Saturday, January 30, 2010

General Schedule for the semester

All day - Church/family stuff

All day - work on ETEC 750 work

All day - work on transcription work and Second Life COE island proposal


2 PM - Meeting with Peter for GA job
6 PM - Class time

9 AM - Meet with Peter for 690 for SL meeting
3 PM - Meet with Sam for SL meeting

All day - work on 690 article

All day (except lunch w/dad) - Work on dissertation

Update on article

Yesterday, I worked on arranging my survey data for the article and did analysis on two of the students who took my survey. Wrote the first two paragraphs of the article in the meantime. Now I am doing the rest of the students today and plan to complete my analysis of all students by today. If write up is not finished by today, I plan to go to online church on Sunday and then use of the rest of the day for writing. No cooking on that day. I need to get this done by Monday!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Advice from Dr. Catherine Fulford

1. Buy into what I am doing.
2. Ask, why am I doing this?
3. Every morning, edit and freewrite in your dissertation (in other words, write in your blog each morning you work on your dissertation on what you are going to do with your dissertation for that day).

MY definition of Educational Technology...BAM!

Educational Technology:

"Inquiry into how people learn complex concepts with the tools provided to them whether electronic, paper-based, or through indirect means…. and an exploration of how the outcomes are different among different people groups, location, and situations."

~Rebecca Meeder

I would like a copy of everyone else's definitions as well.

My Committee Members :)

Class time

Dear blog,
I am about to go to class. I bought a wonderful fruit plate from Safeway so I hope other people will partake of it. If not I'm going to bring it home and munch on some fruit. Hopefully the fruit won't be too sour.

Also, my dissertation support group did not show up today at 5 PM much to my dismay. I really thought we would be able to meet each week. However, I know that everyone is busy. Therefore, I guess I'll just participate in the weekly emails we send each other telling each other how each one of us is doing. Zzzzz... LOL j/k. I really hope that we can come to some agreement on meeting together and helping each other out. I really think that it is important. Even if we don't talk with one another in the meeting, we could at least dedicate one hour of our time to writing something for our prospectuses/proposals. We'll see...

Anyway. I'm about to head into class. I am super tired since I have been busy with family business the past 2 days. Thankfully, I've been able to do some work on my downtime.

Talk to you all later!
Becca :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This week's readings

For class this week, we were required to read for articles that dealt with the definition of "Educational Technology." What I found interesting about these four articles was that they took the critiquing of the definition of Educational Technology from different perspectives. Overall, what the articles proposed was the need to solidify the definition of what Educational Technology is as well as come up with a better monkier in regards to what Instructional Designers "do" for a living. In other words, we need to call ourselves something different besides Instructional Designers in order for others to identify our skill sets better.

For example, in the article "Labels DO Matter! A Critique of AECT's Redefinition of the Field" by Patrick Lowenthal and Brent G. Wilson, the authors took on the perspective of recently graduated Educational Technology majors. They explained their struggle to find jobs or explain to others what their skill set is since the term "Educational Technology" is so loosely defined by the Education community. They also mention the struggle it is to explain to those what they do who aren't necessarily in Education but are in need of their skills such as the business sector, military, and medical fields. In addition, they state that most major job listings who are looking for those in Educational Technology use a variety of terms when posting jobs for instructional designers which only fuels the problem even more.

In the article "Wicked ID: Conceptual Framework for Considering Instructional Design," the author Katrin Becker defines Educational Technology as a wicked problem. What Katrin Becker means is that instructional design fails to often do is solve the problem in one step. Instead, instructional design only takes into consideration one particular problem in one type of environment with only one type of people it's solving the problem for, when in fact the problem often spans across different groups of people and environments, and often requires different solutions due to these factors. In comparison, a tame problem is something that can be easily solved in a few simple steps despite those involved. Overall, what I think Becker is trying to say is that the definition and concept of Instructional Design should be viewed in a more fluid sense and not view every problem as one type of problem.

