≡ Menu

…Higher Education.

Why the Shakespeare reference in my title? England is on my mind lately thanks to Kate Bowles’ recent beautiful post on the mystery of Stonehenge and it’s analogy to the monolithic presence of institutions of higher education. I will come back to Kate’s thoughts and explain where I see intersections with education research, but for some framing of my own thoughts ahead of dLRN2015, here is the entire passage of my borrowed title, from Richard II:

“This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm this England….”

[click to continue…]

Reflections from SXSWEdu

This year was my second visit to SXSWEdu. As much as I love Austin, I am not sure I want to return. The event should be a great opportunity for higher education and Silicon Valley to come together and design interesting partnerships from opposing world views about the role of education. With the exception of one unofficial gathering, the conversations I saw unfortunately never quite got there. The gathering that did was the brainchild of Dale Stephens (UnCollege) and Allison Dulin Salisbury (Davidson College), appropriately titled:

UnCollege + College = ?

[click to continue…]

Bringing Students Into Our Liminal Space

My Twitter tagline reads: “lover of liminal spaces”. I can claim that as part of my anthropology background, but it’s as much a reflection of my professional life as it is my intellectual interests. Academic technologists have existed in liminal spaces from the beginning. We’re not purely IT, or library, or Center for Teaching and Learning. We move between these spaces in a constant state of formative transition. Liminal spaces by definition reveal intersections and foster knowledge acquisition through collaboration, but in our case, that collaboration is typically limited to instructional support.

Education is more than instruction, however. It is a two-way street. Ultimately, learning happens because students want to learn. Dave Cormier sums up this sentiment nicely in his post on the first principle of learning:

“All kinds of pedagogy happens after this… but it doesn’t happen until this happens.”

[click to continue…]

Simple Truths

“Every morning, there’s a cup of coffee and I wear your ring.”
from Anniversary Song, by Cowboy Junkies

This is a line from our wedding song. It’s not your typical first dance wedding song, as you can hear. There were more than a few puzzled looks when we tried in vain to dance to it. Mainly, we’re just happy that the lyrics and music are both simple and timeless, and that we can return to it year after year. The title is particularly appropriate for today. Today we celebrate a 20-year marriage.

I am not one to wax poetic or emote too openly, but I do want to mark the occasion with a Camus quote and a simple thank you to Joe:

“If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them … they could perceive what they have made of us.”
– Albert Camus, Notebooks, 1935-1951

This is probably the greatest gift of many good marriages. This and a lot of laughter. I am lucky. I got a partner who has the purest heart I’ve ever seen; who loves to laugh; who is dedicated to life-long learning for no other reason than the simple joy of it; who, above all, untangles complexity and uncomplicates life with an amazing ability to zero in on the core truth of any situation with laser-like precision. This is his gift to me.

I love you. And I am grateful for 20 years of simple truths.