Back in my undergraduate years, I was in a literature course and my teacher waxed poetically about “liminal spaces.” My teacher had written that he saw some of my thoughts “existing in a state of liminality” and I needed “to explore more of inner voice.” What?! Was that bad? Why don’t these English teachers talk like normal people?
I remember I had to bust out the dictionary to look up “liminal” because that was a new word for me.That was before the magic of the Internets and you had to use a book! This was before Internet Magicians were creating the thing that would become Wikipedia.
Here’s what Wikipedia says, this would have really helped my younger self who was desperate to impress the teacher:
Liminal is an English adjective, “on the threshold,” from Latin limen, plural limina, “threshold.” Liminality is the abstract noun formed from liminal.
In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete.
So. Okay. My thoughts were on some threshold and I needed to listen to my inner voice. Something like that. Later in life as I grew to know more English majors, poets, and writers, I would learn that he was just trying to spice it up with his comments on a student paper. After you’ve read the same essay hundreds of times written by different students, it gets really boring to write the same thing. It would have been more helpful if he had written that I needed to expand more on my half-baked ideas and that I should get over myself. He could have also admitted that he was a pretentious hack. But he didn’t.
He did, however, teach me a good word that applies to where I am with several projects as it relates to this FLC grant.
So here goes some liminality:
1. The Unconference was amazingly insightful, fun, interesting, and everything I had hoped for and more. In short, if that was my job everyday of my life I would give up my bikes. That’s how much I love solving problems about teaching and learning. Thank you to all of the brilliant minds who contributed. I’m not sure what shocks me more, the fact that I pulled it off or that I adhered to an agenda.
2. The ATL Conference was also a fantastic experience. Seeing so many friends in the system and watching my faculty network with other faculty was a joy beyond imagination. Our experiment of paying for faculty to attend a conference with the understanding that they will propose next year is a winning idea that I will share soon.
3. I‘m working on an FLC grant proposal with the brilliant Lisa Chamberlin! She and I are going to try something that hasn’t been done before and we have no idea if it will work. But you know what? We’re going to do it anyway. We see a need at our institutions and we know we’re not alone. Plus, it will be in my 2015-2016 professional development plan to work with Lisa!
I’ll post more about all of this soon. Like this weekend. I need to get caught up (a memoir).
Professional Technical Programs and OER
I was the Lady in the Magic Box again only this time if was for Big Bend Community College. This is also a winning idea, by the way. If you can’t have a speaker travel to your campus, then turn to the magic box and the Internets.
The eLearning Coordinator, Zach Wellhouse, put out a call for speakers on OER for professional technical programs. If you’ve chatted about OER with me in the last six months, I most likely have talked your ear off about this untapped potential. Most of the OER movement has been about academic programs, and rightly so, that’s where the bulk of our students are in higher education.
But here’s the thing, our students in Prof. Tech. programs are the ones who need it the most. They are on all kinds of governmental assistance programs and/or financial aid. If we are going to be honest with ourselves and prioritize the needs of our most neediest students, then we would focus more on creating OER for Prof. Tech. courses. I just don’t have as much time to devote to them as I’d like to, so if you can, please share with me what you are doing.
So here’s some advice that’s working in this corner of Puget Sound: