Weekly Writing, 5:1, Bob

For your post this week, write a metacognitive summary of your experience thus far in developing your unit-sized curriculum plan.

I am thinking about this final project in light of my work.   We have, for as long as I remember, been self-aware of ourselves as a source and place of significant learning.   Even though that learning was not recognized or valued as an aim of the institution.   Alas, over the last couple of years I have focused more on my direct reports and on the overall organization.   I have found this assignment refreshing a way for me to get back to the roots of developing young people as future employees.

I found my conversation with my classmate to be rewarding.   Indeed, she suggested some ways to sequence the online portion of our training and some content as well.   I believe I will steal her ideas with wild abandon.   In particular, she suggested including our organizational mission and vision statements as an opening unit — obvious as the nose on my face.   Alas, I have lived so intimately with those statements over the last three years and as we enter another round of strategic planning, I am again immersed in them — so that I forgot that, my employees might not be familiar with them.   That is a little embarrassing and humbling.   I had as well forgotten about, or perhaps suppressed the memory of the work we had done on creating career paths for our student employees.   I forgot about it because of internal politics and new structural configuration and because my responsibilities became focused on the supervisors of students rather than the students themselves.  This course has reminded me to revisit this project one that was very important to me four or so years ago.  Work that was done and then undone by structural and political changes in our organization.  It is nice to remember this and to find that I still have a passion for it.  Often times our organizational ebb and flow along with eroding our work erodes our spirit — in this case I still feel the importance of getting this right for our student employees.

I am relishing the challenge of using our lms (Moodle) to create a blended/flipped on line learning environment for our student employees.   We (Colby College) subscribe to Lynda campus and we have a wealth of training materials readily available.   Similarly, YouTube offers many interesting resources, even as credible as some of the purchased materials.   Alas, what we build in that lms is behind firewalls and passwords.   So part of my struggle is how to present for the course the work, my version of the work.   I distinguish this because I am running parallel projects simultaneously.   My team met with our Instructional Designer on Friday, for an introduction to Moodle.   Some of the material I have written for this unit was used as examples in that session.   But soon that will become a shared creative space my team will start to create content and conversations will open up about all aspects of including this new tool in our real work.     In truth, I take the greater reward from that process.   Even ten years ago, it was still about me, and my ideas, but anymore I take the greater satisfaction from teamwork from building up my direct reports and their work with our student supervisors.   So there is something artificial in the work I am doing for this course — I will do it, but I find it less satisfying and less rich.

I think that two interesting points of learning or remembering have come out of the course content.   One regards the theories about learning: behavioristic, cognitive, constructionist, and connectionist; the other regards the various taxonomies, not so much about writing learning outcomes, rather more in recognizing that learning and performance are occurring at higher levels whereas we are assessing at levels of adequacy.   Much of our conversation about excellence is because of observation and of fair and if not objective then at least systematic assessment.   However, we talk about it anecdotally, subjectively, more importantly so much more of it is occurring and we are missing it because we are not looking for it.   I am thinking about how to use this insight to create a better workplace, how to capture excellence and duplicate it.

4 thoughts on “Weekly Writing, 5:1, Bob

  1. Owen

    I was amused at your account of forgetting the mission statement. I would find myself in a similar situation. Sometimes those drums are beaten so often that we become deaf to them.

    This sentence also gave me pause. “So there is something artificial in the work I am doing for this course — I will do it, but I find it less satisfying and less rich.” It seems you have perspective that your direct reports probably don’t have. Is there a satisfying outlet for your unique perspective that can contribute meaningfully to the process…. and then I came upon this line and I wondered if something lay inside here that might be fruitful, “I am thinking about how to use this insight to create a better workplace, how to capture excellence and duplicate it.” Nice inspiring place to wander around in.

    -Owen

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  2. Bob Post author

    “So there is something artificial in the work I am doing for this course — I will do it, but I find it less satisfying and less rich.”

    I certainly do not mean to slight anyone in the course. And, I probably should be more generous since we have striven for community and collaboration here.

    Rather, an example to make my point. I shared the “unit” I had drafted with my employees. I asked them for feedback — and it just started rolling in. The project immediately became collaborative. They criticized content, and assignments, made suggestions for improvement, and asked questions or struggled with misgivings. I am better because of my team. But in truth the project I submit for this class needs to be my work and in that way it is relatively impoverished compared to what I and my team will produce. That was the point I was failing to articulate when I wrote that sentence.

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  3. lsowa

    Bob, I appreciate your statement that the work for this class needs to be your own… but I guess I would argue that we are all finding inspiration for activities from other places. For me, it’s articles that I read, activities from conferences, discussions with colleagues, etc. So, this would be Owen’s place to decide of course, but I don’t see why you couldn’t incorporate your collaborative effort into your curriculum unit.

    Based upon your comments here and the peak I took at the training unit you recently published – I think your employees will enjoy a much more productive, interesting, and thorough training than they have ever seen before.

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  4. Pingback: Weekly Writing, 5:1, Bob, Online Pedagogy, ED 655 – Scholarship

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