Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2009-05-31

  • Watching a bird wash itself in a puddle next to the tracks. It looks so happy and energetic and enjoying itself. No place like home. #
  • Landed in Newark. Beautiful outside. Taking the Rail Link to NJ Transit to the PATH. #
  • Plane is finally here and emptying out nicely. #
  • Need a coffee before boarding the plane, especially after 3 glasses of wine and a Baily’s. #
  • CNN is not so depressing after a few glasses of wine. #
  • At the Northwest / Continetal Club in O’Hare. Continental moves this to the United Club tomorrow. #
  • The trains in Chicago are a mess on the weekend. Had to switch to a bus for 45 minutes and now waiting for another train. Like NY weekends. #
  • Now, off to O’Hare. #
  • Got some good feedback from my CIQ presentation. Will blog a bit about it. Thank you for the support! #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2009-05-30

  • Just got the projector attached to my computer. If anybody is in Chicago and wants to discuss the CIQ, I am in 5008 at National Louis Univ. #
  • On my way to present my paper on the CIQ now. #
  • Enjoyed the Art Institute one last time tonight. #
  • I think it is interesting that the 2009 Graduate Student Award for AERC was given to a (white) Africanist Scholar. Very progressive. #
  • At the 50th Annual Adult Education Research Conference #AERC2009 Business Meeting at Navy Pier. #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2009-05-29

  • Finally getting a late dinner at Elephant and Castle. I have been to these before, but always forget about the one in NYC. #
  • At the Art Institute, enjoying the pain of Bruce Nauman. #
  • Off to the Art Institute of Chicago for me later this evening. It is free on Thursday and Friday evenings after 5:00 pm! #
  • Just got back to my hotel after a full day of AERC2009. Will work on the slides for my presentation on Saturday morning. #

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The Enactment of Hegemony through Identity Construction: Insights from the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

This is one of the presentations that is on a subject matter that I am most interested in—hegemony and identity construction. The hegemony and its shifting use is based on the work of Goffman (1959), a sociologist with dramaturgical analysis (performance) & Brookfield (2005)

Group identity: historical and cultural constructs that shapes “norms, values, and beliefs” (Richer, 2004), as well as Wenger (1998), Hall (1997)

The position from which we speak involves many levels of our own “identity”

Hegemony and the performance of identity—on the macro and micro (individual) levels. Hegemony is the power to determine the impression that is wanted to be conveyed.

This presentation is fascinating thus far, and I have a lot more texts to look for. If only I were not so itchy from all the little green bugs that started climbing all over me and my bag while sitting in the park outside the Art Institute. The bugs are harmless (I hope and believe), and are only out and about because it is spring, warm, and sunny here in Chicago. Let’s just hope they stay out of my laptop and do not travel back to New York with me.

I love the titles of these slides—Hegemony and the Performance of Identity. I am having trouble seeing how this is all  organized, and I think this is because I came into the presentation while she was reviewing the agenda for the presentation. As a socialization process, we tend to give deference or respect based on mutual understandings.

Goffman gives 5 socialization processes:

  1. presentation of abstract and general information
  2. dramatic realization—enforcement of myths as truths
  3. idealized view of the situation
  4. maintenance of expressive control
  5. social distance

The presenter is so animated and passionate about her subject matter that she is giving a dynamic presentation, but I wish there were some interaction among the participants. Looking around the room now, I see heads nodding and people losing attention. This is too bad, as her subject matter is so valuable and important for this audience as adult educators.

Really good point – as we do not see hegemony, we constantly have to ask what is normal and what is ok.

One area for future research—how do adult learners create structures that resist that one question / issue in a situation.

An audience member mentioned another author, Callero, who seems to have parallel structures with those mentioned throughout the presentation.

 

Twenty-First Century Community Education: Using Web-Based Tools to Build on Horton’s Legacy

I clapped when Joyce S. McKnight, the presenter, said that she was not planning to use PowerPoint. She is at Empire State College (in NY) in the Center for Distance Learning. She coordinates community and human services. She is an advocate of the Highlander Model (cf. Myles Horton). She focuses on narratives, as life is a story. I like her approach already.

I remember the first time I read Freire (and then Horton)—it blew my mind. I never considered education as a political topic, but the more I think about how those in power continue to teach the structures that maintain the power relationships and often the status quo (though veiled as change).

Oh, we are introducing ourselves (so fitting for a session on Horton) and mentioning what we hope to get out of this session. I am starting to get concerned, now that we are 15 minutes into the 45 minutes session, and we have only 1/2 of us introduced thus far. Looking out the window now (we are an inside-the-courtyard-facing room), I am noticing how some of the bricks on the inside look like they are going to need significant reconstruction. Ouch.

Ohh, just heard Vygotsky. Sweet. Another author who books adorn my shelves that have never been read.

Empire State College in NY college is exploding in the size of their Center for Distance Education.

Joyce is speaking about Horton, who speaks about community / labor organizer. Joyce is not about organizing communities—she is about helping others learn how to learn and do it.

Oooh, she is using the white board to show the model she developed and is using. First time I have seen this done here in the conference. Nicely refreshing . . . Now, the problem is I cannot read her writing on the board.

