In the beginning there was grad school. That ended in 2010. Now what do I blog about?

NEW BLOG - ACADEMIC AMPLITUDE

October 29, 2008

to learn or not to learn

a class email circulating today:

"I haven't seen any new discussions, posts or assignments since the one due on Oct. 18th.
note: the assignment due on the 18th was assigned in Sept. nothing happened between the assignment being released and the due date, so technically, there has been no class activity since mid-Sept.
"Something must be going on with the prof. I certainly hope it is nothing tragic.
"I have also been concerned with missing out but I am trying to see the glass half full and enjoy the extra light workload.
"I've been checking most every day and haven't heard anything either - but hey, I couldn't be happier!
Happy to NOT learn anything? Happy to pay tuition for a class that doesn't have a teacher? 'Extra-light work load'?

Good God.....I am extremely disappointed this semester. This class has nothing happening and the other one I am in is entry-level software apps which is not challenging me at all. Ugh.

What really gets me is that so many people think online programs are diploma-mills and up until now I have been happy to report that I have learned a great deal, have been challenged, and could say with conviction that online learning is intensive. Now I worry that the first three classes were a fluke. What if my next term is like this one and not like last spring and summer? I hate to speculate but I really don't want to waste my time and money. I would consider a transfer.


October 28, 2008

ePortfolio

For my program, I am required to create a portfolio for review prior to graduation. If you recall, dear reader, my final two choices for grad school were one with 80/20 online/F2F learning + eportfolio and a 100% online course with traditional portfolio. I chose the 100% online course with the plan of making an online portfolio, hoping they would accept it and if not, would spend a day printing doc's and making a binder cover.

After 3 complete courses I have material to put into my eportfolio so it was time to begin building. I looked at several free eportfolio tools - RCampus and Epsilen. Both tools are free web-based eportfolios. Both tools offer security features so you can set up accounts for your advisor and professors to view selected components. Both allow for file upload and management. Both have email and calendar/scheduling tools. They are capable of handling multimedia.

I chose RCampus and began building. But after the first day, I didn't like the tools for building - they were clumsy and annoying to work with. There is no way to disable the tool tips, so the build screen is cluttered. I gave it a second try but still felt underwhelmed by the lackluster building experience. So I decided to try Epsilen. I am more happy with Epsilen's build tools and the overall look and feel of the portfolio is good. So far.

The next step is to grant access to my advisor and see if he likes it. When I meet with him in December, when I sign up for spring term courses, I'll talk to him about it.

October 21, 2008

Sweet Potato Quesadilla

I made this recipe up this past weekend while planning a party for my girl-friends. It was big hit!
  • Package of Manny's Cafe Style Corn Flour Enchilada wraps (or your fave flour tortilla)
  • Jar of Newman's Medium Black Bean & Corn Salsa (or your fave salsa)
  • Box of Near East Parmesean Couscous (or your fave couscous) - cooked
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • Cup of shredded carrots
  • Cooking spray
  • Spices: minced garlic, salt, ginger, clove, cinnamon, cilantro
  • 1/2 stick real butter
  • Large non-stick skillet
  • Pot to boil potatoes

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. Boil until fork-tender. Drain. Return to pot with 1/2 stick butter. Mash up with a fork. Season to your taste with garlic, salt, ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cilantro.

  • Warm skillet over med-low heat. Spray with cooking spray. Place one tortilla in the pan.
  • Spread the tortilla with a layer of sweet potato mash - not too thick, but enough to cover.
  • Dot small spoonfuls of salsa onto SP mash.
  • Sprinkle with layer of shredded carrot.
  • Top with light layer of couscous.
  • Top with a 2nd flour tortilla.
  • Let crisp fully in pan before flipping gently.
  • Crisp second side.
  • Remove to cutting board and let stand 3-4 minutes before cutting into triangles.

Very yummy!!! The ginger, clove and cinnamon goes really well a medium-heat black bean salsa.

October 20, 2008

Fall semester

I am sooooo bored this semester. There aren't any weekly assignments, no required reading, no required discussions, no class interaction all, and one of my instructors fails to answer my emails. ugh. It is painful to think of the money I am spending and the time I am investing in comparison to what I am learning, which is nothing.

The basic rules of teaching an online course are these:
  1. Course design:
    1. include goals and objectives not only in the syllabus but in each section of the course and include specific goals associated with an assignment.
    2. provide dynamic course content with links to readings, audio, video and sample work
    3. provide alternative options for self-guided learning - no two people click int he same pattern; make sure all learners can easily access information
  2. Course content:
    1. provide the same information you would in a love session: a presentation, questions & answer time, small group work, open discussion, team projects, individual homework
    2. remember the principles of engaging and educating: MOTIVATE your learners - spark their interest in the topic; INFORM your learners: teach them something; give students opportunities to APPLY new knowledge; and TRANSFORM their learning into new ideas and develop new concepts.
  3. Assessment:
    1. provide assignments which allow students to demonstrate their learning
    2. provide detailed commentary on student work which encourages reflection and further learning
If my fall semester instructors are reading this: GOOD! Read it!