Monthly Archives: July 2013

D2L Fusion 2013: Alec Couros Plenary (BEST EVER!)

D2L Fusion 2013: Alex Couros Plenary (BEST EVER!)


Firstly, I must apologize to Dr. Couros for misspelling his name (It’s Alec not Alex) in my sketchnote! That’s embarrassing!

This was my favourite session of the event for several reasons. Namely, Alec utilized popular media to make his points about the ways that humans are now using the internet to connect in online learning environments. His choice of videos and photos poignantly illustrated how even very young children are taking the initiative to reach out to others for learning support via Youtube, for example. He describes the fast-changing online world as a place to reclaim our identities and participate in the culture rather than being a passive recipient of entertainment or information. He asks three important questions: “How are you making your learning visible?”, “How are you contributing to the learning of others?”, and “How do we capture the spirit of open, networked, and participatory communities in our learning environments?”.

Interestingly, through my posting of these graphic representations of the sessions I attended at D2L Fusion, Alec Couros’ plenary resonated strongly with me. My online Twitter identity (@JennJennQatar) was not well known before this conference (I had around 50 followers and had posted just over 100 tweets), but as I began to post my notes, a “buzz” emerged amongst conference participants, and before long I had 250 followers. This was due, in part, to an ongoing team contest which rewarded conference delegates with points for “tweeting” or posting about the conference on Twitter. Using the hashtag #D2LFusion, other delegates could search that tag to find all associated postings.

I immediately began receiving feedback on my sketchnotes; for example:

@kfrisch tweeted:

@JennJennQatar @Desire2Learn Absolutely LOVE your #sketchnotes. What an awesome addition to #D2LFusion and LEARNING! Thanks for sharing!

@alissalu tweeted:

@JennJennQatar love how though I wasn’t at these sessions can get sense of key themes and what learning stood out for you. Awesome.

@colwar tweeted:

@JennJennQatar thanks for your great #sketchnotes of sessions at #d2lfusion really like them as summaries…

It surprised me how much immediate feedback I received on my notes. It is also interesting to read the observations about my notes, such as @kfrisch’s observation that they are an addition to both the conference and “learning.” Many people thanked me for sharing the notes, and as @alissalu mentioned, she was able to glean key themes even from sessions she was unable to attend. Likewise, @colwar likes the sketchnotes as summaries.

This experience demonstrates Couros’ assertions about the nature of online identities and connectedness. By posting my notes on Twitter, I met far more people at the conference than I would have had I not done so. I met other doodlers and artists, and received one follow-up email on my blog ( from a delegate, Cheryl, who only saw the notes after the conference had ended when she stumbled upon my blog. She wrote:

Hi Jenn, I came across your blog quite by accident, and was surprised to learn that we were in some of the same sessions at Fusion 2013. Had I known someone in the room was sketching notes, I would probably have searched you out! I want to learn graphic recording and have just ordered a couple of books, and of course I just followed you on Twitter. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing more blog entries as you practice your sketching.

This ability to connect through various online environments in real time and asynchronously is something that, as Couros highlighted, would greatly benefit our learning environments (online, blended, or face-to-face).

This year, I would like to explore how to use my experience and the information I learned at the D2LFusion conference to support our faculty in moving towards greater connectedness with and between their students as we introduce them to blended learning using our new D2L environment. What are our students already sharing online? What barriers might prevent them from wanting to participate in online learning communities? What barriers might prevent instructors from embracing the online environments in their classes at CNAQ? How can we help move from a face-to-face model to a blended model while enhancing the things that are already working, and improving on things that have not worked as well?

I look forward to discussing these issues with other faculty this semester!

Video of Alec Couros’ plenary at D2LFusion 2013:


D2L Fusion 2013: Supercharge your Training

D2L Fusion 2013: Supercharge your Training

I vote for Jenny Hanson as best presenter at the conference (after Alex Couros, of course)! In my opinion, she expertly modelled great teaching in so many ways, from her engagement of the audience to her easy manner in communicating key ideas while mobilizing the existing knowledge/experience in the room. I really want to say more about this, but I am fading and have two more days ahead for the post-conference and need my rest. I will aim to return to this post to add/modify with an eye to content of this session.

