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James M Skidmore

9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

We have to stop teaching

I’m a university prof, but I don’t want to teach. That doesn’t mean I want to devote myself to my research, either, the seductive charms of German literature and film notwithstanding. What I really want to do is educate. Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash This idea has been a hobby horse of mine for a while. I even wrote about it for The Globe and Mail. So apologies in advance for my lack of originality. But when I reflect […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

The Four Freedoms of Higher Education

It has been with a mixture of amusement and dread that I’ve been watching recent Brexit developments. Amusement because I find the arguments of most Brexiters, and even some Remainers, devoid of logic and full of the hype that shows politicians at their most foolish. But then the dread sinks in when I think about how these same fools could harm the United Kingdom and Europe in equal measure. Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash The negotiations seem to be […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

25 Haikus about eCampusOntario, strung together as a poem

Most people who attended TESS18, eCampusOntario’s Technology-Enabled Seminar and Showcase, held in Toronto earlier this week left on a high. eCampusOntario has established itself as a facilitator of meaningful discussion and innovation in the college and university sectors. The consortium’s programs and initiatives have been a catalyst for real progress in areas like open education and the innovative use of educational technology. This poem, written while at TESS, is one way of acknowledging the impact of eCampusOntario has had, both […]

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Policy and Open Education – less Boring than You might Think

When I hear the word “policy,” a little part of me dies. I come to my aversion honestly; I have participated in University Senate policy debates, I have had to wade through the legalese of proposed policies, I have contributed to the interminable discussions that revolve around the trivial (comma placement) and the important (university governance structures).  Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash So it felt like an out-of-body experience when I proposed to Jenni Hayman, organizer of eCampusOntario’s Open […]

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Instructional freedom, Or The Day Lindsay Shepherd became #lindsayshepherd

One year ago today, Wilfrid Laurier University graduate student Lindsay Shepherd walked into a tutorial she was leading and showed a clip from TVOntario’s The Agenda featuring Jordan Peterson. He was, as usual, going on about his distaste for genderless pronouns. A week later, after apparently receiving one or more complaints, Shepherd’s course supervisor, another professor from her department, and a staff member from the university’s Rainbow Centre (it supports LGBTQ students on campus) took her to task for creating […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Syllabus Bloat

It’s the middle of the term, which means planning next term’s courses has begun. A student has already asked me for a syllabus for a course I’m teaching in January (“Would it be possible to see a syllabus for CI 250?” “Possible? Yes. Likely? No.”) I’m looking forward to the course. CI 250: Truth - Reconciliation - Story is new, it’s different, and it fills a gap on our campus. (Check out the course information page to learn more about it. […]

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Do we need Learning Management Systems?

Learning Management systems, or LMSs, are one of those things, like politics or religion, about which everyone has an opinion. A strongly held opinion, usually, and if you’re the poor sod who dares to defend an LMS in the presence of a technically proficient renegade, well, yes, that can be unpleasant.Calmer discussions are possible, however. This past summer, Tony Bates, a Research Associate at Contact North, took LMSs to task for not being able to support his style of teaching. […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

My lack of passion in teaching

One of my bigger complaints about Facebook is that it has spawned an “inspirational quote” industry. Plastered across the internet are pictures of earnest and deep-sounding quotations that are intended to show us the way to a happy and meaningful life.These quotations show up in the social media discussion of teaching and learning as well. They are no less earnest, and no less exhortative. So I’ve decided to come up with my one of my own: Go ahead and download […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Preparing for 9x9x25

This isn’t a very interesting post, I’m afraid. It’s just that I’m preparing for the 9x9x25 Challenge. As Terry Greene writes in his introductions to 9x9x25 (see here and here): “The challenge is for Ontario Post-Secondary educators to write reflectively about their teaching. ” “We want to collect your reflections on the teaching and learning happenings in your classes and on your campuses here on Ontario Extend’s Domains Hub. We think we can give each other a leg up on […]

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