Adult 642, Reflection two

Engineering teacher

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about class on Wednesday. I was worried that someone who has been teaching at VCU for years, especially a well respected faculty member like Dr. Cowles, would not want to listen to suggestions from a bunch of grad students. Do we really know better than she does?

But she is open to new ideas and suggestions and our class is full of those! I could barely keep up with the discussion, ideas were coming so fast and furiously. I am more of a ponderer/note-taker/writer, so I’m not as good as coming up with suggestions on the fly as everyone else. However, I expect that with more training and practice, this will become second nature to me, the same way leave administration is (god, that sounded boring just writing it).

I’m wondering how everyone is getting together information for a discussion of this in class. I’m finding that unless I have two monitors (I am spoiled by work), it’s almost impossible for me to work in multiple tabs or programs. I forget things. What I am doing instead is using a notebook for jotting things down when I look at course materials online and then transferring them to Google Drive so I can access my notes anywhere.  I complain about paper at work all the time–who needs originals when we can scan stuff? I feel like it’s not an effective way of using technology (I feel guilty, especially with all this training we have!) but this method is really working for me for this project, as is printing out a few things and making notes (schedule and syllabus). What about you?

Science teacher

Re: the readings… I don’t know why I was shocked to read that the overhead projector has been around since the 1940s but I was. Maybe it’s because we have several old school instructors who teach Intersession and Summer (I don’t deal with faculty members otherwise) who specifically request these. There are only a few on campus and instructors have to check them out. There are better ways to do things now, right? I’m trying to think of a class that has instruction in it where there isn’t technology to replace the projector but I can’t think of one–can you? How will faculty members like these impact our future careers (if we work in higher ed)?

I enjoyed the bits on learning theories vs the history of technology. I know we touched on this in 640, but I hadn’t taken 601 yet and this makes so much more sense now. Also, while I do find that some of the technology stuff in this book is a bit outdated, I switch out “two-way interactive video” and put in “Skype” (which is kind of the “Kleenex” of online video chatting, isn’t it?) and it works just fine. 😉


Completely off topic, but my sister in law has her MAT and she teaches at the elementary level in Henrico County. She hasn’t liked her job lately, and worries about getting more education and possibly having another child. If she has another kid, I think she wants to stay at home but she doesn’t want to lose her teaching skills because she would like to go back (she fears boredom). I’ve begun to suggest looking into teaching online–I have met a few people who work for home schooling companies and they have very flexible schedules. I was so excited to tell her about it and the benefits of teaching online and working from home. As Dr. Cowles illustrated, the growth of online learning benefits students and instructors.

Photos of lady engineer and scientist from The Smithsonian.


14 thoughts on “Adult 642, Reflection two

  1. Funny that you mention the dual screens… this weekend I dusted off (literally, and it wasn’t pretty) my flatscreen desktop monitor and plugged it into my laptop so I could work on both screens while I reviewed the MKTG class BB site. Now I just need to connect the USB hub I got for Christmas, and I’ll be geeking out big time!

  2. Holy moly, Mel! That was a long one! : ) I actually can think of a few classrooms at VCU that still have overhead projectors and no software to mimic that tech. There are several small group rooms in Sanger that have an overhead projector available in the room constantly. Comparing those rooms with the auditorium in the Egyptian Building is like night and day. While the EB auditorium is physically old (it supposedly has ghosts from back when it was the primary building for the medical school – we’re talking 1800s before medical simulators…) besides the physical date of the building, the technology is way modern. The monitor is a smart board where u can write directly on the screen (with the accompanying pen) and it shows up thru the projector. However, I cannot count the times that this technology has failed the instructor, which is unfortunate when u have faculty who are already hesitant to try new tech. Luckily right beside it is the document projector which is just like the overhead projector except it doesn’t use a transparency, just a regular old piece of paper. This also broke last year and had to be repaired. Have u ever seen an overhead projector break? :-/ Other than a burned out lightbulb in high school one time, I haven’t, which is prolly why so many of them are still around… Kinda like the blender my parents got as a wedding gift in 1976 – it still runs just fine as compared to the three blenders I’ve gone thru since 2000… : )

