“That’s not a course…it’s a community.”

In our most recent class session for GRAD602 we explored the idea of course sites as platforms of participation. My colleague Britt Watwood led the session and took us on a reflective tour of web-based course sites. This is a schtick Britt has facilitated many times before, and it always begins with a review of the history of the LMS – its development, functionality and the rapid adoption by faculty in higher education. The basic premise is that LMS technology is a rather teacher-centered technology whose appeal lies in the fact that it tends to reinforce existing practices, and functions well to serve as a parking lot for course content and keeps grades locked up safe and available to students. Britt paints a slightly more rosy picture, but that is the gist of it. Students in class reported that their experience of the LMS is not all that well aligned with the idea of being a platform of participation. It is a pretty good platform of compliance though.

Britt then transitioned to taking a look at our current course site which we’ve developed on WordPress, it includes a collection of course feeds via netvibes, a twitter feed, and podcasts. Nothing new here, in fact we’ve shamelessly copied much of this stuff from others far more creative than we are. Yet the course site has some life beyond any single semester instance…it hints at the hope of an extended community…but its not quite there yet. Still, the students noticed that the experience and feel of the WP site was more inviting and was a bit more in line with being a platform of participation (no pressure for them to say that, huh?).

We then took a turn to explore the idea of fan sites. Fan culture on the web is a pretty interesting seam in the conversation around course sites…at least we thought so. The idea of groups forming to share interests, ideas, resources…and engage in dialogue / banter / harangue…around a topic of mutual passion…these sound like awesome ingredients for building online communities. Britt pitched a Justin Bieber fan site (which I purposely will not link to here). There are literally tons of web-based community sites, where user-generated content is the coin of the realm. There really seems to be some value in having course sites collide with fan sites on the web. Henry Jenkins has written far more eloquently about this topic for years…so I’ll just leave that one on the table.

We then pitched ds106 as an example of a course site that seems to have successfully emulated this collision I briefly described. While ds106 was conceived as a course (an open course) it now seems more course-like as it evolved and grew into its current form from robust community involvement that helped to build and grow it…the radio show, the daily create, the assignment bank…user-generated learning content. The students in GRAD602 picked up on these ideas and I was particularly struck by a comment a student made during our discussion in response to ds106…”That is not a course…it’s a community!” That really rang in my ears for a while…and is worth stating again.

“That is not a course…it’s a community!”

Somehow the statement seemed to be suggesting that courses are not supposed to be communities. Or perhaps that notions of community are nice, but not altogether consistent with time honored notions of academic courses. Why not?

We used this statement as a springboard for a post-class debrief which we recorded and posted here:

We discussed a few pieces that seem to contribute to course sites moving towards communities:

  • Shelf Life – Ongoing access to the materials and discussions beyond any one semester
  • Multiple Entry Points – Supports sharing of learner-generated content
  • Open – Can engage the wider interwebs
  • [Re]engagement – “Can I come back?” Provides opportunities for past students to revisit the course

What else might you add?


What if your course was more like Chipotle?

I’ve been having some initial conversations with my colleagues Enoch Hale and Britt Watwood about how we conceptualize the narrative of innovation as it relates to our work in higher education. We had a wonderful conversation this morning about innovation in the business / consumer world, and used that as a way to map onto higher education (a thought I know will make some of you cringe, but bear with me here). I’m going to steal an idea from our conversation, and use that as my contribution (#3) to the 30-Day question challenge. So here goes:

Question #3: What if your course was more like Chipotle?

What has Chipotle done here that I (and others) find pretty interesting…and I’ll venture to say innovative? They took different pans of well-known taco / burrito ingredients (beans, chicken, carnitas, sofritas, corn relish, salsa, cheese, lettuce) fairly predictable stuff…and empowered their customers to [re]mix and [re]combine them in countless numbers of ways. Choices personalized! As Enoch shared in our conversation, there are exposed and known choices…and then there are the “hidden choices”…or the possibilities and options that folks envision and experience when they come into Chipotle to eat. Let’s face it, the taco / burrito is not a new consumer product. It is a known and familiar entity. But eh Taco Bell “Live Mas” pitch where they stuff the same fixins into a new and innovative wrapper “Doritos Taco Shell” just doesn’t do it for me.

