Replied to

Thank you Ben for the podcast recommendation about online learning. Not sure exactly what a ‘Type 2’ Ben Collins course would look like. Maybe it is about bringing your own problem or something. Look forward to what you come up with.

You might be interested in Jon Dron and Terry Anderson’s book Teaching Crowds. I discussed it here.

Listened Will Mannon: Running an Online Course by an author


1:50- David and Will’s focus on customer happiness. Type one and type two online courses. What online educators can learn from the Navy Seals.

13:45- How fear is a part of transformational experiences. What held Will back from starting writing. What music can teach us about great writing.

19:27- Why we fear achieving our vision. Write of Passage guilt. How Write of Passage prioritizes helping people make friends.

27:23- Striking the balance between creating community and letting it grow naturally. How interest groups allow students to create their own communities. The structure of Will’s job as course manager.

35:58- Forte Lab’s yearly planning process. The three phases of Will’s course management. How Will and David are thinking about data collection.

49:14- How Will and David met. How Will’s course feedback led to working with David. Why classical education theory doesn’t really apply to online education.

59:11- Why Will and David create “type 2” courses. Why David learns from his students. How Write of Passages integrates feedback.

1:07:20- What feedback David listens to. The future of Write of Passage. Why David tries to solve very specific problems using software.

1:12:10- How the Internet makes attention a commodity. Why WOP can thrive with zero cold traffic marketing. How the Internet will help make creators money in the future.

This was a really interesting conversation, especially in regards to Type 1 and Type 2 styles of learning. I was particularly intrigued by the discussion of online pedagogy and how this differs from a professor who has studied education for thirty years. I agree that context is important and that online learning is different to the classroom, however I am sceptical of ignoring someone else’s knowledge and experience.
Bookmarked The 7 elements of a good online course (The Conversation)

Research shows few differences in academic outcomes between online and face-to-face university courses. A professor who’s been teaching online for years offers advice on good online courses.

George Veletsianos reflects on his experience studying online learning to provide some advice about what to look for as many sectors stay online for the foreseeable future.

  • A good online course is informed by issues of equity and justice.
  • A good online course is interactive.
  • A good online course is engaging and challenging.
  • A good online course involves practice.
  • A good online course is effective.
  • A good online course includes an instructor who is visible and active, and who exhibits care, empathy and trust for students.
  • A good online course promotes student agency.

I particularly like Veletsianos’ closing remarks:

These qualities aren’t qualities of good online courses. They are qualities of good courses, period.

Although online learning is different, I feel that what is most interesting is the distance it provides and the opportunity to reassess. This is something that David White and Will Mannon have been discussing.

Liked How much ‘work’ should my online course be for me and my students? by dave dave

Those 6 total work hours are going to work out to 90 hours of work over an average term of 15 weeks. (please note, the Carnegie unit wants that to be 120 hours, but we’re going to ignore that). We have 90 hours to work with over the term for a course. How do you want to break that down? It’s going to be drastically different for different courses and styles. But whatever you’re teaching, keep trying to think about it from the perspective of what a student is actually going TO DO.

Simple break down (not quite 90, yes i know)

Watch 3 hours of video* – 5 hours
Read stuff – 20 hours
Listen to me talk – 15 hours
Talk with other students in a group – 15 hours
Write reflections about group chat – 7.5 hours
Respond to other people’s reflections – 7.5 hours
Work on a term paper – 10 hours
Do weekly quiz – 3 hours
Write take home mid-term – 3 hours
Write take home final – 3 hours

Liked Teacher Reflections: What Worked/What Didn’t with Distance Learning

Distance Learning Pros Cons
I facilitated a workshop with colleagues the other day on using Google Classroom with students, but first, I brought us all into a collaborative document to write and reflect together on the previous three months of unanticipated Distance Learning. I was curious to know t…

Liked Technology is not Pedagogy (Sean Michael Morris)

What happens when learning goes online? This is not a question technology can answer. It’s one we need to answer. Teachers, librarians, learning designers, students. Actually good online education comes not from the purchase of another platform, but out of dialogue, out of the will to empower everyone involved in teaching and learning to create together a digital learning that isn’t just instrumental, that isn’t just performative, but that’s authentic, meaningful, and just.

Liked 7 Strategies Designed to Increase Student Engagement in Synchronous Online Discussions Using Video Conferencing (

Caitlin Tucker with guidance on keeping it simple as you design online video discussions.

