Storyjumping Part 16 #DigiWriMo

This is part 16 of a storyjumper for Digital Writing Month.  You can read the other parts here:

Part 1       Bruno’s blog started us off with a personal narrative.
Part 2       Kevin’s blog began the story.
Part 3       Maha’s blog continued…
Part 4       Sarah’s blog…
Part 5       Ron’s blog…
Part 6       Tanya’s blog…
Part 7       Kay’s blog…
Part 8       Ron’s blog…
Part 9       Dana’s blog
Part 10     Tania’s blog
Part 11      Maureen’s blog
Part 12     Sue’s blog
Part 13     Rhonda’s blog
Part 14     Yin Wah Kreher’s blog
Part 15     Scott’s blog
Part 16     Jeffrey’s blog

For a mapping of participants check here. If you would like to participate add your name to the Google Doc.



A Writing Goal, or Goals, for November

DidYouKnowOk, I always have more I want to write about than I have time in which to do it, but now that #DigiWriMo has officially started, insofar as there is anything official with this online writing / sharing / professional development / community-building / creativity-inducing / entertainment / (and dare I say) self-promotion fest, it only makes sense to start at the beginning.

What do I want to do this for? What are my Digital Writing Month Goals? Hmm, thinking of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation work (something integral to one of the courses I am teaching right now at UMass Boston), it is useful to think about the end at the beginning. So, what do I want my December 1 to look like? … 


An Unofficial CV, at Least for #DigiWriMo

janusI have been known to keep busy, or at least to be rather active with my work and teaching and research, not to mention with social media channels that I use to connect them, family, my two pugs Winston and Banks, reading fantasy and science fiction (between things to clear my mind), puttering about my labyrinth, listening to music from the ’80s that I could not afford to buy at the time, learning how to drum, and the like.

With many of these things floating around, the question of “Who are you?” or better yet, “Who am I?” has always been a struggle. What do I tell people — What I think they want to hear? What I think may be interesting? What I am thinking about right now? How my passions are leading me forward, though in many different directions all at once? All or more of them? I would not be thinking about this at all unless … 


Final Musings of #dLRN15

dLRN15 While this is my first post about my experiences with the Digital Learning Research Network: Making Sense of Higher Education 2015#dLRN15 – it was as a result of a couple friends and colleagues in the conference who suggested I write about this. While I liveTweeted my experiences along the way, I feel I already processed many of my thoughts while I was having them. What I did not do, however, was to bring this all to closure and attempt to summarize my take-away(s).

I have two take-aways from the #dLRN15 Conference:



Musing on Rhizo Research

I wanted to reply to Sarah’s recent post on her experiences related to rhizomatic research, and as much as I love Wordsworth, it is Whitman’s poem Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand that came to mind as symbolic of what rhizomatic research is. The entire poem is fantastic, so much so that I will reprint it here to make it easier to consider how Rhizomatic Learning and its various incarnations seem to speak to us in the words Whitman used … 


Want to See An Organization’s Mission? Check out the Checkout.

cashregisteroldThis posting is more about the sort of work I do professionally, which is in the area of organizational learning. You know . . . the stuff we are sometimes told we have to learn for this or that reason, often following some learning objectives we were given and at times without a clear understand for how we can make use of it once it is learned?

I may exaggerate a bit here, but bear with me for a moment.

Invert Learning

This is the area that I think about . . . a lot. How can we try to invert learning, if you will, from something we think we need for only this or that work reason or to put out some fire, and reframe it as learning for a higher purpose.

No, I don’t quite mean THAT higher purpose, but rather as something linked to the organization’s mission and vision? Come to think of it, do you know your organization’s mission or vision? If so, is just knowing it enough?

Case in Point . . .

Earlier this week I visited a new supermarket in the neighborhood, one that I did not know was a specialty chain until I looked it up online, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I went into this market at 10:30 on a weeknight. It was brightly lit, cool with air conditioning, spotlessly clean, inviting, and filled with employees stocking shelves and helping customers.

Yes, you heard that right . . . there were literally dozens of customers and the many employees were actually HELPING them. Not just pointing or motioning, but actually stopping their work, standing, making eye contact, bringing people to what was requested, smiling, and being professional, polite, and cheerful. 

This happened throughout the store.

Being my first time there, and given how some stores do not follow the cookie-cutter mold of store design, I actually spoke with 4 members of the staff about 4 different things I wanted, and was treated in the same way by all of them, across the store, on both levels (Manhattan has its own ways of handling space). Even when I got to the checkout I was greeted with a smile, complimented on my glasses, chatted up about the yogurt I bought (everybody seems to love Greek yogurt), invited to join their loyalty program (that does not force me to carry a silly card with me), and left the store laughing due in part to the friendly banter with the person who left the final impression on me, one of positive energy that capped a great overall customer experience.

Wondering at this, I went home and looked on their website to try to understand what just happened, and it was there that I saw it, the Mission. The company had it on their About Us page. Let me clarify . . . their visually represented Mission was their page.

Organizational Mission

Lots of organizations have mission statements and vision statements, but what many of them seem to lack is an authentic experience of their employees actually living it or doing it.

What does this all have to do with education, which is how I started this off?

I believe this is what good organizational learning is—it infuses everything it does to support, connect, and engage the work tasks with furthering the mission and vision.

After all, what is the point of professional learning if it does not help to move toward the mission and vision?

Look at your own checkouts; do you see staff who live the mission, just know what the mission is, or just work . . . to get it done? I am not sure about you, but I do not often leave supermarkets with a smile and want to know more about them. Do people do that when they finish interacting with your company?

Now, don’t limit this to supermarkets. I believe this perspective is applicable to all our work. Do your client efforts, contact, and customer experience—the very places where the mission and vision face reality—exemplify why your organization exists? Let me state it in a different way; do you and your staff live the Mission, allowing it to influence and guide your actions and interactions, or is it just a page of words that sound nice but do not really make a difference in practice? Can we see traces of the Mission in how people act and interact, or do we need to ask about what the Mission is?

Pretty scary if not, as that is where the revenue stream begins, or perhaps ends. This is what organizational learning and development should be all about–teaching people how to do their work in ways that support reaching and realizing the mission and vision. Training or learning within organizations is not a nice to have or regulatory check box, it should be a fundamental onboarding to the Mission and Vision, namely linked in to every reason why an organization exists, and how it can be supported by all members within an organization.

This is an adaption of a post that first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.


My Actor-Network Paper & Slides at Social Media and Society 2015

I just returned from the Social Media and Society 2015 International Conference in Toronto, and wanted to bring together some of the element from my ongoing work with actor-network theory. My paper was entitled Just What Is Social in Social Media? An Actor-Network Critique of Twitter Agency and Assumptions. Here is a link …