Caring Enough


Yesterday, I took part in the Teaching and Learning Centre’s #eBreakthrough Workshop at the University of Canberra. Peter Copeman and Jen Smith facilitated the workshop.

I have written about two colleagues’ presentations at the workshop. Bernie Bissett shared her work with Voice Thread in her discussions with students about palliative care. Lubna Alam was the second presenter. She discussed her use of social media, curation and co-creating.

I thought both were remarkable presentations and were clearly pedagogical #ebreakthroughs. I was awe struck by Bernie and Lubna’s energy and passion.

There were ten workshop attendees who heard their stories. I liked the body language of the audience in these talks. All ten were leaning forward for both presentations.

I have been reflecting on the workshop and the energy that brings a small number of people who care about teaching and learning.

This video shared with me by a friend this morning encouraged me to think even more about caring.


Someone who had watched the video commented “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

I think this is an excellent way to develop the caring and sharing in yesterday’s workshop. My own thinking is about how we connect with each other to share our experiences … and encourage trying.

I truncated my presentation to the workshop, my friend Alan Arnold was kind enough to tweet

More and more I am hoping to find ways to support the flourishing of teachers and learners with a one-to-oneness enriched by digital resources. I would like to contribute to the incandescence of breakthroughs.

On reflecting on the workshop, I wonder now about the possibilities for unworkshops. We could flip the presentation process so that anyone who came could explore their interests. There could be a consensus too about what to discuss. Socratic moments and crowdsourcing combined.

My suggestion is that we offer concierge services rather like those available at the Tsutaya Bookstore in Tokyo … or in the open air in Delhi.

I believe a concierge university with a vibrant commitment to personal pedagogical learning journeys could transform everyone’s experience of learning. It requires us to change learning into a kairological experience rather than driven by chronological convenience.

In a kairological university, the ten attendees would be valued as caring colleagues. Their care might inspire ten others.

So … yesterday has made me think even more about bottom up personal learning that can be valued and supported. There is immense power to be unleashed when we see personal flourishing as the essence of a caring institution.


Photo Credits

If we all do one random act of kindness (Heath Brandon, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the Mendips (Matthew Benton, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sharing #eBreakthroughs


I was delighted to be involved in Teaching and Learning’s eBreakthrough Workshop facilitated by Peter Copeman and Jen Smith at the University of Canberra.

There were ten participants in the workshop hosted in the Teaching Commons.


The first presenter was Bernie Bissett. She shared her work with Voice Thread in Physiotherapy teaching and learning. Bernie discussed her emerging practice in her palliative care classes.

I really enjoyed the way she shared her learning journey with her use of the Voice Thread app.

Bernie triggered discussion in the workshop by demonstrating her use of Voice Thread and Powerpoint with a specific differentiated assessment task. Although this task was optional, all students chose to do the task.  Many invested a great deal of time in this project.

Lubna Alam was the second presenter. She discussed her use of social media, curation and co-creating. I enjoyed her exploration of Learning 2.0, Pedagogy 2.0 approaches through TPACK and communities of inquiry.


Lubna uses Twitter, Wikis and blogs. She discussed her use of #smatuc. I liked Lubna’s encouragement of student co-operation.

Lubna concluded her talk with some of the pedagogical issues raised by her approach including training, resources and scaffolding learning.

As I was listening to Lubna, I received this alert from DERN:

Negin Mirriahi, Dennis Alonzo, Simon McIntyre, Giedre Kligyte and Bob Fox, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, titled Blended learning innovations: Leadership and change in one Australian institution outlines the strategic approach undertaken by UNSW in developing the capabilities of the teaching staff to design and deliver their own online and blended courses.

I wondered how to follow on from Bernie and Lubna’s talks. I think it helped me that I had shared my presentation with the group beforehand.

I did have a eMerging pdf copy ready in case I needed to use it. I decided to use the images in my presentation as the focus of my presentation. I edited my Google slides presentation during the workshop.

I spoke briefly about community, co-operation and connectedness. As I was presenting I was thinking how patient everyone had been. It was an intense couple of hours.

We were discussing fundamental issues about pedagogy. Bernie and Lubna prompted me to think about a Scholarly Kitchen post I had read earlier in the day. In it Joseph Esposito observed:

What we need are not new systems but new services. Services are not top-down comprehensive solutions to all the problems (and some of the merits) of scholarly communications but activities that address specific needs. They usually are conceived by one person, rarely by a committee, and have as their virtue that they come into the world with blinders, never turning their head to the left or right. It is precisely because they do not try to do everything that they are successful. They can be disruptive and unpredictable … What all of these things have in common is that they did not set out to change the entire world but to improve one piece of it.

I think Peter and Jen in inviting Bernie and Lubna helped us understand how personal action can enhance and transform students’ learning experience.

They are #eBreakthroughs.