Friday, December 14, 2012

Lead on a project.

I have a lead on a project; an editor is needed to convert a teacher's guide on how to teach math to K-6 student into a digital version. Email me (robert.weston.82@gmail.com) for more information.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Job Opportunity: Professors Needed -- General Chemistry, Survey of Statistics (Midtown)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Professors Needed -- General Chemistry, Survey of Statistics (Midtown). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist new york | all jobs search "math" at December 13, 2012 at 02:41PM

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Job Opportunity: Freelance Writers Job at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Rolling Meadows, IL)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Freelance Writers Job at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Rolling Meadows, IL). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via Freelance jobs | Simply Hired at December 11, 2012 at 03:32AM

Monday, December 10, 2012

Job Opportunity: Part-time Math/Science Instructor (Bellevue, WA)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Part-time Math/Science Instructor (Bellevue, WA). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist seattle | education/teaching jobs search "math" at December 10, 2012 at 03:07PM

Job Opportunity: Part-time Math/Science Instructor (Northgate)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Part-time Math/Science Instructor (Northgate). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist seattle | education/teaching jobs search "math" at December 10, 2012 at 03:03PM

Teaching - Week 0 (Preview Week)

I mentioned before that I'm teaching a course online at my home institution. I've taught this course before (a developmental Mathematics course), but I've found that things are going a bit better this time around. Our term started on 12/8, so we're only on the third day of the course. Next Monday I'll pull some reports and post some summary statistics on student logins. While they're not the most advanced of learning analytics, they do point to useful trends.

The week before the online term starts is called Preview Week, where students have access to their courses, but not any of the graded assignments or activities. This is primarily so that students can access the syllabus, get a feel for the course layout, the instructor, and what the expectations of participating in the course will be. In addition to the normal professor bio, course outline, and term specific syllabus, I included:

  • A screen-capture video (with webcam inset) of myself going over the course introduction information, and the syllabus. It turned out 18 minutes long, something I'm hoping to change in the future.
  • A recommended timeline of when I expect students to complete certain activities. I also provide alternate timelines if a student prefers using the Khan Academy videos I provide in the course.
  • Links to my RatemyProfessors.com profiles at the colleges I've taught at. Not all the reviews are flattering, but I believe being upfront with that information builds trust.
  • A Student Cafe (which is in all courses) where I ask students to post introductions. I'm hoping that using the Student Cafe in this way, rather than having a specific Introduction Forum (which we've done in the past) will create a 'path' for students, one they can travel later on during the course.
  • A short pre-assessment to allow me to gauge student abilities, and to jog their memory of different operations and concepts.
  • A poll to see if they have the textbook.
  • A Google Form on their likelihood of which course resources they believe they would use. They have all responded fairly positively to using most of the course resources, but I would like to compare their choices with their actual performance.
Students were not participating very much during the Preview Week. Thus I sent a fairly strongly worded email to them about the lack of participation on Friday, and how they should complete those activities before the graded material is assigned. This consisted of reporting on the number of students who completed the Preview Week activities, a very direct but non-judgmental method. That seemed to move most of them, getting about a 60% completion rate for all activities early on Monday. 

Will post next week on how Week 1 fared.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Job Opportunity: Attn: Core Curriculum Experts, Pre K-12 - All Subjects (los angeles santa monica burbank earth )

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Attn: Core Curriculum Experts, Pre K-12 - All Subjects (los angeles santa monica burbank earth ). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist los angeles | writing gigs search "math" at December 08, 2012 at 12:25AM

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coursera course not going as planned...

I'm currently enrolled in Computational Investing, Part I, offered through Coursera, taught by Tucker Balch from Georgia Institute of Technology. I signed up for a few reasons; to learn more about MOOCs, to use some of the techniques and methods in my personal investing, and to learn a bit of Python.

We are currently in Week 5 (out of 8) and I just got this message:

Hello all,

Module 2 for Week 5 has been released. 

Due to our delay in releasing content, I've asked that the course be extended one week. Thanks for your patience in our content creation.

Tucker
So far in this class we've had one assignment that the professor offered up in a video, and in the discussion forum, but had no way to collect it, other than email. There was some outcry by students about being confused as to how to submit the assignment. Over the next few days the assignment was fleshed out, and an assignment page was presented. I didn't attempt the assignment, it being a paper trading exercise, using the Sharpe Ratio, something I've played with before.

There are also supposed to be programming assignments in the course, using Python, and some custom software. While there have been videos demonstrating how to install the required software, there haven't been any assignments, and actual demonstrations of using the software have been minimal.

This is quite different than the Computing for Data Analysis course I took through Coursera, where the vast majority of content and assignments were ready ahead of time. There was a hiccup with the first assignment, but it was fixed fairly quickly.

