CPED 2020: Quick Recap

On October 21, 2020, in CPED, by Leigh

Last week the 2020 CPED Virtual Convening took place. The theme this year was REIMAGINING & RECONSTRUCTING THE DISSERTATION IN PRACTICE: Dismantling the hegemonic practices of establishing knowledge in the education profession.  I was on the program committee and over the past several months have been working with a great team from ASU and CPED to move the convening to its first ever virtual format. In addition to the work with the committee, I spearheaded the first ever Student Research Forum. The student forum was fantastic and I hope something that will become a regular feature of CPED Convenings. in the future.

During the conference I presented a Learning Exchange session with the amazing friend and colleague Danah Henriksen. Our session was centered around how advisors can foster creative mindsets for mentoring innovative dissertations.  Our slides are below, along with the reference list. Over the next few weeks, recordings of the sessions will be released by CPED – so stay tuned to their Vimeo page for additional resources coming out from the convening. The conference theme (and resulting discussions) have certainly sparked even more ideas on my end and I’m very excited to work with students (and faculty) interested in pushing the boundaries of the shape and form of dissertations by and for scholarly practitioners.


Baer, M., & Oldham, G. R. (2006). The curvilinear relation between experienced creative time pressure and creativity: moderating effects of openness to experience and support for creativity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 963.

Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (n.d.). The CPED Framework. https://www.cpedinitiative.org/the-framework

Carson, A. D. (2017). Owning my masters: The rhetorics of rhymes & revolutions. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. 

Cropley, A.J (2003). Creativity in education & learning. Routledge Falmer.

Davidovitch, N., & Milgram, R. M. (2006). Creative thinking as a predictor of teacher effectiveness in higher education. Creativity Research Journal, 18 (3), 385-390.

Henriksen, D., Mishra, P., Greenhow, C., Cain, W., & Roseth, C. (2014). A tale of two courses: innovation in the hybrid/online doctoral program at Michigan State University. TechTrends, 58(4), 45.

Henriksen, D., Richardson, C., & Mehta, R. (2017). Design thinking: A creative approach to educational problems of practice. Thinking skills and Creativity, 26, 140-153. 

Karwowski, M. (2014). Creative mindsets: Measurement, correlates, consequences. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(1), 62.

Kim, K. H. (2017). The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking-Figural or Verbal: Which One Should We Use?. Creativity. Theories–Research-Applications, 4(2), 302-321.

Miles, C. (2016). The queer critical research and video editing practices of the Gender Project: Consent, collaboration, and multimodality. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Perry, J. A. (Ed.). (2016). The EdD and the scholarly practitioner. IAP.

Prabhu, V., Sutton, C., & Sauser, W. (2008). Creativity and certain personality traits: Understanding the mediating effect of intrinsic motivation. Creativity Research Journal, 20(1), 53-66.

Runco, M. A., & Jaeger, G. J. (2012). The standard definition of creativity. Creativity research journal, 24(1), 92-96.

Silvia, P. J., Nusbaum, E. C., Berg, C., Martin, C., & O’Connor, A. (2009). Openness to experience, plasticity, and creativity: Exploring lower-order, high-order, and interactive effects. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(6), 1087-1090

Vellanki, V. (2020). Thinking, feeling, and creating with photography: Widening the lens of visual research in education. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Williams, A. (2019). My gothic dissertation: A podcast ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 

Willis, J. W., Valenti, R., & Inman, D. (2010). Completing a professional practice dissertation: A guide for doctoral students and faculty. IAP.

 

 

 

Slide that says "It is in each others' shadow that we flourish" along with the phrase in Irish and a small window with a picture of Leigh Graves Wolf (white female.)

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a series of college conversations on the topic of teaching doctoral courses online.

The links to the recordings from all of the sessions can be found here: https://my.education.asu.edu/teaching-support/resources/teaching-doctoral-courses-in-fall-thematic-conversations/

I facilitated the following discussion: How might we improvise and carry out individualized, responsive teaching, at the doctoral level, online? and co-facilitated with my colleague Dr. Erin Rotheram-Fuller the conversation titled How might we build an intellectual community in an online doctoral seminar?

