Musings on eLearning

This is where you will find my thoughts, ideas, exploration, and experimentation with online learning and teaching. Thanks for visiting! 


INTE 5340 Final Reflection

Final Course Reflection for INTE5340 Digital Storytelling


You as a learner in this course: How did you learn in this course?  How do you understand your social learning practices given theory shared by L&K and other authors? How might your experiences in this course inform how you learn in the future, whether in formal (graduate) coursework or when pursuing your own interests?  In what ways do you understand yourself a connected learner, someone networked into other communities (like DS106) and also linked with other people?

Digital Storytelling INTE5340 was the perfect course in which to end my graduate school program in Information and Learning Technologies for K-12 education. This course drew upon many of the skills I had learned in the program over the last two years and also expanded my ideas about learning and teaching online through multimodal stories. Learning, in this course, was a process of interaction and the collaboration of ideas through open annotation, social media, and creative exploration.

Lankshear and Knobel’s book New Literacies not only redefined the concept of literacy, not just as reading and writing but, “socially recognized ways of generating, communicating and negotiating meaningful content through the medium of encoded texts within contexts of participation in Discourses” (Lankshear and Knobel 2006, 64) but took this further to include new ways of learning. In chapter 7 of this book the concepts of “pushing out” vs “pulling in” information described the way learning is traditionally the act of accepting and absorbing dictated material that is out of context. A new way of learning, which I participated in this course, is to learn through the context of doing/being, with interaction with others, subjects and material that is of a personal and academic interest. This way of learning gives ownership to the student and creates opportunities for skills that are limitless. I intend to pursue my own professional and personal scholarship in the future in just this way and add an element of this pedagogy to my teaching in any way I can.

Joining the “pulling in” learning concept with Jenkins chapter on Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices emphasized the positive contributions that participatory culture and networked learning can have on education. I found that I am always learning through my personal learning network which includes social media and information outlets. Like most people, I learn best in communication and collaboration with others and am a proponent for open source learning.

Your co-design of this course: How was this course different from prior (graduate) courses?  How did you contribute to the development of this course and our learning community? In what ways were you responsible for directing both your own learning and also the shared experiences of peers/others? How would you have designed this course differently?

This course was very different from the other classes I have taken in this program, which were primarily based in the LMS Canvas. Digital Storytelling INTE5340 used a variety of platforms including a blog, twitter, Canvas, DS106 and As a participant in this course, I provided material through my submissions of DS106 assignments, Daily Creates, my reading responses, reflections and story critiques. The requirement of annotating other participant’s work and them mine contributed to the development of learning in this community. By choosing my own particular focal theme in which to focus my personal scholarship readings and DS106 Assignments, along with being able to choose my own projects in the DS106 assignment bank, allowed me to direct my own learning. This system was also beneficial for everyone since members of this course then learned about a variety of topics and saw a variety of digital stories which were shared through Twitter, on blogs and in There is nothing I would change about this course.

Your understanding of pedagogy: How do you understand Remi and Lisa’s course design and ongoing decision-making?  As many of you are educators (whether in K-12, higher ed, or corporate settings), how did this course change your understanding of pedagogy?  Has your understanding of “instructor” changed, and if so, how? What feedback would you like to share with Remi and Lisa?

As I have learned throughout this program, and in this course, the role of instructor needs to be less of a lecturer and authority and more of a mentor, coach, and supervisor. Remi and Lisa did an excellent job supporting our learning by providing the theory and framework and letting us create our own understanding, explore our own interests, and support one another. Remi and Lisa both stepped in when asked or needed and provided the necessary guidance throughout this journey. I really appreciated all the work that went into designing this course, our participation with DS106 and the academic relationships I created through social media and annotating collaboratively.

INTE 5340 Final Portfolio

Please find my final portfolio here

Reflective Summary Week #7

Week 7… Woooo Hooo!


