Tomorrow, Autumm Caines, Jim Luke and I will be presenting on “Digital Approaches to Access, Engagement, & Scholarship: Learning in Openly Networked Connected Spaces” at the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AACU) General Education and Assessment Meeting in New Orleans. We are excited and eager to engage around this topic, which is near and dear to our hearts. However, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how we three got here, collaborating around openly networked connected spaces.
Autumm, Jim, and I don’t work together. We didn’t go to school with each other. We didn’t have a project together to talk about at a conference. Autumm is the Associate Director of Academic Technology at Capital University in Ohio. Jim is an economics professor at Lansing Community College in Michigan. I am the graduate fellow at the Academic Learning Transformation Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University. We did not know each other before we submitted a proposal for this conference (minor exception: Autumm and I had been in the same Google Hangout once).
So how did this conference session even happen?
Simple. I saw the call for papers. I knew I wanted to describe openly networked connected spaces as a potential format for integrative, inclusive, engaging higher ed. I was sick and tired of presenting alone with only slightly different decks of slides, so I opted to experiment; what would happen if I put out a request for collaboration among my twitter followers?
So I put out a tweet that read something like this: “Who wants to present with me on openly networked connected learning spaces at AACU [insert hyperlink to the CFP].” Jim answered first – he and I DM’ed for a day or so, getting to know each other and our basic educational philosophies. I googled him and found his website and open online courses pretty fast – it was clear that we were talking about the same things and I could get on board with what he had to say. Autumm came next; I had known about her openly networked, twitter-based summer reading course for faculty development from the summer. Then I asked my co-author, Valerie Holton, to get involved, because she implemented the course that I wanted to talk about – Collaborative Curiosity. She isn’t here at the conference, but obviously she was instrumental in my learning and my process.
I spearheaded the conference proposal without a whole lot of collab – after all, we only had a week or so to get it in and I had been speaking on this stuff fairly nonstop for 8 months. After it got accepted (and upgraded to a sequence session – we had actually only asked for an affinity session), we settled into the typical patterns of digital collaboration (at least typical in my experience): google docs and slides for collaborative work, twitter DMs for quick scheduling and clarification, and google hangouts for those longer planning sessions. Emails happened but they were fairly rare and usually situated around emails from AACU – it’s just easier to make sure you’re not leaving collaborators out of the conversation when you work in shared collaborative spaces like google docs, DMs, and google hangouts. Along the way, Autumm and I met at DLRN2015, Jim and I met at OpenEd2015, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of becoming colleagues and friends. I really like these guys and I hope that we continue to work with each other on other projects.
So I just want to take a moment to be explicit in this, because it’s the point of the post: This is an openly networked connected learning conference presentation, about openly networked connected learning.
I’m hoping that everyone who can will come to our session tomorrow – particularly those of you who may not really understand the content or implications around the statement I just made. This is a sequenced session, which means that we are given 7 minutes during the plenary to dazzle, followed by a one hour workshop and affinity group discussion session. I’ve embedded the “Ignite” slides below – I’ve been told that I need to find a way to drop the mic in the last few slides…kind of hard since it’s a standard gooseneck attached to the lectern, but I’ll see what I can do. The workshop will involve brief descriptions of what we bring to the table, followed by small group discussion and then a return to the large group to “shark tank” us – we’re hoping Gardner Campbell will be able to stop by to moderate (or mediate, lol?) the shark tank portion. The affinity group will act as a sort of unconference, built on the questions generated during the first session. Looking forward to this, guys!