Sunday 23 April 2023

It's ETMOOC#2 Time! Chat GPT

So like many people I have heard about ChatGPT . Until ETMOOC#2 I hadn't even used it.

But it is time. And as usual the best way to try software is to use it so, here is my first interactions with ChatGPT!

The topic was chosen because one of my staff members said if he wanted to make a lot of money he should write Scottish Highlander romance books. I thought that was quite amusing! So here we go!

Karen: regency romance scenarios:


1. Lady Emily meets Lord Alexander at a ball and they have an instant connection. However, Emily's father disapproves of Alexander's reputation as a notorious rake. Can Emily convince her father to give Alexander a chance, or will their love be doomed from the start?

2. Miss Matilda is headstrong and opinionated, much to the chagrin of her traditional parents. When she meets Mr. Edward, she is instantly drawn to his charming wit and adventurous spirit. But can he handle her independent ways, or will his own traditional ideas about women hold them back?

3. Lady Charlotte's family is in dire financial straits and she is forced to marry for money rather than love. When the wealthy and enigmatic Duke of Devonshire proposes to her, she sees it as a way to save her family's estate. But as they begin their marriage of convenience, she finds herself falling for the captivating Duke.

4. Miss Margaret is a talented artist and prefers spending her days painting portraits and landscapes rather than attending social events. When she meets the dashing Lord Anthony, a patron of the arts, she is torn between pursuing her passion and the excitement of a potential romance.

5. Mr. Stephen returns to London after years abroad, having inherited his family's estate and title. When he attends a ball, he meets the intelligent and sharp-tongued Miss Elizabeth. But as they navigate the treacherous waters of London society, Stephen must come to terms with his own insecurities and uncertainty in his new role as a lord.

Karen: Lady Emily meets Lord Alexander at a ball and they have an instant connection. However, Emily's father disapproves of Alexander's reputation as a notorious rake. Can Emily convince her father to give Alexander a chance, or will their love be doomed from the start? What happens next?


Emily spends days trying to convince her father that Alexander is not the man he thinks he is. She tells him stories of Alexander's kindness and generosity and how he has always been there for her whenever she needed help. Emily's father, however, remains stubborn and refuses to change his mind.

Undeterred, Emily decides to take matters into her own hands. She invites Alexander over to her house and introduces him to her father. Alexander charms Emily's father with his wit and intelligence, and soon he begins to see the good in him.

As the weeks go by, Emily and Alexander's relationship grows stronger, and Emily's father starts to accept him more and more. However, just as everything seems to be falling into place, Alexander's past catches up with him. An old enemy of his spreads rumors about his scandalous behavior, and Emily's father threatens to break off the engagement.

Feeling helpless, Emily turns to Alexander for help. He assures her that he will do whatever it takes to prove his innocence and win her father's approval. After a long and arduous battle, Alexander is finally cleared of any wrongdoing, and Emily's father gives his blessing to the couple.

As they walk down the aisle, Emily knows that their love has triumphed over the odds, and they will be able to face any challenge that comes their way.

Karen: Miss Matilda is headstrong and opinionated, much to the chagrin of her traditional parents. When she meets Mr. Edward, she is instantly drawn to his charming wit and adventurous spirit. But can he handle her independent ways, or will his own traditional ideas about women hold them back?


As their courtship progresses, Miss Matilda and Mr. Edward find themselves constantly butting heads over everything from social norms to household chores. Miss Matilda insists on pursuing her own interests and is reluctant to conform to expected gender roles, while Mr. Edward struggles to let go of his deeply ingrained beliefs about how a woman should behave.

Despite these differences, the two are drawn to each other and find that they complement each other well. Miss Matilda inspires Mr. Edward to break free from societal constraints and pursue his dreams, while Mr. Edward helps Miss Matilda see the value in compromise and working together.

However, their relationship faces its biggest challenge when Miss Matilda's parents, who disapprove of Mr. Edward's more unconventional ways, threaten to cut her off if she continues to see him. Unsure if her love for Mr. Edward is worth losing her family's support, Miss Matilda must decide whether to follow her heart or submit to her parents' wishes.