Furthermore, Rocci Luppicini's article, "A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society," the author states that in the past Educational Technology was viewed as instruction through the use of visual media such as television and audio. However, now with the advent of computers and the rise of postmodernistic thought, Luppicini states that we need to take into consideration socio-environmental factors when looking at the system and designing instructional design modules for it. He also states that because of this new consideration, defining Educational Technology itself is somewhat including a more indepth analyzation of the System itself when designing for instruction.

Finally, I read the AECT article (or chapter?) on the current definition of Educational Technology and its need for an update. It also emphasizes the fact that Educational Technology is fluid and the current definition can only reflect the explanation of what EdTech is at that particular time. At the moment, the article suggested that we change many of the terms within the definition. For example, in the revised definition, which states

"Educational Technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."

The author suggested the revised definition use the word "study" instead of the word "research" in the original version since the word study "implies a broader view of the many forms of inquiry" and "it makes an explicit commitment to ethical practice." In other words, using the word "research" places the field of educational technology in a narrow, cold view of instruction when defined.

Basically, what I got from all of these readings was that the term Educational Technology is constantly changing in definition, more so than other fields of study. The fact that Educational Technology is constantly changing and that society (mostly those from outside of the field) still have no clue what instructional designers are, calls for the fact that we as instructional designers need a more solid definition of what Educational Technology is. I often get this from friends, family members, or acquaintances who inquire about my academic background. When I say that I am getting my degree in Educational Technology they often say "oh so you are working with computers. Like IT right?" Much to my dismay I have to go into a really long definition on what Educational Technology is and sometimes I have to sit back and think about it because the actual definition of "Educational Technology" is not really defined well.

Although I found the articles interesting and related to the vexation the authors had about not having a solid definition of Educational Technology, it begs the question as to why we are reading it for this particular seminar class. Basically, what I see the class as, is a way to help ETEC PhD students with setting up a structure for completion of their dissertation, including choosing committee members, creating a schedule, forming a support group, etc… I do not understand how knowing the definition of Educational Technology would aid in this process. However, I am open to hearing from others who may beg to differ.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My, the days go by fast!

Dear blog,
The last time I wrote in here was last Thursday. Honestly, the days have gone by so fast that I barely remember what I did those past days. However, it's crunch time right now. I have a meeting with my boss on Wednesday, so I need to get some transcription work done and visit at least one college to get screenshots at. Also, I need to download the readings for Wednesday. I plan to read them tomorrow and write a response by tomorrow in this blog. Plus, I still haven't set aside time to work on my dissertation. Thankfully I backed up all my articles and writings on my external, so I think I am good to go. Oh and for 690, I need to analyze my survey results. Whew!
I'll fill you in tomorrow on how I am doing.
P.S. - Our Second Life island arrived last week Wednesday or Thursday. Hurrah!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Met with my advisor

Dear blog,
I met with my advisor, Peter Leong, in world in Second Life today to discuss the goals our 690 class. I told him my main goals was to publish more in order to become a more viable candidate for hire after I graduate. Currently, I only have 3 on my CV and I would like to add more to that number.

