This is a bit of a recycled post from my presentation at FlipCon Adelaide 2016. The talk was on November 18 and I’ll include the video of the keynote and the slides below.
After many years of planning, we are live in our launch of our #ModeloTec21 degree programs at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. These programs have many innovative practices and the key component is a fully planned out program based on competencies. In many ways the work I have done over the past 6 years innovating my practices in my classroom and sharing through workshops and speaking engagements with educators has prepared me for this. Much of it comes into practice and I should be documenting that here even more.
Perhaps this is my push to post more here. Perhaps.
===== original by Larry Sanger between these markers =====
Humanity has been contemptuously used by vast digital empires. Thus it is now necessary to replace these empires with decentralized networks of independent individuals, as in the first decades of the Internet. As our participation has been voluntary, no one doubts our right to take this step. But if we are to persuade as many people as possible to join together and make reformed networks possible, we should declare our reasons for wanting to replace the old.
In the blogs (private closed space) many of the co-learners are sharing and I am taking care not to bring the conversation of others to the open space but I will share this from Howard in a post he titled “Collaboration, Cooperation, Coordination, Networking”.
I signed up for a course run by the one and only Howard Rheingold and am excited to start this week. I will be posting to the course site internal blogs but will share excerpts of my experience out here in the open as well.
Here is the work for the first week, the course kicks off with a video session on May2/May3. I believe we have about 30 co-learners in the course.
Following review by the Program Committee, I am pleased to inform you that your submission entitled ‘Roundtable on #Ungrading‘ has been accepted for presentation as a Roundtable (25 minutes).
Now to get to work on this. I require help here colleagues!
Work in Progress
Please feel free to contribute, suggest planning for this, let me know if you would like to participate onsite or remotely. This is not my roundtable, I’m just providing a space to have this discussion during the #OpenEd19 conference if this roundtable is accepted.
I have personally been working in an #Ungrading (or #AbolishGrading) environment in my classes since January 2016. I’ve written some about this after my initial inspiration of the late Joe Bower and the “Abolish Grading” section of his still active website “for the love of learning”. My practice at this has evolved during these three years and I have documented a little of my practice on my personal blog. Links to those provided in the references section.
There is an active community on Twitter of educators practicing #Ungrading and a recent article on April 1st in “Inside Higher Ed” titled “When Grading Less is More” gave more visibility to the teachers actively working on this in their classrooms and their research. I was invited to submit a last minute contribution to that “Insider Higher Ed” article along with educators with much more experience than myself writing about this topic. Dr. Susan Blum is currently editing a book on this subject which includes a chapter contributed by Laura Gibbs. Laura shared her chapter with me and I did a critical reading of that chapter with my current semester students.
There are varied definitions of the term #ungrading (or as Joe Bower preferred to call this #AbolishGrading) and a varied mix of practices across teachers practicing this. The day after the publication of the “Insider Higher Ed” article, Yishay Mor sent a call out on Twitter to create an “Ungrading Manifesto” which is the early stages. There is much work to be done and I believe that a roundtable to work on this topic would be relevant to the OpenEd19 community.
Following review by the Program Committee, I am pleased to inform you that your submission entitled ‘Setting up your Connected Courses site in 5 minutes‘ has been accepted for presentation as a Lightning Talk (5 minutes).
This one is on me. I will need to curate the content and rehearse to make this work well in 5 minutes.
The use of RSS feed aggregators like FeedWordPress has been in use for many course sites over the years including DS106, ETMOOC, and
The You Show”. The best resource for how to setup your syndication destination or planet site is Alan Levine’s five part blog post series “Building Connected Courses: Feed WordPress 101“. Despite the age of this resource (five years now) it is still an excellent resource for setting up a connected course teaching resource.
I have personally been adapting this setup since 2015 for a total of twenty two courses and counting. The setup requires some technical knowledge as well as maintenance to ensure the archived sites stay active and visible.
I use the main site as the full course site including syllabus, assignments and syndication of student submissions. It is important to note that student submissions are hosted on their own sites and this system allows syndication of all work in a single location. This is the key feature in this system: giving students ownership of their data and work. Other features provided by this setup is an open platform allowing co-learning within the course as well as any others observing or interacting with the course either by design or happenstance. Yes, this is a classic setup for a cMOOC.
In this lightning talk I will briefly show why I use this configuration for my classes, what changes that I have made to my own setup and changes that I plan to support shifting needs of my students and myself.