It was a great opportunity to discuss openly with faculty and students.

I would also like to share something I was asked to write for faculty as we continue to prepare for Fall 2020.

As we consider approaches for continuing to teach in uncertain times this fall, I was asked to share a few thoughts and resources that may be helpful. I have been teaching at the graduate level for about 15 years now (and prior to that, in K-12 settings) – so I’m coming up on 23 years of being an educator.  Throughout the entire time, I’ve always been curious, always finding ways to improve my craft and knowledge of my subject area (which happens to be the use of technology in educational settings.) Over the years, I have learned that there are no magic tricks or shortcuts. Even though I’ve been teaching for a long time, right now, I too am learning how to teach in uncertain times right along with everyone else. Many things I’ve done in the past, don’t quite work anymore.

As with any meaningful endeavor, a tip here or there will get you through in the short term, but, at the end of the day it takes time and care – to teach both online and offline. I don’t separate the two, I teach (in all modes.) While I’ve found patterns and behaviors that work well for me in different modalities, they may not work for others. I have found discussions around critical digital pedagogyand humanizing online learning particularly helpful.

I have found, for me, one of the best ways I learn is through dialogue and observation. Dialogue with texts and with others (via reading, tweeting, and talking.) I also learn from others, observing how they teach and interact – continually evolving and shaping my own behaviors and practices. It will come as no surprise to hear that I approach my teaching through the lens of a bricoleur.

With that said, I’ve been asked to share a few resources to start a dialogue with you, my MLFTC colleagues.  I’ll start with a few things I have recently created/shared in response to COVID-19. Each link contains many additional links and resources.

When I first started teaching at ASU in the Fall of 2018, I explored all of the supports available for teaching online, here are a few that I found particularly helpful:

  • My Leadership & Innovation EdD colleagues.  They have been teaching doctoral courses for many years entirely online and are a wealth of knowledge and collegial support.
  • Dr. Lisa Kammerlacher (lk@asu.edu) – E-Learning and Instruction Librarian. Dr. Kammerlacher is a tremendous resource and was instrumental as I was transitioning one of my courses to a “Zero Textbook” course.
  • Dr. Meredith Toth and the MLFTC Digital Learning Team. I always bookmark resources they share via email and they often hold office hours for just in time support.

Finally, the ASU’s Digital Tool “sunburst” which lists all digital tools available to faculty and students. There are very long conversations that can be had about tools (and how “free” tools are not really free.) Starting with this sunburst gave me an idea of what resources have been vetted, approved, and purchased by ASU so that I could consider using them in my teaching.  (The entire Teach Online website is full of very helpful resources.)

But ultimately, lists (or in this case starbursts) can feel very overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.  I don’t believe in creating “best practices” lists. There are only well informed practices – we all teach in highly different contexts, what is “best” for one class, may not be best for another. It is through dialogue that we will find out what approaches resonate and fit in our educational spaces.

 

CIE logo - letters CI and a decorative E with maroon, black, and yellowIn the fall of 2019 I was asked to serve as a faculty advisor for Current Issues in Education (along side my incredible colleague Dr. Josephine Marsh). Current Issues in Education (CIE) is an open access, peer-reviewed academic education journal produced by doctoral students at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU. How could I refuse?! Open access! Student produced! All things that get me very excited.

The journal has a fascinating history and I am so honored to be a part of the continual evolution of the journal.  In December we held a “review-a-thon” which was a really innovative way to facilitate the peer review process. We kept things in a very tight window and sent out manuscripts a week before the review-a-thon date. Then, there was a 12 hour window to submit the reviews on one day. We held an in-person “reviewer cafe” spot where people could gather and also sent out encouraging messages to reviewers who were not located near Tempe.  NEVER in all of my years have I experienced such a tremendous submission rate! We were only missing 2 of 57 reviews!! And those came in quickly after with a few gentle email reminders.  The reviews submitted were extremely thorough and thoughtful.

