Week after next I begin a mini-sabbatical…almost 7 weeks of time to focus on projects that I want to focus on. I have a giant bucket list of projects I want to work on that I haven’t had time to do in the hustle and bustle of my faculty/dean/mom/spouse/dog-walker/cat box-cleaner life. I see this time as a great gift from my university, and I am grateful for it.
Many of you have asked what I will be doing, and I’ve had a hard time, in the moment of your question, articulating everything on that list in a coherent way. I also am trying to pose this time less as “what I will do” and more like “what I will learn” (as in: doing-by-learning. Natch!). So how’s this for an idea? Let me write it all down and share it with the world:
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING PROJECTS
1) In October, I will be joining a grant-funded team from DePaul University’s School for New Learning in facilitating learning sessions for faculty and staff at Tangaza College (in Nairobi, Kenya) about adult, competency-based learning programs and Prior Learning Assessment. I’ll also be helping develop a PLA course … a chunk of my sabbatical time will be working on these projects.
2) I ‘ll be writing an article about the ways that indirect assessment and direct assessment collide and how that collision might support deep, meaningful student learning (hint: reflection).
3) I’ll be updating and pitching my literature review of assessment in academic libraries.
4) I have an idea that I can create some drafts of rubrics to support the process of peer-review in my university’s accreditation region. We’ll see …
5) A colleague and I are soon to launch a “multi-faceted open educational project dedicated to making a life-changing education available to any serious adult learner who would like to participate.” Think that sounds ambitious? It is … and now more than ever, a learning-based model for education is critical. Personally (I can’t speak for my colleague), I am getting sick and tired of the conversations about disrupting higher education and higher education innovations that seem to have forgotten LEARNING (Randy Bass says it all way better than I – read it here). My colleague and I only partially joke that our uber-goal of this project is world peace (hey – there’s nothing wrong with being an optimist). We also think that a person’s ongoing ability to learn is their biggest, most important asset — substantially more important than their retirement investments, house, car, diplomas adorning their walls, or resume of past experience — and that if we all can learn how to develop and manage our learning assets and help others do the same, we’ll be better off. So – I’ll be dedicating a chunk of my sabbatical time to moving this project forward. (Stay tuned – you’ll hear about it here.)
6) Heutagogy. It’s cool. Scratch that. It’s AWESOME!!! And if you’re an adult who is a learner (and, well, why wouldn’t you be?), it should change your life. I’m totally compelled to write a something-or-other about how so. (Indeed, this relates to the “multi-faceted open educational project dedicated to making a life-changing education” discussed previously … these projects are all pretty interrelated.) If you can’t wait for what I have to say about it (and why would you?), you can read these excellent overviews:
Blaschke, , L. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(1), 56-71. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1076
Hase, S, and Kenyon, C (2000). From andragogy to heutagogy. Ultibase, RMIT. http://ultibase.rmit.edu.au/Articles/dec00/hase2.htm
PERSONAL LEARNING PROJECTS
- I am going to try to use all the free online resources out there to re-develop my Spanish-speaking skills. 30 minutes a day … we’ll see how it goes.
- I am going to do a lot of yoga; thus, I am going to learn how to practice yoga (versus how to fit it into a busy schedule, which is what I usually am focused on).
- I will be learning how to run at Foot Traffic University – my friend and I enrolled for their training for the Holiday Half Marathon. (If you know me well, you know that this is hilarious…HILARIOUS! But I might as well try even though I doubt that right now I could run a block even if a bear were chasing me. And I like to hang out with my friend a lot and we don’t get to do it very often, so this is one way we can. And maybe I will learn that I can run a block if a bear were chasing me … for a free pair of cool socks, which is what FTU gives us, I am going to try!)
- I am going to learn how to play ukulele … eventually … like this guy (but maybe not by September 6th):
- I hope to paint the bathroom (if I actually do paint the bathroom, then I will learn how to remove wallpaper and fix some major holes in the wall).
- I’d like to learn how to make a good Prezi.
- I’d like to remodel this here blog. It needs a new look and feel … feedback welcome!
- If the right homeless mutt makes herself present to us, I will likely work on integrating her into our lives.
Sabbatical technically means a rest from work. HA!