T-minus 3…2…1…Liftoff!

rocket launch

This week we all embarked on the Thought Vectors and Nuggets activity. This activity is taken from the Thought Vectors in Concept Space syllabus designed by Dr. Gardner Campbell for an undergraduate research and writing course at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). If you’re new to thought vectors, you might enjoy this short video explanation of what thought vectors are by Jenny Stout, Teaching & Learning Librarian at VCU.

Our first step was to choose an article from  The Open Faculty Patchbook, a collection of overviews on specific pedagogical skills. Once we selected an article that resonated with us, we then had to choose a passage or nugget from the article that evoked some kind of response in us – good or bad.

The thought vector aspect of the activity is to make the selected passage as meaningful as possible. The instructions “use your imagination” seem deceptively simple in length yet also complicated by their vagueness. It was time to get creative!

Start the countdown because we’re ready to launch each of our thought vectors into the concept space below!


The nugget I selected was from Patch 34: Connecting the Design Dots by Nada Savicevic. I had a lot of fun thinking about and exploring the ways in which I could express myself. If you’re interested in my written thoughts, as always, you can read on at this link. Featured in the video below is music by audionautix.com.


The article that resonated strongly with me was  PATCH TWENTY-THREE: (UN) PREPARED by Sherri Spelic. It was written two and a half years before COVID-19 ever came on the scene to turn our world and lives upside down. However, after I read it, I had to double-check the date it was written because it felt even more relevant now than ever before. I decided to use TikTok to create a video in an attempt to make these already meaningful words feel more profound with the addition of visuals and music. I suspect this might be my first and last TikTok, OR I’ll become a viral sensation overnight – it’s too early to tell which way it’s going to go. 😉 Check out my activity notes to read more on my choice of nugget and how TikTok failed me when creating this thought vector!


Words by Sherri Spelic

♬ Worship Instrumental – Instrumental – Adrian Jonathan


I chose the Colleague Swap article which discusses the relative importance of sustained communication skills and practice through a program for students, and outlines the use-value of a peer review activity as part of courses. 

I narrowed in on this passage: 

“Allowing students to critique each other’s papers also creates a more cooperative learning environment and increases student involvement in the content and flow of the course. It is only natural that students develop a greater vested interest in a class in which they believe their feedback matters.”

Using this, I have built out a Rise Module, which is visible here.


Wow those thought vectors up there were great! I’ll finish things off with a set of screencast GIFs, which I made using Gyazo. I chose to nugget up Patch 21 – Just Listen, by Chuck Pearson, which is about empathy in science pedagogy. Do yourself a favor and have a careful read of his post. It is epic. My attempt to make the piece more meaningful is to kind of make a preview walkthrough of what you’re getting into if you read through it. This is a bit of an experimental approach. All the GIFs may be overwhelming to see at once so just have a look at one at a time and remember that GIFs loop forever so you can take your time. You can find all this by clicking on Activity #6 in the table of contents on the left side of this page. You can even comment to let me know how much you (dis)like this approach!

What’s Next?

Can you believe we’re nearing the end of our first module already? Next week we’ll be completing the last activity of the Teacher For Learning module, which will bring us to the end of that journey and to the achievement of our first badge! Be on the lookout for our answers to the Your Metaphor activity and if you haven’t added your name to our list yet, please do so! We want to be able to keep you in the loop about the mOOC we’re launching in the spring. It’s a great opportunity to join our fun crew and learn alongside other educators from across the globe!

Featured Image Credit: Image by SpaceX-Imagery from Pixabay 

This Week’s Pit Stop

a travel mug siting on top of a car

Last week we embarked on this exciting learny journey of ours to complete all six of the Ontario Extend modules. Like all good journeys, we’ll be taking breaks every now and then to pause and reflect on our individual experiences so far. This week, we’re going to take our first little pit stop to reflect on our answers from the third Extend activity in the Teacher for Learning Module: Cornell Notes

The Cornell Notes method is a note-taking system devised in the 1940s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. It is still an incredibly effective and widely used method for organizing knowledge and for teaching students better note-taking skills.

You can take a look at what we came up with below when we each took our crack at it!

Disclaimer: A couple of us have chosen to be old-school and write our notes by hand instead of typing them out. Although we acknowledge that this may impact the ability of others to read them (and that it IS the year 2021), it is still well within the rules to choose this method so don’t be judgy!


I’m going to use this activity to kickstart a collective note-taking activity in my Facilitating Online Learning class at Lambton. The course’s textbook is an open textbook called Teaching in a Digital Age. I came across a series of videos that Tony Bates, the author of the text, made to introduce major themes in the book. So I chose the Theories of Learning video to try the activity myself as that is the topic we covered last week. Next I will assign this activity to the class as well and suggest that we try to get a set of shared notes on all of the other videos in the series. That way the whole class will have access to a set of resources with the extra bonus that the students will also begin the Extend learny journey themselves! A friend on Twitter pointed me to this Cornell Notes template on a tool called Notion so I tried it out! Have a look at what I came up with here.


I ended up creating a very simplified template to do this via Word as I haven’t really taken notes by hand (for very good legibility reasons). The video I chose is “A fascinating time capsule of human feelings toward AI”. I think one of the takeaways for me is how much longer it can take to properly take notes using this method. For a 6 minute clip, it took me approximately double to 2.5 times as long to make the notes, clean them up and pause/restart the video. The result, I think, is a much more concise list of takeaways. My responses and notes are here.


My note-taking methods served me well while at university; however, it certainly was not a skill I was ever taught and my “method” sadly consisted of simply writing fast and writing lots. This activity was the first time I’ve attempted Cornell Notes, so I was excited to try it out. Even though I type everything these days, I still decided to handwrite my notes because writing things out definitely helps the words land better in my memory (FACT: I still remember all of the songs whose lyrics I painstakingly wrote out line by line including this classic jam)! I chose the inspiring Michelle Pacansky-Brock‘s keynote from a conference back in July – The Anatomy of Learning: Cultivating Care from the Very First Click. Read more about my experience and check out my first stab at Cornell Notes!


My handwriting has, regrettably, not improved much since grad school. Generally speaking, my note-taking strategy often feels like a race against the clock to jot down every idea I possibly can–so having a bit of a game plan was a new experience for me. I’ve uploaded an (embarrassing) picture of my notes which you can check out here.

What’s Next?

Next week we’ll be tackling two more activities, which will bring us just over halfway in our journey through the Teacher For Learning module! Be sure to check back in to see our answers for the “What’s in it for me” activity from a student’s perspective and the Like Driving a Car activity, where we explore more concepts from our respective disciplines. Don’t forget to add your name to the list if you’re interested in joining us in the spring. See you next week!