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.

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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.

Online Course – Days 12 to 14

1-3 July 2014

The second week’s materials for the Massive Teaching has been released but I chose to check the forum. I learned that the forum has been locked twice now and the active students are having brainstorming sessions over at G+ and Facebook.

I visited both to have a look-see. From what I have read, my interest still has not been aroused. I do not fault the course nor its structure for my lack of interest. The fault lies with me. I guess my mind is set on the Writing course and the upcoming Creativity course.

Over at the Writing course, am on Module 3. I have a pattern now. I watch the video lectures and take the quizzes and module ender activity on the desktop. The readings and the journal writings I do on the phablet.

I have finished watching the videos and all the quizzes so tomorrow, I will do the 2 writing assignments and the ender activity.

I also stopped doing a daily entry. I do not log in to the site everyday now. I just make sure that I finish all the requirements at least a day or two before the deadline.

I accomplished the recommended number of peer evaluations. But I got curious to evaluate more so I did 3 more. Much as I would like to do more, I am hesitant. I feel like I am a better editor than a teacher.

For every sentence I read, I itched to rearrange the words and phrases or change/insert a word or two to make the sentence flow smoothly instead of explaining what should be done. I suck at that. And that is the reason why I took this course – to be able to remember the rules so I can cite them whenever I am making corrections. But I think it is a bit of a losing battle. I prefer writing to re-learning the rules.

I also have this particular quirk. I dislike re-reading whatever it is I have already written. I know that one has to comb through every piece to polish it but rare do I do that. I feel like I lose the primary essence of whatever it was I originally wanted to say when I edit. I am aware that this course is not the right one for this particular concern but I thought it is better to start with the basics.

All in all, my experience so far with MOOCs is okay. I like the Writing course. I am relearning rules. I am writing. The Massive Teaching course is a bit murky for me but it is on me. I am enjoying the experience.

Online Course – Day 9 to 11

28-30 July 2014

Without anything to do at the Writing course, I went around the forum.

The forum reminds me of the days before Facebook. It is just like the Yahoo groups. In a way, it also resembles the Facebook experience. Now that I have grown tired of the endless scrolling on the news feed and groups and exchanging comments with tons of people on a single post, the forum on the courses lacks appeal to me.

I know that the forum is a necessary feedback tool but I just can’t gather the necessary enthusiasm and drive to comment much, only for scanning and reading.

I also visited the Massive Teaching forum and to be honest, I am a bit lost. Especially with the very loose structure. Massive teaching it is thus I do understand the use of various social media platforms. The instructor himself suggested to follow the course’s Twitter account for updates. Students created a G+ community and a Facebook group.

Maybe I am out of my depth or maybe my interest didn’t get piqued enough to stay with the course. I will check the second week’s materials and decide if I will stay on for the third and last week of the course or not.

Online Course – Days 5 to 8

24-27 June 2014

My mobile data connection decided to go glitchy for days. Videos just wouldn’t load. Even pages gets halved.

Then it hit me – it’s Friday and my sons are in school. I can use the desktop and check if the connection there is better than on my mobile. But, lo and behold, my eldest is playing Arua Rose. It turns out it his day off from work. I told him to catch up on his sleep because I need the desktop.

I have been used to doing everything on my phablet that I often forget that I have finally gotten a solution for our internet connection at home. Movies, music, videos, social networks, web surfing, games, blogs, office documents – I do all on the phablet especially that I was always on the move. I got so used to doing all those while in bed, on the sofa, beneath my macopa tree, in the bath, in the kitchen, on the road and I even sneak peeks while driving during stoplights and traffic snarls that I am not comfortable anymore in plopping myself at the computer table for hours.

After 3 days of not logging on to Coursera, I finally managed to finish Modules 2 and 3 and the Conclusion.

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Module 2 Writing Activity

Verbs
1. walks
2. eating
3. playing
4. reading
5. bought
6. hammering
7. singing
8. climbed
9. cutting
10. stretched

Adverbs
1. early
2. nearby
3. really
4. above
5. inside
6. skillfully
7. in front
8. teasingly
9. daily
10. clumsily

Sentence 1
Wearing a pair of headset, Allen, who was eating a rice snack in front of the computer while playing an MMORPG, did not hear the ruckus being made by the fighting cats nearby.

Sentence 2
On a cloudy day while taking my morning coffee under our Macopa tree, my attention occassional shifts from the pages of my book to the fluffy white clouds above.

Unit 2 Concluding Activity

Sentence 1
The woman walks.

Although the sun is perking, a light rain is falling and the woman in an orange sundress gracefully walks amidst the raucous and muddy market street even though she is weighted down with a large, wicker basket full of fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats.

Sentence 2
The wind blows.

One quiet night with a sky full of stars, the wind gently blows through an open window on the second floor making the diaphanous curtains billow and the candles’ flames flicker creating patterns of shadows which lull the child into a peaceful sleep.

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For the Massive Teaching course, I read the forums. I did not participate at all.

Online Course – Day 4

23 June 2014

Am playing hooky – absenting myself today from the Writing course. But I had a class today. A new one.

Teaching goes Massive: New Skills Required was supposed to be my first try at a MOOC. As it turned out, this became the second and concurrent one.

Instead of an introduction, there was a thread asking why we took this course. This is what I wrote:

I took this course to serve as my first online course, but a mistake on my part made this the concurrent second. The way I understood the course description, is it is exploratory in nature. I have always been in the fringes of the education field and have been a freelance lecturer/trainor for past two decades. Educational Technonolgy is an interesting field and I hope to gain new insights in this course.

The course description made me think that this will be a bit more free-wheeling than the others that are more structured. And since am easing my way into this world, this seems like an interesting place to start. With what I’ve seen so far, I think I made the right choice.

If I will be able to see myself through these two courses, then well and good. If not, then at the very least, this endeavor made me write a few lines everyday which is an activity that I have abandoned a long time ago. It’s very rare that I get to finish one piece, unless am highly emotional while writing. I have about two dozens of bits and pieces on Keep. I jot a few lines down and color them red, meaning I should finish them. But they just stay bits and pieces for months. Maybe this diary/journal activity will jumpstart it for me.

Online Course – Day 3

22 June 2014

While on a Supernatural marathon, I noticed the time – time for class. Actually, it was also time to look for an excuse to skip this day. Especially since it is a Sunday. But my internet connection might not cooperate tomorrow so to class I go.

A minute into the first video lecture, I heard Bamboo singing on the tv and my attention shifted. Thus, video on pause and eyes on the boob tube. Bamboo made ‘boom panes’ sound a bit classy.

Ok, Joey, back to the lesson.

Got the self-check all correct on the first video then got reacquainted with the parts of speech. Hello again, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Hello too, case, number, and person. It’s been too long.

I am obviously not in the right frame of mind for lessons so I stopped at module 1. I will finish modules 2 and 3 on Tuesday.

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Module 1 Writing Activity

Nouns
1. Allen
2. computer
3. Vhince
4. phone
5. television
6. lampshade
7. dog
8. headset
9. eyeglass
10. cat

Adjectives
1. cold
2. white
3. loud
4. softly
5. fluffy
6. old
7. bright
8. quiet
9. blue
10. dirty