Online Course – Days 17 to 24

6 – 15 July 2014

On my side of the world, the new module gets released on a Tuesday noon  thus there was nothing to do except for the forums. But the forums are really not something that I can comfortably do.

On Tuesday morning, the 8th, I received a news that required me to spend a few days on the road. Then the weekend came along with two events. I could have done Unit 4 while on the road but the network connection chose that time to go glitchy for 4 days, from the 11th up to the 14th. The places I were in during those days are cities and the connection should have been good but it wasn’t.

Monday afternoon, the 14th, saw me a bit desperately scouting a place in the city where the signal is better and where I can stay for several hours that is quiet enough so I can do Module 4. McDonald’s Clark it was that I found.

I managed to finish a lot over several cups of McDonald’s coffee. I did the required five peer evaluations on the writing assignment for Unit 3 and went through the entire Unit 4 – lessons, quiz, and writing assignment in a rush. After all, I couldn’t very well stay at a McDonald’s, which is 22-km away from my house, the entire afternoon and evening.

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Writing Assignment Unit 4

I was born and bred in Manila, the main city of my country. At the age of 16, my family decided to settle in the town of Porac in the province of Pampanga, a third class municipality, at the time, about a hundred kilometers away from the City of Manila. I used to get frustrated with the “earliness” of the day-to-day living in this town; early to sleep, early to rise. Gradually though, the quietness of the night in this place grew on me. Unlike in the city where everyone seems to be rushing at any given time of the day, life here is slow-paced. People here know every single person and a simple morning walk to and from the market will give one not only the freshest produce but also the freshest stories about everyone else in town. Most days, during harvest season, vegetables can be had for free, whether ones asks for it or not. Fruit-bearing trees abound and one only has to ask the owner to pick some without any worry that he will be denied. It is a common sight that children and teenagers go in and out of each others’ houses. Also, this town’s proximity to Angeles City is a boon, only about a 10 kilometer distance. One can study or work in a city for the day and retire at night to a truly quiet and relaxing community. Up to this day, there are still nights that I forget to lock up the doors and windows of our house before retiring at night without nary a worry and wake up the next morning with everything as it was.

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On the same day, the Creativity, Innovation, and Change class opened. Signing up for this class a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited. But on the day it opened, I was in a time bind thus I skipped checking out the class.

The Massive Teaching course ended during this week but I did not check in there again after all the issues that happened within the course.

This morning, the 15th, I had to do some preparations in and around the house because of the incoming typhoon that is predicted to be quite something. When I got the chance to check Coursera late this afternoon, I was surprised and disappointed that my writing assignment didn’t get posted. I guess I should have checked it before the noon deadline but my mind was already on the coming typhoon.

The lack of a stable and reliable internet connection in my area is the only thing that has held me back from trying out any and all online classes and work. This snafu clearly illustrate that difficulty.

Online Course – Days 15 & 16

4-5 July 2014

Unit 3 Journal Writing 1.

The sun is trying valiantly to shine through the light gray clouds borne by the winds of the incoming typhoon. The rain and the sun alternates in showing their magic.

The chickens, ducks, and pigeons are roaming around scrounging for food whenever the sun peeks through. They run for cover when the rain falls.

The tree branches rustle when a strong wind blows. The leaves from the numerous trees surrounding the house scatter themselves all over the grounds.

Unit 3 Journal Writing 2.

The sun valiantly tries to shine through the light gray clouds borne by the winds of the incoming typhoon. The rain and the sun alternate to show off their might.

The chickens, ducks, and pigeons roam and fly around and scrounge for food whenever the sun peeks through. They run for cover when the rain falls.

The tree branches rustle when a strong wind blows. The leaves from the numerous trees surrounding the house scatter themselves all over the grounds.

A lady sits under a tree in the garden. Her eyes lifts from the pages of the book she is reading and flit at the scattered leaves. She smiles and says, “What a huge pile you will create for this twilight’s bonfire.”

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That proved to be a quite difficult activity for me. It is very easy for me to write a number of sentences to describe a scene I am observing. What is not easy is identifying the subjects and the verbs and their different types. Especially so in that I tend to write long and compound sentences. What is more difficult is revising my sentences to show the action words and avoid the verbs ‘to be.’

I feel like I am transported back to that classroom at the end of the longest wing of the grade school building on the third floor. The subject was Language and I was in grade 3. I was working on my activity sheets wherein I was encircling the complete subject and underlining the complete verb. I was also identifying sentence patterns using these: S-V, S-LV-C, S-TV-DO, S-TV-IO-DO-OC, among others.

Looking back, I think that was the precise point in my life when I started disliking the subject and its lessons. Every time my teacher checks my table of progress reports, she always remarks that I am careless in answering the activity sheets. She then gives me on-the-spot activities proving that I can do better if only I will give my activity sheets on those topics the attention I give to the other topics.

I am a fast reader with an almost perfect understanding of the texts read. I can write easily with minimal grammatical mistakes. But when it comes to chopping down sentences based on its parts, I suck. That is essentially what all my grade school Reading and Language teachers said.

And from that, I totally dismissed remembering any knowledge on the parts of speech. I can read, understand, write, and speak the language on a level that can be considered very good and am satisfied with that. I rationalized further that I won’t be teaching the course so why bother.

Now at 41 years of age, why am I bothering?

I am an advocate of the Kapampangan language, in particular, and in general, of all indigenous languages. I am a believer in the preservation and propagation of all languages. When a language goes extinct, an entire culture ceases to exist.

The Kapampangan language has several distinctive characteristics that are not present in any other language but they are slowly being eased out in favor of the structure of the Tagalog-based Filipino and English. It is very easy to simply just memorize those characteristics and think up a few examples of my own to illustrate the concept. But in my book, that is akin to a parrot-like activity. If I couldn’t fully understand what I am talking about, then I do not have the right to allow myself to speak even a single word about it.

That is why I am back to the basics.

So, trudge on along, Joey.