In no way am I faulting Tucker Balch for the state of the course, but I do wish Coursera or GIT provided him an Instructional Designer, or a Project Manager to flesh out the course before it was offered. In my experiences teaching face-to-face and online, its clear that the content creation part of an online course is weeks, if not months, before that of a face-to-face course, which is usually in class. This is a fundamental paradigm shift, one I don't think was conveyed to Professor Balch.

One thing that has gotten progressively better in the course are his videos. They've become a bit more planned out, and it seems that he is editing his own videos giving him finer control, and making him more comfortable on screen. I do wish he would change out the songs each week/module.

Job Opportunity

Freelance Writing Opportunity for Leading Education Website

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/wri/3453437113.html

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teen bank robber on YouTube gives us an insight into the 'Digital Native'.

You may have heard about the teen who robbed a bank, and posted about it on YouTube. The Consumerist blog makes a good point, emphasis mine:
Here we were, under the impression that today’s tech-savvy generation of young people know all about the social media and the Interwebs. But then why would a 19-year-old allegedly rob a bank and then post a YouTube video bragging about it — wearing the same clothes she wore during the heist — and expect no one would see it? SMH, TTYL, ROFL, etc.
While kids have access to varied technologies, I'm not entirely convinced that they know how to use them effectively. From my experiences with students, it seems that their understanding of the underlying technologies is severely lacking, and as a result, they have misconceptions of how their information is used, the difference between programs and browsers, what functionality is available on a program or site, how to troubleshoot issues, and ultimately how to do new things they haven't done before. These sufficiently advanced technologies appear to be magic to these 'digital natives', and students treat them as such.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Job Opportunity: Director of Content Services (Portland, Oregon)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Director of Content Services (Portland, Oregon). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist portland | all jobs search "instructional design" at December 03, 2012 at 01:58PM

Friday, November 30, 2012

Job Opportunity: Adjunct Math Professor (Olympia, WA)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Adjunct Math Professor (Olympia, WA). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist seattle | education/teaching jobs search "math" at November 30, 2012 at 12:19PM

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Late Fall Teaching Load

Starting on December 8th, I'll be teaching a remedial online Mathematics class at my home institution for 9 weeks. I've taught this course, and similar face-to-face, courses before, and am looking to improve upon a few resources. 

For this course I provide Khan Academy videos, and suggest questions in the site's practice sets. I don't grade their activity on the site (although I could using the site's Coach role) but believe that this kind low-stakes practice, with feedback and additional resources if necessary, helps students to develop their understanding of the mathematical concepts involved. While instructors and professors might see graded formative assessments as just formative assessments, students may interpret them as summative assessments, and be discouraged if they perform poorly. And really, I wouldn't want to take a test on a section I've just read. I doubt students want to do the same.

For all online courses I provide weekly introduction videos using screen-capture software, that review the materials, resources, and activities for the week. In the past these have just been videos of the LMS, but this term I'll be including a picture-in-picture of my webcam. I'm hoping that this will further develop my presence in the course, and make me seem more available to students. 

Will post weekly updates of the course and how it is progressing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Job Opportunity: Adult Resilience Education Manager (Seattle, WA)

Saw this ad and thought you all might be interested: Adult Resilience Education Manager (Seattle, WA). I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with the poster. Good luck! via craigslist seattle | all jobs search "instructional design" at November 27, 2012 at 05:42PM

Job Opportunity: Subject Matter Experts in Math and Science

Saw this ad in the Austin Craigslist for Subject Matter Experts in Math and Science. Not sure what company posted it, but it seems they're looking for quite a few people. I know as much as the ad says, and am not affiliated with them.

Good luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

If you haven't read Stephen Downes' blog you should. It's an excellent read of education, technology, and their intersection, and cuts through these issues with reason and a sensible perspective.

Stephen's Web

Friday, November 16, 2012

From RSS feeds: Supporting Students: Academic Planning, Progress, and Learning Analytics

Thought this looked interesting.

Supporting Students: Academic Planning, Progress, and Learning Analytics

by drupal

on November 16, 2012 at 05:03PM

MOOC Experience: Computing for Data Analysis at Coursera

A few weeks ago, I completed Coursera's Computing for Data Analysis 5 week course, and thought I'd offer my thoughts on the course. I've shared some of them on the Sloan Consortium's LinkedIn group, but thought I'd clean them up a bit for a blog post. The professor for the course, Richard Eng, posted his thoughts on the course on his Simply Statistics blog.


