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.



Peter Copeman is facilitating a Teaching and Learning workshop (eBreakthrough – Expanding Your eLearning Horizons) on Thursday, 28 May at the University of Canberra.

The workshop description is intended for members of staff who want to discover more ways to help students learn more effectively through the use of e-learning tools and platforms.

The workshop will provide exposure to a range of ideas and tools intended to extend pedagogical and technological horizons.

It will include sharing examples of practice from University staff involved in eLearning. Peter has asked if I would contribute to the workshop. I am delighted to do so and am really pleased to be invited.

I have prepared a Google Slides presentation for the workshop. It is available here. There are some speaker notes with the slides. I am hopeful that the images I am using from the Nationaal Archief will stimulate discussion.

These include:

How I felt after participating in CCK08

What it feels like to plan and lead an open online course


And the joy of working together to transform obstacles into opportunities.


The introductory picture to this post is meant to convey the delight at the end of an open course.

My approach to ePedagogy has been defined by my participation in CCK08 and subsequent opportunities to learn from many of those involved in that course.

It has been transformed too by my interest in correspondence as an essential component of shared learning environments. I was particularly interested in the way Stanford’s Republic of Letters project affirmed that:

The fundamentals of innovative thought haven’t changed since the 18th Century – it’s always been aggregate, filter and connect.

The great thinkers of earlier times corresponded extensively because it helped them aggregate information from a wide variety of disciplines and sources.

Once they did this, they had to be skilled at filtering the data to figure out what was useful, and then they had to connect up the filtered data to create innovative ideas.

And, of course, once they had the great ideas, they had to execute them, and then get them to spread. Even though the media that transmits the data to us are different now, aside from that, not much has changed.

I am hopeful that the point about the execution of ideas will link with Peter’s plans for the workshop. He has suggested to participants:

Exactly what else is explored will be driven as far as possible by the participants (surveyed on registration), but could include: effective online discussions; diagnostic, formative and summative assessment; alternative writing and media formats; group and peer-to peer collaborative opportunities; simulations; and peer feedback.

I will conclude my presentation with my thoughts on the concierge role we can play in supporting personal learning journeys … inspired by developments at the Tsutaya Bookstore in Tokyo.


I am looking forward to the conversations we might have about these images as triggers for eMerging pedagogy reflections and prospects.

Photo Credits

The first tour of France (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

No help for Giusto Cerutti (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

Buysse passing a cow (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

Cyclists climbing over closed railway crossing (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

The Tsutaya Experience (Indesignlive Singapore)