WAAAY Back in time before the hellscape that continues to be 2020, Francesca and I met regularly to build/plan/scheme what Critical Visual Dialogues would look like in Denver!!! We talked about a lot of things, one was how excited we were to be headed to Colorado! But alas, here we are in teh internetz, doing the best we can to make our track as engaged as possible.

And its been a true journey. In this light, I thought it might be of interest to some of you netizens to see how/when/why we developed our course the way we have and to share some of the decisions we made along the way. Although this is not ALL of the DEETS,

As an Instructional Designer, my main go-to for organizing projects/courses/classes/whatevz is a Planning Document. It is now the first thing I make when working with pretty much everyone on anything. Without them I am adrift in a workflow of confusion and loss. So we started our Planning Document and off we went.

This is what our Planning Document looks like now - you can see at the top are links to all of the days, schedules, hashtags and dates (again DENVER!!! ARRRGGHHH!!!). From the beginning we both wanted to focus on how the track will lead itself - when I think of this idea I recall Dave Cormier’s ideas of “Community is the Curriculum” and our track would be likely to attract people who easily fall into this approach. And so far this seems definitely true - people in our track are making and sharing things that they are passionate about and that (sometimes) touch on prompts we hoped were both focused enough to help one hone in, but broad enough that many people could engage with.

To gather some ideas/content/community before our track opened, we decided to try a monthly day long Twitter chat. We started running them February 15th and had no idea what was coming at us cough hell storm cough. We asked for some help from other #DigPed peeps to engage and there a handful of people jumped on board. We decided 5 questions would work best and to use an introductory blog post to explain the process: https://criticalvisualdialogues.nomadcyb.org/

As a large part of our course is being critical about the use of visuals in general, we wanted to make sure our weekly chats could be exemplars of Critical Visual Dialogues. Given this, we wrote 5 questions, per month, that we thought built a conversation and moved into being more critical about what one would post. There are “light” questions and “heavier” ones. An example of our April questions show this:

Choosing images to accompany the thread was a critical practice in itself: use a variety of visual media and be critical about exactly WHY you’re choosing which images - for those in the track we’ll be discussing this tomorrow ;)

After DPL was forced to move fully online, we decided to revisit all that we had planned for 5 days of F2F instruction. Eventually we decided to scale back all the plans because it would be too much (Narrator’s voice: It was WAY too much). So we went into our week planning spreadsheet and came out this:

A pared down idea for the week. Catch here is - we’d planned for 3 synch sessions (s-both) a day!?! After a (wonderful) synch session with Sean and other DPL faculty we realized what we’d planned may have been too much(Narrator’s voice: It was WAY WAY WAY too much). As no synch sessions were required, we decided to have a handful anyways (even if just the 2 of us attended they could be catch up sessions or planning sessions). We also decided to try and emphasize the track building their own track in a way, which thus far seems to be working quite nicely.

If you have any questions/comments or you want to know even more about how we pulled this structured chaos together you can reach out to either of us on teh twitterz or however you prefer to engage.