An Oasis in OESIS

I’m attending the Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools for a couple of days. What a day it has been with many inspirational speakers about the future of independent schools and e-learning in general. Just from today, I learned about, EdSurge.

I’ve had great discussions about computer/online assessments and the Bill of Right for the Digital Age. Other sessions touched on whether MOOCs could replace AP courses, what are the challenges and benefits for blended learning, and how some schools have embraced online learning through collaborations with various online consortiums and Center for Talented Youth. Really fascinating topics.

In all, Mark Milliron puts it best, “Education is the pathway to possibilities.” – that’s why we as educators continue to refine our trade and sharpen our tools.

First day with MOOC

When I found out that we would have to register/follow a MOOC for 6 weeks, I was flabbergasted as to how I will be able to fit it all into my already super busy schedule. I have heard a lot of MOOC in the news and from my husband who is currently taking his 3rd MOOC course. I was blown away when I watched Daphne Koller’s TED talk a few months ago on how online education is changing the paradigm for access to higher education. After I got over the fact that I have to do this assignment and just have to make time for it, I began browsing the Coursera website for a class that I could take.

I’ve been thinking for awhile about taking a computer programming class. But the reality is, I don’t think I can commit to the time to really learn it this semester with teaching and finishing up my masters thesis project. Then stumbled on The Science of Gastronomy, which sounds amazing. I love to cook and it would be neat to learn more about food science – but it’s not offered now. Hence, I decided on taking Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  Personally, I’ve been struggling to the excess 30 lbs I’ve gained since I’ve had 2 children 7 years ago. I’ve tried dieting and exercising, but I’ve learned that I need to learn to eat healthier! So I’m hoping that this class with help me learn about proper nutrition while encouraging me to lead a path towards a healthier lifestyle. The other reason for taking this class is I hope I can glean information that I would be able to share with my students in Anatomy and Physiology. We spend a lot of time discussion different body systems, particularly the cardiovascular system and digestive system. And studies have shown that nutrition is heavily linked to the wellness and smooth operations of these body systems.

Today being the first day of the course, I started watching the video lectures (10 per week!). Luckily, I had a chunk of time today, so I plowed through the first 5. My initial reactions are:

  • Course is well organized and structured.
  • The video lectures are really well made – Prof speaks clearly, slides are informative but not too information heavy.

It looks like hundreds of people from all over the world have registered for the course from the Introduction posts on the discussion forum. It doesn’t seem as if I will interact with many or get to know any at all if I don’t participate in the discussion forum.

So far, most of the info presented from the lectures are review for me as I have taken 2 course in biochemistry in college, and I have taught Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy/Physiology. The assignments for the week is to take a quiz (based on the lectures), keep track of my caloric intake and physical activities for one day using Super Tracker (by USDA), and analyze my report looking at specific data. This seems doable for this week. I imagine that it’ll get much harder as time progress. I hope I am able to keep up!

Daily Create Contributions – Day 3: Saving Julia Child

saving-julia-child by Mikenan1
saving-julia-child, a photo by Mikenan1 on Flickr.
Today’s prompt is

Design a poster of an action movie starring Julia Child

I have to admit, I was pretty stumped by this one. It took me awhile to come up with an idea. If you couldn’t tell, this is the poster for Saving Private Ryan. I remembered that Julia Child had worked with the Office of Strategic Services during WWII. I found a picture of her with some friends from the war (top picture) from
The bottom picture of her preparing the turkey is from
For this assignment, I used PhotoShop to change the titles on the poster and added the images. It definitely made me think critically about who Julia Child was and how I would portray her in an action movie.

Daily Create Contributions – Day 2: Love Actually

Today’s prompt is

Submit a favorite monologue from a movie with every third word removed.

Initially, I groaned at this assignment. However, as I thought more about how I would respond, I reflected upon my favorite movies. One of them is Love Actually (2003). It’s one of my favorites to watch around the holidays every year partly because I love British romantic comedies.

The monologue I chose is by the Prime Minister at the very beginning of the movie:

Whenever I get with the of the, I think the arrivals at Heathrow. General opinion’s to make that we live a world hatred and, but I see that. It seems me that is everywhere. it’s not dignified or, but it’s there – fathers sons, and daughters, and wives, girlfriends, friends. When planes hit Twin Towers, far as know none the phone from the on board messages of or revenge – were all of love. you look it, I’ve a sneaky you’ll find love actually all around.