In the end, Miss Matilda chooses love and stands up for herself and Mr. Edward, defying societal norms and expectations. With Mr. Edward by her side, she realizes that being true to oneself and following one's heart is worth any sacrifice.

Karen: Scottish highland lords


Scottish highland lords were powerful feudal lords who ruled various regions of the Scottish highlands during the medieval and early modern period. They were often descended from earlier Celtic chieftains and controlled large territories, their power extending not just over their own clans but also over smaller clans and tribes who owed them loyalty.

The position of a highland lord was one of great prestige and power. They exercised control over their territories through their own personal armies, known as "tailleas" or "retinues", and through the power of their name; many highlanders would have followed their lord regardless of the specific rights the lord held.

Some of the most famous highland lords include James Stewart, Earl of Moray, who was the regent of Scotland during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots, and who was assassinated in 1570. Another is Neil Maccormick, a Lewis farmer who rose to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in Scotland in the mid-19th century.

Today, many Scottish highland lords still exist as noble families, retaining their titles but little actual power.

Karen: Scottish Highland lords in love


The Scottish Highland lords were known for their love of land and power, but they were also capable of great love for their wives and families.

One famous love story is that of Ewan MacDougall, the 13th chief of MacDougall, and his wife Margaret Campbell. The couple met as children and fell in love, but their families were enemies. Despite this, they continued to see each other secretly and eventually eloped. Ewan's father was so angry that he disinherited his son, but the couple managed to build a life together on the land that Margaret brought to the marriage. Ewan and Margaret were said to have been deeply devoted to each other, and their love story has become a legend of the Scottish Highlands.

Another Highland lord who was known for his love of his wife was Alexander MacDonald, the 9th Chief of Clan MacDonald of Clanranald. He married a woman named Agnes Campbell, who was the daughter of his family's enemy. Despite the feud between their families, Alexander and Agnes were deeply in love and remained devoted to each other throughout their lives. In fact, when Alexander was captured during a battle, Agnes was said to have gone to great lengths to secure his release, including selling her jewelry and even her clothing to raise ransom money.

Overall, the Scottish Highland lords were both fierce warriors and passionate lovers, capable of great feats of bravery and devotion in both their public and private lives.

Karen: Highland lord romance books


  1. "Highlander's Touch" by Karen Marie Moning
  2. "The Chief" by Monica McCarty
  3. "The Highlander's Bride" by Lynn Kurland
  4. "The Highland Duke" by Amy Jarecki
  5. "The Highlander's Promise" by Lynsay Sands
  6. "The MacGregor's Lady" by Grace Burrowes
  7. "The Laird's Choice" by Amanda Scott
  8. "The Highlander's Conquest" by Eliza Knight
  9. "The Chieftain's Feud" by Frances Housden
  10. "To Wed a Highlander" by Michele Sinclair.

Karen: Highland lords romance story prompts


  1. A love story between a young Highland lord and a spirited maiden from a rival clan. Can they overcome their differences and find true love amidst the feud between their families?
  2. A Highland lord must marry to secure his inheritance, but when he meets a fiery and independent woman, he can't resist her charms. Can they find a way to be together despite the opposition of his family?
  3. When a Highland lord rescues a young woman from an attack by bandits, he finds himself smitten with her. But she's not what she seems, and he must navigate political intrigue and betrayal to uncover her true identity and win her heart.
  4. A Highland lord and lady are forced into a marriage of convenience to unite their clans against a common enemy. But when their forced proximity leads to real affection, can they overcome their pride and admit their true feelings to each other?
  5. A Highland lord and his lady have been betrothed since childhood, but when they finally meet as adults, they discover that their feelings have changed. Can they find a way to break their engagement and be together without dishonoring their families?
  6. When a Highland lord meets a mysterious woman on the moors, he's intrigued by her beauty and spirit. But she's running from a dangerous past, and he must protect her from those who would harm her, even as he falls in love with her.
  7. A Highland lord and his lady have been happily married for years, but when a rival clan seeks revenge, they are torn apart. Can their love survive the trials and hardships they face, and can they find a way back to each other?
Karen: A Highland lord and his lady have been betrothed since childhood, but when they finally meet as adults, they discover that their feelings have changed. Can they find a way to break their engagement and be together without dishonoring their families?


