education during UBC’s Open Access Week, on Oct. 29, 2014.

Here is the description of the event and speaker bios, from the Open UBC 2014 website (not sure how long the link is going to be active, so copied the description here). (The following text is licensed CC-BY)

Debate: Are MOOCs Good for Higher Education?


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are subject to both hype and criticism. In 2012, the New York Times declared it was the year of MOOC, while critics branded 2013 as the year of the anti-MOOC. Today, the debate about the impact that MOOCs are having, and will have, on higher education continues and the topic of MOOCs often dominates conversations and questions about how changes in technologies, pedagogies, learning analytics, economics, student demographics, and open education will impact student learning. Many universities, including UBC, are experimenting with MOOCs in different ways – from trying to understand how to scale learning to how to best use MOOC resources on campus.
This session will explore different types of MOOCs, the possible role for MOOCs in higher education, and their benefits and drawbacks.

Speaker Bios.

Angela Redish (moderator) is the University of British Columbia’s Vice Provost and Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Academic Facilities. Dr. Redish served as a professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts at UBC for nearly 30 years. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, and her subsequent research studied the evolution of the European and North American monetary and banking systems. She served as Special Adviser at the Bank of Canada in 2000-2001, and continues to be active in monetary policy debates. Her teaching has been mainly in the areas of economic history, monetary and macro-economies.

Jon Beasley-Murray is an Associate Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of British Columbia. He has taught a wide range of courses, from Spanish Language to Latin American literature surveys and seminars on topics ranging from “The Latin American Dictator Novel” to “Mexican Film.” His  use of Wikipedia in the classroom has led to press coverage in multiple languages across the globe.

Jon is a vocal critic of the current model of learning and assessment common in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), especially for the Humanities. He blogs at Posthegemony and is the author of Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America. His current book projects include “American Ruins,” on the significance of six ruined sites from Alberta, Canada, to Santiago de Chile. He is also working on a project on “The Latin American Multitude,” which traces the relationships between Caribbean piracy and the Spanish state, and indigenous insurgency and the discourse of Latin American independence.

Gregor Kiczales is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. Most of his research has focused on programming language design and implementation. He is best known for his work on aspect-oriented programming, and he led the Xerox PARC team that developed aspect-oriented programming and AspectJ. He is a co-author of “The Art of the Metaobject Protocol” and was one of the designers of the Common Lisp Object System (CLOS).  He is also the instructor for the Introduction to Systematic Program Design MOOC at Coursera. His discussion of the benefits of MOOCs can be found on the Digital Learning blog.

Christina Hendricks is a Senior Instructor in Philosophy and Arts One at the University of British Columbia. While on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year, she participated in a number of MOOCs, of different types. Ever since then she has used her MOOC participation as a form of professional development and a way to make connections with other teachers and researchers around the world. She has also been one of the co-facilitators for an open online course (not massive) at Peer 2 Peer University called“Why Open?”, and is a part of a project called Arts One Open that is opening up the Arts One program as much as possible to the public.


For my portion of the debate, I wanted to talk about openness (duh…it was open access week!) and the degree to which what many people think of as MOOCs are open (some of them not very). I talked a bit about OERs (open educational resources) and open textbooks as ways to make MOOCs more open, and also about opening up the curriculum and content to co-creation by participants. This led me to cMOOCs, which could be described as having a more open pedagogy. I briefly touched on the value of cMOOCs for higher education, partly as professional development for faculty and for lifelong learning for students.

Jon Beasley-Murray has posted a copy of what he said during this debate, on his blog.

I’m told this session was recorded and the recording will be posted on YouTube, but I don’t think it’s there yet. In the meantime, here are my slides from the debate. I just had 12 minutes max, though I expect I went over time a bit!


Presentation on Open Leadership for OCLMOOC

In October of 2014 I was invited to give a short presentation on open leadership to OCLMOOC, an open online course for Alberta educators. I was at first unsure what I would say, as I thought perhaps “open leadership” was some category or theory of leadership I had never heard of but was being asked to talk about. But Susan Spellman Cann, who invited me to speak, assured me that I had plenty to talk about because I myself was an open leader.

Me? An open leader? I just started learning about, thinking about, and beginning to practice open education in Spring 2013–a mere year and a half ago. And I started being much more active on my blog and on Twitter starting around then too. I certainly didn’t think of myself as an open leader (yet).

