Another Round of Catch Up

The past several weeks have flown by and I’ve let my blog go a bit (which I feel ok about, we have to give ourselves grace!) I’m finally feeling a bit of space to come up for air and to reconnect. I wanted to document a few presentations from the past few months (below.) In the meantime, I’m very open to suggestions for WordPress themes. It has been a while since I’ve played around in the sandbox, so feeling a bit rusty.  Ideas/thoughts welcome and appreciated!

First, I was honoured to be the keynote at DCU’s 2023 Postgraduate Research Unconference in May. My presentation was titled: The Possibilities and Practices of the Qualitative Landscape. It was really great to reflect on qualitative methods (after a pause from teaching them) and I felt a bit of my creative juices returning as I used a lot of my own photos in the presentation.

Second, I was kindly asked to present at the N-TUTORR Digital Transformation Masterclass in June on the topic of Digital Transformation from a faculty lens – my slides are below (and recording linked above.) This was a great opportunity to learn more about the N-TUTORR project and to engage with colleagues across the country.

I’m settling in here, starting to understand the educational developer landscape, re-engaging in teaching & learning circles.  I’ve always wandered in, through, and around the space – but, it’s nice to be back in the thick of it and to be situated within a new cultural context for the work. It’s also been nice to have time to think about what the next stages of my own career will look like. I have the privilege of time to think, which is something new (and exciting) for me.

My (virtual) week in Ireland

A few weeks ago I was lucky to spend time with my dear Irish friends and colleagues. On Monday, April 12th I got a notice that my book review of Blended and Online Learning for Global Citizenship: New Technologies and Opportunities for Intercultural Education was published in Irish Educational Studies.

Then, I trotted off to Munster Technological University on Wednesday, April 14th for #GastaGoesGlobal, One Year Later. You can check out the entire recording here:

Finally, I popped over to NUI Galway on Friday, April 16th in the early morning (my time) to meet with the lovely folks in the Teaching Online course with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). We had a nice informal chat and I shared some of my experiences and resources for teaching online.

I’ll be headed back on Saturday, May 15th for #ICTEDU! Registration is open, so please click through and join us!

In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to perfect my Gaeilge. I took an adult learning course through the Two Rivers Gaelic League this winter and I’m working my way through (and beyond) Dia duit, Is mise Leigh. Cad é mar atá tu?

Slán go fóill!

ShapingEDU Winter Games Recap – We Care a Lot: Humanizing Teaching through Technology

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the 2021 ShapingEDU Winter Games. The ShapingEDU community, spearheaded by Laura Geringer & Samantha Becker is incredible – be sure to check out all of the resources on the site and visit regularly as the site is a living repository!

My session was titled We Care a Lot: Humanizing Teaching through Technology

Session description:

Digital tools that were once at the periphery for some, are now central to our daily lives for all. This breakout session will start by sharing a curated list of possibilities, practices and promises for embedding analog care between the cold digital 0s and 1s in educational spaces. Then, we will move on to collectively engage in interactive brainstorm that models caring practices while simultaneously generating more possibilities and hope.

Here is the recording from the session:

And the session slides w/links:

Sincere thanks to all who attended and also to Sabrina Cervantes Villa who helped out on the back end of the zoom session!

Reflection: #hssvalues Valuing the Syllabus as Scholarship

Last Thursday & Friday I had the tremendous opportunity to attend the Valuing the Syllabus as Scholarship workshop.  It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to attend a workshop (as a participant instead of a facilitator!) and my mind is spinning with all sorts of wonderful ideas (and blog posts.) To start to put fingers to keyboard, I want to explain a one of the activities we did in the workshop as I know you may find it as interesting and (immediately) useful.

We spent Thursday morning in small groups discussing a syllabus which came from the Humanities Commons.  (Side note: Humanities Commons is awesome, consider sharing your work there!)  We were clustered into groups of 4-5 people and then asked visualize (in analogue form) the syllabus.  This was a very open prompt (which I of course love!) We were given these “Chart Suggestions “ as a thought starter for our visualizations.