As children, Laird Ewan MacLeod and Lady Moira Cameron had been promised to each other by their families. They grew up knowing that they were betrothed and that they would one day marry. But when they finally met as adults, something had changed.

Moira had always pictured Ewan as a fierce and unyielding lord, but instead, she found him to be kind and thoughtful, always putting his people first. Ewan, on the other hand, had expected Moira to be meek and mild, but he found her to be a fierce and independent woman, not at all what he had imagined.

As they spent more time together, Ewan and Moira realized that they had fallen in love with each other. But their families had already set the date for their wedding, and breaking an engagement was considered dishonorable and could lead to a feud between clans.

Desperate to be together, Ewan and Moira came up with a plan. They would ask their families to delay the wedding for a year, citing the need to build up their respective estates. During that year, they would secretly court each other and find a way to break off the engagement without causing a scandal.

It wasn't easy. They had to sneak around, stealing kisses in secret glens and sharing clandestine meetings under the guise of discussing trade deals. But they were determined, and their love only grew stronger.

Finally, the year was up, and Ewan and Moira knew that they couldn't keep their families waiting any longer. They went to their respective elders and confessed their love for each other, begging for their understanding and forgiveness.

To their surprise, the elders were not angry, but instead, they were relieved. They had been worried that their children would be forced into a loveless marriage, and were overjoyed to hear that Ewan and Moira had fallen in love.

In the end, Ewan and Moira were able to break off their engagement without dishonoring their families. They were married soon after, with the blessing of their clans, and they lived happily ever after.

What does this tell me about ChatGPT? It can write story prompts- some of them fairly good. But as you can see, I chose the one highlander romance scenario that didn't make sense and it kept not making sense as ChatGPT expanded the story. Now I am using the free version- so I have no idea if the paid version can write an entire Scottish Highlander romance. But I am pretty sure that for now, my staff member is going to have to write his own book. 

Saturday 28 January 2023

ETMOOC 10 Years Later: Ten wonderful things ETMOOC has done for me

 Hard to believe it has been 10 years since I first started ETMOOC.

Why after all this time do I still engage with this community and with the people I met along the way? 

Because ETMOOC was the beginning of giving me a space to learn and grow, to share ideas, to experiment fearlessly with people who were willing to let that happen. Not only let it happen, but encourage it, challenge constructed ideas of learning and open new windows to what can be a better way of learning and doing. 

It encouraged curiosity, creativity, openness and sharing, risk taking and fun! 

The first thing you have to understand about ETMOOC is the mastermind behind this course, Dr. Alec Couros, is a networking god. He got together a most superb team and enlisted the help of people everywhere to make an exciting, innovative course. It was obvious he thought very deeply about what he was trying to create and the people who supported the whole learning experience were equally onboard. 

This is not an extensive list by any means nor is it in any particular order except #1. 

1. My Professional Learning Network: This is the greatest gift I received from participating in ETMOOC. I may be a small voice in the wilderness, but the network I have grown started from the kernel sowed by my participation in ETMOOC. I have been engaged with this group for 10 years. From there to #CLMOOC and #Rhizo14, and #ccourses and #olcmooc to #TVSZ (all versions!) I've ended up interacting with amazing people that have been a part of my life since. We've all grown and changed, but we still connect. 

2. Personal Connection: It doesn't matter how often I am online, but I can still reach out to this networked group anytime I want to trial a new idea, comment about the world we live in, offer words of praise, support, enlightenment or have the same reflected back at me. Given the nature of my job and my home life, sometimes I have disappeared for months at a time. But that connection still exists. And I use it. Almost daily when I am online.

3. Self Awareness: I've learned a lot about myself as I took this 10 year ETMOOC journey, both as an educator and a student. Understood why sometimes learning new things is hard and frustrating. How sometimes that frustration is a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, especially if I allow it to turn me away from learning something new. I've also realised I am lousy at self care and won't really be good at it until I stop investing so much of my energy in my job. As a friend once said, "How are you going to use your precious energy?" So I am contemplating that a lot lately. 

