Tripadvisor – how to miss a conference in one easy step

Thanks for the support image from is the third time a bone in my leg has let me down. Always at inconvenient times:

  • two weeks into my new job at the university,
  • a conference dinner in Stockholm,
  • 48 hours before a flight to Dunedin, NZ to present at ASCILITE 2014.

It could have been worse, but as I looked at my foot, pointing in the wrong direction, it felt as bad as it could get. The up side is everyone has been wonderful; my room looks like a flower shop and I have cake, chocolate, grapes and wine – gifts don’t get much better than this. I’m immobilised but still connected and have recorded a narrated version of my presentation ‘e-teaching craft and practice’ which summarises the key points  of my paper which can be downloaded here  e-teaching craft and practice ASCILITE 2014 Concise Paper Fortunately this had already been uploaded to the conference proceedings so you could call it a break just in time!

The seven step guide to being an e-teacher can be summed up as follows:

  • pedagogy of uncertainty; always expect the unexpected, nothing can be predicted
  • go do a mooc; experiencing the reality of e-learning will help prepare for e-teaching
  • myths of digital confidence; not everyone knows their way around, expect to provide step by step instructions and reassurance
  • it takes two to talk; no one wants to go first,  e-teachers have to make discussions possible through the design of their tasks
  • Activity Based Content (ABC); interaction is key, set up groups and make use of tools like blogs, wikis, forums and journals
  • signposting; new students feel overwhelmed by too much information, provide content in layers and hyperlink to non-essential resources
  • identity blur, virtual education is different, e-teachers can expect to become facilitators of learning experiences from back of stage rather than in the spotlight

e-teaching calls for a digital lens to be applied to teacher education programmes. The ‘e’ in e-teaching is not a pedantic endeavour. It’s the other side of e-learning; the side which has always received less attention but is equally important.

Who’s tweeting now? @TELEDALincoln meets Twitter

TELEDA Twitter image from TELEDA is on Twitter. We’ve had our first Tweet Meets. These are synchronous events, also known as Twitter Chat or Twitter Party. Social media creates connections which can lessen the isolation of learning online and on TELEDA we’re learning how.  Tuesday, between 8-9 a.m. and 7-8 p.m., and again 8-9 a.m. Thursday, colleagues were invited to pose questions using the hashtag #askTELEDA. Tweets were collected via Storify 4th November and 6th November

Tweet with a megaphone - image from Setting up @TELEDALincoln has exposed my own lack of Twitter Literacies.  I could tweet and follow, throw in the occasional hashtag, but my performance had no depth. I didn’t really understand how Twitter worked. I’m still not sure I fully get it – or if I need to. This reinforces how shallow our digital literacies can be. We learn what’s needed to perform online. We become good enough. The Tweet Meets raised a number of interesting questions:

Management of multiple twitter accounts for work and non-work subjects
Boundaries between professional and personal online identities
Profile image choices? (@TELEDALincoln is an egghead. I loved the suggestion it looked like a finger on the button!)
Ways to engage students with Twitter
Ideas and recommends for people/organisations to follow

There were also suggestions for the most appropriate hashtag e,g, #Tweetites, #Tweetettes or #Tweetpeeps I like #teledites but I collect fossils so I would.  #twite-quette was been used with regard to manners and #tw_eat_ing for twitter at meal times. Clearly, creativity is another reason to engage with tweeting!  #askTELEDA collated useful Twitter themed resources.

Ten Commandments of Twitter for Academics
Twitter Top Tips
50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom
25 interesting ways to use Twitter 

Not bad for the first week! There are multiple reasons for engaging with Twitter, not least because it separates the hype from the reality. 140 characters encourages precision with words, attention to sentence construction, rethinking how to communicate via text. These are all useful transferable skills. Twitter is  like following a blog but quicker. Another name for tweeting is micro-blogging. The choice of who to follow is influenced by shared interests. Like wiki’s which harness the collective wisdom of crowds, Twitter offers links to information and alternative perspectives. what’s not to like?

Ultimately, Twitter is what you make of it. An online identity has become a prerequisite of professional practice. It shows engagement with digital ways of working and encourages us to consider how our digital selves mirror and extend our personality. Although the internet supports anonymity and alternative construction of character, we’re as recognisable online as off. Even in 140 characters or less.

twitter follow-@TLELDALincoln image from @TELEDALincoln

image from 

Hanging my digital errors out in public…

social media finger nails image from Online mistakes are public. In the real world you can fluff a line or take a wrong turn and it’s over and done with. Digital is different; permanently. I should know. I made a few this week!  Not sure how many people noticed. Other than those who pointed them out. In public. Don’t you just love virtual learning 🙂

The start of any new course is challenging and TELEDA is no different. Unfamiliarity with the site, resources and participants combined with heavy workloads make it a stressful time for everyone. This week I’ve been reminded over and over of the highs and lows of e-teaching and e-learning. Hurray for the highs. They make it all worth while.

TELEDA social media and e-resources is a fully online course based on the principles of experiential learning. Each week participants take part in an activity and reflect, contextualise, align it to their practice. Activities involve the benefits and challenges of online learning (LO1), critical evaluation of digital resources for extending and supporting teaching and learning (LO2), demonstrating critical reflection and awareness of inclusive practice (LO3) in particular with the design or selection of an online learning activity (LO4) making critical and developmental use of the relevant published evidence-base (LO5). That’s TELEDA!

So what did I do wrong? Just because I e-teach it doesn’t mean I’m a techie whiz – as anyone observing me trying to get to grips with a second twitter account will testify.  Here goes.

  • I spelt @TELEDALincoln wrong – which didn’t help when you’re inviting people to find and follow you.
  • I set a deadline for 31 December instead of 31 October – this would have meant introductions taking a bit longer than planned for.
  • I forgot the set the discussion forum for users to edit their own posts – so they couldn’t – then I forgot to tick the box allow users to subscribe to threads – so they couldn’t – and as if that wasn’t enough….well, I think I got away with the other one so I’m not confessing.
  • I set up a Storify of Tweets from Week One and the link shows a 404 error I don’t know why. Key TELEDA: a view from Twitter into the 404 page search box instead. That works!
  • I made plans for TweetMeets between 8.00 and 9.00 next week but mixed my pm’s with my am’s and set it for evening instead of morning. I’m an early bird not a night one – this was so not what I intended.
  • Setting up @TELEDALincoln has exposed my poor understanding of how Twitter works – with a single account you can get way with it – with two there’s no where to hide – and I’m still struggling with the synergies between the two.

I thought if I made my own mistakes public, it might make colleagues smile – or maybe raise their eyebrows in despair. Learning online is less about the technology and more about the learning it generates. This is why reflection is key to the TELEDA experience and I know most of these errors are largely of the ‘more haste less speed’ variety. There’s been a few TELEDA hiccups this week, including Blackboard going down on Tuesday, which I knew about and maybe others which I don’t. I hope everyone has survived the first week more or less digitally baptised but unscathed. Here’s looking forward to Week Two.


image from