Wednesday, December 26

Recapping a Smashing 2012!

Alhamdulillah, 2012 was an exciting year with many inspiring learning adventures and memories! For those of you who missed some of them, or are new to ZaidLearn, here is a compilation of the learning adventures and ideas explored in 2012. The compilation is organized into themes, rather than just a bunch of links archived according to chronological order. 


The IMU Webinar Learning Series was conceptualized late 2011 and launched early 2012. This initiative’s mission is to connect inspiring and exceptional educators around the world to share their knowledge, best practices, experiences and wisdom related to learning and e-Learning to educators attending online from IMU, Malaysia and around the world. Anyone is free to attend the live webinar (web conferencing) sessions, and all the sessions are recorded, and made available online as Open Educational Resources (OER).

14 webinars have been successfully completed since it was launched, and it has attracted some world renowned learning experts to share their knowledge and experiences on various topics.  
  1. Facebook for Learning and Teaching? (Zaid Alsagoff)
  2. Web Conferencing for Teaching, Learning and Meetings (Zaid Alsagoff and Fareeza Marican)
  3. How to Become a Rapid E-Learning Pro (Tom Kuhlmann) 
  4. Facilitating a Massive Open Online Course (Stephen Downes)  
  5. Games, Gamification and the Need for Engaging Learners (Karl Kapp)  
  6. From Tinkering to Tottering to Totally Extreme Learning (Curtis Bonk)  
  7. e-Learning in Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning: Lessons Learnt, Issues & Challenges (Prof. Amin)  
  8. Social Learning Revolution (Jane Hart)  
  9. Using Technogogy for Engaging & Effective Learning (Prof. Rozhan)  
  10. 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner (Jeff Cobb)  
  11. Instructional Design for the Real World (Jane Bozarth) 
  12. Social Media & Mobile Technology: Learning in a Digital Age (Steve Wheeler)  
  13. Your Brain on Graphics (Connie Malamed)  
  14. Authenticity & WizIQ (Nellie Deutsch)

I simply can't put into words how much I have learned by interacting with all these great learning minds, and organizing this online webinar series with IMU's e-Learning Team (Fareeza, Hasnain and Frashad...Who is now with Sime Darby). Also, it is inspiring to know that my boss Prof. Jai Mohan will always try to attend the webinar sessions, wherever he may be.

While the webinars were awesome, I had most fun trying to persuade many of these learning giants to do a webinar for this series, and some were really hard to convince (and a few impossible ones, too). For example, to convince Curtis Bonk was no easy task, and I had to use tactics unheard of in the Academic world to make that happen.

Also, we did experience some hurdles and bloopers during the webinar series, which are today unforgettable learning memories. For example, one speaker didn't turn up for the webinar session due to a miscommunication, and this can certainly happen when the talk is scheduled on different days due to time differences. 

So, please always send multiple e-mail reminders (e.g. 24 hours and 2 hours before) to ensure that the speakers don't forget the event. Remember, experts are always busy, and often forgetful even with Calendar reminders.  



I really have to thank Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Dr Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Prof Mohandas Balakrishna Menon foremost for convincing me to conduct OER workshops. First, Tan Sri Gajaraj asked me late 2011 to write an OER chapter with him, which I declined. But then early 2012, Prof. Mohandas persuaded me to conduct an OER Workshop at Wawasan Open University (I had been recommended to him by Tan Sri Gajaraj). 

Before this, I have for several years been exploring OER in my talks and workshops, but never conducted a workshop dedicated to OER. I suppose, this focused exploration into OER, helped me rediscover my passion for OER (which started in 2005). And since April 2012, I have given 2 talks and facilitated 4 (2-day) workshops on OER in various places. 

So, I must be doing something right here.



Interestingly, there are already 3 more OER workshops in the pipeline for 2013 (including two in Saudi Arabia).


Learning Innovation Talks (LIT) is the first real innovation to spark out of the Learning Innovation Circle (LIC).

