Showing posts from 2008

Anatomy of an unworkshop

This is partly a rant, and partly a reference to an interesting blog piece I read earlier today. I was reading this blog article about the anatomy of an unworkshop . Now the content within the blog post is pretty interested, what I take issue with is the naming convention: the unworkshop . Sometimes I feel like academics have nothing better to do than come up with silly names to describe a slightly different name for a slightly different process and it's just not necessary (unconference and edupunk also fall within this category). His methodology sounds good to me, but I really do not see the need for giving it the 'unworkshops' name. After all when I sign up for workshops I don't sign up for socratic workshops or aristotelian workshops, so in reality the methodology does not matter in the naming convention of the event. Am I making too much of this?

Modest Program Recommendations

OK, so it's the end of the semester, I've completed two whole classes in applied linguistics and I have spoken to many people about the program - classmates and faculty alike. I've gotten to find out what my classmates' plans are post graduation and so on. Some of my classmates are going into teaching (or remaining in teaching) while others like me are considering a PhD route. Now, the program is structured in this way: 1. You've got 5 core courses that everyone needs to take 2. Then you must specialize in ESL, Foreign Language teaching or Bilingual education (2 courses + 1 practicum) 3. Then you've got your pick of 2 electives. 4. Pass comprehensive exams The program is ten classes for an M.A. which is about normal for a Masters Degree. The department, at least in the course catalogs, has plenty of absolutely GREAT courses which have not been offered for a long time. Why? It's my impression that they don't have enough faculty to teach niche course

If it's free, why pay for it?

Back to instructional & educational technology during the winter break. Over the past few months a number of things have happened: 1. We've seen IT departments bitten by the budget shortfall bug, and IT departments are looking at how they can be lean and mean . 2. We've seen colleges contemplating stopping services like email that students can get for free and often have prior to entering college. 3. Boston College actually stopped providing new incoming students with email addresses 4. UMass Boston ended its "email for life" for students, so when a student graduates they have some period of time to request a permanent email, or else it goes buh-bye! 5. Finally, UMass Boston announced that it started a blog network (based on the WordPress platform) Now, the one thing that comes to mind is this: if it's free, why provide the service in house? This is of course in reference to the blog network, and to student email to some degree. Many of us ha

Another semester done!

Another semester is done! I completed my final and handed it in for grading (I think I did well). With Linguistics (Apling 601) under my belt, I feel confident that things will make more sense from now on ;-) In any case, in retrospect this semester was not bad. I only had one class which I did well in. I did spend a boatload of time working on GIDA (graduate instructional design alumni association) with both the online and face to face component of the organization - and I have to say that it is a lot of work. Our social network, sadly, does not yet support RSS, so people can't get a friendfeed in their RSS reader to see what's going on. Hopefully this will be fixed with future versions of the service. We do have a large number of member (137 as of this writing), but it's hard reaching out to alumni since we don't know who they are. The weird thing is that students are also reluctant to join unless you give them a presentation and explain the benefits. It's not

Quiet again...

Paper due in one week. The paper is kind of, sort of done. It just needs two or three rounds of editing. I guess I will be silent on here until next week :-)

Kids blame technology for homework hand-in failures

I was reading this article on the Register a week or so ago. I think that this is pretty interesting because one of my friends is having problems (technological ones) with his kids' assigned homework and the electronic aspect of things. ‘My dog ate it’, ‘I left it on the bus’, and ‘someone stole it’ – they were the classic excuses in our day for not handing in homework. But modern youth are increasingly blaming absent homework on technology, a survey’s revealed. Online electronics retailer Pixmania surveyed 1000 teachers during the past 12 months and found that of the total 6.5m excuses thought to be have been heard by UK teachers each week, roughly 1.3m - 20 per cent - centred on technological problem. The most popular tech excuse heard from pupils was that they’d done the work, but then the computer crashed and they lost it. Don’t kids learn how to make back-ups these days? ‘I lost my laptop’ and ‘I finished my homework, but then deleted it by accident’ were also used by kid


