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Oh WOW!

Another update so soon?!

I wanted to report back on my lunch with Dr. Preston Pulliams, the district president of PCC. On Monday (7/9) I met the president an his assistant Neal for lunch. The president wanted to thank me for my work on the PEAK committee, including presenting at the American Association of Community Colleges convention in his absence.

I took the opportunity to ask Dr. Pulliams & Neal questions about leadership and ask for some advice in my career path. Neal has served under a number of district presidents and provided some valuable observations. These observations complemented and echoed Dr. Pulliams insight. Lunch was also motivating.

School wears you down and my pace only accelerates the process. So understanding why I’m doing what I’m doing, having a goal that I know is achievable and hearing positive things are very welcome.

Speaking of school and my pace, there is no way schedule-wise I can be done with my course work by Summer of 2014. *sad panda* The biggest issue isn’t finishing the course work, it’s actually timing the comprehensive exam. I wanted to take the comprehensive over summer when I’m off. However the best case scenario would be the exam would be given over In-service week the week before the start of fall term. NOPE! Bad timing. That leaves, 2 or 3 weeks into Winter tem. While far from ideal, it’s far more realistic. I will have to talk to my dean and see if that’s possible.

Schedule-wise, that gives me an additional semester to finish. That’s not a bad thing and means I might slow down a bit, go to 2 classes a semester. Or just allow me to ease up going into the exam. We shall see.

I am a tad disappointed, but its just life’s way of slowing me own a bit before I burn out.

I’m focused on school work this week and revisit course development soon.

What’s going on?

Doctoral Studies

Well another one down! Sunday (6/24) I conducted my last conference call and submitted my final paper, presentation, & my final journal entry. I was very pleased with course. While the bar wasn’t set very high after the last course, this course exceeded my expectations.

The instructor was outstanding, she gave me the flexibility to set my own direction in the course. I outlined what I want to learn and how did I want to go about it. I was a little surprised that I didn’t take the opportunity to take the easy road and do less. I went the opposite direction and use this as opportunity to really dive into the subject, expand my knowledge and escape my comfort zone.

The way I see it, my course classes are the foundation for my comprehensive exam and I want to be as prepared for that exam as possible.

Unfortunately, not a lot of breathing room. Access to my next two classes opened quickly and before I knew it, I was diving headlong into them. I downloaded the text books (4 books, 2 per class). Both classes are directed study. The one instructor I had last class, the other is new. So far it’s going well. Lots of reading, but I guess that is what happened when you have 4 books to get through. Work load, not to bad considering I’m not teaching. I’m keeping up.

More interviews, but awesome topics, Community College Leadership & Governance & Organization of community colleges. There is a fair share of overlap between these courses.

Teaching (Kinda)

On the course development front, I am working on a handful of things. 1st is CIS 225 – End User Support. I am converting this from an on campus course to an online course. While somewhat time consuming, overall the conversion is not a very difficult process. However, I am a little worried about capturing the essence of the course, the communication aspect of user support. I am not sure if it can be captured, but I’m going to give it a shot. Putting a fair share of emphasis on discussion. I expect the first time through to be…. Rough. I’ll get through it. This course should be off for review by distance education today (7/7).

Next up will be adding a lecture and assignment that supports the CIS department’s assessment process. The assignment is used to see if students are meeting the objectives of the class, the objectives of the CIS degree and ultimately the objectives of the college. I developed the assessment process and assignment for the CIS 140M class a few years ago, so I’m fairly familiar with the end goal.

There are a few odds and ends, but they will have to wait, my biggest challenge of the break, writing CIS 287M Microsoft Server Security for a campus course from scratch. I’ve got the book, always the best starting point. This is going to take some time to fully flesh out. Hopefully I come up with a vision/direction for the course early on. While I know security and the concepts, it can be a fairly challenging topic.

Officially on Break!

While I would like to believe that break means sitting around the house chilling watching cartoons & Jerry Springer….. That’s so not to case. Not to say that might not happen on occasion. :)

I will be taking advantage of the lack of office hours, lectures, grading and misc campus time to prepare for Fall & Winter term 2012-2013. I need to get one course converted from a classroom course to an online course, CIS 225 – End User Support. Which will be offered Winter Term 2013.

I’m developing CIS 287M – Microsoft Server Security from scratch. The original book is out of print and unavailable, so I had to select a new book. Security has never been my strongest topic, but not out of reach. I think it’ll be an opportunity for me to expand my technical knowledge which hasn’t happened in a while.  287M will be offered Fall Term 2012.

