January 14, 2014
To Whom It May Concern:
As a former student participant in #Etmooc2013 I would love to nominate Dr. Alec Couros for the Teaching Award of Excellence for Flexible Learning. I joined #Etmooc in January 2013 as a relative rookie to the field of educational technology. As a high school counsellor from Calgary, I had no formal training related to educational technology but had wanted to learn how to connect with my students in a meaningful manner. I was very nervous to jump into a world I had never known, and wasn’t sure if I belonged. Thankfully I entered an environment where we were encouraged to ask questions. We could go back and review videos, Google Hangouts, Blackboard Collaborate sessions and Open Source course notes as often as we wanted and on our own time lines. This helped individuals like myself who were full time professionals and parents, explore their new environment on their own terms. Dr. Couros and the rest of this team had a very approachable demeanor which was always patient. The key phrase was “take what you need, when you need it”.
They say that a manager directs and a leader encourages those around them to stretch their wings and become all that they can be. By this definition I would definitely say that Dr. Alec Couros is a true leader. Dr. Couros encourages all of his students to take what they learn from the experiences he facilitates online and go out into their worlds and apply their skills. Since the end of #Etmooc I have continued to connect with my colleagues through a number of off-shoot projects which developed based on connections I made through #Etmooc. First I am a regular vlogger for the Fellowship of the Openspokes https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116395158372553895482 . A community of vloggers from around the world who ask questions and offer support to each other around teaching and learning.
Second I was involved in the planning committee for another cmooc the Open Online Experience OOE13 https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102207059956192791361 This project was inspired by #Etmooc with many of the participants being both former students and professionals recommend by Dr Corous.
Finally we, the students of #Etmooc, have maintained an active Post #Etmooc community https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111431081834171225314 which has continued to connect through twitter chats, hash tags, Google + and Google Hangouts. We organize both twitter chats and Google Hangouts to continue to maintain and facilitate the personal connections that Dr. Couros modeled were so critical to educators during our #Etmooc experience.
My connections with Dr. Couros continue to impact my career. This year I have taken a position as an English teacher and coordinator of international relations in Tarui, Japan. The PLN (professional learning network) that I developed under Dr. Couros’ tutelage, continues to provide me with support and suggestions on the other side of the world. I am truly grateful that I was able to learn the skills to connect online before my move as I can not image how much more isolated I would feel without them.
Dr. Alec Couros is a leader, a visionary and a role model. I am truly honored to have participated in one of his courses and I feel that he has demonstrated exemplary skill in providing flexible learning.