30 January 2011

The Challenge Called "Week 4"

ʻAnoʻai e nā hoa heluhelu,
Greetings friends,

Is it Sunday, the end of the 4th week of a 5-week class. Already?!

Turbulent might be a good word to describe this past week. 
  • On Tuesday morning, I learned from my new dentist that a dental malady required a tooth extraction which was the foundation for a two-tooth bridge. 
  • On Wednesday morning, my tooth was extracted and I returned to work immediately. After working a full day, arrived at home, ate, and promptly slept for 12 hours.
  • On Thursday, feeling okay. However, it was our 15th anniversary. Small celebration with the best Japanese food in Santa Rosa for early dinner. Returned home satiated, and promptly slept for another 10 hours.
  • On Friday, feeling better. The big anniversary celebration that evening at our favorite restaurant. Returned home completely stuffed, worked on homework for a little while, but eventually slept again for 8 hours.
  • On Saturday, feeling pudgy. Put some extra time in the office working six hours. Did a little homework. Returned home exhausted, just went to sleep--not eating.
  • Today, feeling great! Woke up early, started on homework, practiced chanting and hula. Finished all my assignments. 
Mahalo ke Akua!
Mahalo to my Sweetie too!

Only one week left of class and then Keauhou, Kona. Lots to do this coming week, I still need to prepare my lessons for the workshops I will be teaching. Good thing is I will be using assessment techniques to measure student learning outcomes in three ways: pre-instructional, formative, and summative.

But even before those tasks, there is a final paper to write. Focus, focus, focus.

Blessings to your and yours!

Ke aloha nō,

What Surprised Me the Most

How little I knew about rubrics and their multiple uses.

What I Liked the Best
Learning that I am moving from my traditional role as a technologist toward administrative tendencies. I have to add that Anne provided an audio file this week too!

What I Liked the Least
My inability to completely immerse myself in the huge amounts of reading 
this past week.

What to Keep or Change for My Courses

Change: Consider using rubrics for future learning assessment.

Keep: Providing text alternative when using audio files in the course.

23 January 2011

Week 3 Wrap Up

ʻAnoʻai e nā hoa heluhelu,
Greetings friends,

It has definitely been one crazy week. Sure, with school, but other "life" things as well. This course is halfway over--which is difficult to believe. Reading is becoming easier. My academic writing is improving. Well, at least I think so. Been attempting to avoid the feeling of "being behind" or "trying to catch up" with little success. There's always next week!

Something made me pause this week during the reading about course development and accessibility. Does anyone I know use a screen reader when cruising the web? Seems like important technology, but how many people know there is such a thing available? How much does it cost? When doing web development, is there a screen reader available to verify accessibility?

Many questions and open to responses.

E hoʻi ana kēia i ka hiamoe. Ke makahiamoe nei au.
Going to bed. I am sleepy.

Blessings to your and yours!

Ke aloha nō,

What Surprised Me the Most

That our reading assignments contained many dead links or references to old technology such as "floppy disks."

What I Liked the Best
The research our team performed and produced. During my own research I found some interesting and valuable resources about corporate training.

What I Liked the Least

Not being able to communicate instantly with my team members regarding our project, particularly on the due date.

What to Keep or Change for My Courses

Change: The expectations for myself and my students regarding my participation in discussion questions for the students. Notably, much less participation on my part in the group setting. But on assignments turned in for review by me, that is where my feedback to the student will be focused.

Keep: Technology orientation for students to evaluate familiarity and comfort with computers and related software.

22 January 2011

The Group Project - Complete!

ʻAnoʻai e nā hoa,
Greetings friends,

We made it! It was close, but I posted the final version of our paper at 11:19 pm, just before the midnight due date/time.

This exercise in collaborative learning has been quite an experience. Working in a group strictly by email without the benefit of first speaking or meeting my teammates except through text was challenging.

I found myself imagining the sound of the voices of my teammates and the hint of what they might look like given their name, the way they write, and the "tone" of their "written voice." I am sure you have done the same when reading novels or books. The author normally helps you out though, by describing the physical attributes or the texture of a voice.

