In 2014, Tony Bates set out to write a new open text called Teaching in a Digital Age. I had just started my position as an Instructional Technologist at the University of Guelph, and one of the things I loved about what Dr. Bates was doing, was that he was writing it all out in the open, soliciting feedback as he wrote. I even left a few comments on his blog, to which he very graciously took the time to respond - I was chuffed. Now, the first edition is an open text book as part of BCCampus' open text project and it is a great resource for all of those designing teaching and learning experiences in this "digital age".
Full disclosure, I had read most of the book before taking this course - always dipping in and out when I needed it most. One of the things I liked most about the text was that its writing and tone are accessible and in many cases, conversational. Moreover, Dr. Bates has somehow managed to synthesize and condense years of theoretical underpinnings to make them readable in a day or so. I was pleased that this text was adopted for this course, as in many other cases, I thought the readings were a little "old" - not seminal - just "old". I enjoyed picking up this "book" again, and rereading with fresh eyes.
So what did I learn?
I think the thing that struck me about this week, was that I recognized a gap between theory and practice. I have designed and developed a workshop on the SECTIONS model for my institution, and I have offered it to instructors and GTAs. I usually use a case-study format so as to provide a context for my audience to work with. But, I have never had to use it myself. So the fact that I was completing the readings with eyes informed by the course identified in Assignment 1, meant that I was able to close the gap.
However, the difficulty with applying SECTIONS in this course, was that we were asked to apply it to very broad categories of educational technologies to determine various technologies usefulness in faciliating learning outcomes in a course. I found myself answering "it depends". A lot.
Beyond this, I think I realize that some questions are more important than others. And some seem to have been overlooked entirely (was there a question on accessiblity in our worksheet that I missed?). I have learned that I will go back and redesign my workshop to ensure that only the most important questions for our context get asked, as I also realized that you can get bogged down answering so many questions in detail.
Wardell, J. (2008). Straws [Photograph]. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/4jh4G1