Presenting #DigPINS at Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching 2019

I am super excited to be presenting with Joe Murphy at the Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching about #DigPINS – a small cohort online faculty development experience that Joe and I have run in network with one another and several other institutions for a few years now. This presentation is a basic “what is … Continue reading Presenting #DigPINS at Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching 2019

FlipTech Latin America 2019 Keynote

Notes Video of keynote now available. Videos (including a couple not in the presentation but related) are now uploaded and embedded. I welcome comments below, thank you for any that you can add. The Details I do hope that I come back to post more about my experiences this week at FlipTech Latin America 2019 […]

Reflections on Domains 19

Domains19 wrapped yesterday, and it was great. Lauren and the whole Reclaim Hosting team did a great job putting the conference together. As with any good conference, my favorite part was getting to catch up with friends and meet people who’s work I’ve been following for a while (I was particularly excited to meet Martin […]

#Domains 19 Day 2 Lunch Keynote with Amy Collier

For the Day 2 lunch keynote, Amy Collier talked to us about Ambitious futures for (digital) education: Perspectives from Tropicália. Abstract: Brasil’s tropicália movement was a revolutionary expression of resistance to authoritarianism and nationalism through art, music, and theater. In this talk, we’ll travel back in time to 1960s Brasil, quaking under a military dictatorship, […]

#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 3: Embedded in the Fabric

Georgetown Domains and the Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology Speakers: Lee Skallerup Bessette, Randal Ellsworth Abstract: The mission of the new Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology program at Georgetown University is “to give our students a deep foundation in the tools and theory of learning design, technology innovation, learning analytics, and higher education […]

#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 2: Weaponizing Your Website

Speakers: Jennifer Hill Abstract: There is a war a raging in our cyberworld and it is time for you to join the resistance. Cambridge Analytica stealing Facebook user’s data, white supremacists getting verified on Twitter, and child pornography on Instagram. The list of atrocities continues. We as technologists know the inner workings of social media […]

#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 1: HAX Chaotic Good

Speakers: Bryan Ollendyke (Not really an) Abstract: “YOU SEE, I’M NOT A MONSTER… I’M JUST AHEAD OF THE CURVE“ Unbalance, unrest, and chaos can be brought with one simple act: Giving away everything. It’s a notion I explored in my MS thesis via open source; because, edtech systems are build on power. Power and control technology […]

#Domains19: Martin Hawksey Keynote

Minority Report Martin Hawksey, creator of TAGS and chief innovator for ALT, gave the opening Keynote for Day 2 of Domains19. Martin talked about data surveillance including everything from Twitter metadata to facial recognition. Hawksey mentioned Francis Galton in his history of data collection and facial analysis / phrenology. Galton, a proud cousin of Charles […]

#Domains 19 Breakout Session 2: Domain Fellows

Speakers: Jess Reingold, Jenn Hill, Katie Hartraft Abstract: The noise of typing filled the small classroom. Domain Fellows, student ambassadors for the Domain of One’s Own program, sat quietly working on their independent projects. It is these students who show their classmates that their domains can be more than academic websites. Their websites can be […]

#Domains 19 Breakout Session 1: The New Old Web

Speaker: Ilya Kreymer Abstract: This talk will present innovative uses of Docker containers, emulators and web archives to allow anyone to experience old web sites using old web browsers, as demonstrated by the Webrecorder and projects. Combining containerization with emulation can provide new techniques in preserving both scholarly and artistic interactive works, and enable obsolete […]

