Doctorate Blogs

Where have you been?!?

Where have you been?!?

Just an update. I’m always busy and I’m not good at blogging on a regular basis!

My dissertation research finished last year and I’m finally wrapping up my dissertation. The implications look like practice makes perfect! Or, at least better than you were. More details later!

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CECS 6100 Week 16 Blog

Reflect on your experiences this semester as they relate to the following:

  • Online instruction and your personal theory of online learning;
  • The relationship between your personal theory of online learning and your professional/academic goals/research interests;
  • Where you think online learning is headed in the future; and
  • Lessons learned to support your academic progress as an online learner.

The course content and research from this semester has supported what I feel is important for online learning. That is the inclusion of active and engaging learning methods that keep the learner involved in the development of their learning. Before this semester I didn’t know exactly how the different theories related to constructivism really started or grew into what they are now but we were exposed to a lot of articles and research that has enlightened me!

My professional interests and my research is still focused on creating engaging learning content for students. Creating learning content makes me feel just as engaged as I want students to be and I don’t tire of it. Utilizing creative methods that allow me to look at an old lesson in a new way and give students a new interest in learning continues to be my goal. My research is very connected to my learning theory also. I am investigating new ways to teach spatial reasoning to children who have not developed that skill. I view this deficit as a lack of exposure to the concept and feel that students can develop their own knowledge if they are provided with the basic understanding and curiosity they need.

Online learning is here to stay whether it is online for college credit, MOOC, or just training in general. It is too convenient and provides so many with an option to access an education or to just learn more about a topic. I expect online learning to be the mode of education in many third world countries within the next 10 years. Much research and practice using online in remote area has already been recorded.

The semester course work has taught me to be prepared for more changes in the future. I feel that online education will continue to change just as much as music. It started from monks chants and then, when you think you have heard it all, something new comes out like iPad apps making repeating tunes (Loopy HD) and rap country!

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CECS 6100 Week 14 Blog Post

What do you think the future of MOOCs is? What about mobile learning? Are these things you feel are going to be beneficial or will there be a backlash?

Whitney’s presentation about MOOC’s was very beneficial regarding my understanding of what MOOC’s are and how they work.  I feel that they are an excellent option if you want to learn something about how to do something. I’m not so impressed with their ability to supply a whole course of study. The nature of the name is that they are large. If a student is a self-motivated learner, they will do what they need to do to acquire the knowledge they seek. (I personally see someone who joins a MOOC as being a person who wants to learn the content.) For average students or those who only have a very basic knowledge of the topic, I think they will need more support than what I understand a MOOC can provide. It seems to be asking a lot of a person to create such elaborate content with no financial return but, as in open source software, there will be some who do it just because it is needed. MOOC’s will continue to be around just as open source software continues.

Mobile learning is most definitely here to stay! I found a ton of articles supporting that fact when I was researching for my paper. Everyone wants access to what they need NOW and mobile devices support that. From the microwave to the cell phone, we want everything to be fast. It will be up to us to decide how we invest the extra time we gain from our additional time gain.

Chen, C-M. (2010). Intelligent location based mobile news service system with automatic news summarization. Expert Systems with Applications, 47, 6651-6662.

Goundar, S. (2011). What is the Potential Impact of Using Mobile Devices in Education ? by. SIG GlobDev, 4(December), 1–30. doi:não achei

Swan, K., Kratcoski, A., & van’t Hooft, M. (2006). Highly Mobile Devices, Pedagogical Possibilities, and How Teaching Needs to Be Reconceptualized to Realize Them. Educational Technology, 47(3), 10–12. Retrieved from

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CECS 6100 Week 13 Blog Post

What did you learn from your experience using social media and other open source tools? Should they be used for teaching and learning? Tell the story of what you learned.