We have a good process at the Tecnológico de Monterrey where we define our commitments (“Compromisos”) for the academic year in advance and then review them at points during and at the end. Part of a holistic view of our roles as educators at our institution.
I’m busy reviewing mine from this year and realized that putting these in the open is a decent idea and I plan to do that going forward. Since I have no time machine to go back to the beginning of the year and post this, I’ll post both what the plans were and a reflection of where I am so far on this.
The Big Five
Here is the list of the five factors which we look at:
Personal Development (Compromisos de Desarrollo Personal)
Teaching (Compromisos de Docencia)
Academic Vitality (Compromisos de Vitalidad Académica)
Service and Leadership (Compromisos de Servicio y Liderazgo)
Transformation and Continuous Improvement (Compromisos de Transformación y Mejor Continua)
edit (April 2, 2019): This post was linked from an excellent article authored by Colleen Flaherty at Insider Higher Ed, “When Grading Less Is More“. I thank Colleen for reaching out and including text from this post.
or Subterranean Homesick Blues
This is a post about work in progress, I have been thinking deeply on this over these past two semesters since I went back towards “traditional grading”. I am formulating a plan for the pendulum to shift more towards what my colleague Laura Gibbs calls: “all-feedback-no-grades”. You can read about this in much more detail in her upcoming book chapter “Getting Rid of Grades“.
Just this weekend, this arrive in my Twitter DM inbox. My DMs are open on Twitter, I receive much more good than bad so it stays that way. I redacted the identifying information and it will remain that way unless I get permission to put that back.
Hi Ken, I hope you’re well. I’m working on a piece on ungrading <redacted>. I saw your tweet about going back to traditional grading this year — can you tell me more about that decision? What caused the shift? Thanks in advance for any insight you can spare!
So, again this is in draft form, but here is the answer to that one question for now below. If one wants some history, there is a bunch on my blog (old location) but the three most important posts can be found via the search for “abolishgrading”.
So much of my work is wrapped up around connected learning, not just ungrading. This is all part of a critical digital pedagogy and I invite the readers to look at the work of Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris for a much better definition of that term. In fact, just go read their writings put into a book format, it is free or you can pay for the book to support them. More on that at the webpage for the book: “An Urgency of Teachers“.
Many others in this field influence me deeply, this sketch below (viz notes) by Giulia Forsythe of a talk by Bonnie Stewart speaks to that as well.
What Caused the Shift? or Yes, I finally answer your question
I would put the cause of the shift directly on me. I believe that students need freedom to learn, grading is often used to coerce students to do “what we want” and kills the creativity of our students. I perhaps went “too far” in giving the freedom and putting my role as 99.9% “the guide and mentor”. Sure, I gave some guidance with a list of topics for my students to research, explore and write about (in code, in making and in writing) with the intent to give them the freedom to explore. Often the choices were larger as they could choose which topics to explore. I thought this was good. My first grading period (we have two partial grading periods before a final), I simply asked students on the exam to write about a selection of topics in the course so far and to give themselves a numeric grade on a scale of 1-100 (our official grading system).
I soon turn 50 in April and I can definitely be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. I have a wonderful family, I have health, an amazing job working with incredible students at an excellent institution. Life is good, I can’t complain.
Of course there have been failures, mishaps and calamity. Life is like that but I am privileged and lucky to still be here to face the future.
Obligatory Video Clip
I just can’t resist the opportunity to include this not-really-but-somewhat-related-video-because-my-brain-works-like-that.
To many Canadians of my generation, the Tragically Hip was a big part of our youth. For me, this was the background soundtrack to my undergraduate days at the University of Victoria hanging out in the coffee shop, the pub and blaring in the kitchens that I worked in during my youth. This was part of my first 50 years. We all have the soundtrack of youth and many my age remember the hours we poured into making the #PerfectMixedTape.
A Call for Proposals
So I create a call for proposals: “What should Ken focus on in the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years”.
Preferably a blog post but short microblog format accepted including tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook Posts.
If you can remember, include the hashtag #KensNext50. It will be entertaining to go find those.
You can choose the medium, the format, the length. The sky is the limit, have fun. I know that I will.
I really want to thank so many of you that I see in person everyday or not so often as well as to my friends and colleagues that I have constant contact with via the wonder that is the internet.