A Midyear Update On My Work and Writing (and a couple of teasers)

Given that we are nearing the middle of 2015, I thought that I would give a quick progress update based upon what I wrote back in January about what you can expect from me in 2015. Here is a not-so-short summary of what I’ve been doing and some of my hopes and goals for the next six months.

Writing 

Some of you may have noticed that my blog posts have not been as consistent as in past years. Last year I consistently posted 3-5 articles a week, and this year I’m averaging 2. Be assured that I’m writing more than ever, but it is just showing up in different places.

  • In the last couple of weeks, the new Encyclopedia of Christian Education was published. I enjoyed contributing entries on andragogy, connectivism, constructivism, gaming, heutagogy, and pedagogy.
  • In March, Steven Hase and Chris Kenyon’s editorial work led to the publication of Self-Determined Learning: Heutagogy in Action. I was honored to include an essay on the role of self-directed learning in largely teacher-directed contexts.
  • I just finished my last contribution to the forthcoming SAGE Encyclopedia of Online Learning (entries on virtual high schools, digital badges, homeschooling, charter schools, the credit hour / Carnegie Unit, and alternative assessments).
  • I’m editing a book on the pedagogy of faith formation with close to 30 contributing authors. Some of the essays are coming in now. They are very satisfactory so far!
  • I have articles due in the next month for a couple of other publications.
  • And, I’ve made a personal goal of having a draft of my book, Adventures in Self-Blended learning complete by the end of the summer. I’ve yet to reach out to possible publishers, but I decided to go ahead and write a draft of the entire text while starting to identify a good publisher with whom to partner.

A New Blogging Outlet

In addition, I’m very excited to start blogging in a second place starting this week or next. Be assured that I plan to continue to write here on a weekly basis, aiming for 1-2 weekly contributions. However, I have recently decided to focus some of my writing and time on the greater Milwaukee area where I happen to live. As such, you can find me writing specifically about educational entrepreneurship as a contributing blogger at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel OnRamps blog:

OnRamp offers conversation and connections among the entrepreneurs who are shaping Wisconsin’s economy, and brings corporations and start-ups together at statewide events. 

I’m planning to make at least one weekly contribution, if not more. I will use that as a place to explore the promise and possibility of educational entrepreneurship more generally, but I will also take time to highlight interesting news and events, examine promising educational startups, and share editorial comments about the growing entrepreneurship community in the Greater Milwaukee Area. If that captures your interest, look for me there in addition to my regular posts here.

MOOCs

In January and February I led a mildly massive online course on Adventures in Blended Learning, with an optional grant-funded visit to Mequon, Wisconsin for a select few schools. I and others are working with these three schools to support them as they carry out school-wide blended learning efforts that are deeply rooted in a compelling and distinct (to each school) educational mission and vision. For example, one of the schools decided to use this as a chance to become deeply focused upon celebrating the unique gifts, talents and abilities of each student; helping them to discover their gifts and callings; and to develop the skills valuable in living out each students distinct calling. Can you imagine an entire school completely shaped by such a vision? Exciting! This concept of starting with a MOOC and then following up with at least some people foran intensive and immersive face-to-face experience was, in itself, a wonderful experience “blended learning”.

I am also working on another upcoming MOOC entitled, Adventures in Self-Blended Learning; based largely upon the concepts emerging from my book on the same topic. I’ve not announced an official start date, but I hope to do so soon. This MOOC is a fun design challenge because I want the design to reflect the spirit of the MOOC, which is focused upon the promise and possibility of self-directed learning. You don’t want too teacher-directed of a design for a MOOC on this subject. I am a little behind schedule on the development of this one, but I still have it as a goal for this year, hopefully even before winter.

Work at Concordia & Consulting

I remain happy in my leadership role at Concordia University and I continue to keep a modest consulting load. Concordia was accepted into the second round of schools for the Competency-based Education Network, leading to some great progress on our work related to CBE. Look for more updates from Concordia on this one over the next six months. In terms of my consulting, I had a great time working with colleagues at Harvard Business Publishing earlier this year. I continue longer term work with the wonderful people at Concordia Publishing House. I accepted a couple of keynote presentations (the Distance Learning Administrator’s Conference this summer and The 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong in February, 2016). I also have six or seven other invited or keynote presentations and workshops in the fall for groups in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota, and Michigan; each with a different focus. This is a little more presenting than I expected, but it seems manageable; and I’m still open to other invitations.

A New Business Venture?

I have one more exciting development related to educational startups, but I can’t share too much quite yet. I will say that I do not plan for it to take me away from my work at Concordia. It does involve co-founding a new and, as you might expect from me, unconventional business endeavor; a place to experiment and further challenge people to consider the possibilities of life and learning in a digital age. I hope to share more about this one over the next couple of months, with small portions of it showing up much sooner.

That is about it for 2015 so far. I am grateful for the many of you who take the time to read my blog, sometimes reach out to further explore ideas, and all who join me in seeking to promote mission-minded educational innovation. Blessings to all on the second half of 2015. I value goals as represented in this and other posts. Yet, I also see wisdom in pursuing them with passion and persistence, but also a large dose of humility. We have plans, but I embrace an understanding of life that joyfully embraces the fact that there are many things far more important than our goals. Soli Deo gloria.

Posted in blog, editorials

About Bernard Bull

Dr. Bernard Bull is an author, host of the MoonshotEdu Show, professor of education, AVP of Academics, and Chief Innovation officer. Some of his books include Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, The Pedagogy of Faith (editor), and Adventures in Self-Directed Learning. He is passionate about futures in education, educational innovation, alternative education, and nurturing agency and curiosity.

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