4. People: As I look back at the spaces ETMOOC opened up for me, I have been lucky to interact with so many talented people. University professors, classroom educators, artists, instructional designers, graphic designers and other people who value creativity and expression. Sharing and supporting comes so naturally to people. And some of them have remained friends to this day. How often can you say, "I took this course and I still hang out with them 10 years later". Online?

5. Creativity: I enjoy creating silliness just because it is fun. Being introduced during ETMOOC to #DS106 was mind blowing for me. #DS106 Radio? A blast! I had so much fun creating sound content. Whether it was my own Halloween show, Headless DS106,  The 3Ts Cooking Show, Three Fingers of Gin for #DS106 Noir, it was all a mix of goofiness and learning how to use software like Audacity. Where would I be without it? It taught me the art of the possible with their amazing #DS106 handbook.  But also their amazing Daily Create! Do I do the Daily Create everyday? Not anymore but I love seeing what other people produce. Some of my best poetry and life reflections are on the DS106 website. Thank you Jim Groom (I am a True Friend) and Alan Levine! 

6. Being a Zombie (or a DragonBovine): #ETMOOC lead to #TVSZ. I am huge fan of games and #TVSZ 2.0-6.0 were so much fun!!! I created movies, wrote a ton, posted pictures to free myself from being eaten (or to entice people into allowing me to eat them...) and generally paid no attention to my paid employment for a few days in order to play. Created out of the fabulous brains (BrAIns!BRaInS!!!) of Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel, it was fast paced game with ever evolving rules and layers and always supported by Janine DeBaise and her students. Hugely enjoyable! 

7. The Impermanence of Software: As part of this reflection, I have been rereading my blog. So much of what I created is no longer there. Storify- shutdown 2018. Mozilla Popcorn Maker- video editing software-Is hosted at the Internet Archive as of 2016. Windows Movie Maker-Shut down in 2017. My projects didn't make it over. Piktochart is still here, and Audacity, but I am not sure what else will disappear with my content. DS106 is still there (thank goodness!) but it does make me think of the ephemeral aspects of creating. Maybe I need to learn how to be a stone mason so I can make a more permanent record. (oh wait, that doesn't necessarily last either!)

8. New Software: I have to admit I haven't kept up with all of the software changes. I think one of the reasons I do more writing and less video and photo oriented Daily Creates is I am a still a beginner with creating product using photo editing and video editing software. It takes some dedicated time for me to learn new programs and currently I have little to none. But when I finally have some breathing room (retire) I'll make the time.

9. Memories: It's been a while since I blogged. Three years. The pandemic has taken a toll and I feel like I work harder now than I ever have. Maybe it's because I've had to restart so many things, rewrite rules, review new policy, etc. It hasn't helped that my father became ill and died during the pandemic. But reading through my blog reconnected me with the joy of the journey, the giddy and heady fun of learning and creating, especially the silly stuff, when it seems I may have had a sense of humour. No ETMOOC, no blog.

But I've also recognized that I stopped writing my blog when I took my current position. I still write all the time, but it is historical, or museum related, or policy oriented, or analytical. Not for pleasure. Not for fun. I spend so much time writing that doing it for my own personal growth and enjoyment has become a thing of the past. And that is sad. 

What else is sad? I can see how safe I felt online back then. When I first got comfortable with Twitter it was a safe space. Much of the free software we were using at that time didn't seem too threatening. Now we all have to really think hard about the impact of social media on our discourse and our lives. Of how much we share. or if we should share at all. It's no longer feels like a safe space. Thanks to Chris Gilliard via Alan Levine who really opened my eyes.

10. Social Media Training: More than ever, students need to be able to  understand how they can be influenced by social media. This means that for the people in the classroom right now, student and teacher, media training is a must. We need an ETMOOC reboot more than ever. Not only how to use the software for making, but how it can be manipulated and made for creating disinformation and misinformation.