Beyond those MAJOR developments, just working on my updates to my other classes for the 2012 – 2013 school year: CIS 289M, CIS 288M, CIS 187I, & CIS 287I

Lets not forget my Dr. courses. I’m taking Community College  Leadership and Organization & Governance of Community Colleges at the end of June and they run into August. They are directed study, so just me and the instructor. My current class The Community College is almost done and I’ve really enjoyed it. Dr. Sanford allows for a lot of student directed learning. So I set my goals and direction and she facilitates it, provides insight and ideas. The biggest thing, she lets me set up the structure I require to be successful in a class.

So moving along…. Being on break maybe my updates will happen more frequently – it could happen!

Congratulations!

I would like to say congratulations to PCC’s Class of 2012.

A special congratulations to those CIS students that manage to suffer through my classes and finish. For some, my courses were challenge at every step of the way. And graduation is a reward for all that hard work. I put a lot pressure on all of my students to pay attention to detail, develop troubleshooting skills and critical thinking skills. T o see so many of those students walk across that stage makes grading every lab and answering every question worth it.

I love what I do, and if I ever forget that, all it takes is one graduation ceremony to remind me.

Good job and best wishes.

Finals Week is Upon Me

Teaching

Wow, that didn’t take long….. Talk about a fast 11 weeks! Overall it was pretty low key on the teaching front. I started looking beyond spring term fairly early.  From my previous post:

  • I am co-SAC (Subject Area Committee Chair) for the 2012-21013 school year.
  • I am thinking about the transition from Server 2008 & Windows 7 to Server 2012 (or server 8 ) & Windows 8
  • I’ve got a fair share of course development for 2012-2013 that I will be working with over the break. To include: converting a course to online for Winter 2013, writing a server security course & adding to an existing course to accommodate for our program assessment

Before I get to any of that, I have a lot of grading to get through. One class ends Wednesday night and the other Thursday night. Hopefully I can get all the work graded from the ends Wednesday night on Thursday. Then I can hammer out the work from Thursday night on Friday.

In a perfect world, grades would be done before I head to graduation Friday night….. Saturday morning at the latest.

 

Doctoral Studies

The community college course is moving along. I am expanding my horizons that’s for sure.

Although, I submitted my journal entry which lacked an attention to detail  on the grammar front. The instructor did not slam me or anything like that, but it was enough of an issue to be pointed out. Which I a good thing. My end goal is passing that comprehensive exam and things like this need to be hammered out now. Of course that put me on high alert for the introduction to PCC paper I wrote. We’ll see how that goes. I need to find ways to keep writing and researching. Because breaks seem to reset the skills almost back to 0.

My current instructor is all about the learning process so I get to set the boundaries (aka as much confining structure as I want). I’m taking advantage of it. But the temptation was certainly there to slack off.  But I know nothing good will come from that.

So while I won’t be in the class room over my summer break, I will now lack for things to keep my mind engaged.

July I will start Community College Leadership and Organization & Governance of Community Colleges looking forward to both classes. I think these classes will have me hanging around campus over summer for interviews and such.

Time for an Update

Before I begin, let me say congrats to my wife completing her comprehensive exam. She has to wait for the results, but I am positive she nailed it. The comprehensive exam is a long test that saw 7 days of writing and proofing to span about 80 hours.

Doctoral Studies

Seeing my wife battle her way through the comprehensive exam was inspiring. I gained a lot of insight into what I will need to do over the next year to be ready for my week of fun and excitement. The exam is geared towards your major. So, as I move into my core classes I know I need to keep in mind the end goal of course work, which is the comprehensive exam. The exam is 3 questions that will spawn 30+ page paper and 7 days.

My current class is The Community College. I have to say I’m loving this class! I’m already getting more out of it than I did that STUPID class I took last semester. Due to issues with filling classes for my major, I’ll be taking all of my core classes directed study (one on one with the instructor). Three out of the five classes will be taught by the same instructor, my current instructor. Which also ensure the format will be the same.

At the start of the class, I developed a work plan. (I need structure). The instructor was willing to let me have as much structure as I require. I used the original materials from the course to develop the work plan, with deadlines, etc. All the stuff I need in order to say sane. We do conference calls on Friday to go over the materials and assignments from the week.

This course is giving me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and interact with people in other parts of the college.  I’ve completed one interview so far. And it was very enlightening.

I am back to trying to read daily. Last week I read a chapter a day. I have to keep that up.

In other amazing news!

