Thinking Technology

Neck Deep in Winter Term 2011

First, the winter break was….. OUTSTANDING! I returned to the classroom recharged and energized. We shall see how long it lasts. Of course I did course prep and development over the break, But there was a fair share of chillin.

 

But now its back to work.

 

CIS-288M, CIS-187I & CIS-225 are the classes I’m teaching. My teaching and office hours schedule isn’t to bad. One of the joys of teaching at this level is flexibility. If my office hours aren’t working out, I can always change them around like I did last term.

 

288M & 187I are two classes that I’ve struggled with. I haven’t found the right content & level of depth. The flow isn’t there. I’m hoping this term I hit the mark with both classes. We shall see. I’m looking forward to 225. I’ve taught this class once before and should be more “fun”. The topic of user support allows for more discussion and interaction. Some role playing etc. Probably a guest speaker which I need to arrange…… (one more thing)

 

Classes I’m taking:  Introduction to Research Methods & Comprehensive Planning & Implementation.

 

Both classes are off to a decent start. Intro to Research is a blended class so it means trips to Seattle once a month.  I don’t mind the trips so much as it a break from the routine. I’m just hoping the class is worth the effort. I’m a big planner and need structure. A lot of the on campus classes are more….. Free form. I have a hard time adjusting to that.

 

The planning class is a standard online class. Very structured. I have to sit down and lay out the details of each assignment so I know what’s do when and what it’ll take to complete the assignments. If I have to conduct interviews for an assignment I have to start scheduling them NOW. People are busy, especially the people that I need to interview.

 

The initial outlook is good. We’ll see how well things are around next week.

 

There is no doubt that the doctoral endeavor is a one that requires commitment and dedication. There is no illusion to the amount of work that needs to be done throughout the process. The days of taking classes, getting grades and being done are behind me. But one of the biggest realizations for me was the amount of reading that I’d have to do! Reading a few chapters for class is the least of my issues.

 

I’m reading research that will pertain to my end dissertation. Lots of research & dissertations. My writing 7000 instructor pointed out that a standard dissertation will have at least 100 sources. To get those 100, you’ll need to 7 times that. My jaw dropped. 1 in 7 of the articles, dissertations and studies I read won’t make the cut. 6 items will be useless. WOW!

 

Realizing how much reading was necessary, I put aside my reading aversion and decided to make it part of the routine. So every day I read for about an hour. I rotate out topics from 5 categories:

 

Technical – Information Technology or Computer Information Systems related, cert study, etc.

Distance Learning – Topics related to distance learning, since this will be the focus of my dissertation

Community College Leadership –  What is going on with community colleges? What do I need to know to be in a leadership position. (My current aspiration)

Academic – This will be chapters for class, course materials etc.

Leisure – All work and no play……

 

So today’s topic: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/class_differences

 

This report is examines enrollment figures, how organizations see online learning fitting into their future strategy and perceptions on the outcomes face-to-face vs. online. Perceptions of online learning is the foundation for my dissertation so this study should be valuable in that regard.

Feels Strange…..

But I’ve been relaxing.  I have not been working since I started winter break. I’m a bit surprised (and impressed) with myself.

Lets wrap up fall term & then start talking about winter term.

In the end I was pleased with fall term 2011. It was a long  fast paced 4 months. I felt both of my courses (CIS 287I & CIS 289M) went pretty well. No catastrophes, I kept up on development, grading (with the help of a teacher’s assistant) & my own school work. My end of course evaluations for 289M were pretty good. I managed to forget to post the eval for 287I (silly rabbit!) I got an A in my writing 7000 course. There were a lot of little things in that course, attention to detail issues that costs me points, much like the Higher Education in the United States class. However, the feedback was outstanding, it was feedback not on my writing mechanics but on my writing depth and skills at the doctorial level. My mechanics appear to be dead on aside from the occasional attention to detail issues. In the depth and skill department, I have to improve my ability to turn a critical eye to things. I have to read, analyze what I read and THEN be able to draw conclusions using supported facts and concepts. It will take some work. Overall that, that sums up Fall term.

 

I learned that organization and planning are the key to survival. I have to develop and maintain and clear understanding of what is due and stay on top of it. Procrastination will not help the situation AT ALL! I need to break all those bad habits, quick. I have to watch out for those details. It really bothers me to loose ground because of attention to detail issues.