Running on silent mode this week. Working on paper Working on Thanksgiving prep Looking forward to weekend

Education via Wiki

Over the summer I took INSDSG 605, a course which is all about new media. As a way of experimenting with a wiki, I started a course called Greek4Travelers on . I really didn't get far with the wiki because as most course and content creators know, creating curriculum does take up a lot of time. I would love to revisit the topic though at some point because my moodle implementation of the class was more fleshed out compared to my wiki. I would really like to bring that thought-out content to a free wiki for anyone who wants to take a crash course in Greek for traveling purposes. I thought of using this wiki like the 'teach yourself' series of books where the learner takes the initiative to learn things and stay in sequence. The benefit of having it in a wiki format is that as things change (such as slang), it's easier to make the changes to the curriculum compared to a book or a static webpage. If you are looking for a Wiki that is on the geek side - chec

Picked my topic!

OK, so I did some searching on our wonderful library databases and I found an article in the Harvard Business Review on customer service. Since my observation paper was of customer service interactions, it makes sense that I pick a written text that deals with customer service. I've read the article, reviewed the observation data, and outlined what I am analyzing, now I just need to do the analysis. It seems like Black Friday for me will be more about paper writing than shopping - which is A-OK since I have neither the money to do shopping, nor the patience to wait in lines for deals that seem worthless. Give me a $300 MacBook Pro (a new one) and I will stand in line, your current deals seem kinda m'eh to me. Anyway, my linguistics class seems to be getting more interesting. We've gotten a bit into grammar and morphology, something that I didn't think that I would have much interest in. Well, morphology I thought I would like a bit since I am interested in the origin

'Digital Dark Age' May Doom Some Data - if you don't prepare

I think this article is pretty interesting ( direct link: click ) I personally think that this isn't just a standards issue, and a proprietary vs. open issue, but it is also an issue of proper practices and quality storage media. Recently I read a blog post of one of my blogging colleagues in Greece that irretrievably lost his valuable data (from ten years ago) that was residing on CD-Rs. Luckily my insistence of expensive storage media and slow recording speeds has spared (most) of my data, including those silly little reports I did in High School, but how long will optical media last? Archival quality media can last for half a century, or more, but is copying over and over a viable solution? After all bit and bytes will eventually be corrupted from the continuous migration. FULL ARTICLE: ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2008) — What stands a better chance of surviving 50 years from now, a framed photograph or a 10-megabyte digital photo file on your computer’s hard drive? The frame

Paper #2: Indecision 2008

OK, so now I've got something to keep me going in my linguistics class - as much as I bemoan homework at times, I feel like I am a masochist for it! Anyway, I've got my paper assignment for paper number two. With this paper I've got options, many options! One, obvious, option is to compare the text of a conversation that I observed to the text of an article and note differences in morphology and other linguistic factors discussed in class. OK, I could do that, but it seems like a hunt-and-peck option in other words somewhat easy - I may be wrong. The other option is to pick a language that I am somewhat familiar with, find a native speaker and analyze certain aspects of their speech and how they use language. This option has three sub-options. The problem with this option is that the languages I am interested in exploring (japanese, russian or chinese), I have no access to native speakers for! I raked my brain and found a good compromise! Vietnamese! I had studied Vietn

I dream of PhD

The issue of a PhD (or EdD, or D.B.A.) has come up many times in recent years. After I graduated with an M.B.A. and I applied for the M.Sc. program the question was "why don't you go for a PhD?" I thought about it, but I didn't really find something that satisfied my intellectual curiosity. Once I got my M.S., and I applied for an M.A. and an M.Ed. the same question became even louder from friends, family, and faculty members who really wanted me to strive for something larger. I decided to apply for the M.A. and M.Ed. programs anyway, satisfy my intellectual curiosity in those subject matters (and while at it apply what I learned to my day job) and I made myself a promise to look into a doctorate. Truth be told, I would love to get a doctorate, but there are two issues at hand. First there is the obvious economic issue. Most doctorates are full time ventures. If you are a family person, with regular expenses such as a mortgage or a car payment, you can't just

Why I've given up on Microsoft Office.

