Words from the Work of the Digital Pedagogy Lab 2016 Instructors

One of the things that I appreciate the most about Digital Pedagogy Lab is the community, and the way it brings participants, instructors, and speakers into conversation. This happens both on the ground at the Institute and also virtually via #digped on Twitter.

The DPL 2016 family of instructors and speakers are scholars and educators who I have known and admired for a long time, through social media and beyond. We have supported each other, amplified each other’s voices, and pushed each other. All of them are important parts of my close community of colleagues.

Jesse and I have already written about our particular tracks for Digital Pedagogy Lab (Intro and Praxis), and have been prolific on our respective blogs. But so, too, are the other instructors. Amy Collier, who is teaching the Design track, blogs at redpincushion.me. In recent posts, she writes about (among many other things) her love of dance and the intersections with design and pedagogy, as well as the theory of “not-yetness”:

“Open, recursive, organic, nonlinear…these things say to me that we can have learning that is unpredictable, fun, emergent, organic, freeing, co-developed, co-experienced, complex, deep, meaningful.”

What has also spoken to me is Amy’s connection between not-yetness and love:

“Not-yetness to me is about love. When you love something, when you are part of something built on love, you accept—heck you celebrate—its complexity. You don’t try to reduce it to simple measurable acts, you cherish the messiness and complexity, the not-yetness, of that love.”

Sean Michael Morris, who is co-teaching the Intro track with Jesse, writes on his personal site as well as on Hybrid Pedagogy. He writes primarily about critical digital pedagogy. In his piece, On Love, Critical Pedagogy, and the Work We Must Do, Sean reflects on his recent experience at Digital Pedagogy Lab Cairo :

“So why is it painful for the academic to admit that love stirs them? Why, even in writing this, do I find myself looking for more and more evidence to support my claims? Why is love considered uncritical when in fact it is only that fragile care for our fields that inspires the critical inspection that eventually grows into rigor? Can not I love my subject matter? Can not I love my students without reproach?”

Audrey Watters, who is teaching the Action track, writes about education and education technology in multiple venues, including her blog, Hack Education. I particularly appreciate Audrey’s writing because she, like me, has a background in literature and loves narratives. In “Technology Imperialism, the Californian Ideology, and the Future of Higher Education”, she writes:

“It’s our responsibility to recognize that it offers a powerful story.  When a venture capitalist says that ‘software is eating the world,’ we can push back on the inevitability implied in that. We can resist – not in the name of clinging to ‘the old’ as those in educational institutions are so often accused of doing – but we can resist in the name of freedom and justice and a future that isn’t dictated by the wealthiest white men in Hollywood or Silicon Valley. This need not be our ‘dream machine,’ this invented California, this California invention.”

Finally, keynote speaker Tressie McMillan Cottom writes for a lot of different venues online, including her own site, tressiemc.com. She writes about for-profit higher education (the subject of her upcoming book), race, public scholarship, social justice and a myriad of other topics. It’s hard for me to pick just one piece of her’s to share, but here is one on public scholarship, Everything But The Burden: Publics, Public Scholarship, And Institutions:

“The point is, institutions have been calling for public scholarship for the obvious reasons. Attention can be equated with a type of prestige. And prestige is a way to shore up institutions when political and cultural attitudes are attacking colleges and universities at every turn. And, faculty are vulnerable to calls for them to engage. We’re all sensitive to claims that we’re out of touch and behind on neoliberal careerism. And some of us actually care about engaging publics (shocking, I know). But the prestige chase on one hand and eager faculty on the other means we haven’t asked what institutions owe its constituent members for public engagement. Maybe it is time we start asking.”

I keep gathering posts that talk about affect: love, curiosity, care. This community that I am a part of is filled with passion, a passion that drives each of us to do what we do, to write how we write, and to teach how we teach. We hope that you’ll join us in August.

Scholarships are still available for members of the UMW community. Click to find out more.

[Photo l o v e {Explored} by RebeccaVC1 licensed CC BY-ND 2.0]