  • Provide students with an agenda and a list of discussion questions ahead of time;
  • Communicate your expectations for participation and behavior online;
  • Ask students to generate their own discussion questions;
  • Start every virtual conferencing session with an icebreaker question or a quick check-in;
  • Use the chat window strategically;
  • Host shorter sessions with fewer students;
  • Ask students to assess their participation online.
via Ian O’Byrne
Liked a post

I’ve kept the products that students have to produce here simple. Venn diagrams, 3 – 2 – 1 lists, 25 word summaries and Claim – Evidence – Reasoning paragraphs push students to think at high levels without requiring them to have access to tons of materials or tons of time to show me what they know.

That matters, y’all.

It may be fine to ask students to produce complicated final products as demonstrations of mastery when they are in your classroom and have access to your support for seven hours every day, but when students are working on their own from home, we need to lean on “no-frills” tasks that encourage higher order thinking without adding time and resource demands onto our students.


In a webinar about the return to onsite learning in Victoria following the move learning online, Simon Breakspeare makes the call to build back better. The fear he raises is that if we do not act we could easily find ourselves snapping back into our previous defaults and habits, dishonoring the effort and adaption that occurred. The focus therefore should be on renewal, not just recovery. What is therefore needed is a three step approach: gather the data, joining the dots and then weaving in new plans and opportunities into existing habits and practices. The challenge faced is making sure that the initial data is collected now while it is still fresh. This might include a parent survey, educator feedback, student reflections and any positive deviance from the data associated with learning online. The next steps can be carried out over the coming months, the sense making and creating a project nest. From there pivot plans and changes to practice can be tested and refined.

Breakspeare’s breakdown of the process for change adds to Steven Kolber’s own call to build back better and Kath Murdoch’s search for gold. Although the Victoria government has started its own process, what stood out from Breakspeare’s presentation is that such change is best done locally using an agile methodology.

Replied to Rabbit Hole Learning

“As it turns out, the answer is not that simple. You see, Sir Professor Isaac of Newton was so clever, he was born in BOTH 1642 and 1643…”
Taken from the current issue of the Visual Thinker. You can subscribe here.
You can use this image for free without changing it as long you include the at…

I really enjoyed this account Bryan. I have found the challenge associated with supporting my daughter intriguing. Sadly, coxing her down rabbit holes has been a bit of a challenge as I am not her ‘real teacher’. Although she has enjoyed diving into Minecraft which has been her supposed bonus passion project.
Replied to Lessons of remote learning (a macgirl in a pc world)

It’s been a very interesting Term 2. We’ve settled into remote learning (as much as we can) and have built some routines around it. The exhaustion hasn’t shifted and the hours req…

Thank you for sharing your experience while teaching online Gill. It has helped me appreciate the classroom side, especially as I call schools to help them with things.

There has been a lot said about building back better and taking on some of the learnings, however the one thing that concerns me is that we take on some of those time consuming habits without recognising the additional work involved.

Bookmarked Move to Online Learning: 12 Key Ideas by dave dave

I got asked by a long time colleague if I was willing to do a post of all the things that I’ve learned in the last eight weeks about moving online. Not ’emergency teaching’ but actual lessons about people moving to teaching with the internet. I’ve worked with over 100 faculty at my own institution this past few months, taking them through a 1 week intensive course. I’ve also been in constant contact with folks from around the world both through my interviews on and in endless backchannels and side chats. Here’s what I got.

Dave Cormier reflects upon the current crisis and his experiences associated with supporting online learning. In summary, he shares 12 ideas. This feels like a return to ideas discussed in the Rhizo MOOCS that content is actually people and community as curriculum. One point I particularly liked was the idea of ‘teacher presence’ and possibly writing a post correcting misconceptions.

You can easily write one post responding to all the posts on a given subject, highlighting themes and correcting misconceptions. Less duplication for you, and it still shows students that you’re involved.

Dave Cormier and Ashlyne O’Neil have also elaborated these ideas further in an online book that is designed to serve as a short course.

Bookmarked Mining for gold…what have we discovered? And what now?

This week, students and teachers are beginning to return to school here in Australia.
return: “an act of coming or going back to a place or activity”
It’s a word I have been trying to avoid as I speak with my partner schools. Instead of thinking about it as a return to…let’s think about it…

Kath Murdoch reflects on some of the discoveries from the forced move online/offsite.  Some of her wonderings included:

  • What would happen if we offered learners the opportunity to create their timetables?
  • Can we team up to allow children to engage in independent inquiry (with one or two educators supporting them in the space) while others work with target groups across the day?
  • What if we met at the end of each day for a short, focussed reflection and thought about how we might adjust plans for tomorrow?
  • Can we build on our online experiences to use more ‘flipped’ models for home learning

Along with Riss Leung’s reflection, this provides a useful provocation for moving forward.