But Susan convinced me, and I thought I might just have some useful things to share about what it might mean to be an open leader, if indeed I could consider myself one. So I agreed.

Here are the slides I used for the short presentation. And the recording of the session on Blackboard Collaborate can be found by a link on this page on the OCLMOOC website.

Oh, and the closed door on one of the slides is actually an animated gif of a door opening; it makes no sense for the door to be closed! It just doesn’t work on Slideshare, darnit!

Presentation on open education at AAPT

Last weekend I attended the biannual meeting of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. I’ve already blogged about one of the sessions I attended, here.

I also gave a presentation at the conference/workshop, on open education. I didn’t count how many people were there, but I’d estimate around 12 or so, which was a nice number to have. We had some good small group discussions, from what I could tell. The main problem is that I relied on the idea that someone in each group would have a computer or tablet to write the group’s ideas on a google doc. That only worked for two of the four groups (and for one of those, one person was trying to edit the google doc on an ipad and it wouldn’t type on the doc. Apparently you need to switch to desktop view on the google docs site to edit:

Someone in another session had groups write ideas down on paper, and then he collected those and typed them into a single document himself. Next time I’d have some handouts available to do that for the groups w/o easy access to the google doc!

Here is the agenda I wrote up for the session, to give you a sense of what we did: AAPT2014-PhilOpenEdu-agenda

Click here for the google doc I asked people to put their group’s ideas on: You’ll notice that only two groups could type on the doc; the other ideas didn’t get written down. I wanted to type them on there as people spoke, but I was too busy responding, facilitating, etc.

And here are the slides I used for the session:


Workshop on Open Education at UBC, June 2014

In early June of 2014 I facilitated a workshop on open education during the CTLT Institute (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology). I have a few slides that I used in the workshop, which are embedded below.


Also, with the help of Will Engle, Strategist for Open Education Initiatives at CTLT, I made a wiki page for this workshop, that has most of the workshop information on it. Through the magic of UBC blogs, I’m embedding that wiki page here. There’s this cool thing on the UBC wiki that allows you to get a shortcode to embed wiki pages, and then the info below should update when the wiki page is updated. Neat, hey? If you want to see the original wiki page instead, it’s here.

The agenda for the session is probably of the most interest to people; that’s the first item below. There are also results from an informal survey I did on open education (which is still open until about July 28, because I’m doing another workshop at the end of July, so feel free to add your response too!), links to what people said in their groups during the workshop, links to sites talked about by the panelists who spoke at the session, and more.

The attendance at this session was not as great as I would have liked, so the groups pages on the wiki are not as populated as they might have been if there had been more people. But we had interesting discussions nonetheless!

One lesson learned: we need to market sessions like this not so much as ‘open education,’ because that only tends to attract people who are already interested in and often already doing open educational activities. Rather, we should advertise them as ways to improve your teaching (b/c if teaching work is open, people feel pressure to make it as good as possible), ways to improve student engagement and quality of student work (same thing), and ways to incorporate the “students as producers” idea into classes (if open educational activities involve students creating part of the course content). That might attract more people who may not initially be interested just in open education, and open education can be valuable for these and other, generally-applicable pedagogical reasons!

Providing feedback to students for self-regulation

On Nov. 21, 2013, I did a workshop with graduate students in Philosophy at UBC on providing effective feedback on essays. I tried to ground as much as I could on work in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Here are the slides for the workshop (note, we did more than this…this is just all I have slides for):


Here is the works cited for the slides:

Carless, D. (2006). Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 219-233.


Chanock, K. (2000). Comments on essays: Do students understand what tutors write? Teaching in Higher Education, 5(1), 95-105.


Lizzio, A. and Wilson, K. (2008). Feedback on assessment: Students’ perceptions of quality and effectiveness. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(3), 263-275.


Lunsford, R.F. (1997). When less is more: Principles for responding in the disciplines. New Directions For Teaching and Learning, 69, 91-104.


Nicol, D.J. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.


Sadler, D.R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 119-144.


Walker, M. (2009). An investigation into written comments on assignments: do students find them usable? Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(1), 67-78.


Weaver, M.R. (2006). Do students value feedback? Student perceptions of tutors’ written responses. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(3), 379-394.

Tweets about my OpenEd13 presentation

I gave a presentation at the Open Education Conference 2013 in Park City, Utah on Nov. 8, 2013. See my previous post for video, slides and bibliography.

