I Don’t Expect the Change the World, I’m Going to Help in Whatever Small Way I Can Part III

It’s August and now is the time for me to recover from stats class and get a few projects done before school starts in a few weeks. That means I’ll share the last section of my literature review. In the meantime, you can save the date on your calendar – in case any of you want drop by Hawaii – to see me speak at the 8th International Conference on Education and Social Justice in Honolulu.

This lit review should now be published on Open Praxis! (It’s not though, but it should be soon. Keep your eyes open for it.) It’s my first published journal article, so it’s very exciting. You can read my blog posts which are an earlier version of the article or the much-refined version all in one place here Vol 10, No 3 (2018) — just kidding, it’s not on their site yet.

This post is the third and last section that I’ve published on my blog and is part of the earliest version of this lit review that I submitted for my class. It took a few turns along the way and is a different paper now than what I started with. In Part I I began with an introduction to education for refugees. In Part II I addressed the importance and benefits of this much neglected aspect of refugee life. Here I discuss online learning and the programs that are the forerunners of this spectacularly innovative way to address education for refugees.

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I Don’t Expect to Change the World, I’m Going to Help in Whatever Small Way I Can Part II

Before we do anything else, I’d like you to do a visualization with me. I’m about to throw a bunch of numbers at you, and I want you to get a sense of what these numbers really mean.

Imagine standing on the fifty-yard line of a football field. Now imagine if that football field were covered in one-dollar bills. How many would it be? According to the Internet, it would be 517, 254. Now multiply that by one hundred and twenty, and you have about how many displaced people there are in the world. That number is not all refugees but because of either civil unrest, environmental disasters or famine, these people have been driven from their homes. That is a lot. And many of these people are not getting their basic needs met.

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Rebuttal — Why I Am Open to Teaching Online

I recently read an editorial from a college professor titled Why I Won’t Teach Online which details the reasons he would never teach on that particular platform. Overall, he has some good points. He has more weak points, however. The following is my response to his essay.

This seems like a pretty standard argument against change to me. It doesn’t matter what the argument is: the doctor who needs to update her knowledge of nutrition or a hiring manager who needs to adjust his perception of what people with disabilities are capable of doing. Change involves doing things differently, and there are a rare few who embrace the discomfort involved in change.

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Update! More Content to Come!

I want to reflect briefly on my first experiences as a PhD student – still can’t believe I’m saying that. The seminar I’m taking in Educational Technology and Learning Design is keeping me busy. I’m working with my supervisor on a research project as well, and those two projects are time consuming and draining. However, I feel like I’m working harder than I have many times in the past, and that feels good.

I still don’t consider myself an overachiever or a particularly hard worker. I think that if SFU found out what my principles are in regards to work, they’d rescind both my scholarship and my place in the program. I feel a bit like I’m working the system. Some PhD students have to take multiple classes as well as teach several. I don’t know how I did it, but I am grateful every day that I have a schedule that works for me, and that I’m doing something I love.

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The Magic of Coffee – Teachers New to Online Learning

Although it rarely serves me well, I really like it when I can conclude that the answer is black or white. If the answer is clearly one side rather than the other, then I know where I stand. I like knowing where I stand, which doesn’t require me to be in that messy, uncomfortable in-between place. There are no subtleties or much effort required to fully understand a situation or person if the answer is seemingly clear. However, the answer is hardly ever simple, and I believe to understand the full complexity of something often necessitates being uncomfortable.

That is the result of the dissertation research of David D. Hoffman titled, “Considering the Crossroads of Distance Education: The Experiences of Instructors as They Transitioned to Online or Blended Courses.” It’s the reaction of instructors as they live in the anxiety provoking space of learning a complex new tool. If we could get a peek into their story, it might sound something like this.

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Here, You Do It – MIT Looks at Online Education

Listen up. MIT has a few things to say about the future of online education. In “Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms” (2016) Karen E. Willcox, Sanjay Sarma and Philip H. Lippel took an in-depth look at the meaning of online instruction and the direction in which it should head. This was the last of several explorations of this aspect of education at MIT, and it has strong implications for the rest of us.

I like it when educators with good reputations from prestigious schools synthesize the research for me. It’s hard to be especially effective at being current in the field of education, which is so expansive and has so many interconnected subjects. And, well, I’m always one to make a case for being lazy (see Lazy is Underrated – Unmanaging Our Time Through Embodiment). Balanced might be a more appropriate word, though.

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