A “Tangible” Idea

Our Connected World…

Our connected world sketch.I decided to take the idea of “our connected world” and transform that idea into something both visual and physical – turning the intangible into something tangible so to speak. I made a smiley face out of some paper that I had lying around my house (putting my childhood skills to use) to represent a person at the center of a connected world. I used orange yarn to create a circle and on that circle resides a series of objects/devices that connect to each other either directly or indirectly. The blue yarn extending from each object/device connects the person to that object/device. Essentially, everything is connected! I work with technology on a daily basis so the idea of always being connected to something or someone is a reality that is very much present in today’s world.

The Connected World at my Home!

The process of taking an idea and transforming into a physical form was enlightening simply because I found it extremely easy to find items in my house that are part of a “connected world” in some way, shape, or form. I used 13 items to visually display the idea, but I could have easily found many additional items around my house. As I added an object to my “connected world” circle, I thought about how it actually played a role in the connection. For example, my Bose portable speaker is Bluetooth enabled which connects to the other Bluetooth devices in my house and the Xbox controller connects to my GoPiGo robot, which is also connected via Bluetooth to my computer(s) and Raspberry Pi. It’s amazing!

I never really thought about how connected these objects really were to each other and to me until bringing the idea to physical “life”. I think that when an idea becomes tangible, it allows you to see things and experience them in a different way. I really enjoyed this experience, it allowed me to visually see and experience the connections of the world of technology right inside my home.

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Prime your Mind!

Part 2 – Prime your Mind: Actively work and think on your problem
Brain, mind, & psychology by ElisaRiva

My PoP (problem of practice) is to increase student retention in online courses.

  • Questions you are struggling with:
    • How do I narrow my focus? There are so many variables that affect my PoP.
    • How do different learning styles play into this?
    • What can I do for the students who are not prepared?
    • How do I find a possible solution when “life” gets in the way? Family responsibilities, illness, etc.
    • How will I be able to track progress?
    • Did I ask the right questions in the student survey I created?
    • Should the focus have been more on the students rather than the online environment and online classroom?
    • How important are personal connections in an online environment?
  • Issues or variables that present a problem for you:
    • Age groups, different ethnic groups, learning styles, family responsibilities, job(s), course load, student motivation, support systems, time management skills, available resources (e.g., computer, Internet connection, textbooks), finances.
    • Narrowing my focus.
    • I originally thought my teaching style, the online environment, the arrangement of materials in the online classroom were the problem but research is pointing to the different obstacles in a student’s life.
  • Thoughts you are kicking around in your head on your problem:
    • My PoP has too many uncontrollable variables.
    • My colleague sent me this article: “Why aren’t there more Michigan community college graduates?”
      • The above article (http://on.freep.com/2lnU17u) states: “Realistically, what keeps people from completion is not just on-campus issues,” said Mark Yancy Jr., the Applebaum Family Campus Coach at Henry Ford College. “There’s so much more going on in life that can cause problems.”
    • I feel I’m on the right track with my PoP, I just have to find a way to effectively execute my ideas .
    • Ask others for their opinion.
    • Am I the only teacher that experiences higher drop rates in the first week of class and the middle of class?
  • Possibilities, ideas, or solutions that have entered your mind:
    • Creating short videos that focus on sticky areas within the weekly chapter readings.
    • Enabling the chat option in my online classroom so students can meet online and chat with each other.
    • Recommend that students that they can attend a class session on campus for the same course.
    • Promoting tutoring services.
    • On/off campus study groups arranged and conducted by the students
    • Holding an online meet and greet – get to know the students and they can get to know me.
    • Offering online office hours in addition to the on campus office hours
    • Holding an optional online meeting session during the first week of class and half way through the course to connect with students.
    • Creating group activities to promote collaboration and build a support system.
    • Host a “webinar” type of session where I go over a topic and students can participate by asking questions or just watching – record the sessions so students that can’t attend can watch at convenient time based on their schedule.
    • Advise students through email, office hours, etc. about the web program and its courses.
    • Advertising and providing information within the online classroom and/or via email highlighting the student services on campus: learning centers, career services, counseling & academic advising, disability/special services, Financial Aid, Reading & Writing Studios, Veteran and military services, health and benefits assistance, child care resources, and food assistance through the food pantry.

Idea Notes

  • Videos:
    • Go through each chapter in the textbook and pick out 1-2 “sticky” areas and create short videos where I walk through a process or technique to help students better understand a particular technique – include actual coding.
    • Ask students to provide 1-2 areas in the chapter reading that they would like more clarification on. I will choose the 1-2 most popular areas based on student input and create a short video.
    • Create generic videos that I can use throughout all of my online courses demonstrating how to submit completed work, accessing the web server, and interacting with the web server, which are common practices and requirements across all the courses in the program.
  • Student Support:
    • Assemble a document that contains all the support services offered at the college that can be distributed the students: (learning centers, career services, counseling & academic advising, disability/special services, Financial Aid, Reading & Writing Studios, Veteran and military services, health and benefits assistance, child care resources, and food assistance through the food pantry).
      • The document will include the name of the service, location (if applicable), and a contact name, phone number, and email.
      • The document will be emailed out to the entire class as well posted within the online classroom.
    • Offer online office hours for students who cannot make it to on campus office hours.
      • This will be offered during a set time each week – all students welcome from multiple sections.
      • Offer Individual online assistance (by appointment) for any personal issues and/or program advising.
    • Advertise workshops at campus that promote student success.
      • Post announcements in the online classroom and send the information out to the class via email.
    • Share job/internship information within the virtual classroom and via email.
    • Encourage on/off campus study groups.
      • These are set up and managed entirely by students.
      • Offer meeting suggestions such as the campus Learning Centers or the Student Centers (at both campuses).
        • For meeting online, I can enable the chat feature in the online classroom so students can interact synchronously.
  • Making a Personal Connection:
    • Conducting “optional” online meeting sessions during the first week of class and half way through the course to connect with students.
    • Invite students to follow and connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.
    • Holding an online meet and greet – get to know the students and they can get to know me.

Take a break…let it incubate.

References

ElisaRiva. (2017, February). [Brain, Mind, Psychology] [Image]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/brain-mind-psychology-idea-hearts-2062057/