I think higher education does a fair share of claiming new / innovative stuff by putting a new taco shell around old content and practices. Its not appealing…at least not to me.

So is there value in conceptualizing a Chipotle model for courses we teach? I see several potential value options…

1) Bringing imagination of new opportunities to the teaching & learning enterprise…i.e., there is common fare that can be re-conceptualized and shared in new ways.

2) There is opportunity for empowerment and choice for learners right out of the gate.

3) Learning can take on a personalized flavor (obvious pun…sorry couldn’t help it).

4) [Re]mix / [Re]combine…becomes a learning expectation for the course.

Its about option generation…


30-day Question Challenge (#2)

When you find something that works you tend to stick with it. Sometimes it is simply patterned behavior…no big surprise there. But these patterned practices can also become scripted thinking routines…entrenched in teaching and learning, almost to the point where we don’t question…its just accepted as obvious…its what we do.

We see this in simple ways, students (children & adults) who sit in the same place – all the time – and with teachers who do that same go-to activity year after year. We are comfortable with the routine and the predictable. its not that there is inherently anything bad with routine, but I think it can prevent us from thinking about something new, or trying a new practice – in essence – to sit somewhere else. A change of perspective can be healthy.

So my questions:

Question 2: How can we “sit differently” to gain new perspectives on teaching and learning?

What I’m thinking about here are activities that get our brains to do something different than what we might be used to. Its like trying to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Or walking backward through your house. What are some possible analogues that might help us to think different about teaching and learning? I realize I may really have oversimplified the issues here…but I’m wondering about what benefit we might gain from shifting the way we engage in routine teaching-learning behaviors.

What do you think?


30-day Question Challenge (#1)

My colleague here in the CTE, Enoch Hale, who blogs over at Archer’s Paradox has issued a call that I found inspiring: “pose an out-of-the-box question about teaching and learning each day for 30 days.” So, I’ve decided to take the challenge, noting that my blogging frequency is less than a post per month…this is a very real challenge for me. So here goes…

Question 1: What might it mean to teach like an octopus?

OK, I have absolutely no idea what I mean by this, just yet. But I’ve been fascinated by the behaviors of these creatures…

For example…talk about literally thinking out of the box…check this out –>

I picture myself inside that box and think, “no way…IMPOSSIBLE…I’m imprisoned in here.” What is this octopus thinking that makes this seem so effortless and obvious? Believing in the possible? The implications of this for teaching seem worth pursuing for me…and at the same time a little daunting because I have no idea how the octopus pulls this off.

Or this clip depicting the ways in which an octopus can change color, be a shape-shifter, blend and reappear…

Again…the octopus is fascinating in the ways it thinks itself into the possible. What does it mean to teach like an octopus?


Checking the Oil

Recently in our GRAD 602 course we have engaged in some thinking about the meaning and use of the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). I’ve completed the TPI before, and have found it useful for reflecting on my own beliefs about teaching, as well as for facilitating discussion among faculty members who are interested in doing the same. I see the TPI as a reasonably good method of “checking the oil” to get a reading on how we see ourselves as teachers across the five different perspectives. Upon completing the TPI, most individuals tend to have one perspective that is more dominant that others.My scores (pictured above) indicated a tendency toward the “Developmental” perspective (39), followed by the “Apprenticeship” (33) and “Nurturing” (33) perspectives, and then less so the “Transmission” (29) and “Social Reform” (28) perspectives. I try to look at these results holistically – in a collective sense – of my perspectives on teaching. It remains a meaningful exercise for me to revisit the TPI from time to time…and to reflect on my own perspectives, as well as engage in conversation with colleagues about how they see themselves as depicted by their scores. It is a great tool to facilitate some discussion about teaching.