She is now speaking about one of her students who offered to have a community meeting online at his site, BuffaloPugs.org. Having 2 pugs myself, and I am now fully riveted. Having a set time online allows for more flexibility (with children, travel, etc.).

How do what Horton did in a F2F setting in an online context?

The course includes a process of thinking, which has a research agenda. This has a space

I am now getting lost with the drawing on the board, and while I like seeing how this develops, I think it could have been shown much more clearly using a PowerPoint build into the model, as that would allow her to still have the same discussion but for us to also see what she is writing (in a somewhat confusing graphical way) on the board. As Joyce has mentioned now more than once that she is having trouble reading her own writing, need I say more . . .

So, how can we do something online in the same way that Highlander did under Horton. How can we make a space, enhance the spirit of working together and social action, in a place that is virtual (and how we can understand this as a process). ARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHH! Another drawing on the board . . .

This model should also include (as per Highlander):

  • self-directed
  • connection / collaboration
  • peaceful
  • interactive
  • reflective
  • safe space
  • transcendental
  • energy

She is using Elluminate, Facebook, and other tools like this.

I think there are a lot  of interesting things she is doing, and am a little disappointed that she has not gotten to the point that she wanted to get to (as she acknowledged), as we are out of time and she mentioned that she is out of time because she did not know what time the session ended. It is unfortunate that she is continuing to present, acknowledging that the time has ended, though now half the people have left the session.

I think Joyce probably has a lot of amazing things to share about community organizing and how to teach it, though the information somehow did not fully come across. I want to read her paper and speak with her more about this as I am very interested in the work of Horton and how to bring it into an online world.

I wonder what Joyce’s work at Empire State (my home state) College is all about? Sounds like a very interesting program . . .

 

Building Success in Online Education Programs for Adult Learners

I arrived a few minutes into the introductory remarks for this symposium with Matthew A. Eichler, Tani K. Bialek, Cathy Twohig, Cynthia L. Digby, Rod P. Githens, and Lynn A. Trinko. Glad I made it just in time for the introductions. Just from listening to the intros, it is clear that there is a lot of interest in this area and the attendees have had a lot of  different experiences in the process.

Online discussions within class discussion boards, it can reduce some of the isolation involved in distance learning and traditional education. Online discussions have a written record of their experiences. Online discussions require a great amount of structure; “discuss this” is not sufficient. Structure questions, clear expectations, and utilize reference materials. Model a discussion posting and model how to respond with others at the beginning of a class, both to show people what to do and what you expect, as well as to help new online learners see what and how to do this. Ask people to cite who they use, even if that includes posting a link to it. Focus on active moderation, and ask people about tone and use of humor.

Form a “Coffee Shop” space in the class, to share things that may be useful but is not directly  related to the work of the week. Make yourself willing to share your own experiences, especially since you expect students to do the same.

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is electronic exchange of information with voice. There is an example of a Wimba Voice posting. I have not seen this product before, though at NYU we use Epsilen that integrates Wimba. Tani did a research project with a purely online course without a synchronous component, and there was limited student use of the voice-technology, due to fear of technology, it takes longer, background sounds, and the like. Tani created a brief eLearning session that demonstrated how to do this with voice and slides.

Cathy discussed online student services and the depth of these services compared to F2F services, and it seems this is a rich area for new research strands.

Cynthia then spoke about faculty and course programs. Really interesting statistics about how long it takes to get an online course material ready to go online (100 hours per faculty per course and 100 hours for tech support). I asked about this as an area for future research, in that universities do not compensate faculty for this extra (free) work, and students still pay the same amount for the learning (though they do not generally use the physical plant and facilities). From a critical theory perspective, I find this very troubling.

Rod is now speaking about social presence, and the emphasis on creating and supporting social presence and fostering online learning communities. The most effective place to facilitate online learning within a program is on the institutional (department) level. This helps to have a clear thread through the program and may help to build and support community. One of the challenges is for learners who prefer to have solitary learning, and this is another factor to consider with developing programs and setting expectations. At times, posting their own photos and speaking about their jobs and careers can set up a problematic status situation. Some really good questions that were raised about how online and distance education

Lynn is discussing the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000), which is about the social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. Teaching presence usually includes course design, discourse facilitation, and direct instruction. For the design, she suggested to storyboard and think about the layout, student navigation, think of the users / audience. She then does all the assignments along with her own students, to show the students that she is part of their group. Ouch; how does she have the time? While I think it is important to try to have as much democratic exchanges as possible, the students and the instructors really are on different levels. She also spoke about the other components of this model, and it is something I think I want to know more about. She engages the students and is online almost all the time in the class; this seems to be overly teacher-focused or otherwise too much work rather than helping to empower the students to address their own issues and support them through the process. I wonder if this is what is really happening, but just not clearly stated? She does podcasting, online office hours, Happy Friday weekly letters, instant messages, chats, etc. This seems a bit too intense for practical application, andd while I am sure this helps along her students, it also seems to somehow make them expect her to help them facilitate their issues and struggles, rather than their beginning the process and struggling (learning?) a bit on their own and with their colleaguees first.