Office 365 Planner for Groups

Asking for a Friend Series – Episode 1: How can I set up and use a Planner group in Office 365.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This is a collection of training resources “for a friend” – use your institutional log-in to access – Microsoft Office Support

Blog posts

So there you go friend, (you know who you are) and if you need more, let me know (you know where to find me)!

Note: Extending my curator skills by sorting through all the stuff on the internet about this topic and picking out the good ones. I learned about curation at OntarioExtend.



Extending my PLN through Twitter

My adventures in creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is only weeks old. However, through OntarioExtend – the modules, the blogging and the Dailies, I already have a fruitful PLN growing.

First Steps:

Photo by Daniel Hjalmarsson on Unsplash
  • I began with the Daily Extend. I created one and tweeted it. Then I watched for people to either tweet a Daily or like a Daily. If they did, I followed them.
  • I created my first blog and added it to the ExtendWest blog feed. Then I read other blog posts that showed up and found those folks on Twitter and followed them.
  • I attended two conferences in early May, the Open Education Summit 2018 held in Windsor, Ontario and the OntarioExtend’s ExtendWest Kick-off event held in Sarnia, Ontario. I added people I met to twitter. I tweeted about the events and searched #oes2018 and #ExtendWest and added people who were also tweeting about these events.

Second Steps:

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Then I started cleaning up:

  • I did not follow back everyone who followed me. When someone follows me, I check them out first. Is this person just looking to increase their follower count or do they have something interesting to offer me? If the person is creating new tweets (not just retweeting) and has interests in common with me – particularly in teaching, learning, technology, professional development… I follow them back.
  • I checked the list of people I follow and thought about why they are on the list. If I couldn’t come up with at least one good reason, I unfollowed them.
  • I discovered Twitter lists. I love lists. After I add someone, I put them in a list based on categories. It helps me remember why I added them and when I review, I can decide if they are worth keeping. Sounds mercenary, but you have to be worthy of my time and I will do my best to be worthy of yours.

Taking Further Steps:

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash
  • Now I am watching my feed and looking for people who people I respect follow especially those that more than one person I respect follow! I add these new sources.
  • I am also thinking about and looking for organizations that work towards goals that are important to me. Here is one to consider adding to your PLN: @Womenalsoknowstuff
  • I am also beginning to explore Twitter Chats and VConnecting.

The Big Step:

I can’t just lurk in the background, taking from my PLN and offering back only likes. I have to figure out what I can contribute. I am not sure what that is yet.

Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

In the meantime, I am okay with the idea that it is early days and I am still learning about cultivating my PLN. But along the way, I am doing a lot of learning by observing. And of course, the Collaborating Module in OntarioExtend is providing a good road map. I am going to repeat this activity in about the month and see how my PLN has changed!

Featured Image screenshot from TAGSExplorer while playing with Replay Tweets was taken and decorated with TechSmith Snag-it.


Small Institutional Research Projects

It is my favorite Summer past time, because Student Services never sleeps. For most faculty, summer time means an opportunity for a two month break. Not so in Student Services. At St. Clair College, we have two Retention Coordinators and that means, for the most part, one of us has to been available over the spring and summer months. And, I don’t mind working in the summer, the college has air conditioning and the slightly quieter paces means small summer research.

I generally pick a question of interest to me and see where it leads. Some past questions I have explored include:

  • What prevents students who have a GPA of 3.0 or better in their final semester from graduating?
  • For program X, what is the institutional retention of students who drop out? The difference between stop out and drop out over five years.
  • What are the success rates in MTH XXX after offering specialized class walk-in tutoring compared to previous three years?
  • What programs do students who have taken preparatory courses graduate from within five years?
  • Which programs have high tutoring usage, according to KPI results, but have the lowest KPI satisfaction/highest KPI dissatisfaction (in tutoring)?

Because of this activity, the books I read generally have a research focus. This summer, I am scanning two books I have read in other summers: How to measure anything, 3rd Edition by Donald Hubbard and Workplace research by Zina O’Leary and Jennifer Hunt and I am adding Essential Scrums by Kenneth Rubin.


Randomness Writing Prompt

Daily Extend #183 Tell a story based on Randomness Story Generator Widget.

Random Story

Arlo stood at the side of road, watching the figures fade into the distance. He sighed. They were so sleek and slender, spinning faster and faster away. How he longed to be with them, zipping here and there.

The freedom they must feel, wind at their back, able to cross vast distances in no time. Well, alright, not no time but little time. Certainly, less time than Arlo. Short, fat, dumpy Arlo, low to the ground and, at the moment, low in spirits.

As he plodded along down the road he imagined what it would be like to be one of them. It would never happen. His legs were far to short. But oh, what a thrill it would be to sit upright with two wheels beneath him, hands on the bar, feet on peddles. He would zip away from the dust and the grit of the road, the pounding sun and the endless plodding.

Hours passed as Arlo waddled down the road. Well, alright, what seemed like hours. Who could keep track of time with the monotony of laborious step after step! Wait, what is that down the road? All those fast bikers, just standing around? As Arlo neared, he could see their problem. The bridge was out! The river was swollen with the recent rains and had taken out the only bridge across for miles in the last storm!

