Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wk 4 Publishing_Presentation Project

Growing up I was inspired watching Robin Williams telling students to tear up their books in Dead Poets Society, or Edward James Olmos teaching students to “Stand And Deliver”, or even slacker teacher Mark Harmon in Summer School. I wanted to have a positive impact on lives the way my teachers had a positive impact on me. I want to reach depths that transcended course material and struck to the core of humanity, our passions and our purpose, that special thing that Sir Ken Robinson refers to as “The Element”. I also desperately wanted to wear corduroy blazers with leather patches on the elbows. When I finally became a teacher I was struck by how wrong I was in my assumptions and how difficult my task would be. In the years past this might have been an accurate assumption, however, when I started teaching I became an online teacher. How could I achieve my goals in this virtual world? There are no desks to stand on, no corduroy blazers, and it’s a lot harder to motivate students to tear up their eBooks. One day as I was teaching an online session a student asked “Is this a real person?” In one cursory sentence, I questioned the effectiveness of online education and my own existence.

Exploring this tricky new online universe and motivating students in a purposeful and lasting way through this new technology has been the focus of my 12 month journey through the EMDT program. All too often we look to shoehorn old philosophies into new mediums. This powerful tool has the ability to connect students and instructors in ways never thought possible. This shift in paradigm also requires a shift in thinking. Through this project I have sought to develop a curriculum guided by Self Determination Theory that puts the student in the driver's seat of their academic destiny. While each course must consider the dynamic relationship of instructor and student as well as the material being presented, I believe all courses can benefit from some amount of choice on the student's end. This process necessarily reflects personality responsibility on the student's end and turns their motivations inward causing them to question core beliefs regarding their academic identity. It is a lofty goal and this presentation reflects my experience in giving choice a chance. I intend on submitting this presentation to the AACE in consideration for the E-Learn Conference in Montreal, Quebec.

PPP Think Out Loud Post #1:
PPP Think Out Loud Post #2:
Presentation Project:

MAC Wk4: Comment on Shawn McKeown's Blog

View Shawn's blog at:


I loved seeing your presentation live in the wimba session this week. All of the right elements are in place and it's shaping up to be something really impressive. Please keep us updated on your progress and best of luck in submitting to EduComm. This information certainly deserves a proper forum.

Mike Dunn"

MAC Wk4: Comment on Jennifer Williams' Blog

View Jennifer's blog at:


Thanks for your openness and honesty here. It is a bit easier to relax into the comfort of an assignment free universe but to me you seem incredibly driven, I am sure you'll find something incredible to fill these new hours. It is nice to have that reward of achievement and the visual recognition of the cap and gown but I'm sure your true reward will show in the students you touch. Looking forward to meeting you at graduation!

Mike Dunn"

MAC Wk4: Telling the WE Story

In reflecting on this book by Zander I found myself contemplating an interesting dichotomy. Zander frequently speaks about finding your answers by looking inward but at the same time he talks about having an intense focus on sharing with others, igniting the spark, exhibiting a service orientation and so on. How can we be inward and outward at the same time?

The message is simple but powerful, that by taking responsibility for our choices and attitudes we can positively shape the lives of those around us. I am reminded of a simple technique I use when trying to impart some piece of advice. I find that when I start by admitting how I have failed or fell short in a situation I have a much better chance of reaching someone in their situation.

We have a commonality of experience and also a commonality of failure. When we break down the walls of ego and unrealistic expectation we can get to the core of what it is to share and be part of a community. This is a trait of the evolved human, of civilization and positive regard. When we are able to dissolve those boundaries we are capable of incredible things together.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MAC Wk3 BP5: Wimba Reflection

This weeks wimba contained a good amount of discussion which I unfortunately could not participate in. However, that is the nature of wimba. I was still interested in the material this week and the reflection upon our reading by Zander. I agree with professor Bustillos reflections on leadership. I have had some leaders in the past who "wore the invisible crown" but I think the tides are changing a bit, at least in my small part of the world. I like the idea that we all have the opportunity to leadership in our circles of influence. This really gets to the core of Zanders work, that we all have an opportunity (and I would say a responsibility) to be aware of our influence, why wouldn't we choose to make that influence positive? His work has really stuck with me, I think it is a fantastic motivator. This wimba session provided a nice time to reflect on these concepts. I liked that the difference between simple "pollyanna" thinking and Zander's message was displayed. Sometimes positive philosophies can be quickly tossed aside as "new age mumbo jumbo". There is much more to it and I think the proof is really in the product. It can't hurt to try it.

On the logistical end it was nice to get a check up on the publishing and presentation project as well as where I should be with these blog posts. My peers had some excellent questions and reflections and I look forward to sharing my presentation as well.

MAC Wk3 BP4: PPP Think Out Loud #2

In exploring possible conferences for my presentation the Association for Advancement of Computing in Education ( particularly stood out for me. They have a number of conferences coming up and I will be looking to submit to E-LEARN 2012 - World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare & Higher Education which takes place in October of next year. They are currently accepting submissions into May of next year. Since my CBR is based in the online world I think this will be a perfect platform to share my findings. It is also a chance for me to return to Montreal, a beautiful city where I proposed to my fiance. I would love to take her as well.

MAC Wk3 BP3: Comment on Michelle Biroulet's Blog

View Michelle's blog at:

Hello Meesh! The conference you found sounds wonderful. I have never been to the UK but it's always nice to combine a bit of travel with hard work. I'm sure you'll find an interesting perspective to share with the attendees. Good luck to you!