Getting ready and getting started

Jul 18, 2020

Welcome to Data, Code, Ethics at Digital Pedagogy Lab!

I'm Kris Shaffer, your "guide" through the world of data, code, and ethics, as they relate to the world of education this week. Check out my website, if you want to learn a little more about me.

This Welcome video is from 2020, but everything is still relevant — including the pandemic, the course details, and my outdoor office. I've updated my hat, though!

The Covid–19 pandemic has changed many things, including the format of the Lab and this course. Let me be clear right from the start that you are in charge of your path through this course. If you've been aching for community, we're here and waiting for you! If the Lab is your much needed opportunity to lock yourself in a room alone with your thoughts, we've got plenty to read, write, and wrestle quietly with. If you've got all the time in the world this week, holy cats do we have things to do. If you've just got a couple hours each night after the kids are asleep, take the opportunities you can and choose the activities most important to you. There are no "read this by Wednesday at 9am" rules, nor "post once, reply twice" strictures. You're in charge.

That said, there are a few things I'd like to ask everyone to try to do this week:

  • Try to do something every day. We're together too short a time not to make use of it. (Though, I know things come up, many of which are more important.)
  • When you do something for this course — read, write, or perform a hands-on activity — share an insight with the group. This could be anything from a sentence to a blog post. Something tricky you overcame, something profound you took away, anything you think might be of value to others.
  • Do something of each topic. The course purposefully brings data, code, and ethics together. At some point in the week, please engage each of them in a substantive way. And to the extent possible, wrestle with their intersections. This includes learning to code (a little bit). More on that later.
  • Do something of each activity type. Don't just read ... or write ... or wrestle with the tech. Do your best to do some of each at least once this week.
  • Make it relevant. Try to make at least one of your acvtivies this week a substantial creation that you can bring home to your institution, your discipline, or some aspect of your day-to-day. A revised syllabus, a new assignment, plans for a research paper or policy proposal. Something that ties data, code, and/or ethics to your work in or around education.

You will find the above details, and many more, on the course Syllabus, so be sure to check that out right away and get your bearings.

Before Digital Pedagogy Lab Starts...

...I ask that you take a look at the Syllabus and the Core Readings (found on the Read page — all course pages are linked in the menu at the top of the website). I've done all I can to focus on open-access readings that are available for free on the open web. HOWEVER, there are some amazing books that I would be remiss not to share with you. No book purchases are required for this course, but I strongly encourage you to peruse the books on that page, both those under Core Readings at the top and those under Supplemental Readings at the bottom — many of which have chapters referenced under the various reading topics. If one or two of these jump out at you as potentially helpful, or just plain enjoyable, for you, consider purchasing them before DPL, so you can make use of them during the course. Most, if not all, are available in ebook format, at least in the U.S., but I know some people prefer print, and some of them are cheaper in print, so please take the time to consider what, if anything, you want to purchase before DPL.

...I also ask that you look at the Do page, our home for hands-on activities, particularly under Learn to Code. There are two things you will need to install in order to participate in that. Please 1) make sure you have administrator access to your computer (and if you don't, get help with #2 ASAP) and 2) at least attempt to install the required software before DPL. We can work through that together on Day 1, but the more people have completed that, the more people are available to help others.

...Get setup on Yellowdig, DPL's discussion site. You should have an invitation in your email sometime during the week before DPL kicks off. If not, please contact Sean Michael Morris (the director of DPL).

...look through the DPL calendar and the events listed on our course syllabus, and start to budget your time accordingly. Time will go by fast, and it is easy to lose track of that time, particularly if you run into a challenge and/or are new to online, asynchronous learning. I'm here to help, of course, but planning ahead is absolutely essential for such a short time-bound course.

When Digital Pedagogy Lab starts...

...be sure to attend our course kickoff meeting on Day 1, to get oriented and meet people. (Schedule TBA — see syllabus after July 28.) All the other meetings are optional, but this one is essential for us to start together on the right foot. Please attend, and let me or Sean know if you are having trouble.

...and be sure to introduce yourself to the group! Create a video of no more than 30 seconds introducing yourself to the group and upload to our channel in Yellowdig. We have a tendency to go long with these, but keep in mind how many of us there are, and how many opportunities we'll have to go deep with each other throughout the week. Just give us enough to know how to say your name, what you look like, what you sound like, and why you're excited to be here. We'll fill in the rest as we go! There is no need to go high-budget. A vertical selfie video taken on your phone is just fine for this.

As Digital Pedagogy Lab progresses...

...check Yellowdig regularly. I'll be in and out pretty much all day. Feel free to simply keep it open as you work, or check in and out as you go. But either way, be sure to check in multiple times per day to share what you're doing/learning, learn from others, ask questions, or just chit-chat and share fun GIFs and memes. ;) This will be our "homeroom", and the more time we spend there, the more useful — and enjoyable! — it is for everyone.

...keep tabs on this website. All the details you need are here, and as we go, I may add some new things, as questions and ideas come up.

...find a work buddy — or three! Check in via Yellowdig, Zoom chats, or trade phone numbers/Twitter handles and message each other off DPL "infrastructure".

...don't sweat if you run out of time. I've purposefully thrown a lot into this course, so you can choose what's best for you, and leave what isn't. And there's always after DPL to dive even deeper.

After Digital Pedagogy Lab ends...

...keep in touch! Yellowdig will fade, but use email (or trade other contact info) to keep in touch with me and with each other, as much as you desire.

...keep learning! As far as I know, this website will stay up for a while. And in any case, you can copy-and-paste whatever you didn't get a chance to engage this week but want to come back to. You can even order a few more books from the reading list, or continue to progress with learning to code. Our learning about these topics doesn't end when DPL does. "Level Up" this week and keep progressing. Or get your foot in the door this week, and then walk through it completely over the next few months.

I hope you all have a great, challenging week of working through these important topics, and I'm looking forward to helping, and learning from, all of you as we go!

Thanks to David Clode for making this photo available freely on unsplash.

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