Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis, or “QV” as we like to call it in IT, is a name that we use for our ITS listserv for daily communication. It was chosen at the time when two separate departments, Computer Services and Information Technology, were merged into one unit, called ITS. The group wanted a name for the ITS listserv and one of our members suggested “Quo Vadis” – it stuck. 

Quo Vadis is Latin for “Where are we going?” While the phrase has a biblical reference, the charter boat in Door County is what resonates with me most. For over 60 years, the Green Bay Diocese, owned a retreat house on Chambers Island in Door County and for those lucky enough to experience the peaceful retreat on the island, they found their way there, aboard the Quo Vadis. 

“Where are we going?”

I’d like to think that the passengers who boarded the Quo Vadis for the retreat house, knew where they were going! But where are WE going? COVID-19 brings some strange times, but maybe we can approach them as if  we are boarding the Quo Vadis . . . to a retreat where we can open our minds to new ideas, possibilities, and opportunities that await us in our quest to learn and live a bit differently, and be of service to others who are in need.

Forgive and Be Forgiving

I hate blogging. I don’t know why – maybe because I hate conflict, and am afraid of putting something out there that others will disagree with. Maybe it’s because as a math/computer science major I’ve always considered myself more left-brained and in expressing my creative side, writing or blogging is not my go-to for enjoyment. Or maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist and know that a blog will take me 10 hours before I’m ready to hit “post” and I simply don’t have the time for that.

Well, that changes today. In these unusual circumstances, I’m pledging to blog once a day, for a week, for a half an hour a day. It’s Monday, March 16, 2020, the first day of spring break, 2020 at St. Norbert College. Today, we will be working with many faculty who for some, are stepping outside of their comfort zone, but they’re all on board, putting their students first. So, in the spirit of stepping outside of comfort zones I will be joining them by blogging.

The professional community of instructional designers, educational technologists, teachers, and librarians have really rallied around one another, sharing resources, guidance and support. However, two pieces of wisdom have bubbled to the top for me, that I would like to share with those that are about to embark on teaching online for the first time. Jesse Stommel’s message to his students after they learned they needed to #PivotToOnline:

I’m here to support you however I can. Take care of yourself and your family first. Our class should not be your priority. Everything about this class is flexible. Whatever happens, we will work it out.

And the wise words of wisdom from Sean Michael Morris @slamteacher – 

We are all still humans in this online world. Forgive and be forgiving.

Digital Citizenship

Today, I will be co-facilitating, along with eight wonderful women, a conversation of what it means to be a digital citizen, #digciz, particularly a liberal arts digital citizen, at the ELI annual meeting. In reflecting on how we came together as four institutions to lead this conversation I jokingly said it was through our own #digciz. And yet, that is very real ~ had we not leveraged the open, curious, networked, collaborative constructs that we are afforded through the aid of technology we would not be doing this. And in the process, we’ve expanded and enhanced our own digital identity.

When I think about what it means to be a #digciz, I can’t help but approach this wearing many hats – parent, teacher, technologist. Thinking about what it means to be a liberal arts citizen I am drawn to the work from Penn State. And yet I find myself falling back to the simple truths from Robert Fulghum, in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Like adding the words “in bed” to the little slips of paper from fortune cookies, add the words “online” after each of Fulghum’s “rules” (Okay, some make more sense than others) and that’s a great starting point for conversations about what constitutes #digciz

  • Share everything . . . online.
  • Play fair  . . . online.
  • Don’t hit people . . . online.
  • Put things back where you found them . . . online.
  • Clean up your own mess . . . online.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours . . . online.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody . . . online.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some . . . online.
  • Take a nap every afternoon . . . online???
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together . . . online.
  • Be aware of wonder . . . online.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we . . . online (or do we?)
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK . . . online.

Let me know your thoughts on how to do the wash your hands, flush and warm cookies and cold milk part online!