A new student review board was appointed last month and Josephine and I are running a seminar in the fall which will scaffold the running and publishing of the journal.

You can read the latest issue by visiting: https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/announcement/view/34 – and our submissions portal has reopened: https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/submissions

 

 

A few short weeks ago, the amazing Angela Gunder asked me if I could lend some time to the upcoming OLC Ideate event, and, of course I said yes – I would do anything for you Angela! Then fast forward another week or so and I found myself co-hosting an OLC Ideate Salon along with these amazing folx: Maren Deepwell, Robin DeRosa, Gerry Hanley, & Rajiv Jhangiani.

Here was our salon description:

Radical Openness
Community Salons are the opportunity for a group of thought leaders to engage participants in rich discussions around a broad topic intersecting with their scholarship and outreach. This salon brings together champions of open education and pedagogy sharing perspectives and guiding activities around the topic of radical openness, with a special focus on the ways that we can open doors for learners that are often hidden or closed to their success. Come with your ideas, challenges, and questions on the topic of openness, and take part in building new knowledge around open practices that will sustain us through and past these challenging times

I have to be honest, I was nervous. We didn’t have much time to prepare (end of semester + global pandemic.) Angela suggested that we repurpose an activity that I ran a few months back at OERizona. I’m so thankful she did, I’m not sure any of us had the extra brainpower or time to create something completely new.  However, I was surprised at how embarrassed(?) and uncomfortable I was repurposing my own work. I share everything openly, with the intent of it being reused, remixed, and recycled – why did this feel so uncomfortable?

As I started out the session, using the prompts that were reworked from the OERizona, I had a bit more internal panic. That session had been very strategically created to be inclusive of the in-person AND virtual/remote audience. More often than not, virtual audiences are usually a second thought (if at all) and I wanted to very purposefully make sure everyone felt 100% included in the activity.  I realized, very quickly, that I had not thought out how this would play out with a 100% online audience. I made a few adjustments on the fly to the timing and luckily I was co-leading with the most incredible people I could imagine, and they/we were able to adjust and create a robust discussion. (Mareen wrote this wonderful post as a follow up.) I just wish I had thought about how to be more inclusive of the 100% online audience in this scenario.

I’ve been trying not to get too down about it, realizing that the criticism and pressure is 100% self-imposed (we are in the middle of a pandemic) and trying to tell myself exactly what I tell my students and friends in these situations.  We are often our own worst critics. But, I also think I need to work more at sharing vulnerability and honesty. It’s ok to be self-critical, it’s ok that everything isn’t 100% perfect.

Now that that is off my chest – please check out the remaining days of OLC Ideate.  It’s a spectacular/stellar/exemplary model for how to run a synchronous online experience. As a teaser, here’s Angela’s recap of Day #4:

 

Last week I had the honor of presenting at the Spring 2020 ASU Online Faculty Showcase for Excellence in Online Teaching. My session was titled Strategies for Building Community in Online Courses. In the description I promised to: provide pragmatic suggestions for building a sense of community between students, faculty, and course content. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet and learn from Khaerannisa (Nisa) Cortes who discussed Communication and Supportive Strategies in Large-enrollment Courses and Marcie LePine who talked about Successfully Building Group Projects into an Online Class. The recording of the session can be found here: https://asuonline.wistia.com/medias/j7ve6v36s1  and my slides are here:

 

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of CPED colleagues to provide support and suggestions for EdD programs that have transitioned to remote instruction. The sea of advice we are swimming in can be overwhelming, so it was nice to have the opportunity to connect with a small and focused group of EdD colleagues dealing with similar challenges.