It sounds like you’re doing a lot of great work at Normandale, Jenny! Keep it up 🙂


D2L Fusion 2013: Set it to Frappe…Instructor Training for Blended Courses

D2L Fusion 2013: Set it to Frappe...Instructor Training for Blended Courses

This session from Karla Farrell and Patricia Fellows of University of Wisconsin Colleges was interesting and the (very useful) supporting materials are available in our D2L Fusion learning environment (yay!). I particularly enjoy looking at the faculty reactions to the blended learning training 🙂 Overall, a very engaging session and LOTS to think about!


D2l Fusion 2013: Social Learning & Collaboration

D2l Fusion 2013: Social Learning & Collaboration

This is what I would call a “miss”…though I think this requires some reflection and discussion to better understand what constitutes a “miss” for me. Clearly, the fact that there were 5 panelists and I only have information from one of them indicates that I have failed to capture enough in terms of sheer quantity. The speakers whose content does not appear here will recognize that this is a poor attempt at getting their main points on paper.

On the other hand, I quite like the aesthetic effect of what I did manage to record. So, that counts for something, right?

Anyhow, at another time (when I am not in the middle of a long conference week perhaps), I would love to get a discussion going on my observations of commonalities between sessions that I capture well versus those I capture poorly or do not capture at all. It would be amazing to hear from other graphic recorders/sketchnoters on this issue!


D2L Fusion 2013: Cator Plenary

D2L Fusion 2013: Cator Plenary

Karen Cator’s plenary on Lifelong Learning: Tapestry of Opportunities explored the complexities of personalized learning in the digital age.

She argues that it’s not just about individualization, and that differentiation based on learning needs/preferences/skills/preferences is also required to personalize learning using digital technologies.

She also highlights issues of class and equity, which clearly impact access, participation and use of technology for learning.


D2L Fusion 2013: Hindsight is 20/20…

D2L Fusion 2013: Hindsight is 20/20...

It was a pleasure to hear Barbara speak about her experiences of helping the faculty at Georgia College to transition from Blackboard to D2L.

We all recognize that it is easier to look back critically at what we could have/should have done, and it is courageous to share the lessons we learn with strangers; opening ourselves up to critique and judgement.

Barbara spoke frankly about the experiences at Georgia College, and as a result, I was able to take away some concrete ideas for training, and consider things that Barbara might do differently given the opportunity (e.g., waiting to start training until closer to the term in which the course will be taught; utilizing the D2L Community).

Also, it was beneficial to hear experiences of things to expect – not necessarily successful or less so. At CNAQ, we will be beginning training in August, so it will be a learning experience for trainers and faculty alike. Hearing some of the basics of Barbara’s Training Outline was helpful in validating what we have already planned.

The audience discussion and questions in this session also provided some interesting considerations, and some of these are represented in the sketchnote; for example, holding a fun launch party, utilising existing self-paced tutorials, and the “minute-to-get-it” emails that someone shared from the audience.

As Barbara highlighted, it’s all about showing faculty the value for them (i.e., establishing re-usable course infrastructure; harnessing the power of asynchronous communication, etc.) and for their students.


D2L Fusion 2013: Flipped Classroom

D2L Fusion 2013: Flipped Classroom

“It’s about engagement, not technology!” That’s what stuck with me from Rhonda Blackburn’s section of this shared session. I was dead-tired by the time this session wrapped up, so I’m afraid it’s not the best I could’ve done, but I am quite pleased with my YouTube and the little Rhonda cartoon at the bottom right corner. I think the primary message for me in this session was the importance of being purposeful in setting the scene for the flipped classroom.

It’s all about student independence and enthusiasm, and the teacher’s role is more important than ever in terms of providing the required structure to enable greater autonomy of learners.

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D2L Fusion 2013: Blended Learning

D2L Fusion 2013: Blended Learning

Sketchnote from Terri-Lynn Brown’s session on Blended Learning strategies first thing this morning at the D2L Fusion conference in Boston. Just getting warmed up!