I received an invite to lunch with the president of PCC, Dr. Preston Pulliams. The lunch is scheduled for after my community college leadership course starts so I should be able to get in some questions for the course. He is very successful, well respected at every level. This is an amazing opportunity.

In and out of the classroom

Things are very quite. That’s how Spring term is & I am not complaining! I’ve managed to get close to caught up on grading. All content has been released.

I am looking at beyond spring term already.

I’ll be converting my CIS 225 course to an distance learning format. I really want that finished by the end of June.  Not sure if that’ll happen.  I am teaching Windows Server Security (287M) in Fall. And that class will need to be developed from scratch. I had to track down a new book for the class, which wasn’t an easy task.  In teaching 289M this term, there are some updates that will need to be made to make things go….. Smoother. And finally, the admin work. There’s ALWAYS admin work.

Ah the summer “off” Gotta love it. But at least I’m not teaching and grading. It’ll be a nice change of pace.

Marching Into May

Doctoral Studies

It is only fitting that the worse class I have ever taken  in my academic career should end just as sub-par. I got an A-. I know a lot of people would be satisfied with an A-.  My issue with the final grade is how it must have been selected at random with no true foundation. Nothing in the class was graded, I never got any feedback on anything I did. I was one of the only people to do the work in the discussion boards. If I truly earned an A-, I can live with that. But it sucks to have a grade selected random.

I have come to understand the  “less structured” ways of doctoral studies. This is the second instructor I’ve had that has been pretty free form, but the first instructor had specific assignments for us to do and provided actual feedback and discussion.

I won’t say I walked away with nothing, but I can’t identify what I gained from 15 weeks of suffering.  I haven’t decided what to do. Nothing is the most likely course of action. I could call the instructor out, not sure what that will yield….. We shall see.

I’m really looking forward to my next series of classes. They are all directed study and core to my Community College Leadership Program. I’m hoping to walk away with significant insight. I’m also plotting my last 10 classes. 5 are laid out, The remaining 5 will take some work to plan out. That doesn’t include the intro stats class I plan to take at PCC. I need to sharpen my skillz or the quantitative  research class will  destroy me.

My dissertation study will most likely be a quantitative study, so I need to be on top of things.

American Association of Community Colleges Conference

I left for the conference on April 21st and got back on April 24th. I was back in the classroom on April 25th. Talk about beat. A little jet lag and being on a different time zone didn’t help. The conference was enlightening, motivating and terrifying all in the same breath.

Enlightening – I met a lot of interesting people. I sat through several presentations. The topics included leadership, distance learning, women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) fields, and people of color in education. There was so much information. I’m in the process of working on the recap of the trip. I took a lot of notes. I may contact some presenters for more information and track down the original presentations.

Terrifying – There was so information to had, so many people I didn’t talk to. While learning that there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for me to ascend to leadership, I also learned how much I need to accomplish to be ready. I learned how much I don’t know.

And finally…..

Motivating – The motivation aspect comes from figuring out what I need to know and picking a path to come by those skills and abilities. My focus will remain the completion of my EdD. However, beyond that I know I will need to look at leadership training and seminars, both internal and external to PCC. I will need to look for opportunities to lead and manage. Things I have already considered.

It also heightened my awareness of how I can help all students be successful, but also students of color.  My experiences and direction can be a positive influence on others. And it should be shared.

Teaching

Spring term is very quite, very laid back in comparison to Fall and Winter.  April was a very busy month for teaching/admin work & finishing up my class. So needless to say, I’m waaaaaay behind on grading. Made some strides. I knew if I didn’t grade every day, I’d end up behind.

My admin work list is still pretty long, I’m teaching 287M Microsoft Security and there’s a major issue with the book. It’s out of stock and Unavailable. No word on a new edition or reprints. I need to get that book squared away soon.

As a full time instructor I’m also responsible for helping with the dept.’s assessment of classes. For this round I’ll be working with 140M. That takes a fair amount of time and effort.

I’m sure I’m missing something on the teaching side.

 

Quick Update

Doctoral Studies

One assignment/presentation away from putting the Intro Research class behind me. It’s been the longest 15 weeks – EVA! The last assignment is a prospectus and presentation. I have to give the presentation in class. However, that nothing major. The biggest road block is putting the finishing touches on the paper. Converting it to a PowerPoint is a non-issue. I do that all the time. There is a two week break before my next class starts. Looking forward to that. The next class is directed study (one on one with the instructor). Cyn has had this instructor before and has really enjoyed directed study with this instructor. That will be a nice change.  And the topic is Community Colleges, my focus.