    • You know Katherine, it doesn’t seem that long when I’m writing it! I feel like I spend every second of my life writing blogs (for my personal one and #edcmooc ones here that I haven’t yet submitted) so maybe I have a distorted view of them.
      I understand about older, sturdier things–that’s why I buy vintage furniture, clothing and shoes! But it seems like a lot of the people I talk to (I don’t know what happens on your campus 😉 use older technology because they don’t want to be troubled to learn the new. I’m not an AV/hardware person but if I had the pleasure of teaching full time, I would learn how to use it ASAP!

  3. Gathering information from Bb within all the tabs, folders, etc. has been time consuming (I am forgetful as well). I think the idea of dual monitors is great, wish I had another!
    From my experience with new technology and faculty, I think there are those who are curious and want to adopt, but don’t have the time and/or confidence. I have heard teachers say its so time consuming to learn a new technology, and to be honest, there were times when I felt that way too. Luckily our tech track has allowed me to explore and become more proficient with the support of peers and professors but for someone who doesn’t have that, they will probably stick with what they know. There are also those who just don’t like/want to change! I see a lot of truth in Rogers adoption model from chapter 1, do you?
    Just a hunch, but I bet your sister-in-law is sensing and asking some of the same questions I did. This may be an online school you are already familiar with but I know a few teachers who work for so pass along if its of help 🙂

  4. In the group learning/problem solving environment I think it is helpful to have different types of individuals: those that focus on the specific details and those that immediately consider the big picture (definitely me). In our group work this weekend, our capstone group shared our Myers-Briggs type and disclosed strengths & weaknesses as we assigned roles. Every type is needed for successful group work, deep reflectors often catch issues that aggressive movers quickly pass over.

    At some point, paper is going to become obsolete – I can see a future where all children have tablets to work on. Once we get out penmanship down, lets get on a digital device!

      • haha – I wasn’t referring to the procrastinator as a role. I meant your attention to the detail & desire and to organize and clarify upcoming tasks/responsibilities. Versus someone like me who is just the opposite. Groups certainly need “detail people” as well as “overall goal people.” I can’t find a place for the procrastinator in my idea of the perfect group, but that’s just my idea. Maybe you can share some thoughts on the positive aspects of procrastination? 😉

      • Ahahaha! Well, there’s this:

        Unfortunately most of the literature seems to be about ways to overcome procrastination… However, a funny thing happened to me today. I’ve been putting off creating the website for the catnip group I volunteer with (remember my consulting project in adlt610). Well, I would search online, check out this site and that site but I just wasn’t feeling it, couldn’t bring myself to commit. Then, today, a friend showed me a site that a friend of her’s had used recently: – all of a sudden inspiration hit, this was the site! They host files for free, have an easy to use interface, link with Facebook (operation catnip has a Fb page), and u can get the HTML coding for what u create!! Brilliant! So, that’s one thing at least – procrastination leaves the door open for serendipity…

  5. I think that I remember in 601 learning that 80% of a paper is brainstorming. I like to think of it that procrastinators are spending a great deal in of that time truly brainstorming and exploring; searching for the perfect idea. It’s kind of like how I declutter and organize rooms – I tend to make a huge mess in the process but the end result is great. My husband on the other hand is more of a push forward and just do it type personality. So when he organizes things – where he puts them doesn’t really have a good purpose and so it’s always impossible to find. It may be done quicker – but it also gets undone a lot quicker. Or at least all of this is just my justification for being an admitted procrastinator.

    • Super awesome comment Sarah! Good point about the brainstorming (I create my papers in my head for a day or two before I sit down to write) and about things getting undone quicker – definitely seen that happen in myself to!!

      • Glad that you like it!! I really do believe that is how I work at least when it comes to school work. I spend a great deal of time processing before I ‘do’ something. It is ironic b/c a great deal of the work I do in the hospital requires quick action.

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