"Her bright blue eyes were in stark comparison to the dark thick wavy hair that fell about her shoulders."
I just made that up. Okay, back to the point. Which is....oh yeah--which is that it helps me to meet or speak to someone on the phone prior to trying to communicating strictly through email. Despite this challenge, I feel the project turned out well and that we collaborated successfully to complete the assignment.

If I had to do it again, I would go for a smaller group. There were more people than roles. Oh, and since no one volunteered to be leader, guess what? Yep, I appointed myself. (Okay, I will wait until you are done shaking your head and sighing with disbelief.) For those of you that "know-me-know-me" it is not surprising. For myself, I truly did expect someone else to step up. It was fun!

One advantage of group work online is the ability to do the email trail and the asynchronous communication. Of course, that is a disadvantage too if you need confirmation on changing something or waiting for a response to a question. Just like global workforces though, time zone differences need to be considered. One of our team resides on the east coast.

The collaboration tools on BlackBoard (BB) need improving. Our team decided, after a several days of using BB, to return to Basecamp for our project. We made heavy use of the writeboard features. The other nice feature of Basecamp is that the text of a message is included in the email. Unlike BB, if you subscribe to a thread to receive email notices that someone else has posted to the thread, you are required to log in to see the text. Not receiving the posted text in the email notice must be related to liability and copyright. Just a guess.

Me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,



See an image of someone I admire with blue eyes and dark wavy hair. A former Miss World USA winner.

19 January 2011

A Funny Thing Happened in the Office Today...

ʻAnoʻai kākou,
Greetings all,

So today I am sitting in a meeting at work with my manager, my new supervisor, and a department chair (names not given for privacy reasons). This is a normal weekly meeting. At one point my jaw drops because the topic of discussion matches exactly the topic issue that my classmates and I have selected for our group project.
How do organizations provide technology support to instructors during online course development?
Holy smokes! Talk about fidgeting in my seat. It took massive amounts of self-control to keep myself from asking questions. Thankfully my restraint paid off. The department chair shared that a few years back she and another faculty were paid stipends to do an outreach. The intent was to provide technical training for any fellow faculty desiring assistance in developing courses for online delivery. Unfortunately, not many folks took advantage of the program.

The team project is going okay. Using Basecamp has been helpful. The challenge has been gaining consensus. I know all my teammates are working professionals and go-getters. I am re-learning for myself that I like to plan and make sure that we agree, or at least have some consensus before moving to the next stage. Nothing really new since I am an ENFJ on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.

The due date of our group paper is definitely the “x-factor” in driving the team. The paper is due Saturday instead of the usual midnight on Sunday.

No matter how “I” think we should get there, as long as we do. So, lots more research to do which of course means lots more reading. I am learning lots!

ʻO au iho nō me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,

Liko Puha

16 January 2011

Week 2 in a Single Post

ʻAnoʻai e nā hoa heluehelu,
Greetings readers,

This week has been challenging to keep on track with assignments and to write in English using a “grad student” perspective. As I mentioned last week, sometimes I read articles numerous times.

Reading Retention and Comprehension
Earlier in the week I began using a useful technique taught to me in my study skills class when attending DeAnza College.

After saving all the reading articles to the hard drive, I printed them out. I found that handling and reading paper helps me stay focused. When working all day on the computer and coming home to do the same, I get kinda loopy.

For the technique, I first read the introduction, conclusion, and section titles, numbering all the paragraphs in the left margin. In the right margin I create a question for each paragraph, most times related to the topic sentence. Highlighting the answer to the question also helps with retention.

Normally I would write the questions on index cards with the number and question on the front side, then the answer on the other. I have opted to type out the number/question in a document instead. I believe this is called the SQ3R method.

Keeping on Track
I tried using Backpack, Google Calendar and Task List without much success to keep on track. This week I ended up transferring everything over to Basecamp. The full features of Basecamp for project management and team collaboration are outstanding, but I have found that it can be used just to keep me on track.

For writing, I tried to utilize MacJournal, which I have used in the past to organize and store coding routines. Again, I returned to Basecamp and the use of Writeboard. The version control is such a blessing for me, since I constantly want to change or rearrange what I write.