What was funny was that our talk eventually segway-ed into talk about my GA job as well. However, for the 690 class, I presented Peter with 3 ideas I had in regards to articles that I could write with him. These ideas included articles about
  • What Sam and I did last semester in regards to weekly meetings in Second Life.What we accomplished and how we set it up: the island’s code of conduct, monthly get-togethers, workshops, etc…
  • The process of designing an island.Either co-write an article with Peter on how we implemented the design process OR create a literature review article on how other academic institutions designed their island.Possible problem: there may not be enough literature on it, so I would have to interview island designers themselves or visit the other islands and take note of their design myself.
  • Other issues in Second Life, not necessarily related to my dissertation, but are mentioned in other articles I am using for my dissertation. These include the process of designing 3D environments for immersion, interaction, and integration; how environment design differs among different subject areas; or strategies for teaching virtual environments (I already wrote a lit review in Marie Iding’s class on this, I could possibly expand on this in an article).
After talking with Peter, we agreed that the first idea I could possibly do on my own with Sam. The next 2 I could do with Peter, but he did mention that I needed to focus on some other items first. These included....
  • Analyzing the results of my survey that I distributed at the end of the summer last year to the students of the ETEC 648 class. I could possibly turn this into an article for publication and use it as a pilot test for my research to include in my methodology. The write up would feature an analysis of survey at the end of class within an extended abstract 750-1000 words only, a look at the initial research questions, quick analysis of what I discovered. In other words what did the research questions answer as well as NOT answer.
  • Finding similar literature on environment design. In other words, designing spaces in the virtual world that would promote interaction, socialization...
As for my GA job. Here's what I need to do.
  • Collate resources from our summer 648 class including the students' annotated bibliography,
  • Train COE faculty on how to use Second Life
  • Finish up transcription work.
  • Organizing another round COE recruitment mid to end of semester
  • Clarify with Sam about how we will distribute prims once both islands are connected (we will probably have our own prims to ourselves, but just needed to clarify)
  • Set up initial advisory board meeting. Find people who would want to be part of our committee. Maybe post an announcement on the COE Facebook or Twitter.
  • For the board meeting, I need to visit other University sims and take screen captures of these sims and provide a brief description of how they are designed. I need to put these screen captures and descriptions in our virtual design blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January's Book Club Book

Note: I apologize in advance for this blog post. The thoughts are disjointed and the grammar is horrible, but I wanted to get my thoughts about the book down quickly before I forget about them for the rest of the day.

Dear blog,
For our book club book this month, we read "Why Don't Students Like School?" by Daniel T. Willingham. Willingham makes several excellent points that I agree with regarding why students don't learn. One of which is that thinking is hard. I mean honestly, why think when you can already get the answer quickly somewhere else? However, he also states that students do like to think as a challenge as long as the challenge presented by the teacher is seen as having the ability to be solved.

Other important points that Willingham makes is that students need to "think" about what they are learning in order for it to go into their long term memory. In other words, students need to spend time and practice what they are learning in order for it to stay in their long term memory, so they can possibly use it later in life. He states many examples and studies that prove this. And I would have to agree with him. I have learned many things in my lifetime and I would have to say that the things that have stuck with me are the things I had to do over and over and over again. Or things that I thought about over and over and over again. That's why we tend to remember movie plots better than abstract concepts taught in school because we spend more time with the characters and story rather than the abstract concept that the teacher only presents us with for 40 minutes in class.

He also goes into using examples when presenting students with a problem and emphasizing the need to give the students something concrete for students to use when explaining abstract concepts. Furthermore, he states that making a lesson like a story (or like a movie) helps students better remember what is being taught, whether it's a history lesson or math lesson. The diagram he has in his book showing the story arch of the beginning of World World II from the Japanese perspective reminds me a little bit of the instructional design hierarchy we learned about in the ETEC master's program.

One other aspect of the book that I like is that he makes an argument against one of the main key points of progressive education. Progressive education emphasizes the need to be all inclusive to ALL cultures in order for students to learn and relate to the material provided. However, Willingham states that that is not necessarily the case. It's the background information that students need and that they need to spend time with in order to learn and for it to be a challenge. I'd have to agree with this. I am Chinese-Caucasian, but I love learning about Japanese and Indian culture. Those cultures are not my own, but I love learning about them because I have spent a lot of time learning about them and have always challenged myself with learning about them.

Overall, I am not sure I would use this book in an Educational Technology class. It is quite useful in regards to teaching in general but specifically for instructional design, I am not sure. It does present some key points that can relate to instructional design (example vs. non-example, using a story like diagram to design a lesson), but overall I cannot say I would use it. I'd have to think about it.

Frustrations abound

Dear blog,

I am so frustrated today. Not only did my gaming computer (which I do some of my work on) crash last night because a griefer in Second Life decided it would be fun to create an explosion inworld where my computer's graphics card and motherboard or whatever it's called would freeze twice, but I get a call from Linden Labs stating that they cannot create the College of Education island right away because they did not receive a ticket from the person who owns the University of Hawaii island, giving permission to place our COE island next to his island. However, the person who owns the UH island stated in an email earlier that he did give permission to Linden Labs. (Just to reiterate, I'm not blaming him, I think really there is a misunderstanding, but I wanted to vent and get this down on record so I don't forget about it later).