Thank you to everyone who created such hilarious, fun, illuminating and worthwhile offerings with me all those years ago. Thank you to everyone who continues to connect and share with me. Who reaches out to encourage me. You make being online uplifting. I hope I do the same for you. 

Thank you ETMOOC. You've been hugely influential on who I am today. And don't the best learning experiences always do that?

Tuesday 2 June 2020


So I follow Laura Gibbs regularly on Twitter @OnlineCrsLady. I was first introduced to her work while I was taking #etmooc and her knowledge, advice and approach to education always encourages me to explore an issue more, engage more or just rethink an issue. Or it can reinforce what I am already thinking is the right way to go.
And having students create the content is always the right way to go. No matter what grade level. After all, you as the educator already have your formal education- you're making sure your students work through the process of completing their formal education. And what better way than to have them articulate, through a blog, that process because that is what you as an education do in formal education, you evaluate.
The questions you need to ask and answer are:

  • Has your student engaged in the process of understanding the subject matter?
  • Can they demonstrate that they have internalized this understanding and can apply it? 
  • If you ask them a question about the subject matter can they answer it?
A blog can act as both formative and summative evaluation in an education setting.  Perfect for building an online course! You can add video, memes, table and graphs, equations, photos etc. All formal areas of education, including STEM require a student to articulate their learning and what  better place than a blog? Where they control the input and output? True student agency.

Something to think about.

Saturday 4 April 2020

Remote Elementary and Secondary Teaching

It's been awhile so forgive me for the long post but I feel I have to write something in the age of Zoom and remote emergency teaching because I am hearing a lot of horror stories coming from parents about what has been sent home and how much screen time students at all grade levels are being asked to consume. About children crying, about parents crying and teachers too.

So let's all start by taking a deep breath. And then just read and breathe.

1) Online/remote emergency teaching is not going to mirror classroom teaching ever. So don't even think it will.

2) As a teacher, if you are relying on old lessons plans that you've used for years, stop. While the material might be solid the delivery method isn't. Forget worksheets, fill in the blank and colouring sheets.

3) How long are you expecting your students from Grade K-12 to be online? Here is a visual guide for the amount of screen time students should be consuming from all media. And you are now, as a teacher using online teaching, part of the time usage for consumed media. So don't expect to lecture for three hours to students and expect them to absorb this information. It's not going to happen.

4) Students are on lockdown. They are worried and they are scared. Their parents are worried and they are scared. And you are worried and scared. Remember everybody's emotional and mental health in this time.

So what are you going to do to deliver the curriculum?

1) Remember nested units? These are your friend. A little more complicated to deliver but much easier to have students work at from home. My advice? Nest art or ICT curriculum into every activity. Most students will find it easier to complete this way. Why art? Art actually has a huge amount of procedure and technique involved in developing competence. ICT curriculum is the same. And what is easiest to teach online? Procedure based tasks. So hang all work off of procedural based tasks. Remember when a student creates a video or audio recording of an assignment this requires creative thinking, problem solving and the understanding of procedure on their part.

2) If you are going to teach online create no more than 5 minutes of video of what you want students to learn. Show an actual example and walk your students through the procedure/task/concept you want them to master. Use lots of pictures, examples and diagrams. Send up a follow up email with all of the tasks you want then to do listed so if they didn't understand the visual /audio cues in the video, they have it in text form. If this is high school coordinate with your fellow teachers as to when an assignment is due so as not to overload anyone. Why do this rather than face to face through Zoom? Online meeting are exhausting both physically and mentally for both you and your students. By creating online videos and or PDFs this allows students and parents to make the decision on what time is right for them to do classroom work according to their schedule. And it means the student can review the video or text over and over again.

3) Use the time you were supposed to be teaching in a classroom to make one on one connections with your students and parents. Where are they having problems? Is there anything you can clarify? Be available by email, Skype or Google Hangout. Zoom unfortunately has privacy issues. Make a weekly or bi-weekly calendar and have parents and older students sign up for a 5 to 10 minute chat. Make sure you contact every student if only just to check in and maintain the bonds you have already forged.

4) Be creative. But there are lots of teacher created videos and material on the web. Not everything has to be created by you. You need to be kind to yourself too.

