Like many of you, I am starting to put the wraps on a fantastic summer and starting to gear up for a busy fall.
In a few days, I begin facilitating a new course for the Royal Roads MALAT program that I’ve been working on this spring and summer with George Veletsianos. At BCcampus, I am in the middle of coordinating a sandbox project with 5 institutions testing out the accessibility tool Ally. Wearing my ETUG/BCcampus liaison hat, I am busy working with our stewardship committee planning the fall workshop, coming up on November 2nd at the new Emily Carr University in Vancouver).
However, as fun and interesting it is working on these projects, perhaps the thing I am looking forward to most this fall is heading to the UK to attend ALT-C in just a few short weeks.
I think I first became aware of ALT and the annual ALT conference in 2009 while I was still working at Camosun College. It may have been one of the first livestreamed keynotes from a conference that I ever watched in real time (Terry Anderson from Athabasca University). I’ve been a fan of ALT and the conference for many years, and this is a bit of a bucket list conference for me to attend, and I am looking forward to connecting with people whom have been part of my U.K. EdTech network for many, many years.
A big reason I wanted to attend this particular ALT-C is because this year is the 25th anniversary of ALT (the impetus behind ALT President Martin Weller’s recent series of 25 year retrospective blog posts and recent EDUCAUSE article). Next year also happens to be the 25th anniversary of ETUG, our regional EdTech community of practice here in British Columbia. I have been a member of ETUG for years, and am currently a member of the stewardship committee, occupying the role of BCcampus liaison with the organization.
Scope aside, (ETUG is much, much smaller than ALT), there is a great deal of similarity between ALT and ETUG in terms of our shared mandate to advance the practice of education technology in higher education. I think there are ways in which the 2 communities can connect and collaborate in significant ways in the future, and I am hoping that this visit can serve as a starting point for some tangible collaborations between ALT and ETUG.
One program that ALT administers that I have looked at in particular is the CMALT (Certified Member of ALT) program. CMALT is an accreditation process administered by ALT. The process involves CMALT candidates submitting a portfolio of their work within education technology. The portfolio is then peer-reviewed by current CMALT members and accreditation given based on the peer-review.
I love the idea of having a tangible, professional designation for the field of education technology as a way to signal a personal commitment to the field. Professional designations, like CMALT, are also great ways to help differentiate learning technology skills from other IT related skills within the institutions, and can provide a way to legitimize the work of education technologists within institutions. I often feel that education technology and the role of a good educational technologist – as a career and as a field – is often undervalued in our institutions, and having a professional peer-reviewed accreditation system from an independent body can help raise the profile of both the educational technologist, and of the field in general. So, if I run into you at ALT-C in Manchester, you can probably expect my convo to include the question “tell me about your experience with CMALT. ”
On a personal note, this will be my first trip to the UK, and the first time my family has accompanied me on a conference trip, and I’m really excited to have them along. We’re taking a few days in London ahead of the conference and heading to Paris for a few days post-conference. Seeing the look on my daughters face as we see the Eiffel Tower together for the first time will undoubtedly be a personal highlight. As well, some of you might know that I am a huge soccer/football fan, and I a bit blown away that my son and I have tickets to see England play Spain at Wembley. Can’t believe how lucky that timing worked out, and how thrilled I am that I have the opportunity to experience my first European soccer match with my equally soccer obsessed son.
For those of you attending, I’m looking forward to connecting with you in Manchester.