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Yes, I know it’s Lent. Tell me about it. Essay deadlines loom, and the amount of words to be written isn’t going down as fast as the number of days to write them in is…

Yesterday, despite the number of words to be written, I -finally- went through old blog posts and copied over comments. I guess there should have been a way to import them with an insert query, which would have kept the original dates, but when I looked at the csv file it was stuffed where a link had been included or where there was more than one comment. So in the end it was bite bullet (procrastination) time and I pasted 95% of them in.

It was worth the procrastination – although that does leave me needing to write 4,500 words today -eek- because I actually skimmed every blog post I’ve written in the 6 and some years I’ve been blogging. Which brought me to a number of conclusions: more…

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…or not. Today is my first ‘unemployed’ day and I started it by trying to follow the ALT-C keynote online. Unfortunately elluminate audio won’t seem to play the audio stream for me, just the embedded audio, and there was no video, so (leaving the #tech #fail aside) I had to make do with the twitter stream. Which still took some doing, and reminded/showed me how easy it was to lose track when present there last year and trying to follow front and back channels.

Job Powles has got a really fast and pertinent summary of what I can only look forward (I think) to hearing – a lecture about why lecturing is dead without giving lots of productive and constructive ideas. Whilst it’s pretty handy and everyone recognises that bad practice can teach as much about practice as good practice does (which you often forget to notice as a meta-narrative because you’re just too interested in what they’re getting over*), the people in the audience, real and virtual (ie, physically present in the room and less physically but possibly more vocally present via twitter) already know this and most of them, not only already know the answers, but have been trying to embed the answers already. For me, ALT-C gives the space to say it’s not even that we know the answers, but that the answers aren’t working on a wide and embedded scale everywhere either, and what’s the answer to that? Last year I was slightly disappointed by not coming away with many of the latter answers, only the former. There’s always a good vibe at conferences to think ah, I already do that, but it’s uncomfortable to take the next step and think about how it can really truly really be embedded so that it transforms education. I hope this year’s ALT-C delivers that in some of the sessions that are going on now, and that those bits of info and help and constructive ideas and tips and tricks and OPEN sourcing of experience and resources will be able to be picked up and built on for the future. Wish I was there. Or maybe not – guess it’s gonna take a while to wind down from caring so much – although the underlying theme and learning is something to take with me – if lectures are dead, where are sermons going?! Can’t help but feel the connection here ;-)

*couple of comments about TED and the money they spend on production, but in my experience, most of the most inspiring TED talks are not about the money or the production, but the passion of the people for their stuff. That’s what I always want to get over to staff when I encourage them to watch TED talks – that they on’t necessarily need to be great at powerpoint, they just need to be (and have confidence in being) great in themselves. Which probably leads us back to a serious discussion that was an undercurrent in the backchannel (and I think in his talk) about teaching and research being linked. It might be trickier to be passionate about the core undergraduate module you have to teach on instead of your final year special subject, but aren’t you just laying the foundations to lead undergraduates from the former toward the latter in the hope of inspiring them to take up your passion too…..?

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