The idea behind LIT was to organize 2-3 events per year, whereby educators could get together to share their learning and teaching innovations with one another in a more informal, relaxed, learning enriched, and innovative manner compared to traditional conferences and seminars.

There is no fixed format, and it is up to the organizer to explore and innovate how sharing and learning should take place. The first two LIT rounds were held at University of Malaya (7 March), and Taylor’s University (20 November) respectively.

The 3rd LIT event will be organized by the International Medical University (IMU), and is tentatively scheduled to happen sometime in April 2013. This LIT will be hosted fully online, and it will be interesting to see how this innovation unfolds.


I gave a talk exploring The DNA of a 21st Century Educator at the 'Annual Teaching and Learning Seminar 2012' at USM (26th June). Based on feedback, it was very well received. Then, I gave the talk at IMU, but hardly anyone turned up for this particular session. So, I thought, maybe I should not talk about this topic anymore. 

Then I uploaded my presentation slides to SlideShare, and it became 'Top Presentations of the day' (3 are selected everyday among thousands) within hours, and 'WOW-LY' it received 15,000+ views in 2 days.  Hmm, perhaps I should talk about this and explore this even more. 

On the 4th October (2012), I also gave the evolving '21st Century Educator' talk at the Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Bahasa Melayu (Kuala Lumpur).

Whatever happens regarding this particular talk, I really enjoyed researching and exploring this area, so why stop here?


As usual, I did conduct Social Media related talks and workshops during 2012, too. Most interestingly,  I  facilitated two 2-day 'Using Facebook & Twitter for Learning & Teaching' workshops at the National Center for E-learning and Distance Learning (NCeL), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), from 6-9 May (Male and Female). 




Besides giving talks and workshops, I did manage to explore some ideas and discover some sizzling learning resources during 2012. Here they are:


So, what have I planned for 2013? Seriously, planning is not my strongest point. I work best, when I let learning take its' natural flow. 

Though, I have finally decided to take that PhD pill, and will Insya-Allah embark on my PhD with OUM in 2013. Since many people I know cannot stop calling me either Doctor or Professor, it is about time I officially embark on becoming one. Focus area? OER!

While I focused on designing 'sizzling learning experiences' in 2012, I want to focus on designing more authentic and engaging assessment in 2013. If we want real change in the learning process and mindset of learners, we have to rethink and transform assessment. We have to stop kidding ourselves believing that essay and tick-your-answer questions alone are going to prepare students to become successful citizens and workers in a 21st century world.

We also know that assessment and exams drive students to study and learn, so why not use them to truly transform students' learning for the better?

However, my first mission in 2013 is to prepare and facilitate an 'iPad for Learning & Teaching' workshop on the 9th January (IMU staff only). Why iPads? Why not? :)


Dr Boss said...

Truly a smashing year for learning - and for you Zaid! Good to hear about your forthcoming PhD studies - be sure to make time for this! I agree with you on assessment. Although the xMOOCs seem to reinforce the pass/fail examination mentalities of both learners and employers they have been a great boost for networked learning. Maybe things will begin to change if other innovations such as badges, e-portfolios etc are taken more seriously so that assessmnent can be distributed over a greater range of learning and creative activity.
Best wishes for 2013!

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Gordon Lockhart (Dr Boss),

Thanks for your reflections and feedback :)

Not sure how xMOOCs came into the picture, when I mentioned my intentions about creating more authentic and engaging assessment, but either way it was interesting that you brought that up :)

Badges and e-portfolios are other useful approaches to take, but I also think we need to have more assessment that is based on observation of students doing learning activities (supported by rubrics), although it can get sometimes too subjective, especially if the teachers doesn't like or like particular students.

In that sense, I think Higher Education have a lot to learn from reality gaming shows, whereby the judges (or audience) provide constantly direct feedback (sometimes from their gut), and kind of rates or evaluates the performances of participants (students).

In short, I think there is an inter-galactic room for innovation and improvement in how we assess students in more authentic and engaging ways :)

Thanks again and looking forward to an online learning chat with you hopefully sometime in the near future :)

All the best and Happy New Year!