There were a few things that stuck out for me this time around that I’m thinking about in a different light than I recall previously. While I see myself as holding some commitment to the “Social Reform” perspective, I was surprised by two things: 1) It was the perspective with the lowest score for me, and 2) No one in the course logged the “Social Reform” perspective as their highest score…in fact for many it was also the lowest. Curious? I don’t know…

The description of the “Social reform” perspective reads:

From the Social Reform point of view, the object of teaching is the collective rather than the individual. Good teachers awaken students to values and ideologies that are embedded in texts and common practices within their disciplines. Good teachers challenge the status quo and encourage students to consider how learners are positioned and constructed in particular discourses and practices. To do so, they analyze and deconstruct common practices for ways in which such practices perpetuate conditions that are unacceptable. Class discussion is focused less on how knowledge has been created, and more by whom and for what purposes. Texts are interrogated for what is said and what is not said; what is included and what is excluded; who is represented and who is omitted from the dominant discourse. Students are encouraged to take critical stances to give them power to take social action to improve their own lives and the lives of others. Critical deconstruction, though central to this view, is not an end in itself.

Well now…I’ve tended to be an advocate of the critique of education (and schooling) as essentially functioning to create and maintain the status quo…a site of cultural reproduction. In fact, I’d like to think that in my own practice as a teacher I endeavor to act in ways consistent with the “Social Reform” perspective in the TPI. So with this being the lowest score for me…it certainly gave me pause. I’m reflecting on this result and asking questions about what I’m doing and perhaps more importantly – not doing. Should there be more overt interrogation of higher education itself within a course like GRAD 602? Do the design decisions, assignments, reading selections,and practices that are baked into the course encourage students to “take critical stances to give them power to take social action to improve their own lives and the lives of others?” I’m not sure…I can say that I’m not often very explicit about this…and I’m wondering if I should be. So, I’m going to need to live with this one for a bit, think, and engage with my teacher colleagues about their views…in this way I hope to honor the idea of teaching as community property.


Bologna and Cheese

That’s right, bologna and cheese, this is a favorite sandwich among some folks. I know my son sure likes it…he might even love it. I had not eaten any of these sandwiches in what must have been 30 years…then I tried a bite…memory runs pretty deep for me too it seems. It’s predictable – squishy white bread, bologna, and that smooth processed American cheese. It all comes right back when you have a bite. It feels familiar and known…it gets the job done…it just works. It’s connected up to all those things you know – that you have done before – it fits right back in to a place in your brain that makes sense.

That is until you change something. Sometimes I like a little mustard on the sandwich…my son however will not touch a bologna and cheese sandwich with mustard. He likes it plain and simple…a purist you might say. I’ve seen others react in a similar way…bologna and cheese on whole wheat? Are you crazy? It’s better for you, I say…fiber you know? Hell, I don’t eat bologna and cheese because it’s healthy! Or what about a little mayo…or some lettuce and tomato…you know, change things up a bit. Nope! Resistance, rejection, heckling, that is what you get when you try messing with the bologna and cheese equation.

The memory and feelings run deep.

I think the same thing can happen when we try to change things in the classroom…in the ways we teach…particularly after learners have eaten their fair share of bologna and cheese over the course of 12 + years of schooling.

Changing the menu can be a challenge…and working to expand the learning palate can result in what seems like a lot of untouched plates. It is easier to stay with the predictable – because it feels familiar and known…it gets the job done…it just works. It’s connected up to all those things you know – that you have done before – it fits right back in to a place in your brain that makes sense.

So I’ve been looking for examples of things that change the menu and puts some of this in reverse…that might not fit just right in your brain, that is not something we’ve done before, and is not neatly connected to all those things we know.

I’m trying to think carefully about what these things mean for learning…

Ed Parkour
“Ed Parkour is not a person or a movement.  It is people on the move.  In parkour, the structures of the world are not taken as they were meant, but how they might be used.  Walls, obstacles, and barriers become objects to be leveraged, harnessed, and sometimes altered.  The practitioner of parkour sees the world as a playground of possibility.  Likewise, the practitioner of Ed Parkour tries to leverage and harness the “walls” and “structures” that try to control learning.  Ed Parkour is learning around, over, and outside the walls.”

“Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that happens at various times throughout the year….but you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need. This course is free to anyone who wants to take it, and the only requirements are a real computer (none of those wimpy ass iPads), a hardy internet connection, a domain of your own, some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster (and we’ll spend time helping you get up and running with at least two of the last three requirements).”

“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. Udacity was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. A few weeks later, over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled in our first class, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.”

What are you seeing out there that is a change in the menu?