I’ve embedded my slides below and will list a few quick links links here as follow ups to the discussion (there are also some embedded links in the slides.) CPED members will be able to view an archive of the webinar on the CPED website.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to my former MSU colleague Dr. William Cain who attended the webinar (what a nice surprise!) and I think you need to host the next one William! Dr. Cain has done some spectacular work on syncromodal classes – you can check out his Google Scholar profile here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=TI1HsQ8AAAAJ&hl=en 

As a community we are going to continue to work through these challenges and we are so lucky to have CPED to connect and support our efforts. It was great connecting with everyone today and please don’t hesitate to reach out (and continue to share your challenges and successes.) My slides are below and the session can be found here: https://vimeo.com/409244876

 

Less than a month ago (which certainly feels like a year ago) Tom Farrelly contacted me asking if I would take the risk to jump in and participate in a virtual Gasta session.  Gasta means quick or speedy in Irish – each presenter at a Gasta has 5 minutes to speak and they’re counted “on stage” in Irish. I of course was delighted and honored to be asked, and appreciated the chance to funnel some energy into this collaborative community event. The theme for the Gasta was “What Will (Online) Education Look Like.”

On Tuesday, April 14th, I was joined by six other incredible gastateers. Despite the distance, there was a great feeling of community – in the Zoom room, and, in the many associated backchannels, which certainly made me feel like I wasn’t “just” talking into the webcam alone.  Tom and his team did an incredible job orchestrating the event and I hope you enjoy jumping through all of the sessions! So, without further ado…here is my Gasta, titled Leigh Graves Wolf: Sometimes I Live in the Computer. 

1 = a haon (ah hain)
2 = a dó (ah dough)
3 = a trí (ah tree)
4 = a ceathair (ah cah-her)
5 = a cúig (ah coo-ig)

 

I’ve been teaching qualitative methods online since Fall 2018 – with 3 ½ semesters under my belt here are some things that I do/know! I know many of you are being asked to switch online with very short notice.  Know this, first, I’ve been doing this for a very long time. Second, I have tremendous technical and instructional design support at ASU. I can’t imagine being asked to do this with very little notice (in some cases less than 2 hours notice.) or support. Also, I can’t imagine sharing all that I know in a tweet, or even this blog post. So, I’ll do my best here to give you a few key tips. This post is not as link-laden as my normal posts, trying to churn this out quickly as a response to this Twitter thread

Accessibility & humanity:  

These two words guide my practice, online and offline.  Full stop. 

Here are the technologies I use to mediate the course:

  • Canvas (basic tools: pages, discussion forums) 
  • Zoom (cloud recording) 
  • Google Docs 
  • Slack 

Library resources: 

My class is a textbook-zero course. If your institution has access to SAGE Research Methods – get on there now. There are a TON of high quality resources there that I (and my students) rely on daily. 

Here are some of the instructional strategies I use: 

“Hybrid” weekly discussion forums

I’m not the biggest fan of discussion forums (students are not either.) When I took over this class I was very intrigued by a method the prior instructor (Dr. Mirka Koro) used for weekly discussion.  She had the students post questions on the weekly readings and she would respond via a video.  I loved this idea, continued to iterate upon it, and this has become a keystone of the course (and student evaluations confirm this as an important and valued part of the course.)  The weekly video/podcast run from 30-45 minutes (and I haven’t had a complaint about the length, as students can listen at 2x playback if they wish!) I use Zoom cloud recording which provides automatic transcription and the ability to download the audio only (thus a podcast.) Student appreciate the ability to watch OR listen (as many commute and listen on drives.) 

Questions are due on Thursday and on Friday morning I copy and paste all of the questions, collapse and organize into a logical flow (many questions cluster) and then I record “off the cuff” – I want this to mimic class discussion as much as possible, and I want the students to know that I don’t know everything about everything – I have to look things up too.  Students report being valued and listened to and feel a high sense of instructor presence. 