5) Take advantage of online supports that already exist. For instance, the National Writing Project in the USA is celebrating National Poetry Month in April.  The poetry prompts start April 6th. In Canada, Indigenous Arts and Stories provides resources for teachers at all grade levels. There are tons of great resources just waiting for you.

6) Use this time to master a few online tools that will make your life easier. Where I learned a lot of the tools I currently use now was here and here. Seven years later I am still using many of the tools that were taught in these two courses and I am still in communication with many of these brilliant people. When you look at the list of who put these courses together some of the best educational thinkers today were way ahead of the curve. It wasn't just mastering the technology, but showing how to incorporate it into my practice that was so useful. It's okay to try and fail with this stuff, because it is how we all learn.

7) Embrace the online design experience. To teach online content you need to be very clear in your own mind about what the outcome is to be. What do you want the students to learn? Good online design means thinking about what you want to achieve first, then how are you going to measure that achievement and then creating the content that will get students to the place they need to be. It will actually improve your face to face classroom teaching when you get back.

And if your stuck? Don't know what to do or how to do it? Sign up on Twitter. And then post a tweet to someone in the #etmooc #clmooc world. A Great Teacher will get back to you soonest and help. I know. I reach out to them all the time.

Be safe and stay at home. 

Saturday 12 March 2016

The Wild West and the Feminine Role

So Western106 is winding down. The sun is setting as we ride out to the range one last time. I sat on my front porch and watched the cattle be driven by my door but didn't help in the round up of the herd.

The West should have been a great topic to have fun with. It has great visual images, readily identifiable characters and has had great staying power as a genre, plus all that lovely language! Yeller belly, the Code of the West, hog tied, a lick and a promise, stop yer bellyaching, fit as a fiddle and reach for the sky to name a few. There are tons of websites out there to help you get the language right.

But as many have noted, it really is a man's genre. This is not to say there haven't been some strong women interspersed here and there throughout the genre, but we're like vanilla extract added to a chocolate cake. It enhances the flavour, but it is so subtle that you don't notice it.

If you're a woman, you've noticed it I am sure. It's like women in history generally. If you're not a queen, filthy rich, a poisoner or great beauty, well you're just part of the great unwashed. (Unless you're a witch. Men fear witches. Burned a lot for 400 years+. But that is another story.) Women are like wallpaper in history. Just part of the background. In the Western, it is the man, his battle with the elements or other men that is the focus. It's a war movie, but instead of fighting for king and country, it is more individual because you are fighting over your cattle, your land and your gold. And your women. We're just another type of reward for the conquering male hero in the Western.

So I feel limited as a creator in this genre, more than any other I have participated in in DS106. Horror, fantasy, film noir, gothic, mysteries would allow me to be a strong female protagonist but I feel that in this genre it means that my role could only be a violent one (or a wilting flower). And I just didn't feel like strapping on the gun. Or analysing the genre. Perhaps because I just didn't want to see that society and the gender roles within North American society haven't changed that much since the Western started rolling out 200 years ago.

I appreciate, as always, the DS106 communities support of my level of participation and the opportunity to express my views.

Riding off into the sunset....

Sunday 7 February 2016

The Caribou Trail and the Western Genre

So I should probably confess right up front that the Western Genre is not a personal favourite of mine. Or should I say certain aspects of it aren't. What are those aspects, you ask? Well The Caribou Trail was probably the worst possible movie for me to watch to get myself into the mindset for #western106. This is not to say I haven't watched a few westerns in my time. Two Mules for Sister Sara, True Grit, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Little Big Man, Blazing Saddles. And some Westerns were very, very good. But unlike film noir, which are often small, focus, character driven movies set in the time period of the viewer when first produced, westerns are based on historical "facts." And history as we know is written by the "winners". And there was a lot of stretching of the "facts" in these movies and others.

