John P Egan's FCP E-Portfolio


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Six months, thousands of words written, many more read, even more brain cells fired (and perhaps fried) have all come down to this.

I am finished, complete, graduated, moving on. While it’s been an engaging and fruitful endeavour I am pleased to be done.

I heartily recommend the FCP for members of the UBC teaching community who want to improve their practice scholarly–even mores to those interested in developing some scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) chops. I plan on submitting my BREB in the next week and to commence collecting data for the project I developed during this program. Data! Woo hoo!

Written by John P Egan

April 24th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

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Alignment of theory to practice

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As we have moved through the program I have become increasingly appreciative of the mentorship I received in my early university teaching career. Those relationships—most specifically with Professors Allison Tom, Tom Sork and Dan Pratt—have served me exceedingly well fifteen years later.

Professor Tom first proposed the idea of having my teaching reviewed by a member of the professoriate; unsurprisingly I asked her to review my teaching and she provided substantive, thoughtful, forthright feedback. In the end I felt more confident in what I did well and more motivated to work on areas that needed improvement.

Professor Sork was the supervising professor when I first taught ADHE329 (Designing Short Courses, Workshops and Seminars). My qualifications to teach the course were a strong background in designing and delivering such adult educational programs, and having completed Prof. Sork’s graduate seminar on program planning the year prior. For my first university teaching experience I inherited a fully designed—comprehensively, marvellously organized, wholly aligned—course, complete with detailed course syllabus. My appreciation for that course increased as my teaching experience at UBC broadened. In the context of this program, this meant I did not learn many new things to integrate into my own syllabi (for example): I did, however, have a clearer sense of why specific elements worked well. Regardless, I made some improvements.

Professor Pratt has proven a mentor with respect to aligning my aims as an educator with my practice. This has been in two specific areas: learning activities and assessment. For the former I acquired a clear sense of how to ensure student workload is reasonable with respect to student learning: less often is more, if the less is purposeful and well delivered. For the latter I learned the value of formative assessment and summative assessment, as well as ways to bring in activities that make summative assessment more authentic, where appropriate.  As well, Professor Pratt made a statement that has haunted me (in an affirming way) throughout my career in higher education: “surely the quality of what is learned is more important than the quality of how it’s taught.”

What did I learn about these things during this program? I encountered more literature that supported my overall approach. I was exposed to examples from others in the program with respect to course design, assessment and evaluation.

Written by John P Egan

March 27th, 2012 at 10:07 am

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community of practice

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March has snuck up behind me rather relentlessly: it’s hard to believe the FCP is coming to its conclusion. Like many of my colleagues I am filling in the odd gap in my work. But I’m still reflecting and reading. Once my portfolio is reviewed I hope to get my BREB application in so I can start collecting data for my study.

In my “day” job in CTLT I work extensively with practitioners of the technical, instructional design, and pedagogical aspects of the teaching and learning enterprise at our research-intensive institution. One of the terms bandied about–uncritically, I suspected–is “community of practice”  (Lave and Wenger, 2006, p. 29. Turns out I was, to a significant extent right. And wrong.

Upon reflection I think community of practice (CoP) has gained a great deal of currency because of its face validity. On an operational level, what Lave and Wenger describe as ” the point that learners inevitably participate in communities of practitioners,” (p. 29) is exactly that: a group of people with a common practice (informal or formal) with concomitant norms and practices. What I find fascinating is that their work focuses not on CoPs: their conceptual piece emphasizes the role of legitimate peripheral participation of those new (perhaps even marginal) to a CoP.

