Ideas and Notes to Stimulate Discussions in Bible Study

After returning home from Bible study last night, the idea came to my mind which was what could I do to stimulate more discussions and interactions from members related to the topic. Next week we will review Psalm 25. Looking over it looks like David is seeking guidance from God because he seems to be having difficulty and stress. Perhaps he is being negatively influenced from his environment which is making it hard for him to make the right decision or maintain a pure heart (referenced in Psalm 24).

To stimulate discussion:

I will ask members a question about a time they were in a difficult situation where it was hard to make the right decision. Were they able to take the right path? What helped them with their decision? Similar to the FB page – share your wins! Share an example: an American male and pregnant adoptee female having a bitter dispute.

Carefully listen to what members say about a topic – and provide with additional insight or alternative perspective.

Check discussion guidelines for an online course.

Review guidelines in Toastmaster’s workbook.

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ASU #1 Innovative School

For the second consecutive year, Arizona State University is the nation’s most innovative school, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The widely touted list compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. The latest review, released today, is based on a survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation. ASU has taken the top spot in each year the innovation category has been considered.

The back-to-back No. 1 rankings demonstrate that the news magazine’s annual poll recognizes ASU’s overarching approach, rather than a single initiative or moment, university officials said.

https://asunow.asu.edu/20160912-asu-news-asu-selected-nations-most-innovative-school-second-straight-year

Course Reorganization Idea

After reviewing the organization of the D2L Instructor Courses, an alternative design may prove to be beneficial. Instead of having three separate courses, one course divided into the major components Content, Grades, Quizzes, etc. could be used. Each topic would be like a multi-level course with conditions in-place to unlock higher level modules as learners move through the materials. At specific benchmarks, badges would be awarded and a certificate when they complete all components for that particular topic area. This will allow learners to direct their own learning based on their needs. For example if an instructor plans to use Discussions as a primary method for interactions and assessment, he or she may want to develop expertise with this tool and skip Quizzes entirely

This could be tested with one topic such as Content. A design document would be created to clarify the knowledge and skills, organize the modules, determine where to place the conditions and the type of badges to award.

Each module would also serve as a self-containing unit that can be used independently. This will allow custom courses to be created using modules as building blocks for specific individuals or groups after assessing their experience with D2L and determining their wants.

Click here to view the design document draft of the current organization of the modules on content.

UA Community Explores VR

University of Arizona faculty, staff and students battled cowboys and zombies, rose high above the MMT Observatory on Mount Hopkins, and toured Chaco Canyon this summer – all from the air-conditioned comfort of the Science-Engineering Library.

Their adventures, a mix of virtual and augmented reality, were part of the UA’s inaugural VR Summit, held Aug. 4 and 7 to bring researchers and students together for demonstrations and discussion on the state of technology and its use as an instructional tool.

“When we put on the headsets, we are accepting a constructed reality – an alternative reality – and the danger is that there is a point at which we accept that alternative as real,” he added. “We have to be careful, see how far we can go, and then decide not to go there.”

https://uaatwork.arizona.edu/lqp/ua-community-explores-vr-during-summit

Disengage Distracting Thoughts Through Meditation

If you have distracting thoughts or a wandering mind while reading, this could be the answer: meditation once or twice a day. The articled states mind wandering is a normal process that everyone experiences. I personally notice this when I’m reading (even if it’s an interesting subject). In addition to regular meditation, I find that approaching a reading task in sections is helpful. At the beginning of each paragraph make mental goal to complete it without distracting thoughts, and then repeat.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_focus_a_wandering_mind

Online Course Evaluation: Intro to Data Analysis

edx_introdataanalysisexcel
Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel is available on edX. Users can learn how to use the features in Excel to process data. The course is free and self-paced. This evaluation covers unit 1. The rubric that I used is from Quality Matters.

My thoughts: Unless you’re incredibly motivated to learn Excel or are already familiar with the program, this course will be frustrating. The content of the video poorly aligned with the type of questions asked on the quiz and what students were expected to do in the lab exercise. The supplemental reading materials were not that helpful, which were links to Microsoft support for Excel. In general visual references would be more effective if users are not familiar with the program’s interface. As a result, I found the lab exercises difficult to complete. It’s pretty clear that the course designers wanted the users to learn three skills manipulating the data into graphical charts. It would have been more effective to demonstrate these skills using a 3-minute video using a screen recording software and then providing sets of data for users to practice , instead figuring out what the technical terms mean and then guessing how to perform the action. Having the quiz after students had a chance to experiment with the data and charts would seem more logical. Being that this course was self-paced and poorly organized, resolving problems without an instructor were particularly acute.

The course is also accessible though smartphones by installing the edX mobile app. However, viewing the data on the spreadsheet was difficult. I didn’t download the mobile version of Excel to see if the data could be converted into graphs using the touchscreen and fingers. Assuming that it can do that, another recommendation would be to simplify the data for the mobile version and putting each data set on a separate sheet. edX has other courses that are specifically designed mobile devices.

2=well aligned, 1=some alignment, 0=no alignment

Course Introduction Grade

Comments

1.2 Students are introduced to the purpose and structure of course 2 Overiew of the course also includes the purpose and course objectives/outcomes; syllabus
1.4 Course policies with which learner is expected to comply are clearly stated 1 Recommended effort 2-4 hours per week
1.5 Technology requirements 2 Previous excel programs are compatible
1.7 Instructor self-introduction 1 Image with short description
Learning Objectives
2.1 Course objectives and outcomes are measurable 2 Create, represent, calculate, filter
2.2 Module level objectives aligns with course level objectives 2 From what I could tell yes: perform data analysis using tools in Excel
Assessment and measurement
3.1 Assessments measure learning objectives and consistent with course activities and resources 2 Quizzes and lab exercises
3.3 Specific descriptive criteria used for evaluation of learner’s work 1 Stated how overall grades are calculated; No mentioned of how exercises will be graded
3.4 Assessment instruments are sequenced and varied 2 Quizzes and exercises
Course Activities and Learner Interactions
5.1 Learning activities promote achievement of stated objectives 1 The idea is good but video poorly demonstrates the skills that are needed
Additional comments:

 

Discussion boards are provided but designed for students express their opinions; they retitle to Help Board

Unit 1: Introduction to reporting in Excel

  • Lectures are professionally made; also with English subtitles; 8 minute video
  • Quiz not very clear; ambiguous answer choices and video content does not match information covered in quiz
  • Lab is downloadable Excel exercises with data; 3 exercises to practice the skills and learn how to use features in Excel. Problem #1:
For the “Yearly Category Revenue” display the total for each year as a separate line.

Comments

1. Create a total line in the range B7 to H7 Didn’t understand how to do this; not explained in the video
2. Select the “Yearly Category Revenue” chart.
3. The data source for the chart is highlighted.
4. Drag the highlighted selection to include the total row (B7 to H7) Didn’t understand how to do this; not explained in the video

 

Watch “How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness”

Today I felt unusually calm due to what I did the previous week. On Wed, Th, and Fri I did intermittent fasting with no meat on those days. On Sunday I went to public bathhouse in the countryside and did close to two hours of meditation, which was a combination of positive affirmations; and clearing thoughts and focusing on the breathing. The sense of peacefulness made me curious to learn more about the topic. A search on the internet led Dr. Rossman’s lecture. His recommendations were different. Key points were:

  1. The idea of neuroplasticity to state that the brain has the ability to change
  2. Accept and not worry about things we cannot change; take actions for the things that we can
  3. Look for answers from the wisdom part of the brain
  4. Imagining a peaceful comfortable place with particular attention to each of the senses