Personally speaking, it makes me wonder about some of the lengths that teachers and schools have gone to during the current pandemic and the danger of turning an exception into a habit. I agree that we need to ‘build back better‘ as Steven Kolber puts it, however we also need to identify what we take off the plate to sustain such change.

On another note, Murdoch speaks about the call to ‘go home’

I recall many years ago, listening to Allan Luke talk about how hard it can be to sustain change in schools. He described the ‘lure of home’ … the longing we have even unconsciously, to ‘go home’ to the safety and comfort of what we know. I can feel it in myself as I have ventured out into this new world of online workshops. There are days when I long for ‘home’ (which, ironically for me was NOT being at home!) and then other days when I am relishing the adventure, the discomfort and all I am learning.

This reminded me of what John Goh’s discussion of our tendency to go back to our ‘default’.

In Episode 7 of the TER Podcast on ‘Engagement’, John Goh spoke about the ‘default’ value that we all have as teachers. Formed during our training to become teachers, it lays the foundation for the way we teach. He suggested that the challenge is to make sure that we continually move away from that starting point.

Bookmarked How to Build an Online Learning Community: 6 Theses (Jesse Stommel)

Educational institutions are spaces for learning, but more specifically, they are spaces for social learning. And so our role as educators and administrators of educational institutions has to be focused on building community in addition to offering courses, designing curriculum, and credentialing.

Jesse Stommel unpacks six considerations associated with building an online learning community.
Liked Background (Music for Deckchairs)

The reality of our working from home experience is that it’s cramped and improvised, and I think it gives students a chance to see something about us that they may need to know.

When we come back from this, let’s remember that we learned that having lives beyond our work is neither distracting, ludicrous or embarrassing. Our lives are just what they are. And if we can continue to see the impact of this, we can really start to think about rebooting a much fairer and more inclusive university system, including for our students.

Bookmarked zoom is not the problem — meetings are

Like most organizational changes, meetings will only get better when those in leadership positions decide to make them so. Perhaps the ubiquity of all these Zoom meetings over the past month will get people thinking and talking about better ways to communicate and collaborate at work. Whether you stay with distributed work or go back to a location, improving meetings will not only raise morale but make room for what is really important in every workplace now — learning.

Harold Jarche wonders if the current despair around Zoom and meetings may provide a catalyst for rethinking the purpose and structure of meetings in general. In part, this falls under Steven Kolber’s call to ‘build back better‘.
Austin Kleon shared a link to John Holt’s newsletter and some thoughts on learning at home. One of the issues I have had is that it is a contested space. Although I have been supporting my daughter while she has been learning at home, creating the space, allowing her to explore, the problem I have had is that I am not her teacher, I have no agency. This is why Kleon argues that the current context is not ‘homeschooling’. I consider it a blend of the worst of both worlds.
Replied to More lockdown learning by john john

I am very lucky in having a supportive wife, my daughter is grown and away, I’ve little in the way of home responsibilities. I’ve no ide how you would manage if you had kids at home or a partner that needed the living room space too…

Your discussion of introducing Microsoft Teams reminded me of Rolin Moe’s remarks that,

You can’t teach someone to swim while they’re drowning.

Certainly does sound exhausting.

In regards to space, I sometimes have the assistant principal trying to touch base with everyone and Ms 9 on WebEx. I am grateful that it is not yet winter over hear therefore allowing me to be able to setup in our alfresco when needs be.

Bookmarked Teens Are Addicted to Socializing, Not Screens

when physical distancing is no longer required, we’ll get to see that social closeness often involves meaningful co-presence with other humans. Adults took this for granted, but teens had few other options outside of spaces heavily controlled by adults. They went online not because the technology is especially alluring, but because it has long been the most viable option for having meaningful connections with friends given the way that their lives have been structured. Maybe now adults will start recognizing what my research showed: youth are “addicted” to sociality, not technology for technology’s sake.

danah boyd reflects on the current flip to online learning suggesting that days spent in a Zoom meeting is not what teens crave.

TV may have killed the radio star, but Zoom and Google Hangouts are going to kill the delight and joy in spending all day in front of screens.

Discussing her research into teens and technology, she explains that what they have always craved is social interactions. I have noticed this with Ms 9 who counts down the minutes to her WebEx sessions.

Bookmarked Online Learning Resources for people moving online in a hurry. by dave dave

Before our Friday online teaching class I tweeted out a request for suggestions for the ONE THING that people would send someone if they were moving online for the first time.
If you were going to send someone ONE document/video about teaching online, what would it be? Looking for ‘further reading’ …

Dave CormierDave Cormier collates a range of go to resourcesrange of go to resources for teaching online.