Insights from the Field: Learners as Explorers


Jennifer Rafferty, Director of the Institute, Online Learning Consortium

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning.  This week, Cathy Arreguin, instructor for the OLC Institute workshop Exploring App Smashing, joins us to discuss the importance of curating content and being an explorative learner, as well as a variety of other topics.

OLC: What are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?
I recommend the following three ways to stay current in the field:
1. Talk to like-minded others. Share ideas, ask for other learning solutions and brainstorm.
2. Curate your list of blogs, feeds, and even Facebook groups. Find your favorites resources and commit to carefully gleaning information from the best content on these resource pages.
3. Think outside the box. Coming from a K-12 background, I always make sure to take a peek at what’s trending in that space that might translate into higher education teaching and learning. Also, look at corporate and non-profit training. And then, of course, share with your colleagues!

OLC: How do you define innovation?
I define innovation by asking, “How else can we ….present this information, turn information into learning, solve a learning problem? After that, I also ask, “And, is that idea better?”  We should think about innovation as innovation for improvement

OLC: There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC? 
I began teaching for OLC in 2008, sharing my expertise in the design and development of Multiuser Virtual Environment learning spaces and activities. As a facilitator, it was thrilling to interface with so many talented educators from all areas of the United States and beyond! It was a win-win for all involved and we consistently learned from each other. Later, I was honored to be asked to join the OLC instructional design team and I had the opportunity, not only to design, but also to facilitate a number of OLC courses, as well as produce the OLC Online Teaching Certificate as it grew, both domestically and globally. Currently, I facilitate the workshop Exploring App Smashing, where we explore a number of ways to use multiple apps to create engaging and effective media resources.

OLC: What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the course you teach?
My courses are always designed to be interactive, exploratory and collaborative. Learners, or explorers, are encouraged to really jump into the topic and share ideas with others. I offer many resources and ideas, of course. However, we all benefit as we collaborate together to synthesize possible instructional solutions. I really enjoy jumping into the exploring and sharing my enthusiasm and discoveries.

OLC: What was the last book, journal or article you read that relates to the field?
Recently I’ve read a number of e-books detailing the use and development of iBooks (or, more broadly, interactive books). My next reading will include relevant research, best practices and case studies.

OLC: How can people connect with you?  
Twitter: @cathyarreguin

About Cathy Arreguin

Cathy Arreguin, M.A. Cathy Arreguin has been an educator for 20 years and in higher education since 2007. Her background includes K12 teaching and multimedia instructional resource development, teacher professional development training and higher education instruction, media and course design.  Formerly part of the OLC instructional design team, she produced OLC’s Certificate program as well as numerous workshops.  She currently concentrates on her adjunct work with San Diego State University, Department of Learning Design & Technology and in exploring the expanding opportunities of interactive, mobile-based learning activities and environments. Her past work includes emphases in Multiuser Virtual Environments, Digital Storytelling, Emotional Intelligence and K12 technology integration. Cathy’s loves to design and execute learning opportunities that are highly engaging, interactive, exploratory and collaborative. She holds a M.A. Education (Educational Technology) from San Diego State University. She currently lives in the “Mother Lode” of California, has a gold pan, and knows how to use it.


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