The Linden Labs person said that he needs to hit reply on his email to get it sent to the them. Um, what the hey? Plus they mentioned that the person who owns the UH island opened up 2 customer accounts and that they need to merge them. (I have no clue about this, so I'll just leave it). Okay… So basically everything else is okay I think…. Then again the person from Linden Labs was basically speaking over my head about Purchase Orders and invoices and what not. I think I cleared up with her that our main money guy Brian is NOT Peter the professor who is suppose to be in charge of the island, who I think she was confused about. However, the LL person also said that Peter should have received emails that needed replies to. However, I am not sure even if Peter received any emails or not.

(Note: Emails sent to Peter/Brian on Dec 11 & 12, check if these emails have been responded too)

I am just so confused. I think there's too many people involved in this. The Linden Labs person said she would clear it up on her end and I thanked her for that. You know I think they should have just put everything in my name and we should have created our own separate island and when I leave my grad assistant job I would just transfer the island over to Peter. Errrrgh. So frustrating. In addition, I feel really stupid because I have no idea what is going on. Either I'm stupid or Linden Labs needs to figure out how to do their invoicing better. In my position, I try to be the consummate professional, but at times like these, I feel like a kindergardener.

And now i have to blog about the book club book I think. I'll try to do it now. I guess.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Well it's Tuesday and I do not think I have to do a blog entry on the 3 different definitions of ETEC. However, I believe I do have to write about the current book club book. I will probably do this in my next post. Today I am mainly focused on transcribing for my job and getting everything I need for class done tomorrow. I really need to schedule some time during the week to work on my proposal. Thursdays maybe? Not sure. I really just need to sit down and hurry up and think about this...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Dear blog,

Today I went on Second Life and church online, talked to my boyfriend on the phone, finished up chapter 2 of the bookclub book and cooked beef stew in my crockpot. The church website is finished and I still haven't touched my room or dissertation. How sad.

I better check on what I need to do for class on Wednesday. I think it's only the bookclub book, but I could be wrong. Oh, just checked. Apparently there are 3 different views of what ETEC is and I need to write about it, I think. I did go over this last time I was in this seminar. Wonder if I have to do it again? We'll see...


Friday, January 15, 2010

My timeline

Dear blog,

This is how I see myself in the next 2 years.

April 2010 - Finish proposal and get it reviewed by committee
Summer 2010 - Complete IRB
Fall 2010 - Enroll in EDUC 800? (The one credit course)
Spring 2011 - Finish my dissertation and graduate.

Whew, I have plenty to do, but if I stay on track then I will have graduated in 4 years! Yay! Keep me accountable ok?

Becky :)

Dear blog...

Hi Everyone,

I think I'm going to write in a "dear blog" format to make this experiment a little more fun. I haven't written here in ages, but I should start to keep a record of my progress.

Anyway, I just came back from Winter break and now starting classes. Classes are going great so far. I'm back with my old classmates (and a few new ones), which is great because I like meeting up with them. We have decided to meet every Wednesday at 5 PM to check in on one another and see how we are doing in regards to our dissertation progress. As for the dissertation itself, our group has decided to write out a timeline of what goals we want to accomplish and when, so that will be in my next post.

Also I am currently reading a book for our monthly book club called Why Don't Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham. Very interesting read. If I was going to teach an education foundations class or educational psychology class, I would probably make my students read this book. Not sure if this book would apply to Educational Technology, but I could be wrong. I've only read the first chapter so far, so we'll see.

Today, I plan to work on a few personal things such as my church's website, since I haven't worked on that thing in ages and my Pastor has to keep reminding me. I really need to get my butt in gear and start mapping out my proposal too. Oh but I want to clean my room as well. It's a complete mess and I want to start thinking more clearly (clean room = less stress). We'll see...

Until then,