Well, the title has to do with the first assignment for Week 2. The assignment:
2:1 Discuss two of the institutional challenges delineated by Kaminski and Milheim that are likely to be/are/have been important in your online course/program construction. Institutional Challenges in the Creation and Delivery of an Online Degree Program

Okay, I took this to mean, write a paper just like the reading. I worked diligently to summarize my experience during program development and marketing for Nuiākea. Hello. I consciously avoided reading the discussion board posts of my classmates for fear of being influenced. So, after posting my nineteen paragraph piece complete with references I perused the posts. Oh my goodness gracious holy cow! My classmates were posting two paragraphs maybe three! Okay, let us say it together—o v e r k i l l.

Whatever. The exercise turned out to be gratifying to recall those times. We were doing some leading edge stuff that is the standard now. Yay!

Threads, threads, threads!
Anne led us through some exercises in Thread Management. Remember last week when I mentioned that most folks were not paying attention to the exponential growth potential of threads? Well, this exercise made it real. For our exercise example we used the very first group thread in which we introduce ourselves.

20 students posted a total of 102 posts which equaled 30 printed pages of reading. Good thing I saved the pages as a PDF instead of burning that paper. As a student, I focused on reading each student’s introduction. I knew, because our instructor told us, that it could be painful to try and read all the responses as well. As an instructor I could not imagine having to read everything. I wonder if I would? Depends.

From previous experience with Blackboard, I am aware that the “subscribe” feature to discussion threads is invaluable both as a student and instructor. I used it when teaching Aʻo Makua courses to make sure I did not miss a post directed to me. Also, as a facilitator, I had the ability to turn on the subscribe function for students which was defaulted otherwise to off. I would use the “set flag” feature to mark a post that needed a reply, but did not have time to do so immediately. I do this as a teacher and student.

There is a new feature in Blackboard to rate posts with one to five stars . It seems kinda weird, but I would rather have the Facebook “like” button instead. I can show that I have read the post while also acknowledging with a simple click my interest in the post. Needing to evaluate how many stars to give a post just takes too much time in my opinion. If I do give stars, it will always be five—from now on.

Group Project: Team Aloha
At the end of last week, the class was instructed to form teams for a group project. My teammates decided on the name. Fun yeah?!

Sorry this entry is so long, but I saved up a whole week’s worth of experiences.
Blessings to you and yours,

What Surprised Me the Most
That I submitted something that could be viewed as “Overachiever” material.

What I Liked the Best
Recalling many of the experiences of working at Kīpuka to develop and deliver Nuiākea.

What I Liked the Least
From the readings, it seemed that “constructivism” and learner centered teaching were talking about adult situations, but it is interpreted to be okay for online courses for grade school children. A repetitive theme throughout the readings was the changing role of the teacher to be more of a facilitator. From that statement, for me it does not seem that teachers need to be experts in their field any longer, or have a vested interest in developing curriculum. That is my take right now, but I am open to what the next week will bring.

What to Keep or Change for My Courses
Change: Never assign the use of Group Pages on Blackboard if I can help it.
Keep: Subscribe and Flag features!

09 January 2011

Wrapping Up the First Week

Welina mai e nā hoa heluhelu,Greetings readers,
The First Week

What an incredible first week! Returning to graduate student mode is exciting, but also exhausting. I knew it would be like this when I signed up. The difference is actually “experiencing” it. Much love and thanks to Toki. She has been incredibly supportive in so many ways. Especially when I shared with her yesterday about feeling intimidated by my classmates. As I read their insightful and well supported postings to the assignment questions, my self-esteem began deflating. I asked myself, “Am I even able to “hang” with these folks? How do I support my opinions with references to books, articles, and research studies as they seem able to do consistently?”

Toki reminded me that I do have a great deal of resources--my experiences and Hawaiian library.
Ka Puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau (Pukui), Nā Honua Maoli Ola, Hoʻoulu (Meyer), and Mai Paʻa I Ka Leo (Nogelmeier) to name a few. Hello! Talk about letting myself be sucked into the Western academic vortex. Admittedly I was ashamed of myself--briefly. Just before speaking with Toki I wrote my instructor, Anne Guptill, sharing my doubts. Her supportive and mentoring response was uplifting!