I did great this week. I focused more on my personal struggle of going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for my own scholarship and story critique. I spent a lot of time on this subject looking at scholarly and not-so-scholarly articles, not just for this class but for my own information. I managed to do two daily creates, which were fun but hoped to do more and enjoyed our readings about developing voice in digital storytelling and open digital pedagogy. I learned about different ways of viewing literacy and the call for better open resources for learning. Even though I did not discuss it in my reading response I read the readings on white privilege. I read about the hidden and not so hidden privileges I enjoy being white, some of the things on the list of privileges I was aware of and some opened my eyes. Unfortunately, the ones that were surprises made me ashamed of my own ignorance.

I enjoyed the most this week interacting with the whole class when annotating the readings and critiquing others’ work. I have been able to get to know my smaller group well this summer because so few members posted their work but it was nice to hear new voices. I annotated a peer’s story critique about animal cruelty in meat factories which really impacted me. I am still processing it. Once again, my ignorance makes me feel contrite.

Finding my own stories to critique gave me a bit of trouble this week and as well as last. I found that I kept finding similar stories to what I had posted about before and needed to expand my mind about what could be considered a digital story. I felt limited by trying to use the criteria found at the end of chapter 4 of Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch4: New Literacies and Social Learning Practices of Digital Remixing. The chart in the appendix, which we were asked to use in our analysis, did not always apply to the materials I found. Therefore, I struggled to find something that could fit.

I learned a lot this week. I can’t believe next week is the last of this class. It’s been a lot of work but very fulfilling. I have been creative, I struggled, I conquered. Thanks, INTE5340!

Story Critique- Rosie the Riveter Mom

Week #7: Story Critique

I chose this digital story image to critique as a supplement to my chosen scholarly research on work-life balance (my focal theme) and going back to work after staying at home with children. This image comes from the blog post, 10 Tips for Surviving the Transition from Stay-at-Home-Mom to working mom.

Rosie Rivertor Baby

  1. What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story? This author of this image has made a statement about the strength of working mothers. The audience is presumed to be familiar with the icon Rosie the Riveter and the implication of her holding a baby. The powerful representation of a working woman holding a baby implies that she can do it all.
  1. How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story? There is an understanding of the juxtaposition of images in the literacy dimensions of this image. Rosie the Riveter emerged as a symbol of the hard-working women who worked in factories and shipyards during WWII. According to Wikipedia, she is a symbol of feminism and economic power. For the creator of this image to use photo altering applications and skills to include Rosie holding a baby shows that women can work hard and take care of a family at the same time. In essence, this is a mashup of a historic figure and a more traditional role. The editing software used was expertly applied to make this image seem natural and flawless. This digital story also creates a lot of meaning in a limited space.
  1. What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story? This image can be found in a blog post about returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom and advice about how to make this transition easier. The author included this image, among other empowering images of working moms, in order to inspire and boost morale. The image is completely relevant to the story of the blog post and adds to its message. This blog post was found easily when using a search engine to locate stories about working moms.
  1. Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement? The image itself perfectly represents the meaning it is trying to convey and the artwork is flawless. The image could have included a clever title but was not necessary. I was unable to find this image through a google image search and may suggest making it more accessible to more people through search engines.


Week #7 Reading Response

Reading Response #7 : Opting for Change



The research paper, Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality, clearly identified two ways literacy can be defined. The first is simply the act of reading and writing and the second is taking materials and making meaning and associations, drawing conclusions, and connecting text to reality. These distinctions are important in consideration of what we have been learning and creating in digital storytelling and the value of this work. The first definition describes what is currently wrong with our education system, the rote learning, the standardized tests, and the focus on particular skills without knowing or seeing a larger picture. The second definition has the ability to open up worlds in education. It’s learning deeper and more complex with social knowledge, cultural understanding, and creative focus. This shift moves away from a teacher centered classroom to where the student takes charge of his or her learning, interests are explored and skills are learned as a part of a bigger whole.