  • The course focused on using the R statistical software package, something I've had a passing familiarity with, but not a working knowledge of. As a result, I was in a good position to take this course. In addition, I have a few projects that require large amounts of statistical analysis, so I was highly motivated to learn the material.
  • I really liked that videos that covered new concepts were relatively short (< 7 min.) while videos demonstrating how to use technology were longer (< 15 min.) This chunking of the content, with emphasis on modeling behaviors, helped me to pace myself and quickly demonstrated the commands I was to use.
  • The programming assignments provided natural transference of the materials covered in the video lectures, to actually using them, and my understanding of them. The course also provided a numbers of ways, means, and resources to problem solve on your own. Having done a little bit of programming in other languages, I understood that finding solutions on your own is an important part of creating code. On the other hand, some students did complain that there wasn't enough 'instruction'.
  • The programming assignments were decent, but I wish there was a way for students to compare full solutions. From discussion forums, it seemed that students used one set of functions (apply and its derivatives), while I didn't.
  • I did find a few students in discussion forums that I regularly discussed assignments with, through the course website. I did not participate with the Meetups, as not having enough time to participate in them. If it were a longer course, with more in-depth assignments, I would probably do so.
I'm currently 'taking' Computation Investing, Part I, but am not participating in the assignments. I'm signed up for a few other Coursera courses, but they don't start until next year. They are; Data Analysis, Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application, Passion Driven Statistics, The Science of Gastronomy, and Machine Learning.


From RSS feeds: Vivian Norris: Narcissists and Children of Narcissists: Yes It Is Getting Worse!

Thought this looked interesting.

Vivian Norris: Narcissists and Children of Narcissists: Yes It Is Getting Worse!

by Vivian Norris

on November 16, 2012 at 12:13PM

From RSS feeds: The Biggest Problems with Each Cloud Storage Service (and How to Fix Them)

Thought this looked interesting.

The Biggest Problems with Each Cloud Storage Service (and How to Fix Them)

by Melanie Pinola

on November 16, 2012 at 12:00PM

From RSS feeds: Math Geek Mom: Thanksgiving

Thought this looked interesting.

Math Geek Mom: Thanksgiving

by Rosemarie Emanuele

on November 16, 2012 at 08:24AM

From RSS feeds: Oregon Public Universities Set Record for Graduates

Thought this looked interesting.

Oregon Public Universities Set Record for Graduates

by cmaadmin

on November 14, 2012 at 10:50PM

Subject Matter Experts, Math and Science (Columbus)

Thought this looked interesting.


November 15, 2012 at 09:51PM

Subject Matter Experts, Math and Science (Columbus)

http://columbus.craigslist.org/wrg/3412928132.html

by (author unknown)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Year of the MOOC

Thought this looked interesting.


November 03, 2012 at 01:06PM

The Year of the MOOC

http://simplystatistics.org/post/34909562751/the-year-of-the-mooc

by rdpeng


Duke, Northwestern to Offer Semester Online Classes

Thought this looked interesting.


November 15, 2012 at 11:44AM

Duke, Northwestern to Offer Semester Online Classes

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/education/duke-northwestern-to-offer-semester-online-classes.html

by By HANNAH SELIGSON


When is a MOOC not a MOOC?

Thought this looked interesting.


November 15, 2012 at 07:58AM

When is a MOOC not a MOOC?

http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=59466

by (author unknown)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Choice Blog: Should MOOCs Be Eligible for College Credit?

Thought this looked interesting.


November 14, 2012 at 01:15PM

The Choice Blog: Should MOOCs Be Eligible for College Credit?

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/mooc-college-credit/

by By TANYA ABRAMS


MOOCs for college credit?

Washington Post http://m.washingtonpost.com/local/education/exploring-credits-for-free-online-courses/2012/11/13/ccdcbac8-2d8f-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story.html?wprss=rss_education

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Board a Plane Quicker Using Math

Thought this looked interesting.


November 13, 2012 at 09:10AM

How to Board a Plane Quicker Using Math

http://gizmodo.com/5960082/how-to-board-a-plane-quicker-using-math

by Jamie Condliffe


Monday, November 12, 2012

Some Thoughts on Teaching R to 50,000 Students

Thought this looked interesting.


November 12, 2012 at 10:01AM

Some Thoughts on Teaching R to 50,000 Students

http://simplystatistics.org/post/35563800852/some-thoughts-on-teaching-r-to-50-000-students

by rdpeng


Sexist or Silly?

Thought this looked interesting.


November 12, 2012 at 04:46AM

Sexist or Silly?

http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=59450

by (author unknown)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Footprints of Emergence

Thought this looked interesting.


November 09, 2012 at 01:38PM

Footprints of Emergence

http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=59440

by (author unknown)


RE: on MOOCs as the most important Education Technology in the last 200 years.

I would have to agree. MOOCs seem to be an important tool for the next few decades, but the most important in the last 200 years? Give me a break.

From D'Arcy Norman's longer post:
on MOOCs as the most important Education Technology in the last 200 years.:
Bull. Shit.