Although fictional, I believe the sentiments are true – the best way to cheer up from something awful is to know that love is all around. Cheesy, yes, but works for me.

There you have it. Somehow this Daily Create assignment is helping me write more. I can see something like this being used in a Social Studies or a Language Arts class. It’s helpful to provide prompts to students on a daily basis to get them into the habit of writing. And I can see how a simple website such as the Daily Create and using Twitter can help engage students to foster creativity.

Daily Create Contributions – Day 1: Green Tea and Toaster Oven

Green Tea and Toaster Oven by Mikenan1
Green Tea and Toaster Oven, a photo by Mikenan1 on Flickr.

This is my first Daily Create entry.

Today’s prompt is

Take a photo of the ONE thing you MUST see, do, eat, hear, etc. everyday!

I make a pot of green tea every morning so that I will have enough to stay caffeinated throughout the day. I can’t live without this toaster oven. We’re usually in a rush in the morning. For breakfast, I usually heat either toast, frozen waffles, or bagels for the family.

The Daily Create seems like a neat way to foster creativity in virtual space. Perusing through older prompts, one that I would be stuck on is “Write a poem about a cat”. I’m not much of a writer and much less a poet. I hope the next 3 days of Daily Create would be something do-able!

Staying safe in the online world

In our last synchronous class session, we spend a lot of time discussing Internet Privacy. With increased use of social networking sites and web 2.0 tools, we are sharing more of ourselves online everyday. How can we protect ourselves from having our identity stolen or accounts hacked?

Some of the things brought up from the discussion are:

  1. Minimize sharing personal information on social networking sites.
    • Be sure to review privacy settings on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn accounts. How much do you want people to know about you?
  2. Make sure to use “https” for a more secured web interactions (i.e., online banking or even to check e-mail)
    • Along the same line, do not use a public WiFi hotspot for sensitive transactions.
  3. Consider using a password management system like LastPass, KeePass, or 1Password.
    • Here’s a review of several tools by LifeHacker
  4. If you are Google user, use a 2-step verification method to protect your account.

These were all great tips. I have been practicing most of these already. I have been an avid user of LastPass and Google’s 2-step verification method for a while. They were fairly easy to set up and so far so good.

However, in the past I tend to share a lot about myself on Facebook since it’s the easiest way I keep in touch with family and friends around the country and the world. I now try to limit how much info I post online.

One thing we didn’t touch on in class is also the importance of educating our students about Internet Privacy. I know that I can do a better job about it with my students. It should be an ongoing conversation that I introduce at the beginning of the course (when they first log into the course LMS) and continue throughout the year.


For the first week of ETEC 647e, we were asked to compile a short video/slideshow to introduce ourselves to the class. It’s a great assignment since it really made me think about characteristics about myself I would like to share with others.

Immediately I wanted to showcase the different places I’ve travelled to. Luckily, my husband and I have been pretty organized with our digital photo collection using Picasa. We’ve also had all of our photos from film scanned by a few years ago, so all of our photos are now on our desktop and backed up on a hard drive. Additionally, we subscribe to Back

I had some challenges narrowing down the thousands of pictures since I’ve visited 17 countries, 7 United States National Parks, and 24 states. So I decided to highlight some of my favorite places that I’ve been to with pictures of my family.

I made the slideshow using It was fairly easy to use. I like that there are many options to choose your images from (Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Picasa), so if you already have your photos on the cloud using these services, it’s easy to find them. After picking the photos, it’s a matter of uploading an .mp3 or finding song in their list for the audio. There were also many options on how to present the slideshow with their unique set of “skins”. I was able to make my video within 10 minutes from start to finish – which is super fast by my standards. I’m used to making my slideshows on iMovie and it can take a long time to render, export, etc. Below is my finished Slideshow.

My Travel slideshow

Additionally, this assignment allowed me to get to know new classmates (especially those I have not had classes with before). It’s neat to see how others decide to present themselves and how they went about doing it. I also learn of new web 2.0 tools to try out, such as and Popcorn Maker. These were among the many tools listed on that Dr. Bert shared with us for the assignment.

I’m looking forward to learning more about Emerging Technology through this course and from my peers.