Overall, my topic remains distance learning in higher education. My research into the topic has been very interesting. I’ve read several studies which combine tons of other research into a single spot. Helps get a very good grasp on the topic.

Teaching – Spring Term

I must grade every day for at least an hour or it’s gonna get silly fast. Overall the term is off to a great start, online classes are pretty quite & I’m somewhat on top of things. I think most of my students have been in a previous class of mine or a class in a similar format and so they know what to expect.

I am behind on lab proofing, I’ll have to hit it pretty hard next week as I won’t have any doctorate class stuff hanging over my head. Next week is already week 3!

Administrative work

One of the things that comes with teaching full time is administrative work. I have a few admin type things on my plate right now. Writing the course assessment for our CIS140M class. It’s part of the college’s accreditation process. I’m sure I’m missing something…..

American Association of Community College Conference  – AACC

The last thing on the radar for April is The AACC Conference in Orlando, FL. I’ll be attending with a few people from PCC. Mostly administrative types, like the president of PCC. Feeling a bit outclassed. But I’m sure I’ll get over that quick like, I hope!

It’ll be a very nice break from everything and should expose me to community colleges on a national stage.

Certifications & Windows Server 8

yep, must be thawed, another post so soon.

So I was looking for text book for CIS 287M, Microsoft Security. It would appear that I’m going to be adding this class to my list of classes I teach. I came across this book: http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Windows-Security-Essentials-Darril/dp/111801684X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331595346&sr=8-1

I thought, awesome. I saw it had some good materials in at a first glance so I passed it along to my dept chair. And he came back with, you know that book is for a certification.

WHAT! No, I didn’t. I’ll have to look at the book in greater detail to see if it’ll work, BUT I hadn’t heard of that Cert before. At first thought it was for a new Microsoft Security product. Nope, it’s a new certification, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA).

Oh technology, blink and you’ll miss it!

So off I go to: http://www.microsoft.com/learning

And end up here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/mta.aspx#overview

This MTA exam is apparently an entry-level exam. I’ve heard almost nothing about it before coming across the book. But that doesn’t mean anything. I’m not as connected as I once was. I’ll have to do some more investigation before I’m able to pass judgment.

 

Windows Server 8!

Really! I’d heard the talk about Windows 8 the client version. And I really haven’t taken the time to figure out the deal. But I KNEW it wouldn’t be long before the Server equivalent came out. And it’s on its way.

So the next thing on my reading list (aside from articles on distance learning, and text books on research methods): http://searchwindowsserver.techtarget.com/guides/Windows-Server-8-guide

Spring Thaw

Well it’s almost spring anyway. I’ve thawed enough for a new blog post. It’s been a while since my last post, that’s for sure.

So where to begin:

I finished another class, comprehensive planning and implementation with an A. The instructor was good, responsive provided decent feedback. She certainly helped in improving my APA style. I like the structure of the online class, the assignment due dates are clearly laid out, you have a clear understanding of what will be required each week (discussion question, two replies, one to two papers). I like structure. I’m still in Intro to Research, not enjoying that class at all! Much less structure, different instructor, we’ll leave it at that. (This is the internet and this is open to the world……) The intro to research class is done in Mid-April.

A major breakthrough was getting all of my core classes worked out. There are 5 core classes for my program in Community College Executive Leadership and I was having a horrible time getting into the classes. They weren’t showing up on the schedule. Lucky they were able to get me directed study (me and an instructor) for all 5 classes. My path is laid out clear until Fall term. However, as I get closer to the end, I see some difficulties with wrapping up and getting all the dominos to line up properly. I’m still on track to be done with course work by summer of 2013.

Teaching has gone alright this term. I know the pace I keep can have a very negative impact on my attention to detail. Attention to detail issues KILL me inside. I hate things that can be avoided by taking a few extra seconds to review. Of my three classes this term, two of them required development. The Web Tech class, 187I required MAJOR development.  But its coming along. It’ll be much better the next time I teach it (I Hope!) Looking forward to Spring Term, I’m teaching two classes I’ve already updated this year. So there’s no development. I can tighten up some various aspects of the course etc.

I can say I’m out of damage control mode. That panicked mode where you are getting things done before the just before the deadline, as in minutes. Being down to one class in my studies helps.

And YES I’m looking forward to summer!

As you might imagine I’ve done almost 0 gaming or anything that hasn’t been school or work (which is STILL school).  I think I’ll hammer out a separate gaming update post.