Nilsson’s study involved a nine-year-old student, with learning difficulties, who used digital storytelling to grow academically, emotionally and intellectually. It is a perfect example of the shift needed away from our current education systems to one with more of the pulling-in approach and intellectual/skill expansion. This student gained his voice in creating multimodal storytelling with the support of his teachers and in collaboration with other students. This couldn’t be a better example of the reasons for learning the particular skills and theory we are in this class.

Another way to move along this educational change is for open pedagogy, which can be described in Open Digital Pedagogy = Critical Pedagogy by Jody Rosen and Maura Smale. Once again, there is a call for students to become more empowered and invested in their education and not subjugated to a curriculum that is pushed upon them. With open tools and platforms, students can construct their own knowledge, have space for reflection and experience productive dialogues with others. Students end up doing work not just to fill a requirement or go through the motions but to engage, produce, inspire and create with intrinsic motivation.

Interest-Driven Scholarship

I am opting for change, not just in education but also in my professional life as an educator. I have found a research study and paper that perfectly describes where I am in my life and my desire for work-life balance (my focal theme). Opting Back In: The Influence of Time at Home on Professional Women’s Career Redirection after Opting Out by Meg Lovejoy and Pamela Stone speaks about the a group of people in the “Opt -Out Revolution”. The “Opt-Out Revolution” occurred (and still occurs) when a large group of college-educated, married women in professional carriers left their jobs to become stay at home moms. These women left their positions out of necessity when their careers became less than family friendly, even as the media deemed it a choice, creating a negative stigma. I am one of these people. In this research paper and in reality, it is a problem that our society does not value children, family life, and care-taking as it should, which in turn can make working mothers lose their career track. This research involved 54 stay at home mothers who left their careers to take care of children/households and to take part in the community. Now, like me, they want to opt-back-in but find stigma, skill depreciation, ageism and lack of confidence holding them back. According to this paper, there is a huge penalty for opting out in income and advancement. 93% of women in this study wanted to opt back in but only 73% were successful with 30% less in earnings. Because of this, most women in this study wanted to change their career path now that they have spent time at home and their priorities have changed from work to family. I plan to do the same, hopefully going from classroom teaching to instructional design or development. I don’t know what my life will look like next month after I graduate from this Master’s degree program but hope that eventually there will be a healthy work-life balance for my family. Like the authors of this study, I want the work world to have more flexible work schedules for families, care-work valued and public and private support for family-work life.

Daily Create: Contrasting Emotions

#tdc1655 Contrasting emotions

Task: Look for an image online or make a drawing that shows a clear emotion (Eg. Fear, Anger, pride, cool). Then overlay text of the opposite emotion on that image.

sleep Let's Party


Daily Create: 1654 Design a Bad Logo

#tdc1654 Design A Really Bad Logo

We aim to learn good design principles; can you take what you know or have learned to do the complete opposite?


Good Lyrics!

Week #7: My Favorite Lyric

I love music and just took a really long time trying to find a lyric for what I wanted to say. I really wanted something from Radiohead, Modest Mouse or Sia, who are some of my favorites, but settled on a lyric my Michael Franti, who I also adore. These lyrics represent an aspect of work-life balance (my focal theme), by recognizing what is important in life, love, rather than work or money. Working and money are very important but without family or friends they would almost be worthless. They key is to find the time and balance to do what needs to be taken care of while enjoying the rest.

Michael Franti Lyric4

I began this project by looking through lyrics of my favorite musicians on and . After spending a disproportionate amount of time on this task, I went to to find a photograph under Creative Commons CCO. I first searched for “nature”, then “sunshine” and then “happy” before finding the one I chose and downloaded it. I had been wanting to use Windows Paint and saw this as a chance to explore the application. I uploaded the photo from my computer to Paint and then added text. I had difficulty altering the text after I clicked off of it and spent time trying to figure why. In the end, the text is a bit more simplistic than I would have liked but because there is so much text, I believe it works well with the photo.

