Connected by Design

On Monday I hosted the first of two Connected Courses sessions this week that focuses on actually building a connected course. This first session was titled “Connected by Design,” and I was joined by Jaimie Hoffman of CSU Channel Islands, and Kim Jaxon, Danielle Astengo, Jeremy Wallace from CSU Chico State. All of the participants spent time designing a connected course this semester, so we figured it would be a good kickoff event to actually share what we’ve done.

I took the first five minutes to talk about ds106, blah, blah, blah, and then Jaimie Hoffman shared some of the amazing work she has done building five different classes using a WordPress syndication model (which all of the examples utilized, but we’ll explore an alternative during Friday’s session when we talk about the IndieWeb). I was particularly taken with Jaimie’s use of the Class Blogs plugin to create this brilliant example of an aggregated course blog.

Kim Jaxon is a tour de force, and she brought Jeremy and Danielle—two of her graduate students—into the discussion to frame the work she has been doing building a culture of experimentation through course design in her own pedagogy. In fact, the discussion quickly moved from discussion of tech and design to issues of teaching and learning that connected courses help us rethink. For example, Kim’s Reading Literature for Future Teachers is focused around a connected courses site that is a book club for eighth graders that her college students read and blog alongside. It’s a hub for the class environment that bridges these worlds and shares beyond them both.

Danielle and Jeremy were awesome because they were collaborating to build their own connected course around a literature class, and the coolest part is the fact they were doing it together. They reminded me one of the most important elements of my teaching after #ds106 open and online—I haven’t taught alone since. I’ve taught every class since Spring 2011 with either Martha Burtis, Alan Levine, or Paul Bond. It’s changed some of my basic ideas of how I teach. Next semester, there will be four of us teaching ds106 together, one of them a quite brilliant UMW undergrad who is just finishing it this semester. That’s what connected means to me, the possibility of moving beyond an isolated vision of the course as a hermetically sealed delivery experience. I want it to be collaborative, cooperative, and de-centered. I want it to be like the web.

Although, this is just like my opinion, man, Mark Ulendo has a post-hangout party post that does an even better job getting at the conversation.

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6 Responses to Connected by Design

  1. Whoa, there’s gonna be another ds106 next term? That’d be awesome b/c next term I teach a bit less and actually have some time. I really, really wanted to do #ccourses this term but I nearly didn’t make it with the work I already had. So sorry to have missed that awesome experience.

  2. Maha Bali says:

    I’m reading this and it suddenly hit me that very few of my endeavors now are ones I do alone. I teach f2f a co-taught course, and I do all kinds of activities with my students in collaboration with others, like the #tvsz game we just played (we were 7 game admins!) – blogging about my own practice even in f2f brings friends from the open web into my class even when they’re not actively interacting with my students (and very often, they actually are). I’ll try to watch that webinar someday but thanks for blogging about it 🙂

    • Reverend says:

      That was the pedagogical gold that came out of ds106 for me, issue is aligning it so you can teach with others and still make it fiscally possible. Real economics concerns here too I don;t want to ignore. If teaching were my full time job, it would be harder to do this.

  3. Today’s DailyConnect was to get our Zeega on. I got my Zeega on with some of yer words, Jim. Thanks for inspiring me….


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