This is significant with respect to the development and delivery of programs around the practice of teaching, research, technology selection/application/deployment or educational development. In other words, across this university the notion of CoP has been embraced: the matter of legitimate peripheral participation is largely absent.  In terms of what was meant by legitimate peripheral participation, Lave and Wenger wrote:

“a process we call legitimate peripheral participation. By this we mean…the point that learners inevitably participate in communities of practitioners and that the mastery of knowledge and skill requires newcomers to move towards full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community. (LPP) provides a way to speak about the relations between newcomers and old-timers, and about activities, identifies, artifacts, and communities of knowledge and practice. It concerns the process by which newcomers become part of a community of practice.” (p. 29)

 One of the challenges we face in CTLT around communities of practice–which are shared by folks positioned in similar units in similar institutions with whom I’ve liaised–is a persistent pattern of LPP and an absence of a core group of participants in CoPs we coordinate. Except for our own staff and students.

Accordingly, Lave and Wenger “have chosen to call that to which peripheral participation leads, full participation. Full participation is intended to do justice to the diversity of relations involved in varying forms of community membership.” (pp. 36-37). If our CoPs lack full participation it makes sense our peripheral participants will move on, rather than linger and move closer to the centre of things.

Similarly, if “legitimate peripheral participation refers both to the development of knowledgeably skilled identities in practice and to the reproduction and transformation of communities of practice.” (p. 55) to what extent can we support the development of these “skilled identities” with few (or any) such community members present, besides our (awesome) CTLT staff? This is a critical question, particularly with respect to the integration of faculty members (instructors and members of the professoriate) in our program that are designed as peer-based CoPs?

Lave and Wenger have given me a lot to think about…and no concrete answers. Though, to be fair, they focus on those marginal to a CoP: their assumption might be that many CoPs have an abundance (or plethora?) of full members.

Written by John P Egan

March 16th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

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Peer review of teaching looms

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Having settled into a new term, and having done a lot of analysis about how peer review of teaching can work effectively online, soon I shall be in the spotlight.

Or the firing line.

I’ve finalized the “observation” form that my colleagues will use to evaluate my “in-class” performance. Here‘s a copy if you’re interested. It’s structured as follows:

Activity: since synchronous sessions are the exception, instead this focuses on a unit. In my course a unit is a week, so it’s relatively tidy.

General “orientation” materials in the LMS site: generally I don’t create syllabi for online courses: the site is the syllabus. But there is always a Course Introduction module that is a leiving syllabi. Reviewing that is part of the pre-observation work.

Activity specific: Very similar to an observation of a face-to-face (F2F) “lesson”

Instructor role: In particular, the nature and tone of student-instructor interactions

Learning technologies: Not all online courses leverage things beyond web pages, readings and discussion forums. Mine do–but I’m keen for someone else to give me some perspective on how I leverage LTs in my online course. Tools are tools, not toys, after all..

Assessment: Will walk them through my grade book and assessment rubrics.

Summary: I think it’s important to have an overall “capstone” bottom-line question. For this round its ” Overall, the quality of instruction for this activity was: Problematic/Adequate/Good/Very Good/Excellent.

The observations are scheduled for 20 February. I’m doing one of two synchronous sessions that week, so it’s one where I’m using a broader range of pedagogical tools and approaches.

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February 9th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

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On ethics

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Mark MacLean and Gary Poole’s article on ethics and SoTL has been on my “to read” list for several weeks; finally got around to it. This entry is more to capture parts that leapt out at me; I’ll try to synthesize it perhaps later.

“our aim is to introduce such novices to some of the ethical challenges they will face and to see their thinking so that they consider carefully how such research interacts with their broader responsibility…” (p. 2)

“The potential value of the research emboyding the scholarship of teaching and learning exists in tension with the ethical challenges of doing this work. This tension is relatively low when teachers engage in scholarly teaching…the tension increases considerably when they choose to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning to study deeper questions” (pp. 1-2)

“dilemma of fidelity” (p. 2)

There’s a CWSEI SoTL bibliography

Dryden Leadner Louis-Martinez MacLean and Waltham. Are we doing any good? a value-added analysis of the UBC Science One Program.

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January 24th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

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Bonne année, gong hay fat choy, Happy New Year–2012 and year of the Dragon!