The Future of Ed Tech in Higher Ed when Open Source is a Radical Solution

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a keynote speaker at the Open Apereo 2019 conference. This is the first time a keynote I’ve done has been recorded so I’m posting the recording as well as the text script (even thought I diverged from it on occasion). I have nothing but huge gratitude to all the wonderful organizers and people I met at the conference in LA and I sincerely hope that our complementary worlds of open education and Apereo will overlap more in our future activities. It is a great pleasure to be here today, not only because I am a huge admirer of Apereo but also because I understand what it is to have this privilege of being here as a keynote.  This is my first time at Apereo, having only discovered its existence this year, so I thought it would be helpful to know a few things about me.  I am an accidental technologist; a mom of a teen and preteens (so pray for me for the next 5 years); a mountain biker (but as I recently discovered watching some video of me, I’m really slow); a former ultimate frisbee player; a romance novel fan (and I thank the people at Smart Bitches Trashy Women for not making me feel bad about that); sometimes painter, and a Vancouverite.  I am also a proud member of the #femedtech community who are doing amazing work surfacing and bringing critical feminist perspectives to educational technology.   This year I’m working with BCcampus as a researcher in Open Education Practices and who have been generously supporting not only research on how institutions are getting to open in our sector, but also the role of open ed tech in open education practices. Open education practices is the umbrella term for teaching and learning activities that included creation, use, and reuse of open education resources such as open textbooks, open pedagogies and the sharing of teaching practices. Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed.  Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others. Open Education is part of a broader ecosystem of open (Open Education, yes, but also Open Access, Open Science, Open Data, Open Source, Open Government). It’s been such a delightful year working with BC campus and specifically the open textbook team and I’m so incredibly grateful for one of the highlights of my professional career. I’ve spent the last 10 years in senior administration at the Justice Institute of BC where I am the Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning, & Innovation and where I am responsible for the ed tech and innovation strategy.  Today, I’d like to talk about how open ed tech infrastructures need to be part of our institutions if we care about open education practices and ethical ed tech futures.  I’m aware that I’m speaking to a room of IT specialists, educational technologists, administrators working with open technology and some of what I talk about today may already be old news to you, but I hope that it will underline the importance of the work that you are doing. In BC it is customary for us to begin with a territorial acknowledgement and I would like to acknowledge that the land on which I work and live is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.   Through the excellent resource I learned that the LA region is the traditional territory Gabrielino/Tongva (Tongva) peoples.  In looking to learn more about this indigenous past and present, I came across this website which describes a project that aims to map Indigenous Los Angeles through a storymapping project with youth, community leaders, and elders from indigenous communities throughout the city. It’s a fascinating website and I urge you to dig into it. Territorial acknowledgements provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our histories and the erasure of those histories.  My work is at the intersection of ed tech, innovation, and open education and a couple of years ago I became interested in these histories, in particular the time period of the 1960s to 1980s.  I guess you could say that I’m at that age where new things sound like old things and I wanted to check my assumptions. This took me on a fascinating (but by no means comprehensive) journey into old academic journal articles and I’ll share a few gems with you.  a.     “institutions are like blobs of jello: they absorb attempts to change their shape” . My personal favourite comes from an article called Radical Innovation in a Conventional Framework: Problems and Prospects. 1977 b.    Next, we have the familiar trope of disruption, 1960s style: “ there is a chorus of exhortations – articles beginning ‘Higher Education should’ or ‘must’”. This one is from 1967 – Innovation: Processes, Practice and Researchp.38. c.     This last one is most relevant for the topic of the presentation today:  “The development of new technology for education raises the question of control. Large corporations have entered the education field. They view the reluctance of some educators to commit themselves to the new media as a sign of fear of change.”  This one is from an article called Technology and Education: Who Controls. 1970 Of course, finding so many familiar tropes in the literature of the 60s and 70s left me with questions.    How do we move towards new ideas without using the past as a check and balance? I should point out that Audrey Watters has for a long time been an important critic and in 2013 was lamenting the ignorance of ed tech history by venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, invoking the image of zombie ideas that can’t be slayed unless we pay attention to the past.   “But then again, when we don’t pay attention to the past, we can’t ever quite slay the zombie ideas. We build and move forward quite blindly”.    When I called this presentation “The Future of Ed Tech in Higher Education When Open Source is a Radical Solution, I’ll admit it was a bit tongue in cheek.  For me, the biggest innovation to happen to higher education isn’t ed tech – it’s the creation of the open university system in the late 60s and 70s.  If you are familiar with the UK Open University you may know that Canada created three open universities built on the OU UK model between 1970 and 1978, and I’ll share with you the goals behind one of them, TÉLUQ, Canada’s French open university. These were articulated in 1970: a.    — Lifelong learning b.     — Real accessibility for all. c.      — Social development. d.     — Needs of working population. e.     — Greater mobility of knowledge. f.      — Wide use of new media and techniques. g.     — Rethinking the learning situation. h.     — Taking account of people’s prior life experiences. i.       — Reduction of unit costs You can see that this is an incredible list, and it took advantage of a new structure, the model of the OU UK, to shift towards a future that aligned with the social justice ambitions of its time, and one of those ambitions –  accessibility – meant the open university was available for everybody. Today, 70% of enrolments at TÉLUQ are women and approximately 50% would not be attending university if TÉLUQ wasn’t an option.   I’ll also mention here, that currently of the 10 most enrolled universities in the world, 4 of them are open universities, with Indira Gandhi open university topping the number one spot at 3 million students. (NB: in the video recording, you can see that I say it has 35 million. This was from an inaccurate source – In the video I question this number because that’s equivalent of Canada’s entire population.  2 other sources put it at 3.5-4 million, so 35 million is a huge error and I’m correcting it here.)  So the impact of this new structure, in terms of accessibility for all, is profound.  Ed Tech Absurdities  The importance of new, or alternate structures guided by social justice ambitions and frameworks is the point of my presentation today, but first I’d like to share some stories about current realities that I call ed tech absurdities.  As the person responsible for the ed tech strategy and the designated business owner of several ed tech tools I have the dubious pleasure of being the primary contact for our vendors.  About 2 years ago one of our most boring but nonetheless important ed tech tools was being upgraded and the vendor wanted us to move to their full featured cloud version from our self hosted version.  BC student data privacy laws used to be quite strict and moving to a US cloud wasn’t an option. But as you can see from this email excerpt, the core features we needed would no longer be included in the self-hosted version, unless of course we wanted to sponsor its development.   I have reviewed your XYZ requirements with our leadership team.  Unfortunately the cost to add XYZ to the On Site platform is estimated to be upwards of $120,000.  Therefore the decision has been made to not offer it as a feature for On Site unless someone is willing to sponsor the development.  There is a chance a government agency might sponsor, but it is not certain and not in the near future.  This was my response:  I should let you know that we have a robust open source ed tech software infrastructure within our province that is currently piloting an open source alternative to XYZ.  I have to be frank and share that even if we had the 120k , I would likely invest that money in providing an open source solution to our consortium of 25 post secondary institutions rather than  build out your product at our expense which is hardly a value proposition for a client. I’ll get back to the robust open source ed tech infrastructure later but first I’d like to share another absurdity. My institution uses a piece of software for our health programs that I’ll call ABC software. ABC software costs about 30k/year at about 100$ per student. The last time I queried about it, there was very little user satisfaction with the tool but there also weren’t any other viable options.  Incidentally, this tool is used in the same kind of program across at least 10 other colleges and unis in Canada. Is it naïve to think that the 10 or more institutions could pool together to create a more satisfactory – and perhaps open source – tool? The inevitable response to this is it isn’t the job of institutions to get into the software game, they aren’t equipped for it, they aren’t software companies. But of course, this simply isn’t true WebCT being the most famous Canadian example, having been developed by a UBC faculty member in the late 90s.  In fact, my own, very small, low resource institution created a fantastic piece of software but this leads me to my third ed tech absurdity.  In 2010 we began creating Praxis, an online system for synchronous scenario based learning, which is primary learning methodology that we use at JIBC. The last time I did a search it was still the only one of its kind in the world and we created it because nothing else was out there, not because we wanted to get into the software game.   Here’s a sidebar: I’m regularly courted by ed tech vendors and have told them repeatedly that we would love to use their products if they would only create the ones that we need. The last time an LMS vendor visited, I even took them on a tour of our experiential learning spaces, explained the kind of teaching and learning we…

