Contact North: a useful resource hidden behind an oblique name

Alert readers (both of you) will have noticed a new link on the right. You may also have noticed that I’ve changed the title ‘Blogroll’ to the more appropriate (and accurate) ‘Links’.

Just to put you in the mood, a couple of Ontario Mounties on their magnificent steeds.

Just to put you in the mood, a couple of Ontario Mounties on their magnificent steeds.

The addition to the list is Contact North. I’m don’t know who came up with the name, but it’s not immediately obvious what’s there. Even the description doesn’t quite do justice to the wealth of useful resources that lie therein: ‘Ontario Online Learning Portal for Faculty & Instructors’. Yes, it comes from Ontario, but much of its message is of universal assistance to those of us who toil in the online learning trenches.

I was recently reminded of its existence by a friend at the Commonwealth of Learning who forwarded me the latest edition of Contact North’s Online Learning News. Go on, subscribe! It’s a weekly bulletin that contains enough material of universal appeal to ensure that many of its 80,000 subscribers live beyond the boundaries of Ontario. For example, the edition of 23 October contains How to Make the Most of Blended Learning and Understanding the Building Blocks of Online Learning: How Faculty Can Support Learner Success through the writings and research of pre-eminent online learning expert, Dr. Tony Bates (Instalment 4 of an 8-part series).

Now have a browse around the Contact North site. The resources are organised around five themes:

  1. Pockets of Innovation
  2. Game Changers
  3. Trends & Directions
  4. Training Opportunities
  5. Tips and Tools

For those of us who aren’t domiciled in Ontario, the third and fifth are most relevant and useful, though the first and second do provide examples of local case studies (e.g. applications of open educational resources).

One piece in Tips and Tools that caught my eye was Seven Habits of the Professor of the Future. For each of the proffered professorial habits, an example is offered to illustrate the changing an newly-emerging roles of faculty. professor futureTo whet your appetite, the seven are:

  • Habit 1: Reviewing New Research and Information
  • Habit 2: Continuous Course Construction
  • Habit 3: Collaboration on a Massive Scale
  • Habit 4: Assessing Competencies
  • Habit 5: Creating New Resources
  • Habit 6: Meeting – Anytime, Anywhere
  • Habit 7: Face-to-Face Teaching and Learning Sessions

 As the author of the piece (annoyingly unidentified like most of the articles) claims, “The emerging tools make for a richer teaching and learning environment by design.”  It might also be interesting to see how these line up with the concepts introduced and discussed in Martin Weller’s The Digital Scholar.

I don’t think I ned to do any more of your browsing for you, as you’re perfectly capable of finding the articles on cloud computing and learning analytics, for example.

But speaking of articles, and changing direction somewhat, I just spied another beauty from Nicholas Carr (yes, him again!): All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines. No need to explain the title or quote from it, just click and read to your benefit.

photo credit: Mikey G Ottawa via photopin cc
photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc

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