 

There’s no doubt that I’m busy, but there are a few things I have to squeeze into an already jam packed existence. My technical skills are slipping. I teach technology and I have to stay up on the new hotness. When I worked in the technology as my full time job there was incentive to research and look at new things. That incentive was because I had to. Now its considerably harder. I sat in on the classes of new instructors and it made me realize because I’m not active in network administration, I need to put in extra effort to know what is going on. The second thing is keeping up with the industry of community colleges, education and community college leadership. To make the transition to Dean or beyond I’m going to have to expand my knowledge and understanding of the system.

 

Part of the organization and planning is my daily routine, which includes working out every morning using P90X (I have to take care of the body as well as the mind) is reading every day. I suspect the reading will have to go from 30 minutes to at least an hour real soon if I want to expand my knowledge. I fall I read mostly academic stuff related to my classes. That will change for winter term.  Where to begin is going to be the biggest challenge, but nothing I can’t handle.

 

So that’s last term, what does winter term hold, more of the same. I’m teaching CIS 187I, CIS 225 & CIS 288M. I had 3 months to get fall term’s courses ready and one of them got cancelled. This time I’ve got 3 weeks and all three courses have enough students to run. So this week I have to hit the ground running. Getting my prep going. 187I & 288M are course I’ve never found my stride with.  I always feel like something is missing or the courses don’t flow. Here’s to hoping that changes this time around. Of my list of courses, 240M was my strongest. With all the part-timers in our dept I don’t teach that much any more. I hit my stride with 289M this term. Here’s to hoping 288M & 187I arrive in the zone this term. 225 is a fun class, not a lot of pressure. Having a solid text book helps with that.

 

I’m taking two courses in the next Dr Semester. Comprehensive Planning and Implementation & Introduction to Research Methods.

Finals Week…..

That about says it all!

I’ll do a full update when things settle down.

I am Looking Forward to Winter Break

However, getting there won’t be easy! There’s 2 weeks left in the EdD term and 3 weeks left in the teaching term.

For the EdD semester I have a few assignments left. Of course none of those assignments are easy. A dissertation critique, rounding out an annotated bibliography, writing a prospectus for my own dissertation and PowerPoint presentation for that prospectus. See just a few assignments left.

I started preparing for the annotate bibliography & dissertation critique last week. I found several dissertations that fell into the realm of my research topic. One dissertation covers the exact topic I plan to do my study on. This is the dissertation I will use for my dissertation critique. The topic is distance learning & this study was performed in Texas, while I plan to focus on Oregon community colleges.

The challenge, this dissertation is a 100 pages! I’ve been working on improving my reading, speed, comprehension and frequency. I read just about every day, some leisure, some academic. I’d like to mix in some professional/technical in there. But leisure and academic are already kicking my tail. Once I’ve finished this dissertation I’ll have to write up the critique.

The greatest feedback I’ve gotten so far on my writing skill is technically I am sound proficient writer. I can provide a detailed summary of what I have read. That is OK, in research you have to be able to “synthesize” what your read. You have to analyze and draw conclusions on the reading. You have to dig deeper than what is presented on the surface. THIS is proving more challenging that the reading aspect. Reading more dissertations and research studies should help me improve. It is a skill will have to work hard to develop.

I have signed up for my next two classes:

E7134 – Comprehensive Planning and Implementation

R7001-A – Introduction to Research Methods

 

They will run from January to April.

Onto the teaching term.

Things have gone rather well this term. I have a TA helping keep things moving along. As always course development is an issue. I can not seem to keep it under control! I have things I want to change, things I want to improve, it’s a never ending battle, which is not a bad thing. There are times where I wouldn’t mind being caught up. Maybe next term will be different – ha!

My students have been pretty good this term. No difficult or challenging students.

Why Bother?!

Why bother?!

I have come to the conclusion that in order to survive the massive undertaking of an Ed.D.  I am going to have to be organized, efficient and effective, among a list of other attributes. But a head of all that comes the big question: “Why Bother?!”

What is my motivation? What is my overall goal?

From my recent readings, the degree is not the end goal, it’s a path and stepping stone.  I just finished reading  – “Notes On the PhD Degree” found here:  http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/dec/essay.phd.html

It revisited a lot of things I’d already heard since starting this program, but it’s good to see again.

I got laid off and move into academia. PCC is such a dynamic organization with plenty of opportunity to advance into a leadership role.  I decided having more credentials would be a good thing in my quest for leadership opportunities.

So what are my goals:
• Open doors to executive leadership within the community college system
• Become subject matter expert in distance learning.

A good start I would say.

I have completed 2 classes so far and I am in the middle of my third. I am keeping on.

We are already into November! Thanksgiving – Really!?!?!

The teaching term is over halfway done. As always, I am a bit behind on development.  Looks like I will have far less development in Winter Term which is a good thing considering how busy I am going to be. We get a fairly long winter break this year, and I am not mad!

