I “supervise” two people who are talented, bright, and really, they need no oversight at all. They are usually on board with my crazy ideas, and I feel so lucky that I don’t have to convince them of anything–they seem to want to ride my crazy train. (They allow me to save my energy for the haters).
When I became the director last year, I decided to create some some sort of clever title for professional development one hour brown-bag sessions. We had transitioned to our current LMS, Canvas, and thought I long and hard to figure out a title that we could use for Canvas–as well as something that would last until, well, whatever will eventually come next. For those of you in eLearning, you know it’s only a matter of time until the next transition.
I came up with eCULT (eLearning Canvas Users Learning Together) or it could be eLearning Connecting Users Learning Together (should we no longer use Canvas). Steal it, if you love this acronym! And wow, how fun to have the word “CULT” appear in the email subject line for those who dismiss my learnings arts. I giggle every time we send eCULT reminders. “Stop by for eCULT: We’re waiting for you!”
Haters are gonna hate, as they say, but the faculty who get it, really appreciate the humor. And I affectionately call you “my peeps.” Gansta slang is such a gift to humanity!
Here’s a bit of text from my inbox. An average day at the office, if you will. Currently my team is working on ways to get more faculty involved with our Instructional Designer. We’re creating a post-card for our professional technical teachers. The team sent the draft to me to “approve it.” Here’s what I wrote:
Love the flowchart–looks great. I did see one typo in the box to the right. Looks like a lowercase C and not an E. It’s here:
cCULT (eLearning Canvas Users Learning Together)
Fix that, and once Jeff decides on a color, be like Jean-Luc Picard and make it so.
Rocking my world–Alyson
I’m not sure if that’s leadership. I’m not sure if that’s appropriate boss behavior. Whatever. I just don’t want them to feel bad about the typo, and really, they are doing the hard work. And I dig it.
After I sent that email, one of the photography teachers, Ellen Felsenthal, shows up to do some winter quarter prep. We listen to her talk about her trip to Costa Rica. About her lost cat. About how she hasn’t brushed her hair. And I bask in the Ellen-ness. I’ve missed her, and she’s always herself no matter what the situation. We’ve bonded over Nick Cave (she has one of his sweaters!), dogs, bad men, good men, Viggo Mortensen, stupid stuff on the Internet, music, movies, and whatever else pops into our brains. She’s somebody I never get to spend enough time with–she runs a goat rescue farm (I love goats!) and she teaches full-time (I love teachers!). She rides horses, I ride bikes. But we always connect. Instant friend, that Ellen.
But I really want to tell you about her work. She does these wonderful photos of animals and landscapes. Check out the back of this horse in the foreground. Note the background hills. Pay attention to the layers in the hills and clouds.
My little photo does not do her work justice, but I bring it to you, for two reasons. One, I think she’s a very talented artist who has such a unique eye for nature and animals. If you look closely at her work, it’s hard to tell where the animal ends and the landscape begins.
Two, her work makes me think of the FedWiki Happening or what will now be called, The FedWiki Occasional.
For better or for worse, I’ve thrown out a lot of ideas today in meetings, and I’m reminded how I easily I lose focus; I spend too much time on the foreground. I’d rather that my thoughts be in those hills in Ellen’s photo, but I am usually down in the fur. Sometimes there is a certain beauty to that furry focus–the day to day. Sometimes there is a certain beauty in seeing what’s in the distance. Sometimes I like to shift focus between the foreground and the background. I’m working on a much more eloquent–I hope–post on what I’ve learned through this experiment. In the meantime, here’s what I sent Mike today.
Sorry, for the scattered thoughts, but really, that’s why the fedwiki works for me. It’s like software that understands my brain and all of its shortcomings and flaws. I’ve been a part of some amazing things this past year that I helped happen, and this experience has been all for me. All wonderful. All encouraging and lovely. I haven’t fully reflected on it yet but it’s changed everything for me as a writer. It’s been selfish, selfless, and quite spectacular–life-changing. Oh, and I mean that so sincerely.
Does the “life-changing” point sound eCultish? Sound insincere? Hippy-dippy? Well, I told you I was working on a better post. And an email to Maha. And the email I sent Mike is kind of borderline crazy train.
But for tonight: I want to carve out some time for the FedWiki Happening while my friend packs her gear for our trip. It takes a tremendous amount of gear for a snowshoe trip in the backcountry when it’s going to be in the 20s! Oh. Snow Joy! And right now I need to say goodbye for a few days to my fedwiki neighbors who have been reading my blog.
If I had to choose a song to sum up how this all feels to people who haven’t been a part of it, I can’t help but think of Third Bardo’s “I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time”
It’s not about little ol’ me being ahead of anyone, it’s not about me being in a new dimension, it’s not about me being the first ever Happening.
It’s about federated wiki and the guys who have helped pull this off. They have stepped inside my mind and created something I love. Note these lyrics:
Don’t waste any time girl, step inside my mind/I’m 5 years ahead of my time/Look into my mind, look ahead, don’t look behind/I’m 5 years ahead of my time
I was trying to get philosophical and then I got this tweet:
And Catherine Cronin says it best: Thank you for the #creativemadness!
Fare thee well for now, neighbors, and I hope to still be in your neighborhood in 2015 and beyond! Happy New Year, readers:)