Now, don't get me wrong. At work I use Microsoft Office for the Mac and for Windows on a daily basis. It's a necessary evil. People just send me attachments in the all too familiar doc, xls and ppt formats. When the clock strikes 5 and I get off work, that's where MS Office and I part ways. As a student it just doesn't make sense to pay $150 for the student edition of Microsoft Office! If you're a non-student this price balloons to $317 if you want all the trimmings. I still have papers to write, presentations to prepare and spreadsheets to crunch. What is a student to do? Well, In the past year I've found the perfect solution to my office troubles. This solution is a combination of free and for-pay tools. OpenOffice - this is completely free. It has programs that do essentially what Microsoft office does, for free! And, it's quite compatible with Microsoft Office files, so you don't have to worry (much) about opening files that your friends and coll

It's official: this is a lame duck semester

Well, registration period is now open for the Spring semester. I logged into the student system yesterday and I registered for my Spring classes - all of them Applied Linguistics. By the end of Spring 2009 I will be half-way done with both Instructional Design and Applied Linguistics. With registration complete, I can't help but feel that this is now a lame duck semester. It is true that I still have one exam and one paper due for my fall linguistics class (and 5 weeks of lectures) before the semester is officially over, but it's like a switch flipped in my brain and this semester's value, or importance has been downplayed - like a lame duck president. There is still time left for the class to turn ugly if you don't watch it, but you can't help but think 'this is it'. I wonder if other students feel the same way...

Why do blue book exams still persist?

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE: click My Personal opinion is that Blue Books are great. They allow you to THINK before you write. Editing is a great feature but it all too often is abused when people just 'vomit' their thoughts on paper and never bother editing their papers well. I also like blue books for the same reason that I like reading paper books and not ebooks - no need for electricity. ARTICLE: UNC trying to update by using software that keeps students from cheating on laptops. By Eric Ferreri (Raleigh) News & Observer Posted: Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 CHAPEL HILL College students communicate with text messages clicked out on cell phones. They take class notes on their laptops. Yet, when they take an American history exam, they do what students a generation earlier did: They scribble in a blue book, pausing only to grimace and shake a cramping hand. The blue book is widely loathed by students, who must write coherently without the benefit of a backspace key, and by pro

Back to blogging (about classes)

I started this blog last summer so that I could use it for two of my instructional design classes and it's been dormant since the end of the semester. I thought of integrating the content with my main blog, but what the heck, I may as well just use this! This semester I was not able to afford any instructional design classes. The university pays 45-50% of the tuition for ID classes, and I pay the rest. So what am I doing this semester? Well I anticipated that I would not be able to pay for my ID classes, so I decided to enroll in two Master's degrees. The first of course being an MEd in Instructional Design, and the second being an MA in Applied Linguistics. Applied linguistics is completely free so I can still maintain my active student status and not have to pay those continuance fees that I can't afford anyway. The other benefit of doing two masters concurrently, at least for me, is that Linguistics and ID exercise two different parts of the brain. Instructional Desig

Reflections of an Online student

When I signed up for this class, I knew what to expect, up to a certain point, because I had already taken a hybrid class a couple of years ago that relied heavily on Prometheus (the system that was in place before Blackboard). The one concern was that I wasn't sure how the whole assignment creation, submission, grading aspect would work. My hybrid class was big on actual deliverables, and did not place much emphasis on the discussion aspect - it was either 5% or 10% of the grade. I think that collaboration is a cornerstone of learning, both in f2f environments and in online classes. Without collaboration students are missing out on an aspect of learning that enables them to better connect what they are learning with what they already know, and it enables new knowledge creation through the sharing of information. In a regular f2f class there may be a group of classmates that regularly meet and discuss things about the class, but most classes tend to 'clump' people togethe