My experience with open source tools and social media has taught me that there are many resources that are easily accessible for information and help and that people really don’t mind helping each other learn. When I started using open source tools, it was because I wanted to provide a way to let my students experience software so they could determine if they had an interest in it or not. One of my first uses of open source tools was MSWLogo. This software allows students to create two dimensional designs or objects using programming style language. I never had any problem getting help from technology peers or online as my students and I learned the software together. The software even had some examples and help information online.  I feel that an important part of teaching students to use new software is teaching them to teach themselves and not be afraid of learning. So many students are intimidated in classrooms and don’t like to ask questions but when they are in a group and they know that everyone is learning, they gain the confidence to share learning experiences. Our recent use of open source tools for class was similar to my classroom use of open source tools. With the connected world we now live in, all I had to do was text a friend to ask for help. I also helped others as they worked in the LMS using quick text messages when help was needed.
I love to use software and the open source realm offers many different tools that can benefit education. I have used at least dozen different LMS’s so far and would love to try out even more. The use of an open source LMS for our project was interesting because I got to work with other peers to see their viewpoints and ideas. It is sometimes frustrating when there is a tight time frame and everyone wants to do something different but I really appreciated getting to hear input from others about their opinions for improvements.
The social media participation was not something I really enjoyed but that is only because I have been so busy since I started the PhD program. I let my Facebook and Twitter usage go so I could use that time on course work. In my opinion, social media is something you have to use consistently for the sake of communication and staying up with what’s going on. It felt awkward to jump in then back out again. I find following Twitter easier than keeping up with Facebook. I really don’t care to know if someone is at the grocery store or getting their nails done! Do something productive with that posting time! Twitter lets you check in and out so you can keep up with new technology or find out new ideas for coursework for students and so much more depending on who you follow.
Open source tools provide opportunities for education in several ways. Open source provides free options for students to try out a variety of software like photo editing, 3D animation, programming, etc. The software does not cost anything so schools that do not have funding to purchase well known products can still provide an education for various software options for their students. About the only concern I have heard regarding open source software is the concern that it will include a virus when downloaded. I laugh about that because I have always told teachers at my training sessions to just download it at school because they always have so many filters and virus scans that it will catch anything!
Open source tools also provide students with the chance to investigate programming options. I love to introduce students to MSWLogo and Scratch so they can understand more about what programming and computer science really is. Most of the time it is a love-hate relationship. They either love it or hate it! Programming software encourages higher order thinking skills and challenges the student.
Another benefit of open source is the option to use mobile devices for access to content. While working on the LMS project, I would get notifications when changes were made by my group. I could go see if there was anything I could enhance the information with and I stayed caught up with our progress.
Open source tools used to be a relatively unused option. It seems like more people are trusting them now. Districts are using Google for email and the options it offers. Now the concern seems to be privacy.It’s important for students to get used to learning new software. With technology being such a significant part of our lives now (school, work, phones, etc.) there will most likely not be a time when software stops changing and there will always be the need to learn how to use a new tool.  3D fabrication is a good examples of new technology. These machines are becoming reasonably priced and offer options for parts and even medical uses such as the creation of a hip joint that is perfectly shaped like the one that is being replace in a person. MRI’s capture the shape and dimensions and 3D fabricators create a replacement. I’m constantly reminded of books that I had to read in school such as “1984”. It’s rather scary how much is coming to reality!
In summary, open source tools should be used in schools whether or not there are already options for expensive software like Adobe. These additional options allow students the chance to investigate and learn how to learn about new tools. The benefits of working with a group to investigate what capabilities the software has and sharing that information with others is a valuable experience that can help them in their careers.
Swan, K., Kratcoski, A., & van’t Hooft, M. (2006). Highly Mobile Devices, Pedagogical Possibilities, and How Teaching Needs to Be Reconceptualized to Realize Them. Educational Technology, 47(3), 10–12. Retrieved from

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CECS 6100 Week 12 Activity 2

How Open Source Software Works: “free” user-to-user assistance (Lakhani & Hippel, 2002) is a research paper that evaluates reasons why users decide to help others with routine tasks, including helping them to understand how to use open source software, without receiving any type of payment.

Open source software is defined in this article The sharing of open source software provides opportunities for a variety of users to make revisions and additions to an existing product. This entire process promotes education by allowing others to evaluate a product and then add what they can to improve the product. The Lakhani & Hippel research found that there were three main reasons why users choose to volunteer to work on open source software for free. The first one is that a user has a direct need for the software or the improvement, the second reason is the enjoyment of the work itself, and the third is the enhanced reputation that they make obtain by making a contribution to an open source project.

Lakhani, K. R., & von Hippel, E. (2002). How Open Source Software Works: “Free” user-to-user assistance. Elsevier Science. Retrieved from

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CECS 6100 Week 12 Blog

CECS 6100 Week 12 Blog

How useful do you find the open source tools and social media for learning? Is it your personal preference that drives this or the affordances? Would they be useful for others if you find it lacking? What would make them more useful?

