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1/2 Way Point – Some Random Thoughts.

September 18, 2016 Leave a comment

My intro to web programming course is just about at the half way point. So far, I am doing okay grade wise. There is always room for improvement. I definitely need to spend more time reviewing the book and exercises. I have been able to make it through the weekly homework and discussion posts with only a few problems.

I really believe that in HTML/CSS and coding in general, it is important to spend as much time doing it as possible. The more time one spends with it, the better they understand it, and thus in theory the easier it should become.

I have somewhat noticed this with the assignments. It is not that they have gotten easier, I just have gotten a little bit better. Even though there are instructions, it is too easy to miss a semi-colon or backslash. Little mistakes can equal code that the codes not correctly function. This leads to frustration and stress.

Overall, online learning isn’t too bad. The hardest part is making dedicated time each day to spend with the materials. I have done okay with this, but could do a little better. The second is being on tight weekly deadline. Sometimes there are non-learning factors that make this tricky (example recent switch of internet service providers). Third, other than the discussion posts, I don’t feel connect to any of the people in the class.

I assume they are like me and living local but going to campus 3 or 4 times a week isn’t an option. It is kind of crazy to think that I am a 5 minute drive from campus, but taking the course online. It is a work scheduling issue. Maybe I will see if anyone from the class wants to have a meet-up, have drinks, or connect via Linkedin.

The good news is that even with my ongoing course and autodidact learning, I feel ready to begin assembling a portfolio. The portfolio will be key increasing my chances of landing meaningful employment.

Learning Journal Entry – Fundamentals of Programming

February 13, 2016 Leave a comment

I have decide to use one of my learning journal entries as a blog post. For My course Fundamentals of Programming at University of the People, I am required to do a learning journal. Even though it is required, I think it is a good idea regardless. The learning journal provides an opportunity to write about a variety of related topics to the course content and learning process.  I have tried to keep the tone a little informal and reflective on the process and topic.

My week three learning journal entry will touch on a few different topics. The first is the graded quiz. It was definitely a little tougher than I would have expected. I did okay, scoring a 92% not my best work, but a reminder to study and keep up with everything. I found it particularly challenging given the time constraints. I expect to be more prepared for the next quiz. To accomplish this, I intend to spend a little more time reviewing the non-graded quizzes.

Second, I am currently working (procrastinating) on the second programming assignment. I downloaded and installed it with the intention of using it for the assignment. Opening the program and playing around with it, I found myself becoming obsessed with lining up shapes, boxes, and more concerned with formatting and appearance. While having the flowchart looking visual appealing or at least professional, it should not take away from the ideas. I would prefer to spend time thinking about the code, how it might work, and not whether my boxes are perfectly lined-up. I still have not decided if I am going to use pseudo code or the flow chart. I think it is just easier to user pen and paper or a white board. I am leaning towards using the flow chart.

I think spending some time thinking about the code and the steps that need to be done is very a good idea. Obviously, it can be helpful for even the longer exercises. I am slowly coming to the realization that coding/programming is not just something that happens at a keyboard, but also on paper, using DIA, or a whiteboard. Preparing to code is equally as important as what happens at the keyboard. Again, I think there is a very strong parallel to writing. One simply does not sit down and compose a course paper or a Master’s thesis. It takes some forethought and planning. It may not always be apparent, but even with my learning journal entries, I brainstorm a few ideas and notes about things.

Thus far, I have enjoying the class and find the topic interesting. Concurrently, I am also taking Programming for Everyone at Coursera. I believe (especially for beginners) having as much exposure to the language and programming is a necessity for becoming proficient. I call it the “ABC Method,” “Always Be Coding.” While it is important to understand the logic and concepts, it is also important to be able to understand the syntax and be able to write simple “if/elif/else” statements without looking it up. I think for beginners (this holds true different areas) it is imperative learn and over-learn the fundamentals. Fundamentals provide a foundation for advanced concepts and ideas. One has to know how to compose a sentence before they can write a novel.

Back on Track!

December 16, 2015 Leave a comment

I got off-track with my courses at University of the People (UofP). Not hard to do. A few things happened – without consistent internet over Thanksgiving, 2 birthdays, and the beginning transition of another life changing event (Not ready to provide details).

Easy to get off-track. Got back on and recommitted myself. I think it is very important to continually recommit. I spent a few hours working on posts and writing last night and intend to do so tonight again.

Learning is not too hard, life getting in the way doesn’t make it too easy though. If something is easy, then everyone would do it.

So, I am recommitting to my coursework and pursuit of programming, technology, and information technology. Done.

Time to work on posts.

University of the People – Week 1.5

November 22, 2015 Leave a comment

So, I am a week and a half into it. For the most part, I have enjoyed the courses so far.

A few reflections:

  • I can see how people have difficulty managing time (especially working full-time and having other commitments). There just isn’t time to spend (waste) deliberating a forum post or learning journal entry. Important to get the outline of what you want to write, write, review/proof, and post.  I can’t imagine procrastination is rewarded.
  • If the concept is not clear in your head, it probably won’t come be clear on paper, forum post, blog post, or journal entry.
  • Maybe online learning is not for me. I think everyone goes through this at some point.
  • Be efficient.

I think I see a theme emerging – work efficiently and effectively. The same can be said for most things like work, managing projects, and online learning.

SAMR Model

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Yesterday in my internet travels, I discovered the SAMR model. The Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition Model provides a framework to view how computer technology might impact teaching and learning.

Substitution refers to using computer technology to do the same task as was done prior to its use. For example simply putting recording a training lecture and putting online.

Augmentation refers to using technology to perform common tasks, such as taking the quiz online. Typically will augment non computer technology in teaching and learning.

Modification Represents a step toward greater, more inclusive use of computer technology. Common learning and teaching tasks are accomplished through the use of technology.

Redefinition entails using technology to do tasks that were previously not possible. For example creating a classroom video to post on youtube.com

On a continuum, the model shows the level of computer technology in learning and teaching.

My takeaways from the model are:

  1. It provides an easy useful framework to categorizing learning and training
  2. Modification and Redefinition might allow for deeper learner participation
  3. In general it does not seem dissonant with adult learning theory
  4. M and R will probably increase learner’s acquisition and application of material
  5. Shifts towards M and R will require the teacher/facilitator to have technology skills (basic programming, multimedia, strong understanding of programs online, etc). Technology oriented skills.
  6. M and R integration assume learner’s have some basic computer skills (word processing, web searching, emails, message boards/forums, attachments).
  7. Applicable to online learning/eLearning. I would guess that a considerable amount of eLearning content falls into the S or A categories.
  8. M and R have some power to reshape learning, design, and user experience. S and A will always be around, likely necessary, and are more or less useful.
  9. Highly applicable to training and development.
  10. Useful in areas outside of learning and teaching such as innovation, technology, management, etc.

As I reflect on the model, I’m sure I will see other ways it can be used.

Additional information on the model can be found  at http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html  or http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/

Categories: eLearning

Sunday Morning

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

It is sort of a directionless Sunday morning.

Research ideas, I am thinking about:

  • MOOCs, types of courses offered, who offers, who takes, etc.
  • Peer-to-peer learning and learning communities and whether evolve in the absence of any formal institutions. Institutions an idea from my political science days that I can’t seem to shake.
  • mLearning

New things I have discovered:

  • The SAMR model, I never thought of this, well maybe I did, but didn’t have the framework. Interesting.
  • Smartbuilder for designing custom eLearning

Websites, I have visited:

Time to be productive or at least feel like it.