PLAY notebook (google doc) 

The play notebook is a version of this assignment (that I’ve been using for almost 10 years!) This is a space where I can see their thinking, they can play with and apply ideas. For example, we are about to embark on a document analysis. I’m asking them to think through things step by step, articulate their planning and eventually they’ll be sharing screenshots of coding and code books, etc.  This is a private safe space (shared only between me, my teaching partner and the student) where we can talk with each other, they can make mistakes, and have successes. 

Slack sharing 

Given my feelings about discussion forums, I have played with different tools – last semester I used YellowDig, this semester the institution has implemented Slack and I’ve been using that as our shared/social space. It’s used strategically, and students are prompted to use it as a sharing mechanism with/for each other.  I’m very happy that many have used to contact me synchronously when we are both online so I could provide just in time support on assignments/questions. 

Weekly Patterns: 

My course has the following patterns: Uncover, Question, Play, Connect, and Apply

UNCOVER (read) – You will be asked to experience course “readings” in this section. Readings will include text, audio, video – items you “consume.” There will be core readings which are required and explore readings which give you a chance to learn more about your individual areas of interest. 

QUESTION – This is a critical component of the course. Each week, the instructor will review the question discussion forum and create a weekly introduction video answering the questions. The questions can be specific to your course readings, methods, etc. It’s an opportunity to add a conversational tone to the course. 

PLAY – This assignment is facilitated using a Google Doc. The same Google Doc will be used for the entire semester, resulting in a “notebook” of ideas and thoughts at the end of the semester. Each week an assignment or prompt will be presented in Canvas which gives you an opportunity to play with new concepts. These are formative assignments and are iterative in nature. The instructor(s) will provide feedback and commentary to you in your Google Doc and you are expected to respond to the feedback/comments. 

CONNECT – This component is a varied collection of experiences which you connect to each other, or ideas in an open and collaborative way. The activities will vary in content and will be mediated via varied technologies (e.g. Flipgrid, Slack, Zoom meetings.) 

APPLY – there are three summative “APPLY” assignments – there will be weekly milestones which step you toward the “apply” assignment. The APPLY assignments are: 

APPLY #1 – Theoretical Framework Mapping & Epistemological Musings (due Week 5) 

APPLY #2 – Book Review (due Week 10) 

APPLY #3 – Revisit Dissertation Proposal through the lens of TEL 713 (due Week 15) 

Twitter 

I use this primarily for MYSELF – I’ve learned so much by following my ASU Colleague Dr. Sarah Tracey, (who is an expert in qualitative methods) https://twitter.com/SarahJTracy. And I know over the coming weeks, this will be one of the primary mechanisms for sharing and supporting each other. 

That’s a lot to take in – happy to help answer any additional questions.

 

A few weeks ago I was asked to write a guest blog post for the CPED Blog – the post is cross-posted here. Big thanks to Caroline White and Mary Mathis Burnett for giving me feedback on early (and late) drafts. 

A Reflection on Teaching in Online EdD Programs – 

The CPED program design concepts state that mentoring and advising should be guided by: equity and justice, mutual respect, dynamic learning, flexibility, intellectual space, supportive learning environments, cohort and individualized attention, rigorous practices, and integration.  For those of us that teach online EdD programs, the medium for this work consists of Zoom calls, text messages, telephone calls, email, Word or Google Docs, and a Learning Management System (LMS).  As a clinical associate professor with the Leadership and Innovation EdD program at Arizona State University, this is territory I know all too well! 

If you look up a definition of LMS, you will see that it is used for the “administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses.” All of those actions are in opposition (at times) to the CPED design concepts.  Doctoral coursework is not about tracking and automating learning. It is very understandable however that because our primary classroom environment is constructed for this purpose, our students may experience, or even expect rigid and inflexible experiences.  We have to actively work against the “walls” of our virtual classrooms in LMSs to build friendly hallways for our online students.  

The purpose of this post is to share a few tangible ways that we as faculty can be active conduits for our students in online spaces, and how we can push through the boundaries of our digital classrooms to create supportive learning environments. 

