An Interview with Terry Greene

Terry Greene is a “Program Manager for @eCampusOntario working at the traffic circle of learning, tech, and open education.”  Terry’s online personality wavers between very serious and not so serious but he’s always interesting. Over the Christmas Break, Terry was kind enough to take some time to be interviewed.

Let’s find out more about Terry.

Doug:  First question, as always.  Do you remember when we first met (online or off) and what interested you in maintaining the connection?

Terry: We have never met IRL, but I remember following you and always taking note of the people you would boost through #FollowFridays or This Week In Ontario Edublogs. When I was included in that list myself for the first time, I swooned. Still swoon. Every time. It is a huge honour to have a blog post of mine chatted about by you and Stephen Hurley on your voicEd show. Also, I had no idea that there were times that I came across as very serious! Maybe I need to tweet more dad jokes.

Doug:  eCampusOntario has been an interesting engagement for me.  My first connection to you would have been through a mutual friend, Alana.  eCampusOntario brands itself as a “team”. Who are the team members?

Terry: Yeah it is an evolving team to be sure. I am part of the Program Manager team, which are all secondees/contract positions. These positions were always designed to be temporary. We were all extended for a second round, which comes to an end in June. Two of the PMs have already moved on actually. The band is breaking up! Peg French and I will hold down the fort for the rest of the way! Joanne Kehoe (back to McMaster) and Jenni Hayman (off to Cambrian College) have already moved on! We dubbed ourselves the PMers. I am quite confident that I will reach out to them for advice on a regular basis for the rest of my career. There is also a team of 15 or so permanent employees working away in an agile way at the head office in Toronto. There’s the leadership group, the finance team and the Creative Comms team working hard every day for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities!

Doug:  Who manages the eCampusOntario and OntarioExtend Twitter accounts?

Terry: The ecampusOntario account is run by Julia Martineau from the Creative Comms team. She tweets out in French and English and lets us know about all the exciting things eCampus is up to. The OntarioExtend Twitter account is run by me and Alan Levine. Since it’s just for one of the eCampus projects, we can kind of get away with having a little more fun with that one. Like this tweet, for example: https://twitter.com/ontarioextend/status/1062035100882345986

Doug:  Through your efforts, I’ve been able to make connections with and follow some interesting blogs from College and University instructors and professors.  They’ve most definitely taken me beyond my traditional K-12 comfort zone. Is there a list of educators who are part of this project somewhere?

Terry: Through various Ontario Extend cohorts and side projects like the 9x9x25 reflective writing challenge, we have a list of 80 blogs that currently have made 983 total posts. Some of them are inactive at the moment, but there is a whole lot of great sharing going on! https://extend-domains.ecampusontario.ca/all-blogs/

And stay tuned for a whack more to appear as we launch our Extend mOOC, which currently has about 300 participants interested in signing up. Not all of those will choose the blogging route, but we hope a fair chunk do.

Doug:  Thanks for the list. I’ll look forward to looking through it for fresh blogging content.

Throughout the project that I’ve followed from the outside, there have been a number of challenges posed and interactions through blogs on their end.  What’s the measure of success for this project?

Terry: To me, anyone who is interested in judging whether or not something is worthwhile can decide for themselves using whatever criteria they’d like. I personally deem last semester’s Ontario Extend side project, the 9x9x25 Reflective Writing Challenge a great success. It was able to produce 373 blog posts from 43 different blogs, all writing reflectively and in the open about teaching and learning, mostly in Ontario. Blog posts inspired comments which inspired further posts. Some of the blogs were team efforts, so they brought those teams together. People grew their Personal Learning Networks. Participants were ecstatic to have the honour of their posts being discussed on your radio show with Stephen Hurley, TWIOE! That’s a whole heck of a lot of great connections being made and many were by groups and people who had not been exposed to Ontario Extend before. I would have judged the effort worthwhile to get a tenth of what we got.

Doug:  Have these people actually met each other face to face?  Personally, I think that the project would be a wonderful session for the Bring IT, Together Conference.  

Terry: I really enjoy meeting face to face with people whom I’ve connected with only online. It’s kind of surreal usually. Always fun. And I’ve never been to BIT. That’s a great idea. Maybe we can round up a few people who’ve never met IRL and throw them on a panel together!

Doug:  What will happen to these blogs?  A recent post on your blog https://learningnuggets.ca/9x9x25/the-legacy/ seems to indicate that things are about to change.