Open source tools are amazing! When I first started teaching I was at a district that didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t think it was fair that the students did not have same opportunities to learn about the types of software that other districts did. For example, Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver. I found freeware and open source options like GIMP, Coffeecup, Scratch, and many others that we used to experiment with in class. The downside of open source is that there aren’t always good manuals or resources to learn from so we would tackle the software on our own. this is where I gained my comfort level with learning together and not being intimidated because I didn’t know more than my students.

Open source tools are often better than the expensive tools and software that you purchase. For example, open source software allows others to make improvements to it. (This link has a good explanation of open source. individuals find an additional need in software like Moodle, chances are a programmer will make the addition to the code to create it. Most open source supporters are not just about the money. They are interested in the abilities to teach and will create products for free.

I have to say that my interest in open source tools originated from affordances but has certainly developed into my preference. With the rate of changes in technology, students need to be comfortable with making changes and learning new products. Their future technology options will continue to change and evolve and they will have to be prepared to change with it. This research article provides a good overview of the the need to educate for the future and the challenges we face . while I don’t remember exactly who stated this fact, it is true that we are educating students for future careers that don’t even exist yet. For me this means that we need to teach them how to investigate, find answers, and try new things.

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CECS 6100 Week 11 Blog

Are you as far along with your article as you would like? What is next? What has been difficult? Easy? What kinds of feedback did you receive and how will you act upon it? Post a direct link to the entry here.

The literature review part of my project is going well. I feel that I have plenty of relevant articles and I am continuing to weed through them as I go. It has been tedious but useful for gaining an understanding of the content in each one. My next step will be to go back to the survey data I already started on and determine my “pretend” approach so I can integrate that information into the paper. The survey is something I would like to do in real llife at some point so for now I will have to remind myself that it is only a draft at this point.

What has been difficult is coming in and out of the different assignments for both of my classes and my own initiated projects. Finding time to focus on one project at a time is a challenge! The easy part has been finding content that interests me so I have to monitor my time carefully.

The feedback from my first paper was very useful but I feel that we have been too rushed on our assignments to invest enough time to create a quality product at this point. This is the first course that I feel we have been critiqued with such detail. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be but we weren’t prepared for this. The feedback will be useful for the next paper but I don’t like having what feels like an “unfinished” product.

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CECS 6100 Week 8 Blog

What is your personal perspective on the best manner of designing instruction for online teaching and learning? What is your process? Does it match any existing methods? If so, which? How did you learn to design instruction? Does your process for designing instruction match your larger theoretical perspective? Where is it the same? Where does it diverge?

I ended last week’s blog with my opinion about an online learning management system design. “I like a “one stop” approach so that student can find what they need with as few clicks as possible. The focus should be on the course and assignments and not navigation.” When creating online content, I start with my lesson and/or unit outline. Sometimes this is based off of a textbook and sometimes it is just something I created based on the needs for the course and lessons. Something I do that is different from most courses I’m aware of is that I create a document by week that outlines exactly what will be covered in the way of lesson content, readings, assignments, expectations, etc. This comes in handy for me as I create the course and if you ever have to move your content to another LMS, you have access to all of your instructions so you don’t have to create it from scratch. I post that document in the LMS for students to have access to also and I let them know that what is on the document overrides anything else, just in case there are any discrepancies. I then go through the LMS and set up my main navigation sections, direct the home page to the Welcome with instructions and the syllabus. I include all of the links there are on the side navigation on the home page and provide descriptions. My “Modules” page is the most important for students. Everything I expect students to read or do is listed in chronological order on the “Modules” page identified by week and dates. Everything is listed there and the directions for everything are included in that “one stop shopping” location. I make sure that the students understand that the “Discussions” tab on the side is just an easy option to get to all discussion assignments but the only place they really have to go is the “Modules” section. Another step that I include is when I set up the assignment drop box folders for students. I always include a link to the actual instructions or I add a statement about where they should look for the detailed instructions for that posting. My last step is to pretend I’m a student and go through the course to see if it makes sense.

The process I use basically follows the traditional way a classroom teacher would create a lesson. Identify what is to be taught and create an educational lesson with bells and whistles to engage the students. The way the content is created and always in a state of revision connects nicely with the Kemps model that we used to design our own course for class. This also matches the way I learned to create content. Start with something and revise it as needed. When teaching other instructors I always told them to start with something! Then you can improve the content as you learn more.

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