I helped write a MOOC in Philadelphia. (WTH??)

I’ve been travelling and book touring (and eating lots of delicious new foods while I’m at it…) so my poor blog has been rather neglected! I’m all done though with book launch stuff and back to full-time parent duty because the Hot Man has moved to Samoa for work. So I’m ready to get into my favourite first writing love: blogging. Prepare for lots of ranting, raving, meandering blogposts to come.

But first, some of the highlights of my travelling. Which may not be that super-fascinating for those of you who are accustomed to a jet-setting, high society lifestyle because of course, it doesn’t take much to excite me or impress me because I never go anywhere or do anything…

1. I went to Philadelphia because I was invited by the Commonwealth Education Trust to take part in a planning committee that’s putting together a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on teaching how to write for young readers. The 12 week free course will be hosted on the Coursera platform to a global audience. I got to meet and work with a fascinating group of people who are all involved somehow with writing and are experts in their particular area. We wanted to design a course that would provide some basic skills and tools for those with a writing dream, as well as encourage them to draw on their unique cultural settings to enrich their stories. The Bio list of the other participants was rather daunting for me to read because they are such a talented and accomplished group of experts (and so my teenagers were asking, ‘Umm so why did they ask YOU to be on the committee Mum?!’ Thanks a lot for the confidence boost kids…) I learned heaps. You can read more about it from two of the other participants, Uma Krishnaswami (India/USA author and Creative Writing Professor) : http://umakrishnaswami.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/the-commonwealth-education-trust-moocs.html

And Summer Edward (Trinidad/USA Writer, Consultant and Editor of Anansesem, The Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine): http://www.summeredward.com/

While I was in Philly, I tried Taco Bell for the first time. #LikedIt


Was very impressed with the hotel conference room we were meeting in for 8hrs every day because it was always fully stocked with LOTS of Diet Coke and buckets of ice.


How cool is that?! Was intrigued by rocking chairs everywhere at Philly airport.


And enjoyed writing and book chat with this insightful group.


I didn’t get to see much of Philly because I was in a workshop all day but what I did see was beautiful. If I ever am forced to go back to University, I would like it to be Univ of Pennsylvania because its a breathtaking campus.

It was an exciting opportunity to be a part of the CET course planning. It has so much potential to light writing fires in countries all over the world and help get more stories written and published that provide unique insight into all of our different cultures. I’m particularly buzzed about its application to Pasifika. Because the course is free and all one needs is internet access – I am hopeful that it will be instrumental in getting more stories written about us…for us…and by us. I know lots of you blog readers have stories to tell, so I will keep you posted on the course development so you can all sign up once it goes live!

(Hawaii was so jam-packed with fabulousness that its going to require several blog posts…)

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