I’ve been ruminating on which journals might be appropriate for my SoTL project. Here’s my current ranking and rationale for each:

  1. JOLT – Journal of Online Teaching and Learning: MERLOT is one of the major American digital repository; JOLT is their journal. It’s online (seems appropriate, since I teach online), has a lot of currency, and a reliable and structured review process. Impact prospects: high.
  2. IRRODL – The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning: this is another high profile international online learning journal based at Alberta’s Athabasca U. They publish whenever they have a quote of research articles (n=6) justifying a new issue. Impact propsects: high
  3. EuroDOL – European Journal of Open and Distance Learning: One of the longest publishing journals on online learning (nearly 15 years), this is the most prestiguous non-US online learning journal.  Impact prospects: high.
  4. EJEL – Electronic Journal of E-Learning: This is the primary online learning journal in the UK; for readers looking for non-US based sources–particularly at universities that follow the British model for post-graduate study–this is a primary journal. Impact prospects: medium.
  5. CJLT – The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology: O Canada, revue de nos colleagues! I feel a pull towards this journal as a Canadian. Impact propsects: low. 🙁

I reserve the right for this to change over time, of course. Perhaps now I best move towards BREB, collecting data and analyzing results?

Written by John P Egan

January 23rd, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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thoughts on Anderson’s theory of online learning (2008)

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It seems I owe Prof. Anderson an apology:

“A learner-centered context is not one in which the whims and peculariaties of each indivdual learner are unqiuely catered to. In fact, we must be careful to recognize that learner-centered contexts must also meet the needs of the teacher, of the institution, of the larger society that provides support for the student and the institution, and often of a group or class or students. For this earson I have argued elsewhere that this attribute might more accurately be labeled ‘learning-centered'” (2004, p. 35)

Glad we agree. Still don’t understand why Anderson persists on using learner-centered rather than learning centered.

Earlier, in the same chapter, Anderson attributes to Wilson three functions of robust learning theory: it/they allow us to envision new worlds, help/s us make things, and keeps us honest.  I would add a fourth: lacks any obvious internal contrictions in relation to key terms.

Anderson also highlights knowledge-centered (automacy at the expert level and self-reflection), assessment-centered (with assessment for learning as well as measuring performance, and community-centered where the de facto individuated experience of a learner is purposefully embedded within a space where interactivity is not merely available but positioned to maximize learning.  These concepts–particularly of the learning community–are reflected in the design for my course–hence their emphasis in my research design.

I also find his differentiation between student-student, student-content, teacher-content, content-content, and student-teacher interactions of great value. (pp. 43-48). Here’s where I see these occurring in my course:

Student-student: comments on blogs, iterative discussions each week, one small group task, offering learning technologies that facilitate synchronous interactions

Student-content: We don’t “go through” the readings; instead students are tasked with a situation or problem that is relevant to the readings of a unit or module. The onus is on the students to ask for clarification–from anyone in the community.

Teacher-content: I have written much of the course materials, including many learning activities. Thus every single piece of content in my course is aligned with one or more aspects of the course design.

Content-content: There is a self-directed Elearning Toolkit for the course. Students elect which aspects of the toolkit to explore, but substantive engagement with the toolkit seems to correlate with student performance on summatively assessed assignments. All readings align with at least one other learning activity.

Student-teacher: I provide timely and substantive feedback, though I’m more inclined to use a Socratic approach (questions and validation more than answers), and I try to avoid “ping pong pedagogy”: every student question is answered by me so students sit back and wait for me to answer everything rather than offering answers to their peers.

I’m enjoying the opportunities here to drill down deeper into material I’m ostensibly expert in!


Anderson, T. (2008). Towards a Theory of Online Learning. In: T. Anderson & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Edmonton AB: Athabasca University. Accessed online October 10 2010

Written by John P Egan

December 19th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

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Working, reading, reflecting. But mostly working

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Last month UBC hosted a meeting of the Universitas 21 Teaching and Learning Network. With the support of CTLT’s amazing events team, I was the lead on organizing committee. The event went exceedingly well, but it was a lot of work getting it off the ground. A week after I was on a plane to Europe for a quick (11 day) break.

