Pandemic time higher ed book club

Cat with educational booksHaving bought a few higher education related books just before or after The Great Shift to Remote, I found myself seeking some motivation to actually dig into them. I thought a little social interaction (and accountability) might be helpful, and I floated out a tweet asking if others might be interested in discussing a couple of these: Karen Costa‘s “99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos” (at the time of writing on sale with some other online learning books) and Kevin Gannon‘s “Radical Hope: a Teaching Manifesto”. I was thrilled to see how many people responded!

These are clearly quite different books. As Chris Heard pointed out, “Radical Hope” is likely more amenable to a traditional(ish) book club discussion. I also heard from many educators who are currently making videos, or will be doing so in the near future, and could potentially benefit from Costa’s guide and interactions around the tips. So, here are a couple of ideas:

1) In the shorter term (e.g., starting later next week or the last week in April?), focus on Costa’s educational videos guide. In addition to discussing some of the more general aspects and background provided in the book, I am thinking that workshop-style online meetings (and/or asynchronous discussions) might be useful. Likely, anyone reading this book has some specific goals and questions relating to making videos, and we could look at tips in the book, and do some brainstorming and sharing of things that have worked for us in the past (and, maybe even more importantly, the things that did NOT work for us). Different educators may want to propose a topic and facilitate the discussion on that topic – I am happy to facilitate discussion but also see this being a shared effort, benefiting from facilitation by all sorts of educators!

2) A bit later, maybe mid-to-late May, we start discussing “Radical Hope”, perhaps going by chapter. Again, I could see various individuals being the “hosts” for each chapter’s discussion (and I anticipate some really interesting conversations).

With in-person conferences/meetings cancelled for the foreseeable future, we may need to be creative to find ways to develop communities (and keep our own professional motivation and development going, if possible). These are obviously much lower priorities than surviving and supporting our families as well as the other people we care about and depend on us, but I’d love for us to be able to create and share aspects of this that could be of use in future and to other educators who can’t join in at the moment.

Anyhow, those are my suggestions, and I’d appreciate hearing from others (here, or via Twitter, email, whatever)! I’ll try to connect with the tweeps who indicated they’d be interested in one or both books, but I’ll likely try to set up a poll or form to collect contact info more formally soon.

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