It was a pretty epic week – we had our 2nd annual University of Calgary Teaching Awards ceremony on Tuesday – lots of really amazing instructors doing interesting things on campus. We’ll be looking for ways to showcase their (and others’) work over the coming year.
- refining the EDU’s strategic planning document – it’s coming along really nicely, but we need to figure out how to condense some of it without losing the meat.
- participated in a workshop on Public Pedagogy and Popular Culture in the Classroom – interesting discussion of the role of pop culture as more than just sprinkling superficial interestingness in a course – pop culture is pervasive and we are continuously learning and shaping our perception of the world through our interactions with it.
- finished the annual reviews for the team. best team ever. most of them.
- started reviewing the RFP responses for providing the AV equipment for the new Taylor Institute building. And realizing just how broken the RFP review process is, with checkboxes in spreadsheets rating administrative details rather than the actual qualities of the responses.
- Met with some folks who are interested in adopting badges.ucalgary.ca at a faculty level – lots of interesting ideas, and we will be working to enhance the campus badges platform before the fall semester (it’s currently being used in a small-scale pilot, but it looks like adoption is going to increase rather dramatically soon.1
- provincial budget season. Alberta budget delivers lower than anticipated cuts to universities. Hooray for lower-than-anticipated cuts!
- Jane Hart: The difference between social learning and social collaboration
- Stacy Greathouse: The Best Post Wiki: A Tool for Promoting Collaborative Learning and Higher-Order Thinking – interesting team-based approach to using wikis to enable ongoing collaboration in a course.
- WNYC: Being 12 – the year everything changes – having a 12-year-old at home, this is rather relevant…
- Bryan Jackson: The Quantified Self – on personal activity metrics as motivation to keep moving, and other things. I’ve been using that kind of personal data (and now fitbit and healthkit) to try to keep myself moving for a few years now. It works, mostly. But it also puts a lot of pressure to beat personal bests, etc, and I think that’s one of the things that led to me messing up my knee and foot. Also, getting old may have had something to do with that.
- Phil Hill: How Much Do College Students Actually Pay For Textbooks? – whatever the market will bear. One of the more important things we can do is support the meaningful development and adoption of open resources so students don’t have to bankrupt themselves to buy the latest edition of a corporate textbook. It’s a racket, and we can break it.
- Jim Groom: UMW Domains Data through Spring 2015 – some seriously impressive adoption of UMW Domains by undergrads at the University of Mary Washington.
- Quartz: Catholic priests are stirring up an epidemic of yogaphobia – we hit this a few years ago in The Boy™’s previous school. As chair of the school council, we brought in a yoga instructor to supplement phys ed activities. So kids could learn to bend and pretend to be trees and dinosaurs. But some parents freaked out because EVIL! SATAN! MUSLIM!2 “If he empties his mind, SATAN WILL ENTER!” and the like. Insanity. It’d be nice if this kind of nonsense could be left out of public education. And yet, here we are again. Anyway.
- UV Letters: Not Invented Here – on the striking similarities between university missions and strategies. Isomorphism.
I took a day off, to burn off vacation time that keeps building up. Finally went out on a decent bike ride to Cochrane and back. Ouch. I am so horribly out of shape. Lots of work to do.
Tonight, heading to the OK Go concert on campus. The Boy™’s first concert. Should be fun!
- I had a few meetings with people across campus this week, and each time they subtly asked if the EDU would be able to develop or host software development projects for them, as they are unable to approach IT. I’ve been told by many people in IT, at many levels, that they aren’t able to respond to anything that isn’t directly meeting their audit-response targets, for at least the next several months. Which puts us in a difficult position because, if anything, expectations on us are only increasing. I have a sinking feeling that I’ll need to make some decisions about how to route around that blockage in IT. Really hoping that doesn’t mean taking on responsibilities that belong squarely within IT. But stuff needs to get done. Good times. [↩]
- they actually had a newspaper clipping that claimed people would convert to Islam if they learned yoga. Never mind that this is secular stretching for kids. And even if there was a historical connection to religion, it would be to Hinduism rather than Islam. Uninformed people are uninformed. [↩]