No guarantees…

The 7 Principles of Good Practice have become a “go to” frame of reference for me when I think about using and adopting digital technologies for learning. For me, the principles represent a useful lens for thinking about my practice and whether a particular use of technology will be able to support or embody them. It’s not an all or nothing deal, but if I can address multiple principles through the use of a technology then I tend to see the combination as a potential learning benefit.

We’ve been having a similar conversation in GRAD 602, and asking whether we find the 7 Principles to be a meaningful set of guidelines for selecting digital technologies as well as informing teaching practice.

Reviews have been mixed.

Some see the Principles in a positive light,  having immediate application in their current context, or recognize the obvious value, of say, communication between teachers and students.  Others have expanded them to include a few additional principles, and even lamented their absence as part of the professional education of PhD students.

Some regard the Principles with a bit more skepticism, at least with their regard to their being used as a heuristic for teaching. Some urge caution at the use of technology to facilitate contact & communication. Others acknowledge experiences where they have employed the Principles, but did not get the “buy-in” from students. Still others viewed the Principles as an idealized vision for education, and questioned whether faculty teaching practices would ultimately align with them unless they were valued throughout the institution…from the top to the bottom.

Clearly there are no guarantees here. Good teaching practice alone does not lead to enhanced learning, indeed learning can and does occur even in the absence of good teaching.

So, does good teaching practice matter? I guess it depends…

If you care about an answer to that question I encourage you to watch this TED Talk from Sugatra Mitra, and see where it leaves you…


The Power of Open

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to ask students to reflect on and share some of their learning in the open. I endeavor to do this myself in some of the writing I do about teaching because it pushes and refines my thinking.  I try to be there with my students as a fellow learner in the process…to model what I’m asking them to do. Sometimes I think it works.

I know I’m not alone in this endeavor; there are other folks who’ve been doing this for a while and trying new things that I find to be wonderful examples of teaching and learning in the open. So I wanted to share a few examples that illustrate what I think is particularly cool and powerful about the process.

One of the gurus for me is Gardner Campbell, who seems to constantly be pulling off amazing learning wherever he goes. He recently described his experience at the OpenEdTech 2010 conference, and shared a story about how he tapped into conversations unfolding in Barcelona and connected them to students at Baylor who in turn amplified and added to the ideas and sent them back around again. His post – The global nervous system worked like a champis thick with meaning for understanding learning that is open, connected and social.

In another example, a colleague of mine here at VCU, Jon Becker, has encouraged his students and his network at large to engage in the learning of the course by sharing the living syllabus on the web, inviting tagging of resources, and reading / commenting on the blogs of students. The opportunity for learning here is amplified and extended by being in the open. Educational leaders not  “officially” in the course can contribute and learn with those aspiring to be school leaders…it becomes a community of practice.

My current favorite is by another VCU colleague, Scott Sherman, who has cooked up a great blog that is his reflective space for sharing ideas about teaching advertising.  Scott has embarked on a very cool project with his students this semester where over 100 students are curating content on the web related to advertisements for Life Savers. They are doing this in the open through individual student blogs aggregated on a Netvibes page as Project54. When the course comes to a close this project will not only be one of the largest collections of curated material about a brand on the web, it will be a learning resource for exploration, dialogue and critique.

Open amplifies learning.


The Teaching with Technology Futures Market

What do you think you should be learning about using technology in teaching?

This was the question I opened with in a class I’m currently co-teaching with my colleague Zach Goodell, called Teaching, Learning and Technology in Higher Education. The course is designed for graduate students who are considering teaching in the academy after they finish their PhD. This particular class session was intended to provide all of us with the opportunity to explore perspectives and to consider ways the web and digital media are changing how and where learning is taking place. The class discussion was rich and layered as students shared their views, questions and comments. What emerged was a focus on four key ideas that seemed to be shared among most of the students, but there was not necessarily agreement on what to do about them just yet. The ideas are briefly outlined below…

Technology and Engagement
Students indicated that there was a need to consider the use of technology in teaching in order to engage learners both inside and outside the classroom. “We need to engage students where they are,” was one comment that really seemed to resonate with students as we discussed this idea. There was mention of a Facebook fan page that was set up in different course to facilitate interaction among students, which was viewed somewhat favorably. There seemed to be a general awareness that the current landscape finds students engaged in a range of digital spaces – where they socialize, share information and build connections – and that there is the need to meet them on that ground in order to connect with and engage them in our courses. Additional examples of this remained a bit elusive.