U21 gave me a somewhat different perspective on the work I do and how teaching and learning are valued at UBC–and other institutions. Colleagues from Ireland have faced horrific budget cuts and redundancies as of late, for example. So on one level I felt rather privileged to do the work I do where I do it. But it also highlighted how important professional networks of colleagues are: though I was something of a fly on the wall during the event, I interacted with most delegates. There’s a lot of potential to collaborate with these folks–even more so at the instructor level perhaps. You can view the videos of the keynotes (along with Harry Hubball’s final synthesis) here.

All of which is a somewhat polysyllabic rationalization for neglecting this e-portfolio…

On my flight home from Amsterdam I managed to not only catch up with my reading–I managed to ready everything outstanding from the FCP library (yay iPad! yay PDF Expert!). The readings gave me a lot to think about: in terms of ethos, the practice of teaching, and research design. I’m even more committed to conducting a study that’s rigorous and reliable–inspired to do so, in fact. So I’ve also managed to work through another iteration of my study proposal.

I think my syllabus is done. And I’ve nearly got things organized for my teaching to be peer reviewed next term. Speaking of which, the update/revision of my course is 95% done: just need to adjust some assessment rubrics and a few scenarios for PBL.  My presentation for tomorrow’s session is done too–but I’ll post those slides after tomorrow’s session. For pedagogical reasons I never distributed PPT slides to my audience.

That’s how I roll…

Written by John P Egan

December 1st, 2011 at 3:16 pm

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course update

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As we’re entering year 3 of a 5 year development cycle, my colleague Jeff Miller and I sat down to see where my course needs updating.  In bits over the last several weeks I’ve been hacking away at it: now I just need to upload the pages into WebCT Vista. Something I seem quite skilled at messing up!

What’s been done:

  • With 2 assignments due the ultimate week of the course, we moved the discussion topic to the penultimate week
  • The resource upon which the (original) penultimate discussion was structured has died an internet death. So we didn’t replace it (see above)
  • Ensured all instructions to all assignments was consistent across the site pages
  • Added some detail to one of the summative assignment descriptions–and some more points!

Still to do: Update assessment rubrics for several assignments. That’s what December is for, right?

Within the course we use Chickering and Gamson’s 7 principles (must reading for all teaching in higher ed methinks) and I’ve been ruminating on how well my practice aligns with the principles.  How about a table then?

Practice Reflection
  1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
I do this very well: I’m available, I engage substantively, and I participate in the learning community.
  1. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
In addition to one team-based activity (required; not summatively assessed), the nature of the assignments advantages those who work collaboratively—and fairly—with one another.
  1. Encourages active learning
Heck yeah: every learning activity is authentic. They’re also linkable to real-world practice.
  1. Gives prompt feedback
One week turnaround on assignments. 100% record working to this standard.
  1. Emphasizes time on task
More than some of my colleagues. I don’t allow for ‘flexible” due dates without compelling reasons for accommodation. In the professional world life is “pass/fail”: work must be done to standard, including timeliness.
  1. Communicates high expectations
Very much so—and my assessment strategy (based on mastery) is skewed to reward industriousness and self-reflection.
  1. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning
This is one I could work on more.There’s materials for verbal, kinesthetic,  and visual. But it’s also very structured: there are bits of each learning style, but nowhere do I offer the same content via multiple learning styles.Any suggestions?

See? Not perfect.


Chickering, A.W. & Gamson, Z.F. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39 (7), 3-7. Accessed online 11 Mar 2009

Written by John P Egan

November 8th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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confessions of an educationalist supremist

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A few years ago I was at a dinner party, at which the host introduced me to a colleague. Said colleague was a great teacher (Killam I believe) and was finding their feet in educational research. I politely listened to their work, made a few toothless comments about how interesting it sounded. While I quietly seethed.