Get to know your students & help them get to know each other 

The computer screen is not a barrier to relationships – we just have to work in different ways to create meaningful bonds with each other.  We are working with complex individuals, who are never just students and have competing priorities and demands on their time. The natural “hallway” moments that happen in-person classes are not as frequent, and potentially non-existent  in online classrooms – so we have to work hard to provide this connection for them. The students have a desire to know each other, and, as faculty we can help support that need and continually think of ways to help our programs think about this for our entire student body.

A few weeks before the semester starts, I send out a “Getting to Know You” survey (via Google Form) to my students. I ask a few simple questions:

  1. How do you pronounce your name
  2. Preferred pronouns
  3. Profession
  4. Problem of practice in a sentence 
  5. Location
  6. Is there anything we should know about your learning/work style so we can be more effective in providing you feedback and support this semester? 
  7. Is there anything else you would like to ask, or would like us to know? 

The answers to questions 6 and 7 are always extraordinarily helpful, and provide me with insights that would never come up in a “traditional” introductory discussion forum posts. As this practice has evolved, students have asked me if I could share the answers to questions 1-5 with each other. (Of course, why didn’t I think of this before!) Our students complete the program as a cohort.  As an instructor, I initially assumed that they knew each other well, but quickly realized this was not a fair assumption. 

Another way to bring a sense of community and space from the survey results is to create a map.  I do this by using the My Maps feature in Google Maps

Map of the world with pins on several locations

For privacy and security, I don’t list full names on the map, and I don’t make the map public. The visual alone is a powerful representation to show that a class is indeed spread across the world, and we have to be cognisant of the fact that it is not 11:59pm everywhere. (More thoughts on that here.) It also shows that I care where they are.   Connections can’t be programmed into systems, we have to help make them happen. 

Situate feedback as a conversation  

I’m very intentionally using the word feedback instead of grading.  I have found that there is a lot of negative educational baggage around being “graded.” 

Our institution uses Canvas as an LMS. The gradebook in Canvas has a commenting feature and Google Docs allows threaded comments.  However, in using these tools, I have found that I have to prompt students to respond to the comments. I think this has to do with the rigidity of the system, if it’s in an online gradebook, then, it feels “final.” Once they realize that I’m deeply invested in their work (literally at a line by line basis at times in a Google Doc) then, they start to see this as a supportive and individualized space to learn. 

I have also experimented with verbal feedback.  If your institution has Zoom cloud recording, this process is easy and accessible. Open up your personal meeting room, share your screen, record to the cloud and you’re good to go. A few minutes after you end the recording, you’ll get a link with the recording along with a transcript. Continually try to push against the boundaries of digital classroom spaces (specifically those built into LMSs) to build connections and conversations. 

Be present

I am present with my students in their feedback, not only in comments, but, also in the timeliness of feedback. I make feedback a priority. If an assignment is due on one day, I set aside the next two days to give feedback. For longer assignments (e.g. dissertation proposal draft sections) it may take longer, but, I am sure to tell the students how long that will be.  

Feedback is murky territory, and all too often I hear stories about feedback taking weeks (in both online and face to face classes).  I think the distance is exacerbated if we are not intentional about our presence. When an assignment gets submitted into the digital ether, how is a student to know when (or if) it will come back? I am sympathetic to instructors, we have a lot of competing priorities and pressures. A way to manage frustration is to very simply tell students when feedback will be given.  It does take time to provide feedback, especially when we have a full caseload of  classes, the simple act of knowing and managing expectations goes a long way.  

This beautiful article by Rose & Adams (2014) should resonate with both faculty and students. Being present can take many shapes and forms.  For me, it comes via weekly videos, a practice that I have been embedding in online courses for quite a while.  Our courses are delivered via weekly modules, and, are primarily text based.  The videos are my way of checking in and walking with the students through the weekly modules or highlighting spots that may be challenging. To facilitate the weekly recording, I use Zoom Cloud Recording. You could also use SnagIt, or other screen capture tools and upload to YouTube (which provides automatic captioning) or a video hosting tool at your institution.   