OpenEd19 – Roundtable on Ungrading

Roundtable submission for #OpenEd19 Update: Roundtable accepted. Following review by the Program Committee, I am pleased to inform you that your submission entitled ‘Roundtable on #Ungrading‘ has been accepted for presentation as a Roundtable (25 minutes). Now to get to work on this. I require help here colleagues! Work in Progress Please feel free to […]

OpenEd19 – Setting up your Connected Courses site in 5 minutes

Lightning Talk submission for #OpenEd19 Update: Roundtable accepted. Following review by the Program Committee, I am pleased to inform you that your submission entitled ‘Setting up your Connected Courses site in 5 minutes‘ has been accepted for presentation as a Lightning Talk (5 minutes). This one is on me. I will need to curate the […]

OpenEd Week @KPU

I had the privilege of being one of the keynotes at KPU’s Open Education Week, a fantastic day that was co-organized by KPU, UBC, Douglas, SFU, and BCIT. There is nothing better than following a student keynote, and Aran Armutlu kept our attention on the things that matter in open…students and affordability of higher education, while also touching on the impact of open pedagogy. He talked about his first experience as a student discovering his course used a zero cost textbook and since the instructor, Jennifer Kirkey was also in attendance it was a really nice shout out to instructors doing good work and the impact it has on students. Here’s a bit about Aran and the work that he’s done with the BCFS. Aran Armutlu,  Chair of the BC Federation of StudentsAran is the Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students which represents over 130,000 students at 13 different colleges and universities across BC. The BCFS advocates for high-quality, accessible public post-secondary education in BC. Aran is a Douglas College graduate who is passionate about higher education and empowering youth to use their agency to create change. You can find Aran sharing his thoughts on the above topics and more on Twitter at @AranTheArmenian. I followed up with a short presentation on the landscape of research on open in BC. This is a more condensed version of a recent blog post I did for BCcampus and although I had prepped myself for the inevitable missing of key research being done on open in BC and I learned about some great work on open scholarship being done at the University of Victoria including this fantastic collection. Creative Commons Licenses provide a clear and well recognized mechanism for making one’s work open. This session will begin by outlining the basics of CC Licenses, their relationship to copyright, and what one should consider when selecting an appropriate license. The second half of the session will introduce attendees to the complexities of opening up certain types of materials, including cultural materials. In particular we will discuss Traditional Knowledge Labels, which have been developed to help indigenous communities exert access control over cultural materials that may be in public circulation. Just when you think you know a fair bit about Creative Commons licenses, a group of librarians come along and teach you something new. The session by Stephanie Savage, Karen Meijer-Kline, Lindsay Tripp, Michael Wynne was a crash course in some of the nuances of CC licenses (including the clarification that tuition charging institutions can use CC NC content. Note to All – Non-Commerical CC Licenses CAN be used by education institutions that charge tuition. #openinaction— Erin Fields (@Emefie) March 6, 2019 There was also considerable time (but never enough) dedicated to TK Licenses which are not only beautiful but provide such a critical extension or alternative to Creative Commons licenses. In this session I was intrigued by the relationship building opportunity that CI labels could provide as well as the introduction to Murkutu, an open source CMS for sharing digital heritage. Put a License On It  – Table SessionsHave a presentation, paper, a guide, or an image you own? Make it openly available!  Put a license on it! For this session we will build upon what you have learned about Creative Commons and work to put licenses on content you’ve created.  Join table facilitators to learn about the practical application of putting open licenses on your resources and how to share them. This was a really relaxed way to tackle something I hadn’t done in 14 years and took approximately 10 seconds to do…put a license on this blog! (Hint…go to Creative Commons license chooser and grab the embed code). At my table I learned some other tips and tricks including this attribution builder. Institution Spotlights (UBC, BCIT, SFU, KPU, BCcampus) Too much to say here, but a theme in the institutional updates is the importance of faculty bringing faculty, faculty telling faculty as awareness raising with OER. Finding, Using, and Creating Open Education Resources – Will Engle, Erin FieldsWith the proliferation of open education resources on the web, the practice of finding, evaluating, using, and remixing videos, simulations, test banks, presentations, and other materials is a skill that can help support instructors and students in their teaching and learning. There are millions of openly licensed resources, from full courses and textbooks to tests banks and images, that are available for others to freely use. This session will provide an overview of the tools available for finding, using, and creating Open Education resources. For me this session was so much more than as described here. I came away with a few nuggets that the presenters planted in my brain: First: open enrollment is open pedagogy. This should be so glaringly obvious for me given my love for open universities, but I’d honestly never considered this. Second: taking the time to reflect on what we are asking students to do when they work in the open…I have to admit I haven’t gone deep enough in my thoughts about this. ***The combination of slides and speaker notes from this session was so informative that it could have been written up as a how-to guide on considerations for and doing open pedagogy. Open Education Resources – Table SessionsJoin table facilitators to learn about different open education approaches and technologies, including:Pressbooks Open RepositoriesHypothesis Open Monograph PressOpen Journal Systems H5P WordPress/Wiki Integrating Open Pedagogy into teaching practices  I attended the Open Monograph Press, which is actually another Public Knowledge Project tool that sits along side the Open Journal Systems software (which I referenced in my keynote). This is a beautiful, but perhaps not well known tool for creating conference proceedings and edited volumes by facilitating the workflow process.

#ISBLbD Sherri Goes To Conference

I’m attending a conference in Brussels, Belgium and it is a delight. There are several reasons for this. First among them, I have the opportunity to spend quality time with real friends, all of whom I have met through Twitter. Second, I am here as a consumer. I am not presenting, speaking, serving on a […]

Be The Power And The Point – A Recap

I did the thing. I shot my shot, sang my song. And it was glorious! I offered a workshop at the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference (NAISPoCC) in Nashville, Tennessee. The title felt clever when I came up with it in the proposal-writing phase. In the execution of the workshop itself […]


I was invited by my colleague and friend Dora to give a keynote this weekend at the “4o Foro Educativo” in Durango. This was a wonderful day with some amazing educators and I thank them for their hospitality and bringing together a great group of people to learn together with. I am including my slides …

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Other People’s Conferences

So excited to learn from the architects of the #DisruptTexts movement: @nenagerman @juliaerin80 @juliaerin80 and @TchKimPossible (not pictured) #NCTE18 #HFellows — Kate Flowers (@kate_flowers) November 16, 2018 In my first few years on Twitter it took me some time to get used to all the group pictures being shared from various education conferences. I […]