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:
@JennJennQatar @Desire2Learn Absolutely LOVE your #sketchnotes. What an awesome addition to #D2LFusion and LEARNING! Thanks for sharing!
@JennJennQatar love how though I wasn’t at these sessions can get sense of key themes and what learning stood out for you. Awesome.
@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 (jennwicks.wordpress.com) 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: