I am taking a Digital Game-Based Learning course this semester, and so far it has been really interesting. We look at the ways that games can provide great learning opportunities. For a project, I had to create my own game. I had previously created a non-educational game in another class, so I built off of that one for my educational game. Play both games at the links below.
I was looking through some Wired Campus articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I found this one about some resources where you can learn computer programming. I have always wanted to learn more about computers, programming, web design, etc. Last Christmas break I learned HTML and CSS, so this year I think I'm going to delve into Python. I just signed up for the free Stanford University online course on Computer Science, and also the one for Cryptography. I'm pretty excited to start learning about these topics. Anyone wanna join me?
In my Theories of Learning course (EDP610), we had to come up with our metaphor for learning in 250 words or less. I thought I would share mine and see what you all thought. Do you agree? What would you change in my metaphor? What metaphor comes to mind for you?
Learning is like building a house. The student is the builder, while the teacher is the foreman. The builders are in charge of constructing their house, while the foreman can facilitate and oversee, helping along the way. The foreman may provide the bulk of the material, but the builders may find some along the way that they decide to add in to their own house. The house starts with a foundation, which is pretty simple, solid, and straightforward, much like the basic skills we have in school (reading, basic math, basic science, etc.). Then many complex things can be built on top, in any way that the builders may choose. The builders might find that some ways of structuring material are more conducive to retention, while others might fall away. The foreman might show the builders some tools for how to create the house, but the builders might also imitate others or use their own ideas for construction.
I found this eye-opening article from Wired Campus (link at end of article). It discusses how synchronous online classes are raising questions about what is appropriate "Netiquette," since people are eating or lying down while on the webcam, and in one instance, a nude spouse walked by in the background! I have experienced similar things in my online courses, where students leave their mics on while talking to their children or spouse, or have a TV playing behind them. Part of the benefit of taking online courses is being able to interact from the comfort of your own home, but how "comfortable" do we really want students to be? I think it's obvious that students probably shouldn't eat or watch TV while in the class session, but can we really restrict whether or not their children cry or dogs bark in the background? Didn't we offer them online courses so that they could still take care of their children or other responsibilities and stay home? I've also noticed several students who log in from work, and you can see other employees in the background. Is this acceptable? Do we need to accept it because we want online courses to be accessible for stay-at-home moms or working professionals, even if it is distracting and detracts from their and others' education?
Usually in these blog posts, I like to focus on something related to Online Ed or Instructional Design. But today I want to write about something a little more personal and fun…. I recently got a hamster! I just moved into a new apartment two weeks ago, after living for four years in various places where I wasn’t allowed to have a pet. I really love animals and was excited to have a pet of my own, but wasn’t willing to pay the expensive deposits and extra rent to own a dog or a cat at my apartment, and wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for the responsibility of owning an animal that requires frequent walks and vet trips, especially when I work part time and take classes. That left me to look at the world of little critters, and after reading up on the differences between gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs, decided I was pretty sure I wanted a gerbil. Then, I went to the pet store, held a gerbil…. and wasn’t all that impressed. He was adorable, of course, but I just wasn’t sure. So I asked to hold a Black Bear Hamster, and the store clerk picked out the fattiest, fluffiest little guy in the bunch. As soon as I held him and he looked up at me, I knew I just had to have him. Could you resist this little ball of fluff??
This semester, as part of my Instructional Systems Design Master’s program, I am taking EDC 605: Distance Learning Research and Design. I’m really excited about taking this course, as I think it will greatly benefit the work I currently do in Online Ed. What I’m really interested in is one of the books that we are assigned: Face to Face Communication over the Internet: Emotions in a Web of Culture, Language and Technology, edited by Arvid Kappas and Nicole C. Kramer. I think this is a really interesting topic, as I had never really thought about how emotions and nonverbal communication could affect online F2F communication, using tools such as Skype and Adobe Connect. There are also several articles which discuss race and gender and how these affect communication online. I’m really excited to begin reading this book, and hopefully I will be able to write another blog post once I have begun reading the articles.
With classes looming just around the corner, many of us are starting to think (and worry) about how we're going to afford our textbooks. This article shows many tips on how to get textbooks for good deals, or even for free!