It’s true, I had–have, to a lesser extent–a chip on my shoulder about those not trained in educational research doing such research because of their subject matter expertise. I see this significantly differently now; reflecting about this has been rather useful to my practice as a researcher. Including a smidge of hypocrisy on my part…

Dedication, industriousness and planning are attributes of most excellent teachers…but not all teachers who are dedicated, industrious, and who plan well are excellent teachers. A minority probably are mediocre teachers–or worse. Of those that are good teachers–or great teachers–the ability to teach effectively doesn’t also make one a good educational researcher. In terms of staff development, too many subject matter experts are abandoned when they begin their teaching careers (“you’re an expert; you’re ready to teach”). So why would we encourage instructors to engage in SoTL work without an appropriate amount of training? Suffice to say Heather Kanuka’s (2011) article resonated with me.

Which speaks to the value of the FCP.

Ah but then…I have a PhD in education–but in adult education. My research areas of expertise are in health promotion, community education, and social justice education. You’ll notice there’s no mention of course design, pedagogical methods, evaluation or assessment. Because they were not part of my doctoral studies. They were, however, part of my practice as an educator–higher education most recently. My magistral studies included coursework on program planning (curriculum design) and learning theory though. And I’ve certainly planned, delivered, and evaluated all sorts of courses and programs.

But trained in SoTL research? No. Trained in social research methods? Oh yes: ethnography, surveys (correlational design), mixed methods, discourse analysis. Thus in terms of research paradigms, I’m not finding the materials of the FCP challenging–they’re the world I’ve lived in as a researcher for years. It’s the transfer of knowledge to its new application that presents the challenges for me.

On principle SoTL is important and of merit; it needs to be done well though: with rigour, using solid methods. Or, what Kreber (2007) calls “authentic practice”.


Kanuka, H. (2011). Keeping the Scholarship in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(1).

Kreber, C. (2007). What is it really all about? The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as an Authentic Practice. nternational Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1(1).


Written by John P Egan

October 21st, 2011 at 3:16 pm

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Note to self

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Be sure to integrate the use of communcation tools (including Wimba) into your study design.

Written by John P Egan

October 21st, 2011 at 2:53 pm

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SoTL Project: ETEC565A: an examination of the transfer of learning from an online post-graduate educational technology applications course

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This is a preliminary draft…feedback appreciated….


In 2009 the Faculty of Education has piloted a new applications course: Learning Technologies Selection, Design and Application (ETEC565A), a three credit, one term course, in its Master of Educational Technology (MET) program. To date over 200 students have completed this course. ETEC565A currently making its way through the course approvals process to have it become a permanent course as ETEC545.

This course, developed by John P Egan, Jeff Miller and Michelle Lamberson with contributions from numerous CTLT and MET partners, integrates structured inquiry while also allowing learners a great deal of flexibility. Five modules consisting of a total of 13 (one week) units cover:

  1. Theoretical Frameworks
  2. Spaces, Places and Platforms for Learning
  3. Interaction and Assessment Tools
  4. Social Media
  5. Multimedia

In addition to multiple formative assessment points, summative assessment is conducted via a combination of an e-portfolio and the creation of a Moodle learning management system (LMS) course site. The assignments summatively assessed are:

  • LMS proposal (10 points)
  • LMS quiz or exam (15 points)
  • Digital story based on pedagogical reasons (20 points)
  • Complete LMS site with a broad spectrum of functional requirements (25 points)
  • A final course synthesis reflection about overall course experience (20 points)

The remaining 10 points are a participation grade based on the calibre and frequency of both their individual contributions to learning activities and of their responses to their colleagues’ contributions.

The range of technical competencies among MET students is broad. Many of our students bring professional web design, multimedia production, or online course creation skills—but many also come in with none such skills. These assignments can be completed at a fundamental, functional level and receive a good mark: to receive an excellent mark the quality of work must be more polished and sophisticated.

Another key aspect of the design is the use of narratives in most units. These fictive scenarios position the unit’s topic in the context of educational practice. Each employs an active learning strategy, such as inquiry-based or problem-based learning, where a peer is asking for the student’s informed opinion as an educational technology professional. As each unit is completed the instructor synthesizes the discussion, adds his own experience, and deconstructs the pedagogical design of the unit.