Google Maps Mashup (Salem, MA)

I like to take photos, either on my 5MP Sony digital camera, or my 3MP mobile phone camera. Most times it's just sights and objects in my every day life. My goal is to get a high quality (10MP or more) DSLR :-) View Larger Map

Week III

UMass Boston's Mission can be found Here , and it has as its tenets Access, Excellence, Public Service, Innovation, Economic Development and Quality of Life. An e-learning project that may go well hand in hand with the University's Mission is an information literacy curriculum that can be accessible not only to members of the UMass Boston community (students, staff, and faculty) but also to the broader community that UMass Boston serves (Boston, the state of Massachusetts, the US and the World, since many students who study at UMB are not only local, but also national and global). Information Literacy is something that many people do not have the opportunity to learn. Providing a free e-learning curriculum in information literacy, using free and for-pay services (the for-pay component such as academic journals may be limited depending on who the student is), could be Innovative , it could provide Access to resources for people who don't have them, it will definitely be a

Week 2: Reflections Part II

1) Anderson cites studies that claim that effective instruction is learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered. Given these dimensions, what impact does technology mediation have on instruction? I would say that technology mediation positively affects instruction in these areas, for both hybrid and purely online courses. Through technology mediation, we can have community centered learning, where every student can have access to the class's public forum and participate, in a democratic fashion, in the class. They analyses, thoughts, and opinions on what has been read or discussed can be freely posted. These posts can then be read and responded to by fellow classmates and the instructor. In this sense, it's sort of like sitting in a big circle and having a discussion, but not having to worry about place and time constraints as much. In a f2f environment you have 180 minutes per week, in an online environme

Week 2 Reflections Part III

Is there any validity to the arguments of David Noble, Hubert Dreyus, and Mark Bauerline or are they just curmedgeony Luddites? I can't really lump everyone in the same category so I will break this down: Bauerline: I don't thin he is a Luddite because, as he said, he does indeed use technology. I was left with my jaw hanging after listening to the interview. From what he said, I think that his "research" is really one sided. He uses the excuse that (paraphrasing here) by the time he puts together a research proposal and gets all his ducks in a row (grants,staff, etc.) the technology will have changed and thus the value of technology cannot be tested. I think that this is fundamentally wrong. Sure the platform may change, but the underlying principles of the technology (examples: blogging, microblogging, social networks, LMS) do not change, the technology adapts to better serve that vision for which the technology was invented. I listened to the subs

Week 2: Reflections Part I

In Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning , Mohamed Ally argues that no one school of thought on learning is used exclusively in online design, and that an online developer must know the different approaches to learning in order to select the appropriate instructional strategies (p. 6). Personally I agree with Ally's assertions, not only for Online teaching and learning, but also for face to face. I've been a student for quite a long time. In the past couple of years I have been paying attention to not only to my learning preferences (and learning style) but also what worked for my classmates. At grad student meetings where students would discuss which classes they wanted to take and other students gave them my two cents, I often asked students questions to determine their learning preferences and then suggest a professor whose tea

INSDSG 605: Embedded Presentation

This is my introduction presentation from INSDSG640 (I added a photo though)

INS DSG 619: First post

The inaugural post for INS DSG 619: Design and Instruction of Online Courses 1. What made you want to take this course? I thought that this course looked pretty interesting. I believe that I can use what I learn in the class for both current work requirements and for hobbies. I think I will be able to use the material at work to create online classes that deal with library related training - this is the work aspect.  One of my interests is teaching Greek online, either in a synchronous or an asynchronous manner - this is the hobby aspect (haven't quite figured out if I want to do this full time, and if so, how to do it). 2. What are three things that anyone who knows you, knows about you? The three things that people who know me know about me are: 1. I am fluent in Greek 2. I work for the UMass Boston Library 3. This is my second semester in the ID program