Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Closing Blog for BOLT 101

I began the blog with a description of a bee swarm and I used it as an analogy for my experiences in the course.  Now I have an opportunity to sit back and reflect a bit.  The swarm will be part of the course I am building -- Beginner Beekeeping Course, and the swarm will be part of the course.  My screencast has already been incorporated as well.

Where did I spend a lot of my time?  Honestly, it was learning the technology.  Sandy was a tremendous help to me.  For example, I visited her three times today with various issues, and she helped me through them, but I also found that things did not work well for her at times either.  The experience made me feel good to a degree, because I did not feel too bad when she had problems as well, and my frustration declined.

One part that took me a substantial amount of time was setting up a new course (beginning beekeeper course) and trying to install it on Canvas.  I tried to copy Dave's page, in so doing, I discovered that tables were involved, tables did not move using the placement buttons, and even Sandy had difficulty.  We eventually decided that part of the problem was the browser I was using.  Then I vaguely remembered that Dave liked Chrome.  I am starting to ponder the change from Explorer to Chrome.

I have concluded that I need to spend more time on Canvas in a consistent manner.  I have not taught an on-line course, and my major experience with Canvas is the grading system.  I have to move to a new level of familiarity with Canvas to move to the delivery of an on-line course.

The course also made me yearn for uninterrupted time.  My phone would ring, someone would knock on my door, a family member interrupted, etc., and I was again reminded how I yearn for uninterrupted time where I can focus, follow a line of thought, and make progress.

Where to I go with the swarm analogy?  My thoughts are that similar to a swarm, there all untold possibilities of what can be done with on-line technology much the same as a swarm -- there is tremendous potential for what can be done!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Swarm Followup

Swarm follow-up
How do I connect my initial swarm description with Bolt 101?  For me, it is not hard.  My description of people fearing a swarm -- people being afraid of being attacked by a "gazillion stingers" describes me when it comes to on-line education.  I have been imprinted, not by cartoons about distance education, but by experiences that have made me grow callous, weary, cautious, and skeptical. 
Just a side note, I suddenly noticed myself using the words distance education when the description is now on-line education.  I will have to think about that change a bit more, but I will save it for later.
Back to the swarm . . . I have been imprinted with previous experiences which have not always been pleasant because I invested a lot of time and energy into my experiences, and after all was said and done, I questioned the benefit.  I come into the activity "imprinted" much the same as a person has been imprinted with an understanding of a swarm of bees.  You may say the activity is not imprinting but is just another word for experience.  Maybe.  Nevertheless, I find myself hesitant in a similar way just as a person who he hesitant to learn about a swarm of bees.  Just as Fictorie commented that he "would have taken a wide detour and would not have made any sudden moves," I find myself quite comfortable doing the same with on-line education based on my experiences.
I have experienced the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) built at a cost of $231 million taxpayer dollars, and on a positive note, it helped me with my graduate education.  I have spent time learning how to use the technology equipped classrooms, but after all was said and done, the ICN seems to have declined in significance, and to be honest with you, the amount of time I invested in learning how to use the ICN seems to have been for naught.  I have also experienced Blackboard and had to learn how to use it.  I have had to learn Moodle (Courses@Dordt) which has now been replaced with Canvas, and now I am investing more time and energy into developing on-line teaching while I watch my previous investments fade into ancient history. 
Oh yes, the swarm.  I keep forgetting (not unusual for my age!)  I have been stung before in my experiences with on-line education which has shaped my perception of reality (my ramblings in the previous paragraph).  Consequently my experiences have softened my desire to learn more about on-line education.  Many of you have no desire to learn about a swarm because of previous experiences.  So where does this leave me?
Should those experiences stop me from wanting to learn more?  The bee swarm analogy may not be the best analogy, but it somewhat describes my approach to BOLT 101.  I want to be honest.  Module 2 deals with persistence which  is coming at a good time.  It will be good for me because I could easily make a wide detour around the "swarm." 
A bit of self-chastising -- if I truly want to learn about the opportunities that on-line learning provides, and I do -- I really do -- then I need to be aggressive in my learning, especially as someone who is engaged as a educational professional in the transmission of serviceable insight.  I might need a bit of help and encouragement in the process.  Bare with me as I try to figure out what to do with the swarm.
Oh yes, I will tell you more about the swarm in a future blog . . .

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fear of Swarms!!!!

The sight of a swarm of bees can strike terror in the heart of a person!  The imagination can run wild of being pursued by a gazillion angry well organized insects from that swarm that can strike with precision -- the precision of a gazillion stingers headed your way.  Cartoons reinforce the image, and as much as we hate to admit it, the cartoons have imprinted on us a definite fear that we can't run fast enough from a swarm that is positioned in a tree, ready for their general to order an attack if we make one false move!
Yes, yes, you can tell me that you know better and the depiction cannot be entirely true, but deep down, you still cannot avoid that imprinting that occurred in your early life.  Those blasted cartoons did it to us again!  They conjured up a falsehood that is difficult to overcome with the truth.
So what is really happening . . .  as if you are going to believe me?  Cartoons are still more powerful and truthful than the words of a beekeeper.
The swarm pictured below is quite typical of what a person might encounter.  How come it is hanging there?  What really is it?  Are they getting ready to attack?  Must we call the exterminator?  Must we run for our lives or call 911?  Wow, what do we do?

The next blog will share what we need to do.  Stay tuned as the suspense builds . . .