Engaging students



When I first watched this video my reaction was more about the irony than the reality I face each day working in higher education. As a “sessional casual contract hired educator” I am not paid to do many of the points raised in this video although I want to. When I have submitted time-sheets for these hours I am politely reminded of the contract I signed which doesn’t cover these types of requirements in delivering a course: student engagement! The situation is compounded if the Professor in charge of the course is also time-starved and reluctant to engage with students because of the time required to foster that engagement. There is another side to this story that needs to be addressed!


A Vision of K-12 students today


As an Aunty and “Extra Aunty” to the children of my friends, the comments expressed in this video are on message. My young friends are often shocked if I can do something like ‘make a blog’ or ‘upload a video to YouTube’ because often they can’t and haven’t, but they will try without hesitation. It is a bit like holding your breath and jumping into the deep end of the swimming pool, which is always a lot colder as well!

I do admit that learning these new technologies is a lot more fun than first anticipated…..

I want to run an online course


The sad reality is I have witnessed this conversation in this video below many, many times. Online courses take two fundamental forms – (1) flat-file and distance based with no interaction and (2) engagement driven in real-time with substantial interaction. An online course does not have to be a Power-point dump of someone’s already questionable teaching in the classroom. Who listens to endless droning while 100’s of Power-point slides slip by? It doesn’t work online either.

The best online design comes from people who have been online students AND delivered teaching online as a Lecturer – there is credibility and authenticity they are designing from the student experience perspective. If a Lecturer has never been an online student then they have missed the point of an online course completely!

I have yet to meet a Lecturer who has taken their own “Power-point poisoning online dump course” – maybe if these Lecturers “ate their own dog food” then the quality of their online educating would improve substantially. If these Lecturers would reflect on the practices they use to develop themselves professionally then perhaps they could then use those same practices to help others learn in their course!

How Entrepreneurs see the “unexpected”


When I taught entrepreneurship in South Korea, many of the Korean students expressed the conflicts they balance between wanting to be an authentic entrepreneur and participating in a non-entrepreneurial education system. This article from the Seattle Times highlights this point in the words of the young “treps” featured when they state “if we were in the US they would have dropped out of school and done a start-up” (without the shame of not finishing their schooling). I can imagine the stress associated with ‘doing the bare minimum to pass’ and not being the typical robot Korean student that families create.

While I was involved in the South Korean treppie community much of what I saw was window dressing for the outside world looking in, with little true entrepreneurship occurring. These guys in the Seattle Times article are different and hopefully emblematic of the new generation that can blaze a new path. They really have seen the ‘unexpected’ and I truly wish them well!  http://ecubelabs.com


And from the Kauffman Foundation – another insightful commentary on the cool way entrepreneurs do things. If only we could make education half as entrepreneurial in some way. . . . . . . .