Keeping Pace

287I & 289M are going pretty well.  Content isn’t 100% yet, but it’s getting there. I’ve got a few areas in 289M that needs some attention, I want more detail, coverage of replication & a peek into the schema. I found a decent spot to drop it in and now I just need to make it happen.

287I needs more detail into Apache and IIS 7. Get into the guts of ‘em. Also found a spot for it just need to make it happen.

Workload hasn’t been horrible considering its already week 5! That’s madness.  But almost halfway there.

One the EdD side of things, another class down, Higher Education in the US is in the books! Yeah, last assignment submitted today, grades will probably post next week. I’m still knee deep in the writing class. I did a little math…. I can be done with all of my course work by August 2013. That would mean I can finish the entire process by August 2014. We shall see.

Teaching & Learning

Well look at that…. It’s already week 3 of the term! This is the first block of time I’ve had to sneak off and jot down my thoughts.

Where to begin – My CIS 225 class was cancelled. That was a major disappointment. It was the only class 100% ready to roll for Fall term. It certainly cut back my workload. So, its not all bad. We’ll take another shot at it in Winter Term. Hopefully enrollment will be better.

I’m going to have to change my office hour schedule – these two long days are wearing me out! 12+ hours on Wednesday & Thursday. I’m in bed by 9:30 just about every night and I’m still beat!  Ole people need more sleep. So I need to plan out my new office hours. Thinking Tuesday morning/afternoon, Wednesday all day and late on Thursday.

CIS 289M – is going well. The TA is keeping things caught up. I’m focused on development. Proofing labs and getting the captioning done on my video lectures.

I was part of a guiding team over the summer. The guiding team was assembled to develop recommendations for PCC regarding how to make sure our courses are accessible for students with disabilities. I was selected for the team because of my experience with instructor created media. I use a lot of it. I learned a lot from my time on this team, including how to do my own captioning of my video lectures.  I also participated in a video about the topic: http://www.pcc.edu/resources/instructional-support/access/

CIS 287I – Hopefully this class gels together soon! Its not there yet. Maybe having a better vision for the class would help.

My own school – wow! It’s keeping me very busy, the writing class doesn’t have a lot of “work” but a hell of a lot of knowledge to be had. I’ll be very familiar with the dissertation process by the end of this course. I’ll also have several sections of my dissertation completed. (Provided I do not make any major changes to my topic) I took a quiz on the process and didn’t do so hot.

My Higher Education in the US class is a lot of work. A whole lot of work! This class only has two weeks left. That didn’t take long @ all! Of course I’ve got a lot of work to take care of between now and then. The important note for this class, getting knocked of my academic high horse. I have a pretty structured process for doing assignments. It involves having a clear understanding of the assignment and the details of what is required. (same things I harp on my students about). Whelp, I managed to miss a major portion of an assignment. Not sure how, just spaced it. Proved I need to pay a little closer attention to detail – ALL THE TIME! Picked up a few bruises on that fall. But we need those on occasion, keep us humble.

I’m trying to work out the details of my course of study….. There are 3 research classes that you are SUPPOSE to take one right after another (intro to research, quantitative research and qualitative research). They are all on campus classes & 14 weeks. That’s makes for a long stretch of trips to Seattle. That takes its toll. Aside from those $$ and wear and tear of the trips, I get a little worried about loosing some of the knowledge as I progress through the program.

However, there are a few pros.

1st – Once these classes are done, I’d got at least a year or so with NO trips to Seattle. The next trip would be at almost the very end of my program.

2nd – I’d have all the technical knowledge I’d need to finish my dissertation. In theory, I’d be able to work on my dissertation concurrently with remaining course work. That would be a major boon to getting through the process with the quickness. That’s provided I don’t do any major changes to my topic.

Also if I’m going to take the track as outlined, I’m going to need to sign up for a stats class real soon to sharpen my skillz. (sharpen…. hell find ‘em!)

I haven’t done any cert study, sad panda. Not for a lack of trying. That’s for sure. I just have to pick my battles.

Summer, that’s a wrap!

I survived the first two weeks of my two classes and I’m neck deep in week three.

Out the starting gates it is a heck of a lot of work and I’m barely keeping it together. I am horribly behind on reading, something I expected to happen in fairly short order. Reading has ALWAYS been something I have struggled with. While I understand the importance of reading, it always seem to be on the back burner. For years, at least ten, I have wanted to change that aspect of my existence and it has not happened. Not professionally or leisurely.    And if I haven’t been able to change all these years, I am not sure how I’m going to inflict change.