By going through this exercise it opened my eyes to all sorts of objects in a syllabus (from patterns of assignments, to value laden language.) This would be an EXCELLENT exercise for a department/program to go through if they are working on curriculum revisions.

In the afternoon we transitioned into discussing the Humanities Values and ways that these values appear in syllabi.

Humanities Values 1. Equity, 2. Openness, 3. Collegiality, 4. Quality, 5. Community

Finally, we finished the afternoon discussing our own syllabi.  The participants were very open and courageous – it’s not easy to put your work out to be critiqued.  By starting out the morning looking at a “neutral” syllabus, it gave us the language and proficient to be more reflective and critical of our own work.

I’m working on organizing my thoughts for some of the more philosophical discussions that arose – but I wanted to get this up and out there – if anyone in my network would like to run through this exercise, count me in! It was so thought (and action) provoking – and fun!

You can scroll through all of the #hssvalues tweets here and I’ve embedded a few below.


Week 2, 3, 4 and 5 Reflection: Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group

Working hardWell, it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted about our Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group.  From a meta perspective, have already learned some personal lessons about realistic expectations and time management. Time is always a struggle – which, we’re learning from the group. Dedicating the time alone to the group for 1 1/2 hours a week eats away at other things. While involved in helping/talking with others, that does not leave much additional time for me/us to reflect on the process! I am still going to do my best to blog on a weekly basis, but, will not beat myself up if I don’t achieve that goal as the primary objective of the process is to support and assist the faculty in the working group.

Initial feedback from participants has been very positive.  While attendance has dropped a bit due to fall conference season, we still have steady attendance and engagement.

Our discussions (as we had hoped) vary from philosophical to technical.  One hot topic of discussion has been the use of sites like or ResearchGate.  I had a chance to talk to Dean Long at the MSU Hub open house last week and he suggested these two pieces on which can provide insight into the complexities of using the site (something we have informally discussed):

On a technical standpoint, we’re digging into WordPress and discussing affordances and constraints of certain themes, the benefits of paying for cool ones, the use of tags & categories, how to integrate workflows with tools like IFTTT.

We are at a point (just past the half-way point) where we are recognizing a need to more thoughtfully work on enabling our participants to google the answers to some of their technical questions.  As an example – last week, one of the participants remarked that he watched a screencast that was created, but, he would prefer a hand out with step-by-step instructions on how to create a new blog post. I quickly pulled up support  and google and in about 1 minute had the step-by-step hand-out he was looking for.  As facilitators we’re trying to model how we solve problems and enable our participants to know where to seek help for the “easy” step-by-step type questions.  We don’t need to recreate wheels, SO much documentation exists online – however, I think the instinct to Google is a skill that is often taken for granted and needs to be coached.

On that point – we have had some requests for a curated list of helpful wordpress plug-ins, widgets & themes – any suggestions?!

Repurposing Cups for Co-work Collaboration Culture #MSUhub

UntitledWe are living in our new Hub space in Wells Hall.  For such a big shift of space and place, it has been (in my opinion) a very smooth transition. Our physical space is deliberately open and meant to be a co-working space.  People are coming in and out, working together, having chance collaborations and meetings or and getting work done and finding places to settle.

I seek out co-work spaces when I travel. I find them friendly, lively and conducive to collaboration or for productively working alone in a “nook and cranny.” When I was working at MYR Co-work (in Myrtle Beach) they had a great electronic check in system where you indicated your status when you checked in – open to collaboration, working alone, etc.  In the first few days of working together in The Hub, it quickly became apparent that we needed this messaging system. We may be in a group meeting, in the open, and focused – not wanting to be disrupted. Or, we could be working on a project independently and in desperate need for a collaborator or someone to bounce ideas off of (that’s why we are in this space!)  Co-work cups to the rescue!

This is not a new concept – I have seen this system used in classrooms and computer labs for students to indicate they need help. It’s a great way to make sure all students get help or to send signals without having to keep their hands raised.  To make our space accessible and conducive to all modes of work, we’re going to give the cups a try using this system:

G or Green = Open to collaboration & discussion
Y or Yellow = Working independently, but can be interrupted if necessary
R or Red = Please do not disturb

If you stop by to work with us, the cups can be found along the windows to your left when you walk in!