Avoid Gadgetry
There was a shared perspective that, in teaching, we should not use technology for the sake of technology. Students were well aware of the pervasive and popular appeal of technology today, and viewed the lure of modern gadgetry with skepticism. Selecting and using technology to support learning in meaningful ways was something these students recognized the need for.

Balanced Use
These students also recognized that the use of technology tools takes time and practice in order to be used effectively in teaching. They were sensitive to the idea that there needs to be a balance between learning to use the tools and using the tools for learning. Some software applications may take considerable time to learn to use before they become transparent and can be seamlessly integrated into the course. Using course time to learn a tool was seen as potentially impacting the teaching of course content. I saw this perspective very much in terms of return on investment; how do we determine the amount of time that is worth investing in learning use a technology such that the learning payoff will outweigh that in the long view? Students seemed keenly aware of the need to develop this sense of balance.

Age of Distraction
What do we do about gadgets and laptops in class? During our discussion there was, at times, a heightened emotional response to the question about how we make decisions about student technology use in class. Part of my response was that if you want to bring a laptop to my class and browse email, update Facebook, search for information related to the discussion, send twitter messages…whatever…that was up to you. I acknowledged the responsibility of the instructor to create the conditions necessary to support learning and guide attention, I added that it was also up to each individual student to take the responsibility to decide what they were paying attention to in class. At the same time, as these students pointed out, there is potential for in class tech use to be disruptive…as they shared concerns about the cone of distraction that is sometimes created by laptop / gadget users. I’m not sure banning technology in the classroom is the answer, however. My sense is that we have the capacity to use very powerful digital tools for accessing, sharing and communicating about information, and that as educators we need to make careful and deliberate decisions about how we are going to channel that capacity both inside and outside the classes we teach. This continues to be a hot button issue as university faculty members come to terms with how they will deal with technology in the classroom…and the presence of extreme views are an indicator that this issue remains emotionally charged.

The Promise of Technology
The views these students expressed about what they want to learn about technology are spot-on from my perspective. Teaching with technology is layered and nuanced, and they have articulated several key aspects that drive meaningful use. It seems that in order to learn what is outlined above, faculty members need encouragement to take the time and opportunity to tinker with, test, reflect on, and refine how they use technology in their practice. Meaningful use doesn’t just happen; it is the result of developing specialized knowledge situated in practice. And the bottom line is that this is not likely to happen for the majority of faculty unless it is recognized as part of what it means to demonstrate excellence in teaching. Colleges and universities continue to spend millions of dollars on technology infrastructure, which is then often coupled with the taken for granted notion that meaningful educational use is simply expected as part of the work of teaching. That is not only misguided, but it flies in the face of what we know about knowledge growth in teaching.

It seems like forward thinking colleges and universities would give more than a passing interest to the following…

1) Acknowledge that the web and digital media tools have profoundly altered traditional notions of how and where learning takes place.

2) Recognize that effective teaching with technology has added a complex set of expectations for faculty work in the digital age, and this should be more openly addressed across all academic departments.

3) Teaching with technology in meaningful ways requires time, encouragement, and support well beyond what was expected of university faculty a short 20 years ago.

4) The demonstration of effective use of technology to support teaching and learning should be valued and supported. Integrating this as an expectation into university roles and rewards documents would be a step in the right direction.

Some of this has already begun happening on campuses, but it is far from the norm. Continuing to ignore these issues simply ensures that the promise of technology will be fragmented and elusive. What else should be considered here? Can the enterprise of higher education change course? Has the boat already set sail?

Curious what you think…


Thinking about RSS, Aggregation and Credibility

I think it is fair, and perhaps rather obvious, to say that RSS fundamentally changed our experience of the web. Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the idea of aggregation, both in terms of personal aggregation I can achieve by subscribing to feeds in my RSS reader, and aggregation as a service that is provided by an ever increasing number of news and information portals. As aggregation of media sources becomes an increasingly common and accepted practice, I’ve become more interested in how sources for feeds get vetted and served up at some of the more popular information portals. I know this is not a new idea and that others have certainly entertained the question before, but I’m not sure we ask the question enough of ourselves, or in the work we do with students.