Additionally, ETEC565A/545 requires students to self-assess their skills, in order to identify and prioritize any new skills to be acquired, as well as how existing skills might be expanded or refined. The course eLearning toolkit is designed as a self-directed resource for students to achieve this. Each page of the toolkit has one or more concrete “how to” learning activities to get students started, along with additional resources to explore. Since students decide which skills, which activities, and when to explore the toolkit, both flexibility and a self-direction are required.



The SEoT data and informal feedback about the course is overwhelmingly positive: few students rank the course less than Very Good or Excellent in CoursEval. But these data don’t allow us to drill down deeper into the specifics of the course, its delivery, and how and why students find success—or struggle to do so.

I propose an exploratory study available to all students who have completed ETEC565A. Data collection would be via an online survey and key informant interviews, which can be completed anonymously. Most questions would be quantitative (mostly Likert scaled questions), though a significant amount of qualitative data would be collected as well.

The research question is:

What are the perspectives of students who have completed ETEC565A, and its  impact on their practice as educators?

The survey would have nine sections:

    1. Professional experience (context, role, years experience)
    2. MET experience (progress through MET and motivations for enrolling in the MET
    3. Cases/narratives in 565A
    4. Elearning toolkit in 565A
    5. Formative assessment
    6. Summatively assessed assignments, including e-portfolio
    7. Learning community
    8. Impact on practice
    9. Overall assessment of the course and its value

Persons who complete the survey will be asked whether they are willing to participate in key informant interviews to discuss the preliminary findings of the survey. Interview questions would be derived from this preliminary analysis.

Written by John P Egan

October 7th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

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Oh if only I’d saved ’em!

I’ve done the TPI before. The first was in Dan Pratt’s learning theory seminar during my MA. It was one of the last courses I completed and always look back at that time with a cringe: I was your archetypal “critical” (snarky, in other words) new post-graduate student. Dan, thankfully, seems to have forgiven me. I recall that the domain I expected to score highest in–social reform–was lower than a couple of others.

Fast forward almost ten years and I completed the TPI again. This time I was a post-doc supporting Gary Poole in managing the educational program of a CIHR Strategic Training Program on collaborative health research. Nothing stands out in my mind from that go at the TPI.

Last week’s score fairly floored me–though as I went through the questions I expected that I wouldn’t have many dominant or recessive perspectives. But no dominant and only one recessive perspective Had you given me the five perspectives I would have ranked mine (with the most important at the top) rather differently than the TPI says. here’s a wee table to contrast my results with my own assumptions:

Self-predicted Actual Score
Nurturing Nurturing


Social Reform Developmental


Apprenticeship Transmission


Developmental Social Reform


Transmission Apprenticeship


*Recessive perspective

I suppose getting Nurturing right is a good thing. What’s particularly striking to me is that Nurturing, Developmental and Transmission are so closely clustered together. Having ruminated on this for a few days I think I can (somewhat) articulate why my score are so…middling.

Purpose of education: I’ve taught in private post-secondary, non-profilt and community organizations. Since 1998 I’ve taught almost exclusively at universities, save a brief stint in workplace learning at the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver (for which I developed the customer service training. Which is pretty cool thing to be able to say). When I started in community education I was solidly in the “learner driven” camp: adults should determine what they learn and when; my role was to support and facilitate this. Nurturing, in other words.

But I found that sometimes learners were sometimes inclined to sell themselves short. Their expectations of themselves were meagre; often their materials circumstances were too. So I rather quickly felt that part of my job was to nudge–sometimes push–people to work past their self-imposed limitations. In particular, working with persons with persistent mental illness or addiction and those who experience racism on a daily basis inspired the Social Reformer in me. Inspiration is needed to remake society; sometimes it comes extrinsically. I tried to–try to–be that inspiration at times.