Week 1 Reflection: Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group

Working groupIn committing co-facilitating the Online Presence and Public Scholarship Working Group, I’ve also committed to meta & in-process reflection on the process so we can gather data and evidence to provide to the MSU Academic Advancement Network nodes as they’re engaged in finding ways to develop communities of practice that integrate across related disciplinary clusters in novel ways.

To start, I think Week 1 went well – kicking things off with Dean Long‘s workshop (link below) was a great conversation starter and I think helped to contextualize things to a wider university/academic audience, then, our smaller group can dig into their own goals.  The 1-hour and 15 minute cowork sessions were very well attended on Wednesday and Thursday and participants were engaged in the “digital hub visualization” activity (details below in slide deck.) I am hoping to foster more discussion in the coming weeks and I know one of our tricky spots as facilitators will be scaffolding these discussions – not everyone cares about say, Twitter, so how can we organize our coworking time to maximize benefits to all? We’re gathering some data from participation over the weekend and hope to use that to build a “schedule” for upcoming discussions. I put the word schedule in quotes because we are really trying hard to push against this being sit-and-get, we really want to create an organic responsive environment. I’m so excited to be working with Scott & Stephen on this because we have very different sets of skills and strengths and I think this will come in very handy as we flex and respond to requests from our 20 participants. (We also have a close eye at scaling this beyond 20.)  We all have networks we can rely on that we can bring into the conversation — which — leads me to my request to you, my network, this week:

The majority of participants are tenure stream faculty and we are talking about the use of social media (and blogging in particular) to help with the promotion and tenure process.  They have heard a lot about it can be useful, but, mentor texts would be very helpful in concretizing the benefits.  I provided this example from my own use of blogging to support my annual review process as an academic specialist.  Because I blog about every presentation, workshop, paper, etc. I’m able to gather evidence and artifacts quickly and easily and THEN take the time to do the reflection on those pieces (or just copy/paste from reflections I did on the blog.) Tenure stream friends – how do you do this? Do you have any suggestions? Tips? Tricks? Struggles?

Finally, we (Scott, Stephen and I) have decided to send out a weekly email on Fridays to recap the cowork sessions.  (Copy/pasted for you below with some of the internal links redacted.) We are offering two meeting times/week and need to find a way to connect the two groups.  We want to keep this fairly low stakes/tech right now – so we’re choosing to use email and a shared Google folder to serve as our main connection points.  Down the road a hashtag may develop or other collaboration platforms may emerge as being useful.

Happy Friday!


Good afternoon –

It was wonderful meeting all of you this week. We started our working group with an excellent kickoff on Tuesday by Chris Long, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, which helped showcase different faculty approaches to digital identities and scholarship. His blog about the workshop can be found here: and the Storify of the tweets from the session can be found here:

For those that were unable to attend, Scott has the recording and will be posting it soon.  We will be keeping an archive of all the weekly email/links/notes/recordings and meeting times and locations here: [internal link]

In this first week of cowork sessions we used post-it notes to visualize our academic products and piled & reorganized, sorted & interpreted them to make maps and visualizations for our scholarly presence plans. In short we tackled:

  1. How public or private you would like those artifacts to be and
  2. Types of tools that might prove useful in displaying and connecting those artifacts

Here is a link to the slide deck that guided our discussion:

We heard lots of questions arise across the two days– around sharing journal articles (should we use, our existing presence (who is in control of what is already out there?), what tools should I use? How are issues of accessibility addressed in our discussion? Should I start over with my web presence? Who “owns” your URL or web address? We will be using these questions to shape future discussions.

Finally, we promise not to survey you too much, but, we do have one quick survey for you. In the early stages of our planning your responses to this survey are very helpful in shaping the experience & people/experts we ask to engage with our group over the next few weeks. If you can fill this out by Tuesday, October 11, we would greatly appreciate it: [ internal link to survey ]

Have a great weekend –

Leigh, Stephen and Scott