Week #6 Reflection: Connected


For some reason, this course week felt easier but that might be because the rest of my life felt harder. Personal struggles plus global tragedies aside, I think I am becoming more efficient about getting my work done which allows me to go deeper in my learning. I have been starting my weeks with projects from the DS106 Assignment Bank because I find them the most enjoyable. I am feeling better about taking the risk of being creative in public. For my DS106 Assignment I created a warning poster about work-life balance. I played around with quite a few images before settling on the ones that ended up on the poster. Overall, it was simplistic but effective.

This week’s reading Lankshear and Knobel chapter 7 focused on social learning, the relationship revolution of the internet and the concept of the pushing out of information opposed to learners pulling in information. I read Scott Campbell’s article about the lack of solitude in the digital world and for my own scholarship I read about how being constantly connected can hurt our mental health and work-life balance. All of these works have a theme of connectedness and an abundance of information. My annotations on the required and recommended reading lead to some interesting conversations with my classmates and some better insights of the material.

I really loved the digital story I critiqued this week. I shared and analyzed Eric Pinkerskill’s photography about cell phone usage. I really enjoyed delving into this story, the artistic component of it, and seeing the effects this type of work can have online. Normally I would have seen this work through social media, thought it was cool, and moved on. But, by doing a story critique I really got to spend time getting to know the work and its effect.

I ended up doing three Daily Creates this week since I was testing myself to see how many I could get done. I thought for sure I would have done more. I may try to take this challenge next week. Also, next week I plan to take my theme, work-life balance, a bit more personally and study how this concept relates to stay at home moms going back to work. Two weeks left until I need to start looking for a job full time, all-out, with gusto. I think I exceeded expectations this week by getting everything done on time and in depth.


Removed by Eric Pinkersgill: Story Critique

Week #6: Story Critique

Photographs can be found here:


Photo by Eric Pickersgill


This week in my reading response I wrote about how our addictions to smartphones and being connected to the internet impact or work-life balance (my focal theme). I included two sources, Smartphone stress: Are you a victim of ‘always on’ culture? and Relationship of Smartphone Use Severity with Sleep Quality, Depression, and Anxiety in University Students, that spoke of how the lines of work and home life can become blurred with our need to be online and how this affects our well-being. At this same time, I became aware of a photographic series called, “Removed” by the artist Eric Pickersgill. He created a series of photographs of people looking at their phones but with the phones removed. At a time when work-life balance is becoming blurred because of constant contact with the internet, this work displays this isolation and connectivity. In preparation for his exhibit, Eric Pickersgill created a video explaining his process and after his exhibit he explained his work in a Tedx Talk. For the purposes of this story critique, I will be focusing on the series of photographs and the story they tell.

  1. What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

The artist Eric Pickersgill is making a statement about phone usage by capturing subjects in poses that seem ridiculous and isolating without their phones. The participants were asked to recreate their normal body language and expressions when using phones. It is implied that the audience will analyze the meaning of this work, their personal connections to the message it sends and possibly ideas about changing behavior.

  1. How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?

The artist understood camera angles and the juxtaposition of the subjects when creating these photographs. He told a visual story by remixing what was expected with the unexpected in common situations and scenarios.

  1. What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?

I first became aware of this photography on a Facebook post by a friend. This series became extremely popular through a variety of well-known online sources such as,,,,, and so on, who wrote articles celebrating the work. Through this attention it became viral on social media, eventually winding up on my Facebook feed. What is interesting is that these photographs criticize out constant connectivity which is where this material was found. The impact of this story is expanded by the medium in which it was shared.

  1. Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?

Had I not been aware of Eric Pickersgill video explaining his work and his Tedx Talk, I would have suggested a background view on the process of creating these photographs. I am assuming his video was displayed at his exhibit of the photographs in New Yok, NY last year. In light of this information, I do not think this work needs any modifications.