Continued quest for self-improvement!

There is proving to be a healthy dose of overlap between the higher education class and then writing class. Not content-wise, but assignment-wise. I know I will have a clear understanding of the process. I also feel like my topic will have fairly rough boarders. My topic is certainly starting to take shape.

I am back on campus, it is in-service week! Meetings, meetings & yes! More meetings. This has eaten up a lot of this week.

My key to all of this is going to have to be staying organized. I will have to make sure I have a clear understanding of every assignment and when it is due. I will have to make sure I know what I have to do for teaching and gauge how long it will take. That has always been a challenge for me. Being realistic about the time it will take for me to accomplish most tasks.

With what seemed like non-stop work over the summer, I am not 100% ready for the start of the term as I had hoped. I wouldn’t even say 50%. That is very disappointing. It doesn’t help that the ONE class that was 100% ready to roll for the start of the term got cancelled due to lack of enrollment! That sucked. So its going to be another crazy fall term. Trying to stay ahead of the game.

My other projects for summer, also seem totally unfulfilled. Seems like that is always the case.

So much self reflection and need for improvement. Its hard to find a starting place.

Challenging at Best!

I got an A in my first EdD class!

Fall term is fast approaching from the teacher and student stand point.  I’m gonna be in it….. DEEP!

I’m all set for my two classes:  W7000 (That’s writing 7000) Advanced Academic Study & E7136 Writing & Higher Education in the United States. The W7000 class in on campus, which means several trips to Seattle. I came across the syllabus for the writing class and it is going to be challenging at best, brutal at worse.

When its all said and done, at the end of this class I will be ready for the doctoral process:

  •  I will have a clear understanding of what it take to complete my EdD degree
  •  I will have a fairly firm foundation for my dissertation
  •  I will have been tested on my writing my skill level

All major things.  So on the one hand – yeah. On the other hand, holy crap!

For my writing class (W7000), if you don’t pass the writing assessment, you have to take the remedial writing class, W5099 Graduate Academic Writing.

The teaching term is also fast approaching. My classes aren’t packed, that’s a good thing! I’m so OK with that. A little worried about two of my classes not having enough students to go. Hopefully a few more people drop in before they have to cancel it. That would be BAD! I’ve been preparing for the term based on teaching my current three classes.

Major Update

I finished my first class, not a whole lot to say – other than…. I’m glad its done. 1 down, 15 to go!

I got to talk with the Chair of the dept which was interesting. I now have a fairly clear idea on how the competency exam works. Cyn (My wife) will be taking that in May. It’s pretty much what Cyn had gathered over the course of the program but the details are a bit more filled in. It’s 4 questions, the first question relates to your field of study. The second is a research question based on the first question. The last two are ethics related to research and something else. You have 7 days to complete it. It must be a fully annotated multi-page paper for each question. I’ll get to that after my course work.

I’m going to hammer out two class starting the second week in Sept. I’m going to take online classes for winter and then in spring take the very first research class. I plan to take a Stats class at PCC before I take the second research class. That’s the class Cyn just finished and it wasn’t good tymes. Refreshing my stats will help me focus more on the class.

Fall term is fast approaching, about a month away. Did I accomplish everything I set up to accomplish, heck no! But I’ll say it was pretty dang productive. Sept until Dec is going to CRAZY. And work now will save pain in the future.

Cert study picked up a little steam, I’ve got a new R2 Cert book. Of course right after I picked up the new book, MS Press released the updated R2 book. I prefer MS press books, but what’s done is done.

Honestly, I don’t see myself EVER passing this cert exam. On my list of priorities it seems to be pretty low. I’d really like to take that test and get it off my chest, but we shall see.

My preparation for Fall term moves along. My CIS 225 class is ready to go. My 289M class is moving along – 287I is no close to where it should be. Gonna have to get cracking on that soon.

My plan for 289M is to get up to Module 4 complete then move onto 287I. I’m getting there.

I joined a PCC guiding team over the summer to help develop the standards for online course materials in relation to students with disabilities. This team is there to make recommendation to the college on how to ensure classes are meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

I was asked to join the team because I use a lot of multimedia in my courses. Mostly recordings of my lectures.

One of the things that came out of the meetings, I can produce my own captioning on my videos. The program I use, Camtasia can do most of the heavy lifting. Then I go in and edit the captioning, proofing to make sure everything looks good.

I was pretty impressed with myself. I got 3 out of 5 lectures updated with captioning. Very cool! My biggest motivation in learning to caption is now I don’t have to send my work off weeks in advance to be captioned. And because I’m using Camtasia, the look and feel remains consistent.