Making Time for Thanks

As we move towards the day of turkey, I find myself fighting with a full inbox and calendar full of committee meetings. Particularly at this point of the semester it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, let alone enjoy the journey through the dark. However, over an early Thanksgiving dinner this weekend, we talked about what we’re thankful for, and I decided to extend the feelings of gratitude about work. So here are three things I’m thankful for with my job.

The Online Teaching Fellows

This is both a shameless plug, and the honest truth. It’s always immediately apparent to anyone who works with me on a regular basis when a session of the Online Teaching Fellows is meeting – my energy is higher, I smile more, there may have been an incident where I skipped along the hallway. I’m excited about online education, and the OTF allows me to have a captive audience of passionate teachers to talk to, listen to and share ideas with, and is the best part of my job.

Professional Development

Over the last three years with UWGB I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Online Learning Consortium (previously the Sloan Consortium) international conference in Orlando. This is one of the biggest online learning conferences in the world and features keynote speakers that include John Medina (author of Brain Rules), Arfon Smith (expert on Citizen Science), a whole range of MOOC founders and my new professional crush Dave Cormier. The breadth and number of sessions are dizzying, and I can always find something to pique my interest. The sense of reinvigoration and inspiration I get from this trip is enough to get me through the dark winter days in my basement cubicle.


Ok, so here’s the mawkish one! Without a doubt, the people that I get to spend my time with are the best part of my job. While I am an introvert and love the parts of my job I get to do alone, it’s the people who inspire me and push me to improve, research and become better at my job. From a director with the same passion for teaching and learning, to an administrative assistant who isn’t shy about nagging me to write my blog posts, to instructional technologists that are as funny as they are patient, to all the faculty who challenge me and inspire me … With all of these wonderful people around, I can stay positive even with the small annoyances of D2L and the big frustrations of the wider issues in education.

With so many external factors impacting how, what and why we teach, it can be hard for me to feel thankful. However taking the time to think of the fun and positive parts of my job has helped reinvigorate me. Well that and a couple of days off! Enjoy the turkey on Thursday!

Joanne DolanJoanne Dolan
Instructional Design Coordinator,

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