I will be answering the same questions below at the end of each week. Mahalo for following along with me as I take this journey.

ʻO au iho nō me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,
Sincerely yours,
What Surprised Me the MostThe amount of time it takes to read through all the responses in the various discussion boards associated to assignments in order to provide a response that “moves the discussion along.” The amount of responses is exponential. It does not seem that many folks have paid attention to the guideline of setting a limit. (See previous blog entry under “The First Lecture”)
What I Liked the Best
The “Playing Devil’s Advocate” exercise. Attempting to craft a persuasive argument for something I actually disagree with is a new concept. It was difficult!
What I Liked the Least
Spinning my wheels in the late evening/early morning. Also, learning how to read something with particular questions in mind so I do not have to read the whole darn thing again--which I did anyway. Argh!
What to Keep or Change for My Courses

  • Keeping Multi-media: I am still a bit disappointed that there are no audio files, video, or graphics associated with the content. It is still early, so I am sure that use of multi-media will be addressed in upcoming sections of the course.
  • Changing how assignments and discussion boards reference each other by the numbering system employed. 1:1 = Week#:Assignment#
  • Changing the importance of keeping a journal!

05 January 2011

Introductions and the First Lecture



The class is off to a great start. There are about twenty students. From the individual introductions I learned that we have a vast and varied amount of experience in online teaching and learning. Many students are from California, but we have one as far as Okinawa, Japan and a few sprinkling the east coast.

Our teacher, Anne Guptill, is a great example for us, being a graduate herself of MS-OTL! She continued on to gain her doctorate in education with a specialization in instructional design for distance education. Who knew there was such a thing? Obviously not me. But it is so exciting to learn there is another step beyond this one.

Speaking of which, I better focus on this one first. Hello. The reading assignments so far have been extremely helpful, particularly the first article providing writing advice for online university students. It seemed like the author used me as a research subject when he listed the major challenges students face.

The first two of the seven listed shouted at me from the page. Procrastination and perfectionism! Who me? You bet. I am already aware, from past experience in the MA Hawaiian Studies program at Mānoa, that I need to deal with those challenges swiftly and confidently.

The First Lecture

I was more than a little disappointed that the first lecture was not an audio presentation. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but man, more reading? Also, not many images are being used in the course design, just black and white so far. Meh.

The content of the lecture, however, was very helpful. Anne shared some common sense guidelines. Good thing she shared those guidelines. One in particular hit home, making me, the student, proclaim the teacher gratifying "Aha!" She pointed out some mathematical equations for exponential growth of discussion threads if we do not pay attention and set a limit. Ha!

That's all for now. I need to get to some reading done and respond to the discussion questions.

Mālama ko aloha.

03 January 2011

EDUI_6701 Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning


This blog will now be used to document my journey in the CSU-East Bay Master of Science in Education, Option in Online Teaching and Learning (MS-OTL) program.


The initial class started today, Jan. 3, 2011. The first assignment is to start a journal. I feel it is appropriate to use the this space for that purpose.

I plan to use several web-based tools to help me stay focused and organized. Using the Google Apps suite seems to be a smart way to stay on task. The only requirement is access to any networked computer with a browser.

However, my preference
for documenting, and sharing research is the flexible web application Backpack. This tool has been invaluable when working on personal or small collaborative projects.

The Course
Management Tool that CSU-EastBay uses for online course delivery is BlackBoard version 8.0. I am very interested to learn how the instructors use this tool to teach us about using this tool. (^_~)

CSUEB Blackboard Logo
Well, I better start completing some of my other assignments. The MS-OTL program stated that I should expect to spend 10-15 hours per week on course work. I anticipate much more than that--knowing me.

Week 1 Assignme
  • Start Journal Right Away
  • Personal Profile by Wednesday
  • Choose Teams by Sunday
  • All Discussions (your original post to the assignment and the required number of responses to the posts of other learners) Completed by Sunday
I am extremely happy to be in this graduate program. The nervousness level is running a little high however, returning to a formal student role after six years. It will be an interesting and rewarding journey, of that I am sure.

mau aku i ka ʻauao!
Perpetually seeking wisdom and knowledge!

Me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,