I also encountered a fair number of learners at the private college (a vocational program for travel and tourism) were there based on HRDC funding: long-term unemployed or new Canadians. Some had language skills that were barriers: others living with PTSD. Paradoxically it was the folks facing the greatest challenges who more often wanted to work the hardest. Inspiring! But I left with a sense that imposing education on some people is a waste of everyone’s time and money. A minority of people though–1 or 2 per course, or about 10 a year, out of 200+ learners.

At the college and the Olympics I encountered a transfer of learning (Caffarella, 2004) gap between classroom sessions and real-world practice. Folks would leave a session smiling and confident that they “got it”, but the emails and phone calls would start coming in a few days: “Can you come by and show me this again? I thought I understood it but…” For the Olympics this was not great news: there’s no way a training team of 15 could provide that level of service to a workforce of 25,000+ people at Games time.

So I integrated an Apprenticeship model within a hierarchical structure. We spent a lot of time working with team leads in their workspaces. First we got them skilled up to the level needed to do the jobs of their team; next we skilled them to deliver the training–and follow-up–within their own teams. The structures for all of these sessions were:

Description to Demonstration to Role play to Simulation to Dry run to Go live
Some divisions compressed this a bit, depending on the skill and workforce. But it’s very much dependent on Apprenticeship to work.

Transmission? Well I would almost rate it a zero, but for two facts. First, we live in a world of things created in learning cultures dominated by transmission : lecture and test, or what Freire (1971) calls the “banking method” of education. And there are any number of professional bodies that need to manage licensure and continuing education enterprises, for which things like multiple choice testing is a huge labour and time saver.  But in my educational world, such approaches would be used for establishing a foundation knowledge, and for providing formative feedback to learners. I only use integrative assignments in my teaching.


Written by John P Egan

September 23rd, 2011 at 10:41 am

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September: sliding towards the mushy middle

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I’m excited the FCP has at last begun. I’ve had a number of scholarship ideas bouncing around in my head over the last couple of years and will be seizing the opportunity this program presents. More about that shortly.

I was impressed with many of my colleagues during session one. Lots of sharp, eloquent, passionate people. Early career folks; others looking to leave something of a legacy as they move towards the end of their careet at UBC. There were a lot of folks I wanted to chat with more individually.  Plenty of time for that I hope; ’tis early days.

In terms of my SoTL project, I’ve let go of the idea of doing an autoethnography of my ukulele lessons, which just started last week.  Instead my project will (ostensibly) fill a gap in the literature that I’ve been whinging about for years: just how effective is online learning?  More specifically I want to give former students in my “applications course” a chance to reflect on their course experience and its impact on their educational and professional lives subsequently (also known as “transfer of learning”). I’m confident the pedagogical approaches and tools we use in the course are effective somewhere. But to what extent and in what ways are they effective in this course–or not?

This would be an online survey and perhaps some follow-up interviews. In terms of methodology I’m rather confident of my skills to complete this project: I’ve conducted mixed methods (survey and interview) studies previously, and can rightly call myself an ethnographer (sociological rather than anthropological). I’m also well versed in adult learning theory and have a solid knowledge of more general learning theories. I have read Piaget (awesome) and Vygotsky (great conclusions; huge gap between findings and data described). And Houle and Freire and Knowles. And Pratt.  🙂

I hope to get the proposal in good shape by the end of October, get things moving with BREB in November and start recruiting for the study in January. And I’m really looking forward to getting to know others’ research ideas too!


Houle, C. O. (1996). The Design of Education (second edition). San Francisco: Jossey Bass Inc.

Freire, P. (1973). Education for critical consciousness. (1st American ed.). New York: Seabury Press.

Freire, P. (1997). Pedagogy of the heart. New York: Continuum Press.

Knowles, M.S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education. New York: Cambridge, The Adult Education Company.

Piaget, J. (2011). The Language and Thought of the Child. Seattle: Goldberg Digital Press (Amazon).

Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and Language. Boston: MIT Press.

Written by John P Egan

September 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

And so it begins

with one comment

I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with others!

Written by John P Egan

September 19th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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