OpenEd19 – Roundtable on Ungrading

Roundtable submission for #OpenEd19

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.

Context

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.

Goals

Continue reading “OpenEd19 – Roundtable on Ungrading”

OpenEd19 – Setting up your Connected Courses site in 5 minutes

Lightning Talk submission for #OpenEd19

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.

References

Continue reading “OpenEd19 – Setting up your Connected Courses site in 5 minutes”

Year in Review (2018-2019)

Compromisos

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)

Continue reading “Year in Review (2018-2019)”

#Ungrading, Rest and Reboot.

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.

Networked Educators & Learners @bonstewart #canedu13 [viz Notes]
“Networked Educators & Learners @bonstewart #canedu13 [viz Notes]” flickr photo by giulia.forsythe https://flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/8717211019 shared into the public domain using (CC0)

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).

They freaked out. Well, most of them.

Continue reading “#Ungrading, Rest and Reboot.”

Call for Proposals #KensNext50

Half Century Mark

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.

Thank You

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.

A Critical Gradebook

Background

Flickr Image: Esther's Gradebook
“Esther’s Gradebook” flickr photo by Cat Sidh https://flickr.com/photos/cat-sidh/464455787 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Back in 2015 I made a switch to a  via FeedWordPress. The plumbing of how to do this was all thanks to the genius of our good friend Alan Levine. Check out Alan’s multi-post series “Feed WordPress 101: Installing and Setting Up The Machine” which gives you all the details on how to set this up. You can also go back to my post in January 2015 when I started this adventure “A New Semester, A New Year“.

While digging up links to include in that background I found this post (“Conversation with Alan Levine, Pedagogical Technologist”) with a video courtesy of Howard Rheingold interviewing Alan in 2014 about connected learning. This leads to the deeper history including the work of Martha Burtis, Jim GroomGardner Campbell and the amazing DS106 project/experience/cult and Domain of One’s Own. I also shall not fail to give a glove tap to another colleague and friend who inspired and continues to inspire me in this area: Brian Lamb.

Conversation with Alan Levine, Pedagogical Technologist from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

Conversation with Alan Levine, Pedagogical Technologist from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

The Inspiration

Earlier today I caught the end of a conversation on Twitter focused around the work of Laura Gibbs and her use (and struggles) with the gradebook in Canvas LMS.

Continue reading “A Critical Gradebook”

Israel, a truly inspirational professor

Context

A few years ago I went through the process of an application to be recognized as one of the inspirational professors so I know what this process is about. I was not selected and recognize the amazing competition that we have among our colleagues at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. We have incredible educators in our hallways and they should be recognized.

Picture of Israel giving class.
“Israel leading Class” flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/40338435033 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

First Contact

I first met Israel Vizcarra Varela in the summer of 2017 when we were planning our first Semester-i for the computing department. This was a new experience for a team which was dominated by professors in computing (all but Israel) and all but one (again Israel) were full-time professors on our campus. I can honestly say that I enjoyed working with Israel that semester and found inspiration in his approach to teaching, the way he connects with his students and his full grasp of his discipline. I found myself asking him for his opinion on my approaches and we developed an excellent working relationship during that semester which was an award  winning project.
Continue reading “Israel, a truly inspirational professor”

Back to Smalltalk

Ancient History

My history with Smalltalk stretches back to the 90s and I’m happy to say has come back on the scene in 2019.

My first exposure was thanks to an elective that I took with Bjorn Freeman-Benson back in (I believe) Fall 1992 at the . I should go dig up my transcripts to check but I am pretty sure it was that semester which coincided with my first OOPSLA (see below).

Bjorn offered a course dedicated to Object-Oriented Programming which at the time was avant-garde. I was definitely glad that I registered for the course. I still remember our final project (Ian, Helen, Mark and myself) implementing a card game with a full GUI. I should do some research about which version of Smalltalk we were using then. My guess is Smalltalk/V or perhaps Visual Smalltalk Enterprise.

Books on a shelf related to Smalltalk programming language
“Smalltalk books” flickr photo by eMaringolo https://flickr.com/photos/emaringolo/187719974 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

OOPSLA

My visits with Bjorn during this semester led to my first trip to an OOPSLA (Object-Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications) conference as a student volunteer. Bjorn was the student volunteer chair for that year: 1992 in Vancouver. I went on to continue as a volunteer at OOPSLA 94 and then part of the organizing committee from 1995 to 2007. That is a long story that should be told somewhere.
Continue reading “Back to Smalltalk”

IndieWebifying my Blog

Back to the Future

Edit (Feb13, 2019): I setup a new self-hosted Known instance and am using that as my main social media hub. New posts will be over there.

The “First Post” on this blog was back in 2013 but I’ve had a presence on the web since the 1990s. My first page would have been one that I had as a graduate student at the University of Washington (1993-1995). In fact one of the early (and extremely popular) web search engines WebCrawler was hacked on by some of my office mates at the time. I believe that our offices were in Sieg Hall 233, but perhaps some office mates (Lauren, Erik, Przemek, Rene, Ross and others that my memory fails on).

Later, I had web pages on the server under my desk which responded to queries at canuck.gda.itesm.mx before it was shut down by administrative staff. It had a long run offering services to staff and students. Some of it still lives on at the Internet Archive. My first installations of the Moodle LMS for faculty were housed there and I’m still supporting some staff (well, one) with a sibling of that original Moodle install.

Image of an Internet Archive save of my old web page at https://web.archive.org/web/19991012011447/http://canuck.gda.itesm.mx/
“Canuck lives on” flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/46958241832 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Reboot of the Blog

Continue reading “IndieWebifying my Blog”

Paint It (Facebook), Black

edit (February 7): I deleted my WhatsApp already.
edit (February 8): I added links to the newer posts from Kashmir Hill in the text.
edit (February 21): I reactivated my WhatsApp again. Some contacts depend on it, I think that I can delete again but with more preparation to ready others.

See You (probably) in a month

I’ve seen your red [blue] door and I want it painted black
No colours any more, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.

Paint It, Black. Keith Richards, Mick Jagger. (colour change by myself)

 

Why?

I have been considering this for awhile and when I heard the phrase “Facebook Free Friday” or “Facebook Free February”, I decided on the latter. Continue reading “Paint It (Facebook), Black”