Designing, the gentle way

Gentle is a choice, a way. We are at liberty to invite it, offer it, preserve it, reveal it, and note its presence and absence in our higher education practices.  Gentle is not one way, but multiple ways, because it supports learners and teachers to find their own way. It meets you where you are.... Continue Reading →

Step back into context. The details are just doorways to the bigger picture, which is already the place of goodness and meaningfulness. Let the parts be passages to the bigger, abiding 'what' that encompasses us all.


I am gathering my thoughts on silence, and how it is present, or not, in our educational practices, ahead of a course I am co-teaching next year. I look back on my teaching experience for moments of positive silence: there are few. There must have been some in-between moments of quietness, of pause, where gathering up, anticipation, reflection, and stillness were sought and fostered; intervals for thinking or writing without the clutter and noise of teaching as some kind of intervention, fill or bridge. But these in-between moments have faded, back into the background where they came from.

Towards greater openness in higher education

We might have an intuitive, teacherly sense that openness in higher education holds pedagogical power, moves us to partner more, to connect more, and to cross boundaries, but we might not know exactly how to go about bringing openness into practical expression.

The goodness of stewardship

This piece, essentially, is a dedication to goodness and love. It is also a contemplation on the moment, and, the puzzle of 'moving forward'. The moment I refer to has scale; it is shared global moment, as we collectively wonder what it is, exactly, that we ought to do to advance safely together. It is also a personal-professional moment, for, as I begin to inhabit my doctoral skin, I now stand on the cusp of my discipline with a commitment to its advancement.

What is the ‘powerful idea’ of the eportfolio?

Neil Postman wrote that every technology has a philosophy, a ‘powerful idea’. This got me thinking about the eportfolio: what is its powerful idea? Defined instrumentally, the eportfolio is an online password-protected place to collect, organise and share a ‘portfolio’ of assets. But this does not communicate the ‘powerful idea’ of the eportfolio, which arguably, can only be understood experientially.

There is no arrow. Only the pendulous lope, swinging gravely back, arcing always back, back towards itself, myself the pulsing wave. Again and always full, exceeding even excess, without fate or flaws, just plunging and tolling, endlessly rolling, returning and yearning: a longing for One.

Six ‘humanising’ ideas for your pivoted teaching

These six ‘humanising’ ideas respond to student experience survey data at Flinders University in 2020, where students reported: Missing out on practicals; Lacking motivation; Translation of activity to online; Unclear expectations; Appreciating flexibility; Not seeing other students

Doctoral research: Intimacies of being in learning design

Underneath the taken-for-granted orthodoxies and doctrines of what is to 'do' learning design, we are already human beings existentially 'in' learning design. But what might an un-theorised, essential experience of learning design be like, and how might we recognise it as our own? Is there something ineffable about the phenomenon that makes it 'so'? What if we ignored all the noise of our ideas 'about' design and listened for learning design to speak itself? What might the unguarded experience of ourselves in our learning design tell us about our teaching selves and indeed, our human being-together? 

Surely some inner richness nourishes our work, some sacred filament draws? It is time to say what moves us from within, the deeper realm, that singular well in each of us. It is time to speak from the soul, to the soul, for the soul.

Collaborative self-study as coursework

In 2020 Josh Spier and I worked with a small group of students in EDUC9908: Researching Higher Education from a Global Perspective as part of the Grad Dip/Master of Education (Higher Education) at Flinders University in South Australia, and we made a little video about it. It was a powerful experience of learning for us all, even though it was only really a taster of the methodology.

Rhizomatic being?

Being in learning design, in its simplest interpretation, has the human self as the locus of active attention. In a bit of word play, I took Dave Cormier's passage from Rhizomatic education, and replaced what was objectively distant from being with a more ontological perspective.

Turning differently toward learning design, and finding the real gift of slow

This paper invites you to pause and sit, to expand the moment you are already in, and to ponder philosophically, rambling across the page with notions of untangling, opening, loosening, listening, seeing, belonging pondering, sitting with and trusting. Taking time to do so is self-affirming. But perhaps the deepest gift that slow offers is choice: it opens a space for considered thought and action, and calls into question the habits and expectations of speed that we have grown so accustomed to.

The three gazes of the eportfolio

I am aware of three distinct and useful gazes: myself, selected respected peers, and what I am calling 'soul'. Somewhat counter-intuitively, instead of acting to censor me, I find that I need these gazes to do my portfolio work.

Imagine if we shifted our attention from content to contentedness. When you think about it, content and contentedness both do the job of 'filling you up', but one stuffs you from the outside, and one from the inside.

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