Saturday, December 31, 2016

Don't Take it Personal

Don't Take It Personal

A line from the title song of Jermaine Jackson's 1980s album

That point in life

"What is true?" you ask. We are playing our roles. Sometimes the role requires that we line up and punch the innocent. For a visual, see Jolie's Unbroken.

It's sad but wait. The machine can only gobble us when we turn off our feelings – our minds. Without that, it hurts like hell, but we are working toward a solution. This is mentoring; it is saying, "I am struggling with!" This is what solidarity is. It's not honorable hollywood; the people revolt, and they live happily ever after. For a visual, see Smith's I, Robot. Instead, it is the mud. For a visual, see Northup's 12 Years a Slave or Knight's Free State of Jones.

Solidarity is not us vs them. It is discovering where your niche lies given the decisions of everyone else.

These are my words and don't take them personally.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Instructional Designer


Instructional Design

Online instructional design has its share of problems - not being able to see the students' and professors' body language, technical glitches in software, misunderstandings in communication.

These are remedied through video chats. With eyes making contact over the internet, all stakeholders instantly witness the reception of a given topic, one sees furrowed brows, heads nodding, and the like.

Technical glitches are a problem, yet they are also a problem within a traditional classroom. Tips on how to update software/hardware are necessary. Additionally, stakeholders must be reminded that the glitch is a temporary problem and not something that needs to be obsessed over. Issues will be resolved as soon as possible. Back up communication and assignment plans must be consulted. Again, similar situations occur in traditional classrooms as well. All is not lost.

Clear instruction must be given. Stakeholders should strive for clear and concise verbiage. Additionally, stakeholders should re-state frequently, discuss topics in other manners - handouts, video, slide presentations, web links, and so forth. Lastly, an emphasis must be placed on the importance of developed communication. Stakeholders must expect that questions may be asked and answers given in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating than someone who does not respect another's time and conveniently overlooks an email or a question on a discussion board. To be clear that such a "blow off" is not occurring, then stakeholders must know that a delayed response equals a repeated question. Stakeholders should have an elected mediator in place if a need arises where one of the parties continuously ignores the other party.

Does this work?

Yes. I mentor young adults in Kenya. We have video chats, emails, a website for learning management, and a number of links and presentations.

Online learning was once viewed as a fad that could not be used and viewed as a viable option to traditional education modalities. This has changed as technology has improved and stakeholders have become more comfortable with virtual learning environments.

Sunday, December 11, 2016



10s of People Injured or Killed

A new area of concern

I have been mentoring a group for several months, and we communicate via video chat. As you can imagine, our comradery has grown. We ask each other about politics, local events, and the weather. This morning I woke to a new reality.

A tanker truck exploded! I do not know how my group is doing. Our only forms of communication are email and video chat. I have emailed.

I am not naive and believe that nothing bad ever happens. Instead, I avoid those thoughts when it comes to personal contacts. I know this feeling is not isolated only to me. Numerous mentors and teachers share in this precarious reality. We communicate with "strangers" whose lives we are supposed to guard and guide while simultaneously providing appropriate space because these are not our relatives.

Yet, the concern remains. What can I do when injury occurs? Yes, there are objective items such as change dates for projects; complete forms as needed; notify stakeholders; and so forth. But, what about the subjective? The concern. The empathy. The outrage. The empathic responses that separate sentient beings from non-sentient beings.

Well, I must wait. I will see how the story develops and watch my email.


Update: The group is fine!