Hmmm, pondered Arlo. What would they do now? Embarrassed, Arlo plodded past and slipped into the water. With his powerful tail, the fast-moving water was nothing. He swam easily to the other side. His legs were short but powerful as he gripped the bank and rose from the river to glide up the bank.

Spencer stood with his bike at the side of river, watching the figure fade into the distance. He sighed. That one was so strong and powerful, swimming faster and faster away. How he longed to be with him in the river….

Sirona Vapes After Dark

The title of this post is the name of one of my Vaping Shows. For the last 18 months, I have been part of a community that produces online broadcasts using either OBS or Xsplit for the Vaping community. So what does this have to do with creating a PLN. A lot, actually. I have been very interested in different ways of communicating online with technology and I have used other interests such as vaping and gaming to explore those technologies. I found that I am a teacher and a communicator where ever I am and I have been able to extend my learning through leisure activities to my work as a faculty member at a Ontario college.

Using Coggle, I created a map of the types of communication technologies I use in different arenas of my life (pictured below). I have been a full-time faculty for almost 11 years with another 13 years of part-time teaching and support staff contracts at St. Clair College. I have been an online gamer for 13 years and a vape broadcaster for a year and a half. I have been working on a PLN using Twitter for just over a month. Not long at all in comparison.

Me_and_desire_for_new_ideas_and_insights_into_communicating_with_technology (1).png

I have more experiences in developing and maintaining a Personal Learning Network with the Vaping and Gaming communities then I do with the Higher Education community. My gaming experiences in creating a YouTube channel of instructional videos and my broadcasting experiences in the vaping community improved my ability to create videos for my work. Using chat through Skype and Discord with players from all over the world increased my cultural awareness of communication patterns and pitfalls that has helped me in speaking with and understanding my International students and tutors. Building reciprocal relationships though Facebook helps me to better understand what is needed to develop online connections on Twitter with other Higher Ed professionals. But I am still finding it hard to generalize my experiences and to understand the requirements of the Collaborator Module for Ontario Extend.

Perhaps part of this stems from my struggles in trying to create a PLN at the college with other faculty. As a faculty member in Student Services, I have found that Academic faculty and others in the Academic sector often don’t think of Student Services people as faculty. I am currently classified as a counsellor and while I may not be a professor, I do have a practice that includes teaching. I have an interest in teaching and learning but do not have many opportunities to meet with and talk with faculty outside of Student Services. The kinds of meetings we have and the sort of communication vehicles we use (email and telephone) do not lend themselves to community building or finding allies. Even our schedules make this difficult. As faculty who are scheduled 35 hours per week, we have regular lunch periods and most in-class faculty have, can I say, erratic schedules that don’t necessarily allow for a 12 noon to 1 pm break.

I will attempt to create a PLN map for the Extend Activity, I just hope I can figure out at least 10 people to put on it!

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

dinner table

Recently, our department began work on a project to identify information new students would need to ease their transition to college. The goal was to begin the work on a BlackBoard module set that could be shared with students before they arrived on campus. This process was initiated by our Director and I was given Faculty lead.

We had a nice mix of skills and perspectives around the working table and this was supplemented by others outside our group who were invited to submit information or who participated in meetings led by our Director in order to give input.

The primary form of communication was face-to-face meetings in small groups about every other working day with lots of brainstorming with larger group meetings once a week for updates and goal setting for the next week. Email communication was frequent. Given that we were all from the same institution and the core group all worked in Student Services, this process worked well for us.

The fact that we brought different skills to the table also helped our team. We had a good mix of big picture, strategy thinkers and detail oriented implementors. We had faculty, support staff and administrators on the team as well. In addition, we had students contributing their skills and ideas in the area of HTML and CSS as well as their impressions of the work from a student perspective.

Missing at the table was a representative from the IT department. This would have been helpful to address some of our questions and concerns in a more timely fashion.

This post was created as part of the Collobrator Module for Ontario Extend.

Original dinner table Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash

Applying the CRAAP Test

Focusing on OER textbook selection that I made for Porter’s Five Forces, I will apply the CRAAP Test in this post.

Evaluating the Industry in Mastering Strategic Management, 1st Canadian Edition (2014) by Janice Edwards on BC Open Textbooks.


This textbook was published in 2014 on BC Open Textbooks and is based on Mastering Strategic Management by University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing in 2011. While this may be bordering on dated, most concepts of Strategic Management have not changed and Janice Edwards added updated Canadian content in 2014.


The textbook covers expected models and concepts at the college level for introductory and Intermediate study of Strategic Management


Janice Edwards, Centennial College
Dave Ketchen, Auburn University
Jeremy Short, University of Oklahoma

A full description of the authors’ credentials are available on the Open Textbook Library Website.


I found the textbook to be free of errors and issues. On the Open Textbook Library, the original textbook was reviewed 7 times between 2013 and 2018 and received a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.


The purpose of the text is to education and inform students at the post secondary level on methods and models of strategic management including the analysis of business problems. This matches my intention and audience.

This post was created for an Extend Activity in the Curator Module.