Let me list the reasons why Westerns don't do it for me:

a) Lack of Historical / Geographical  Accuracy: Westerns take great big historical liberties. The Caribou Trail is a prime example. This movie takes place in the northern interior of British Columbia. A beautiful province that had a gold rush in the late 1850's. The hero is a cattleman from Montana hoping to settle his cattle in the area. Well Montana wasn't really settled yet in the late 1850's and there weren't herds of cattle there yet as the Americans hadn't finished off killing the buffalo by then. The cattle could and did come from California up to the Caribou but maybe California isn't "Western" enough? (Though we all know geographically speaking it is a lot further west than Montana.) The Caribou Trail really got started in the early 1860's and while a few Americans moved up the Caribou Trail from the Fraser Valley gold rush it was mostly Canadian and British who participated in the Caribou Gold Rush.  Last but not least, the movie was filmed in Colorado.

b) Racial Stereotypes: Every Indian is a "bad" Indian in a Western. And every "Indian" is usually a Blackfoot. They wear "war paint" and live in "teepees". There is a "Chinaman" who cooks and cleans and takes care of everyone. Now I know this isn't a big deal for some people, but for me this is huge. This type of stereotype is harmful and continues to be perpetuated. Canada has just finished going through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where it was found that the Canadian Government deliberately committed cultural genocide starting in 1880. It was part land grab, part "You need to be English or French but not Indian." Residential schools have been operated during my lifetime. It was part of government policy. And it has harmed thousands of people.

For many years the Chinese were also discriminated against in this country. We needed them to help build the railway that united Canada, but wanted them to go home when we were done with them. We had multiple Immigration Acts that controlled the number of Chinese that could come to this country. Even into the late 1930's white women were jailed for having relationships with Chinese men.So yeah, the stereotypes make me cringe.

c) Guns and Violence: They are everywhere in the Western and in this movie. Is the Western really a romance in disguise about people and their guns? Is the reason Westerns resonate is because of the American love affair with their weapons? If you look at the opening of the west, from the time Daniel Boone crossed over the Appalachians into Kentucky in 1767, the opening of the west was just a giant land grab from the natives. Everyone wants to pretend that the Americans fought for their freedom from "British Tyranny" for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but in truth the real reason that the American Revolution was fought was for land and taxes. After the French Indian War was resolved through treaty settlements, the British wanted financial contributions from the states to help pay for the war (through taxes) and also to appease their native allies by restricting American access to their lands west of the Alleghenies. But land was wealth and natives were in the way. The idea that might (and the gun) was always right seeped into the American conscious and has been firmly lodged there ever since, regardless of the fact that it was not ideals that propelled a nation into being but greed for land.

d) Women and Violence: I am not sure I even have to write anything here about this. A woman in the Western genre falls into the same stereotypical slots she always does: A mother, a wife, a hooker. And if she is able to look after herself she has a gun.

e) The only person who looks good in a Western are the white men.They always win.

From an educational perspective, I feel uncomfortable promulgating these myths and stereotypes. So I am going to have figure out a way to participate in #western106 that doesn't make me feel like I am helping promote these ideas. Ideas on how to do that without spoiling everyone else's fun is very much appreciated! Maybe I'll just do an updated version of Blazing Saddles!

Thursday 31 December 2015

2015 in Review

So 2015 is on its last legs. What have I got done educationally this year? I didn't participate in any moocs, but I did stay connected with DS106, Postetmooc and TVSZ. So nothing new, just the maintenance of existing relationships. What did I do instead? I turned inward. I explored where I was with my own education. Was I happy with my level of education? Should I go back to school and do my PhD? Did moocs have a place in my life still? What aspects of my skills as an instructional designer should I develop? Should I branch out? Should I remain an instructional designer, when I am chained to a desk all day and feel it is not physically healthy?

So what are the answers to these questions? I would like to say that I have them, but I do not. I am not leaning towards doing a PhD, feeling the way I do about higher education, but I do so love exploring new ideas with people. So moocs may still be part of the picture. I recognize that this was not a year that I stretched myself intellectually but it was a year that I stretched myself artistically. I am still exploring whether that is more important to me than continuing to put letters behind my name so I can have the opportunity to teach. 

I am still enjoying exploring my options! As always, I am more than willing to participate in learning new things. Bring on the new year. 

Wishing all the very best for 2016 to you all!