Keep learning

I have been learning and teaching online since 2000 (in 2020, it feels a bit historic to type that out.) Twenty years into this, I still have a lot to learn.  I build in time for reflection on my own blog, I talk with my students, and I talk with others at conferences. I engage in conversations in digital spaces like Slack, Twitter – and I’m always thinking of how to leverage these spaces to build conduits for and between our students.  The journey of improving and understanding my critical digital pedagogy (Morris & Stommel, 2018) will never end. 

I would like to end this post with an invitation – for further discussion in the comments, or on Twitter (the hashtags #HumanizeOL, #EdDChat, #CPED are great places to congregate) or for collaboration on research. Fully online doctoral programs are a tiny slice of the learning landscape, collectively, we could work to share practices and pedagogy to humanize the experience for all. 

References

Adams, C., & Rose, E. (2014). “Will I ever connect with the students?” Online teaching and the pedagogy of care. Phenomenology & Practice, 8(1), 5-16.

Morris, S.M & Stommel, J. (2018) An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy https://urgencyofteachers.com/ 

 

Picture of Leigh Graves WolfLeigh Graves Wolf is teacher-scholar and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Leigh teaches with the Educational Leadership and Innovation EdD program and is a faculty fellow with the Office of Scholarship & Innovation. Her work centers around online education, K12 teacher professional development and relationships mediated by and with technology. She has worked across the educational spectrum from K12 to Higher to further and lifelong.  She believes passionately in collaboration and community. Leigh shares all of her work and ideas publicly on her blog, twitter, & flickr.

 

 

#femedtechI was so excited when the announcement for the #femedtechquilt project appeared. I started my quilting journey in March of 2013. I have always been inspired by my incredibly talented friend Lish and I was looking for a way to push myself out of my comfort zone and to try something new. I was all in, amazed by the tremendous online support community surrounding quilting.

Over the years I’ve made a handful of quilts for special babies, a quilt block for the Boston Marathon bombing victims, and eco friendly “Santa sacks” for holidays.

The last quilt I made was in 2014 for a very special little girl (Gretchen). It was a simple but colorful quilt made out of a “jelly roll.” After about a year long quilting sprint, my excitement died down a bit and work and commuting got in the way. (I basically spent 12 hours a day in a combination of commuting and sitting at my computer.) Coming home and sitting for a long spell didn’t seem like the healthiest thing to do, so quilting fell to the wayside.

I have a gorgeous stash of fabric, (a pile of guilt) just waiting to be turned into something amazing. Fabric shopping is one of the most exciting parts of quilting (at least for me it is!) So when the opportunity to contribute to the #femedtechquilt came up – I jumped at the chance to turn some guilt into joy.

As I was digging through the fabrics, I found a stash of scraps. I had a long strip of the quilt I made for Gretchen…and…that struck me as perfect fodder for the quilt block.  Then, I found another pile of lovely “charm packs” with beautiful images of girls reading, playing, and reading. The girl with the hula-hoop looked so happy. The thought of stitching her into the block made ME happy so I decided to go for it.  I cut a few strips from the quilt scraps and stitched them together into a 7×7 square. Then, I was very excited because I knew I had a chance to use the decorative stitch option on my Husqvarna to add the girl. There are hundreds of fun stitches – and hearts felt most appropriate. And, that’s the story of this block!

In all, it only took me about 20 minutes to put it together. I (for some reason) initially felt guilt about that too – but then talked some sense into my head and was proud of the fact that I could step away (for years!) and put something really cool and meaningful together.

Watching #femedtechquilt grow online has brought me (much needed) sparks of joy. I’m sorry I will not be at #OER20 in person to see it, but, I have a feeling that will not be my only opportunity to interact with these intertwined threads of inspiration.

You can watch the contributions to the #femedtechquilt grow here: https://quilt.femedtech.net/see-contributions