Monday, May 13, 2013

The Trenches of Curriculum Development

What does 12 days of sunshine, five bike rides, four runs, two days of gardening, two classes, one project, one conference, and one graduate class equal? Zero time for blogging.
I've just got to let it go that I can only get to this blog when the spirit moves me. I'm thinking of cancelling my Twitter account, so I am slowly shedding some of the practices that I picked up with the ETMOOC. Still, in terms of life-long learning, I think what I have accomplished with just trying new technologies is part of the success of that MOOC.

Just jumping into it all and seeing what sticks makes it worth it. Twitter just feels redundant since I'm actively using Diigo. Maybe I'll change my mind. Do I tweet a Diigo tag then Pin it and then blog about it? Geez. It's just too much. Especially when all I want to do is ride my bike.

Today, it's easier to work because it's windy and rainy (I hate riding in the wind).

In four hours, I will sit for my oral defense for M. Ed. I've spent the last two days making lists, reviewing notes, thinking about what I'll say, and trying to memorize names and publications (I'm awful at that, by the way). When I started this program three years ago, we were told to keep a binder of all of our work for our portfolio. My paper binder is no longer an option, and now I've got to figure out how to make this giant puzzle of my learning come together. I'm pretty confident I can talk about it tonight, but how I can summarize it all into a portfolio is a bit mystifying. Also, I've got to create an "applied research proposal" and this is the nail on the coffin of my future as a graduate student. I can't stand the idea of "proposing" anything that I will never execute any more. I've spent way too many hours on the theory and I'm ready for the practice. I suppose a doctoral program would allow me to actually do the research, but I think I'm just going to give it a go on my own.

Thinking about more graduate work is no longer exciting. It's totally exhausting. I started this whole odyssey back in 2007 when I didn't get the full-time job that I really wanted. Since then, I've been on search for something new. For a time, graduate school has been just that something new I needed. With two classes to go, I'm ready to pass the finish line. Motivation is tough to come by, but I must keep on.

On a positive note, I found one quote from a course that I took in April 2010 that actually matches some of my current interests with the Title III grant and my work with the eLearning department. It's pretty hilarious how I weave scathing institutional critiques with my own reflections on teaching! Who am I kidding? What terrible writing! I know better. I teach better writing skills than what I produced in this class. (Note to self: do not take this tone into your oral exam).  I have this two paragraph rant about how a full-timer got "release time" to develop an online class the same quarter I wrote a class during spring break (without pay). So it goes.

Here's my quote:
"In the future, I hope to advocate for more professional development support for adjuncts who teach OL. They are often the ones in the trenches of curriculum development with very little support and funding. They do not have the option to ask for release time nor can they opt out of teaching a class one quarter because they aren't satisfied with the content. The institution gets a real return-on-investment when it supports teachers who use technology. I'd like to be that person who helps those teachers."

Well, here I am three years later, and I'm doing exactly what I hoped for. Amazing. But I still have to graduate.

When I get the time, I'll post more about what I learned at the ATL conference, my work with OER, and some of the very cool projects I am working on this summer.

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