A couple of class sessions ago I explored the idea of RSS and aggregation with the students in my Learning with Digital Media class. I wanted my students to do three things:

  • Set up and use web-based RSS readers to customize information and resources they wanted to have regular access to; essentially setting up a personal newspaper.
  • Explore a process for determining the credibility of content that appears in sites that aggregate news and information.
  • Critique the process of aggregation and raise questions about its impact on how we access news and information.

Students worked in small groups to evaluate four different sites that aggregate news and information. We looked at Google News, NewsCred, Alltop and digg. I selected these sites because I felt they represented different approaches to selecting content for their aggregated feeds. I encouraged students to consider some questions as they examined these sites: Is the process for content selection transparent? In other words, does the site describe how it aggregates the information it presents? To what extent do you feel the content is credible (subjective 1-10 rating scale with 10 being most credible)? What can you offer as a rationale that supports your credibility rating?

The ensuing discussion was interesting. There actually seemed to be a general consensus among the students about the credibility of content on each of these sites. I’ll talk about them briefly here from least to most credible as viewed by the students and try to tease out some overall themes.

Alltop seemed to be viewed as the least credible among the sites. Students tended to see it as middle of the road in terms of credibility. There is a preponderance of blog content on Alltop and the students maintained a general skepticism of information on blogs, even though they acknowledged that blogs can be interesting to read and be quite credible. In addition, there was uncertainty about the selection process on the blogs that were aggregated on Alltop. On one hand it seemed like blogs were aggregated by a combination of self-nomination and then peer review through readership which determined the shelf-life of a blog. This created a view of Alltop that was clubbish, and this diminished the perceived credibility of the content.

digg held slightly greater appeal for students, perhaps due to familiarity with the site. Students seemed to find value in the user rating process that digg employs – the more “diggs” the better or more credible the story or site. However, students also acknowledged that digg tends to cater to a particular demographic, and that content there may not always be of interest to the general population. So while they favored the “voting” process for determining credibility, they also acknowledged that the most popular content on digg was not always the most credible.

NewsCred was a site that not many students had heard of prior to the activity, and represented a hybrid model where custom feeds can be created from established reputable sources, and individual stories / sources receive a credibility rating from users. Students seemed to value what NewsCred was trying to accomplish by making the vetting process for its feeds more transparent, but lacking a complete understanding of the process some students remained uncertain about the ultimate credibility of the feeds. Overall however, NewsCred was viewed quite favorably by students in terms of perceived credibility of aggregated content.

Google News was generally viewed as the most popular and credible source for aggregated information feeds. One student commented that Google is a “household brand” and is simply trusted. A few students however commented that Google News functions on the same kind of algorithms that drive search returns, and that these can be “gamed” or manipulated. So the top stories in Google News are not necessarily the most credible or even the most relevant. Students also commented on the recent mistake, where a 2002 story about a United Airlines plane crash showed up as a top story in Google News and sent the company’s stock tumbling. Accidents like this were viewed as occasionally occurring in an automated system where there is no human intervention or oversight.

As I reflected on this experience with my students a few points emerged that I continue to think about:

1) Students are aware of the range of reliability and credibility of specific sources (e.g., NY Times, BBC, CNN, etc.), and they occasionally seek these out for top stories and breaking news.

2) Credibility of aggregated feeds seems to be significantly shaped by perceived credibility (Google is a “household brand”) and not necessarily an understanding of any vetting process.

3) Students place value on a vetting process where users can vote on the popularity or credibility of a story or source. Human intervention is seen as valuable, and students rely on their social networks for identifying interesting and relevant content on the web. Credibility is shaped by views of the social network.

As the demand for quick and mobile access to news and information continues to grow, aggregation is positioned to play a defining role in the ways we obtain information. And while providers of aggregation services need to strive to be more transparent about their vetting processes, it seems like we need to be thinking about ways to engage students to think critically about the process of aggregation as well. I’d be very interested in your views on this and whether you even see it as an issue. If so, what questions and suggestions do you have for helping us all better understand how aggregation is changing the game?

{Image credit: Picture Perfect Pose}