on after-hours work email

The results were immediate and powerful. The employees exhibited significantly lower stress levels. Time off actually rejuvenated them: More than half said they were excited to get to work in the morning, nearly double the number who said so before the policy change. And the proportion of consultants who said they were satisfied with their jobs leaped from 49 percent to 72 percent. Most remarkably, their weekly work hours actually shrank by 11 percent—without any loss in productivity. “What happens when you constrain time?” Lovich asks. “The low-value stuff goes away,” but the crucial work still gets done.

via Are You Checking Work Email in Bed? At the Dinner Table? On Vacation? | Mother Jones. (via BoingBoing

I’d love to set this policy up at the office. I’m as guilty of this as anyone.

Update: and… 5 minutes after sending the link to the article, and we have an informal policy in the Taylor Institute to try out prohibiting work-related emails before 8am and after 5pm, and on weekends. Awesome. It’s a start.

eLearning Discovery Working Group preliminary report

My *big summer project* this year was to act as the chair of a newly formed “[eLearning Discovery Working Group](http://elearn.ucalgary.ca/discovery)”, with the mandate to begin to identify what eLearning means at The University of Calgary. We were tasked by the CIO to find out what is involved with providing, supporting, and using eLearning tools in whatever ways are necessary to enable the activities of our students, instructors, and staff.

Over the summer, we began to build an inventory of eLearning tools – both centrally provided, and distributed and ad-hoc tools, to start to form a picture of what eLearning looks like to our University community. The inventory is *extremely* coarse, and we know we’ve missed huge swaths of activity on campus. But we had to start with *something*.

The first thing we learned was how surprised we were that this kind of documentation didn’t already exist. Even in this coarse, high-level, incomplete form, this is a big step forward as a University, in getting our collective heads around what eLearning means to us.

Throughout the next year (and more, since this is an ongoing process), we’ll be working with various stakeholder groups to help better identify what they do with respect to eLearning, what their needs are, and how the University can better support their modern practices of teaching and learning.

The report is extremely brief, and provides only a high-level overview that can be used as a starting point for the real “discovery” activities this year.

The Coles Notes version:

The University provides some eLearning tools centrally (Blackboard, Elluminate, Breeze/Connect Presenter), but much of the activity is taking place in tools that are managed at the faculty, department, program, or even individual instructor level. We need to find out more about these distributed tools, and identify ways in which the University can better support and enable the activities that they facilitate.

Here’s the [eLearning Discovery Working Group Preliminary Report](http://elearn.ucalgary.ca/files/elearn/eLearning%20Discovery%20Preliminary%20Report%20-%20FINAL%20-%20v1.pdf) (3.9 MB PDF).

Now, to start planning how to work with the University community to start filling in the gaps, and figuring out what we need to do to better support effective eLearning…



Me, presenting the “Identity in the Open Classroom” session for the From Courses to Dis/course: Exploring the Future of Courses online conference. I picked a topic that I’ve been thinking about, but hadn’t done much with, so it gave me a chance to pour through research and writing on the subject and put together a presentation. I think it went OK, and there was great discussion.