I also wanted to see what people were saying about it during the presentation, in case there were some ideas there that are useful for my continuing research into this issue (and there were!). So I made a Storify story. Here’s the link to it on Storify if you’d rather see it there.

Open Education Conference 2013 Presentation

Difficulties Evaluating cMOOCs: Navigating Autonomy and Participation


Given Nov. 8, 2013, at the Open Education Conference 2013 at Park City, Utah.

Here is the video recording. I had only 25 minutes to present, and I was late starting because I was messing with my computer, trying to get it to show me “presenter mode” while it showed the slides on the screen so I could see my notes. Then I tried to see my notes on my phone. Then I gave up on my notes and just winged it! (I was using Keynote rather than PowerPoint, and I’ve never tried to use presenter mode before…the problem was that I couldn’t print out my notes because the printer in the “business centre” of the hotel was out of order!)

Here are the slides, which are licensed CC-BY so you can use any part of them if you want. Again, these were in Apple Keynote, and when I exported to PowerPoint some of the colours, fonts and alignments got messed up a bit.


When I get a free half a day (probably in December) I’ll write up a post in which I explain my argument in this presentation, including the slides at the end I didn’t get to!

Update Feb. 2015: Well, obviously I never wrote this up. Which is too bad, because now it’s been quite awhile and it would take me a long time to try to do so. I do plan to return to this research at some point (perhaps in the Summer of 2015), and see what else has been published in the meantime. And who knows what kind of open online course models there will be by then?!




Things either cited on the slides or quoted from in the presentation (at least, the original version as I wrote it, not the shortened one given in the video!)


Ahn, J., Weng, C., & Butler, B. S. (2013). The Dynamics of Open, Peer-to-Peer Learning: What Factors Influence Participation in the P2P University? (pp. 3098–3107). IEEE. doi: 10.1109/HICSS.2013.515


Cormier, D. (2010a). Knowledge in a MOOC – YouTube. Retrieved from


Cormier, D., & Siemens, G. (2010b). Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning, and Engagement. Educause Review, 45(4), 30–39. Retrieved from


Downes, S. (2007, February 3). What Connectivism Is. Half an Hour. Retrieved from


Downes, S. (2009, February 24). Connectivist Dynamics in Communities. Half an Hour. Retrieved from


Downes, S. (2013a). Supporting a Distributed Online Course ~ Stephen’s Web. Presented at the Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training ITHET 2013, Antalya, Turkey. Retrieved from


Downes, S. (2013b). The Quality of Massive Open Online Courses. MOOC Quality Project. Retrieved from  A longer version of this post can be found here:


Fournier, H., Kop, R., & Sitlia, H. (2011). The Value of Learning Analytics to Networked Learning on a Personal Learning Environment. Presented at the 1st International Conference Learning Analytics and Knowledge, Banff, Alberta. Retrieved from


Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 19–38. Retrieved from


Kop, R., Fournier, H., & Mak, J. S. F. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 74–93. Retrieved from


Lane, L. M. (2013). An Open, Online Class to Prepare Faculty to Teach Online. Journal of Educators Online10(1), n1. Retrieved from


Mackness, J., Mak, S., & Williams, R. (2010). The ideals and reality of participating in a MOOC. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning 2010 (pp. 266–275). University of Lancaster. Retrieved from


McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC model for digital practice. SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant on the Digital Economy. Retrieved from


Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of Engagement in Connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 9(2). Retrieved from


Siemens, G. (2006, November 12). Connectivism: Learning Theory or Pastime for the Self-Amused? elearnspace. Retrieved from


Siemens, G. (2008, August 6). What is the unique idea in Connectivism? « Connectivism. Connectivism. Retrieved from


Siemens, G. (2012, June 3). What is the theory that underpins our moocs? elearnspace. Retrieved from


Waite, M., Mackness, J., Roberts, G., & Lovegrove, E. (2013). Liminal Participants and Skilled Orienteers: Learner Participation in a MOOC for New Lecturers. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 9(2). Retrieved from


Williams, R., Karousou, R., & Mackness, J. (2011). Emergent learning and learning ecologies in Web 2.0. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 39–59. Retrieved from


Williams, R. T., Mackness, J., & Gumtau, S. (2012). Footprints of emergence. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(4), 49–90. Retrieved from