Terry: We will continue to syndicate blogs for anyone partaking in Ontario Extend activities, and try to drum up reasons for people to post on a regular a basis for as long as we can. I’m hoping for eternity. The post you linked to was to mark the end of the initial 9x9x25 activity. The idea was to have people make 9 posts over 9 weeks, with every post being 25 sentences at least. That came to an end, and we would like to mark the occasion by putting together a “best of” awards show on Twitter.

Doug:  Will you keep the LearningNuggets blog active?

Terry:  Learningnuggets.ca will always be my domain to share ideas, think out loud, and just basically be my brain’s steam valve. I always seem to find a need to post something here and there. I have one cooking right now about our thoughts for running the ExtendMOOC. It’s not often you get to actually do some work with your number one hero. I get to this term. Alan Levine aka CogDog aka Open Education Subject Zero is working with us on the mOOC.

Doug:  In addition to blogging, you are also active in podcasting with “Gettin’ Air”.  I follow it on voicEd Radio but your blog indicates it’s anywhere people like to find podcasts!  As I write this, you have shared 45 shows. What’s the driving force behind this initiative?

Terry: I guess I should make it more clear that it is a voicEd Radio show! (https://voiced.ca/getting-air-ecampusontario/) I am proud to be a part of that community. It began as another outlet for eCampusOntario to connect with people about how best to go about teaching and learning with openness using technology. This week’s episode featured Ryan Martin, from Queen’s, who developed an open source ed-tech tool with some of his students. And next week I am very excited to chat with Chuck Pearson (@shorterpearson) from Tusculum College in Tennessee. He is an intriguing fellow!

Doug:  What does Open Learning mean to you?  Why is it important to you?

Terry:  Open Learning is a gift. A gift for you and a gift from you if you are able. When people share their work, ideas, and the resources they’ve created, when they can, we all benefit. I am still learning more and more about open and trying to help make sure it is a force for good. I think of it like this: we all have mountains to climb in our work. Openly shared learning resources and practices can give us a free lift part of the way up towards the summit.

Doug:  That’s a pretty strong conviction and you have to believe that those that buy into it just make their community stronger.

Can K-12 learn from the eCampusOntario experience?  What would you recommend as big takeaways for them?

Terry: Whoa. tough question! I don’t think I know enough about the K12 world to comment here. Could be we’re just catching up to things y’all have been doing for years. I’ll say one thing though: We should all talk more.

Doug:  While not everyone posts their “Top 10 Lists”, everyone does have them.  Who or what would be on your Top 10 Twitter List of people to follow? Extra marks for telling us why.

Terry: Let me try top 5 and see how it goes!

  1. Alan Levine, @cogdog. You’re going to come across him eventually if you have anything to do with open and ed-tech. The most generous in a world of the very generous.
  2. Maha Bali @Bali_Maha, co-founder of Virtually Connecting, prolific and outspoken critic of anything in education that needs to hear it.
  3. Audrey Watters @audreywatters. Writes at hackeducation.com. Hack Education is going dormant for most of this year. I think that is a good thing because it means she is focussing on writing her book, Teaching Machines. Plus there are about 50 Kajillion words of hers already written. We need some time to catch up!
  4. Squad Goals Network @sqdglsntwrk. A biased choice, as I am a member of the gang. Are you too? Yes. Yes, you are. As soon as you think you want to be you are in. It’s a group of people who want to increase access to each other’s work. You’re invited.
  5. Chris Gilliard @hypervisible. I feel like keeping up to date on what Chris has to say is the best way to keep your digital wolves at bay.

Doug:  Extra Marks!  Way to go!

Since we run in different connected circles, it would be no surprise that we have different learning networks.  What’s the most unique follower that you have?

Terry: I’m going to name a unique account that I follow, that I wish followed me. @G2Institute. The Institute of Gremlins 2 Studies: World-class commentary and analysis of the film Gremlins 2: The New Batch. The silliest of premises, taken seriously. We can learn something from this technique of applying serious methods to silly things.

Doug:  What’s next for Terry Greene?  Your header says “Terry Greene just trying some ed-tech stuff, don’t mind me”

Terry: Next for me is that we are launching the ExtendmOOC! We have 299 people signed up to run through the Ontario Extend modules together in Open EdX. It will be a whole lot of sharing of pedagogical approaches and ideas. It’s not too late for others to join, too! Add your name here: bit.ly/ExtendMOOC and we will be in touch.

Other than that, my secondment to eCampusOntario ends in June. I’m excited to see what comes next!

Doug:  Thanks so much for taking the time over the holidays for the interview, Terry.  I appreciate it and I know readers will as well.

Terry: It was an honour and a privilege.

You can stay on top of Terry’s latest here:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/greeneterry
Blog:  https://learningnuggets.ca
Podcast: https://voiced.ca/getting-air-ecampusontario/

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