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Archive for January, 2016

University of the People…completed semester (Sort of)

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

It was a pretty tough semester at University of the People (U of P). I certainly could have been more organized and prepared. I think I missed on the final exam in an Introduction to Online Learning class, which will result in me failing the class. I should have taken greater care and thought, I did believe I would have until the 13th to complete the exam, since that is the last week.

It was not a good semester for me, having internet connectivity problems early on and some major life changes were initiated at the beginning of the semester.  This coupled with the holidays and 2 birthdays, I just couldn’t pull it together. I should have waited a semester.

I will give it one more try next semester, before pulling the plug on it. Reflecting back (even though semester is not even over). I could have:

  • Set Gmail calendar reminders for when stuff is due. Stuff moves very very fast. The pace of writing was very intense. I don’t think I have ever had a pace like that even in my upper level graduate courses. I would almost make the recommendation to cut some of it and focus on learning and absorbing the material. I hope the pace of future classes will allow for this. I spent a lot of time, constructing short essays and papers. I now have the superpower to write decent shit on short order.
  • Set-up a work space (will be doing now, since, I am unable to take final).  I definitely should have set a better spot. Even a basement could be a little more inspirational!
  • Consider purchasing or upgrading on an APA citation program. Although I agree with the logic, I found it cumbersome to site everything. In online learning it really does make sense. I will be prepared next time.
  • Do a better job getting to know and even networking with my classmates.

More than likely I will have to take the same class over. This sucks, some (like 98% of) the blame is mine. I should have a set calendar reminders and provided some accountability to for myself. Although there was some intervening issues, I could have and will do better…..next semester.

All things considered, this wasn’t my semester and that’s okay. I hate to fail a course, but I will do better next time.

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#Twitter Purge 2016

Well, I am back to being active on Twitter. It is has been a love/hate relationship. I think this time, I am back and committed to it.

This seems typical of most resolutions. They start with enthusiasm and then it wanes and by March and the person is back to their old habits. …but we’ll see. I even changed my avatar and background.

Regardless, I was reviewing my string and did some purging. It felt good to remove some of those people/organizations that I followed.

 

Purge is a harsh word, I “unfollowed” the following types:

  • Large news organizations (I’m just not going to use twitter for breaking news).
  • Financial and real estate sites were unfollowed. This reflects a shift in interests.
  • People with annoying names. For example I unfollowed one “freak” and another with “fart” in their names. I just couldn’t handle it.
  • Unfollowed were those that kept spamming me ads and pitches to buy stuff.
  • Deleted were those that bombard me with inspirational and motivational messages about change and improvement. Apparently they motivated me!

I tried not to unfollow those who were individuals or those that posted with things relative to my interests such as geekdom, tech, science fiction, and e-learning. Unless they just annoyed the shit out of me.

The truth is, I am pretty excited about having a cleaner feed and about getting information about things, I am interested in and want to pursue.

 

Why * 5

Currently, in my Online Education Strategies at University of the People (U of P), we are covering the 5 Whys technique.  I have also encountered the tool while a student at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and have used it at work a few times.

I think it is a simple and great technique that even the most brain dead of managers can use. Simple, powerful, and effective.

The technique involves the following steps:

  1. Stating the problem
  2. Asking why?
  3. Asking why?
  4. Asking why?
  5. Asking why?

At this point, the root cause should be able to be determined.  A good example can be found here.

While it is a great tool, easy to use, and can help get to the root cause of the problem, I have found that most managers do and prefer to treat the symptoms.  This is often easier, quicker, and a cheaper way to get to the solutions.

So, managers will “lay into” their teams about not working hard enough, not focusing, not caring, and so on. This does two things. First, it gives the manager a chance to shift the blame to their team. Second, telling some one they “need to work” harder is usually cheaper than implementing a root cause solution.

The 5 Why tool can help managers quickly get to the root cause of an issue, but does not help with solution implementation. There has to be a will and desire to change.

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