(Initial) Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali's blog has now moved to http://blog.mahabali.me

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Moving on :) Reclaiming my own domain

Dear all,

This is just a quick post to say – I have moved! I will no longer be posting to https://balimaha.wordpress.com (unless I do so by mistake!) – I will now be posting to my new self-hosted website, on which I have moved this blog: http://www.blog.mahabali.me – using the easy import/export function of wordpress and the really cool tool “jetpack” which hopefully has also moved my followers over… Still not sure of I managed to get that to work properly…

I registered as http://www.mahabali.me which I thought was a nice play on “me” as in “myself” and “me” as in Middle East (ignoring the various connotations of that for a second, because whoever decided to call “us” Middle or East?)

When I first created my blog late December 2013, I could not imagine how frequently I would be blogging, or how important the blog would become as part of my life. Thanks to #et4online and Jim Groom, I realized that reclaiming my own domain may be the solution to some issues I had been trying to work with for a while … More on that on my new blog soon inshallah

Looking forward to seeing you there soon!




#et4online: the great, the unexpected, and the weird

This is a quick post to capture some interesting dynamics going on at #et4online. This is possibly my favorite conference experience ever. Have never been so engaged, and I even lost about 1.5 hours while putting my daughter to sleep!


So … the great, of course, was Jim Groom’s workshop. The content, we’ve already been through – I was lucky enough that he asked me to help him test it out and I was doing that yesterday. But what was interesting were the dynamics of the session. I went a bit early and the moderator (Jean, she was incredible) asked right off “where are you joining us from?” and I decided to play a little and told her “ask Jim and he’ll tell you” – and that sort of started us off on a good tone as she learned I was from Egypt and he said hi, etc. (at this point we discovered there was a video delay of about 3-4 minutes for me because Jean was telling me things before I heard them). Anyway, what was cool about this session was that Jim and Jean made a LOT of effort to include the virtual attendees. It kind of helped that we were a vocal bunch, and that Jim started the presentation by showing up my “new” blog on his reclaimdemo that I created y/day and answering some of the questions I posed on it.

So the great: the way Jean and Jim made us virtual attendees feel like we were fully there. Really well done. Worthy of an unconference session JUST to talk about that and I’ll recommend one.



I did not expect how important other social media outside the conference would be for my engagement. One small tweet I made quoting Amy Collier (but not saying I was quoting her, just putting the hashtag for her session) resulted in a really interesting discussion about the place of  “failure” in educational discourse, with people like Apostolos and Sean Morris and a few ppl I don’t know. Near the end, Apostolos suggested we wouldn’t be able to agree with 140 characters, someone said they need long-form, I suggested we write something for Instructure, Sean (I think) brought them in BAM. We have a storify and Instructure interested in publishing something out of this – no idea if it’ll be a crowdsourced article with diff viewpoints, or a series of articles, or whatever. But what a productive backchannel conversation!! Storify here (this was done amazingly fast by Rolin)

(btw – take my poll… first time I try this on wordpress)



The first session I attended today was the one where Mike Caufield couldn’t go because of a back problem, and so Amy Collier and MJ Bishop ran it. During the first half of it, I did not feel like as a virtual attendee I was really in the session (the Jim/Jean session above provided a contrast, but the circumstances were completely different). I wrote quite a few things in the chat session but found myself talking to myself, so listened in while typing on twitter (hence “the unexpected” above) and at some point had a few things I wanted to ask more privately than Twitter so asked them on facebook to rhizo14… got a few responses there, then someone said something to make me feel guilty for not saying the stuff publicly on twitter … so re-thinking that and will probably write something separately once I get a chance to re-watch that session (got interrupted half-way through because my daughter was calling me and I don’t want to presume certain things were not covered or discussed when they may have been).

I’ll stop here for now and be back again soon…inshallah


Sloan-C here I Come…No, wait, I already came! #et4online

So… I signed up to attend the Sloan-C #et4online conference – virtually. That’s because I can’t travel too often with a young child in tow, and I really didn’t want to miss out on this amazing lineup! As I said before – first time I attend an international conference where I really know a few of the people. And at least know of quite a few of the others.

So there I was tweeting occasionally using the hashtag to see who else I know who is going – and lo and behold, two #rhizo14ers will be there (well Rebecca is presenting; Ashley attending virtually like me).

So I was signing up for events and I found the keynote and a workshop by the Jim Groom , so I thought I’d follow him on twitter… he followed me back (nice guy) and so I tweeted to him and got this reply:

The resulting activity yesterday was so much fun. Late night his time and early morning my time he sent me a link to reclaimdemo – a place where I could experiment as if I had my own domain… and I did! I blogged about it right there on my “new” wordpress blog on the reclaim demo thing itself (yes, that’s meta-cognition or meta-something for you) – and then based on responses to some of the questions I blogged about, I managed today to install the plugins for sharing onto my new blog. Cool 🙂

Jim seems to have gotten pretty excited because he wrote this:

And earlier, he had written this (which got me in touch with a couple of other really interesting folks on twitter  who were “listening in” – I love it when that happens on twitter):

So… long story short: I started the conference before it started. And that is what is soooo cool about online. Social media empowering the semi-privileged indeed 🙂

What may not be as cool, though, is what will happen given I’m more of an asynchronous person:

1. Time zone difference: 8:30 am Dallas = 3:30 pm Cairo = toddler back from daycare = noise, distraction, etc.

2. Cairo these days gets a lot of electrical cuts, especially later on in the day. I’ve got 3G on m iPad but that’s not too reliable, or fast, and did not work too well y/day while trying to do the reclaim demo thing…

So… fingers crossed I can participate anyway 🙂 otherwise, recordings will have to do. Will wait and see.