Saturday, September 29, 2012

BlendKit 2012

I am enrolled in an online class for "continuing ed" credit (sort of, it will just go on my performance evaluation) with the University of Central Florida.  The class is about understanding, designing, and implementing blended learning, which is often called "hybrid" classes.  Blending is probably a nice term, although it could probably be argued that any significant online enhancement includes blended learning (methods, experiences); however, in this context it means that essentially the class only meets face to face about half the time as normal and online the rest of the time.  I have two blended classes this semester, and I have taught online in some fashion since 1998, so this is not new to me.  I just thought the class might give me some tips and some wisdom as to why the retention rate in the public speaking hybrid class is generally so low. 

I asked my academic supervisor if I could create an online public speaking class and she discouraged it because of the retention rate problem.  So we are at cross purposes as an institution, but that's discussion for another day.

One thing I have learned so far is small but actually big.  I need to map out more clearly for students (visually,with a graph) what we are doing online that week versus what we are doing in the class meeting.  That's one of those "duh" moments--why hadn't I figured it out before? 

We do not have a good mechanism for ensuring only students who know what they are doing get into the hybrid course.  What this tells me is that many issues of hybrid learning are not teacher oriented but institutionally-oriented. 

Other than the hybrid public speaking class I have a Humanities 1201 class that is hybrid.  The students in that class have been in college longer and have better learning skills; at least they know themselves as learners a little better.  That makes a big difference.

This summer I filmed my lectures for the public speaking students to watch.  Well, I filmed (and they are in the process of being closed-captioned) 20 of 25 lectures.  The other five I will give in class to the hybrid.  I do not know if they are being watched (they are posted on youtube) and that is a big problem for me.  I need to check their notes this week, and set up a mechanism for them to know their notes will be checked.  Interestingly, because I was out of class with SACS responsibilities last week, I assigned my regular sections to watch the videos, four of them, and take the notes.  I also have transcripts of the lectures and PowerPoints, so they can get it in three modalities.  I checked the notes this week.  After over two weeks, only about 20% of the students had watched them.  So much for the flipped classroom approach.  Those 20% of the students got extra credit for doing what they were supposed to. 

So, this is my post about what I read, most of which I already knew but it was good to know that my understanding was shared.   Some of the sources were over ten years old and a lot has gone on in this field since then.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Touching Poem on Grief--or not

E'ev for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief:
Death cannot long divide. For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other side?
Death doth hide,
But not divide;
Thou art but on Christ's other side!
Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we." (Unknown)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I have come to the conclusion that the American people want a mediocre president so they can feel better about themselves.

News flash:  Monica Lewinsky is going to write a tell-all book about Clinton.  I find that very funny.

I gave my presentation about the QEP this morning.  It went well.  I hope we pass with no recommendations. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

900 Blog Posts: Last One

Ann Voskamp wrote a book I've blogged about,  One Thousand Gifts.  I'm one hundred behind her, with 900 blog posts.  And this will be my last for quite a while.

I don't know who is reading my missives; I am getting a huge number of hits from some troll posting ads for Viagra, Ambien, Cialis, etc.  The posts I was most proud of--the theological ones, the expository ones--occasionally get hits, but the most random ones get the most, specifically something I wrote about living for a week without cable and Internet after the tornadoes of 2011. 

My career as a doctoral student, my position as a full-time faculty member (and possibly an administrator), my return to teaching Bible, my tenure as the vice president of a professional organization, and my status as the daughter of a cancer patient have made my life very complicated.  The number of my new posts will become very negligible, maybe until Christmas.  I need to work on my fiction and publicize my novels, which this blog is not doing very well. 

For my last post, I would like to make some disparate reflections.

I really like NetFlix.  

The 9/11 hijackers were not cowards.  But that doesn't mean they weren't evil.  Being a coward and being evil are not synonymous or mutual exclusive. 

As I have gotten older, I have limited my number of non-negotiables of Christian spirituality, and they are stronger and more deeply understood:
  • Lukewarmness, half-heartedness, is not an option.  Failure might be, but not mediocrity of commitment.  No "halting between two opinions"  No "tossed about by every wave of doctrine."  "Choose this day whom you will serve."  
  • It's a package deal; it's bundled, not a cafeteria plan.  We can't take out some doctrines and commands we don't like.  As the old diner sign says, "No substitutions allowed."  
  • In the Christian life, while full-heartedness is required, balance between the fruits of the Spirit, between the virtues, is also required.  Faith balanced with love; love tempered by discernment. 
  • We live in the New Testament.  This will make some people mad.  The Old Testament is for background, not for character guidance.  I Corinthians 10 clearly states that those OT stories are for our examples of what not to do.  I see no reason to study the life of David or Abraham for some kind of moral direction.  
  • Jesus is who we worship.  
  • Do not judge another man's servant.  
  • We U.S. Christians are a spoiled, rarefied breed.  Most real Christians throughout history have lived in a world of hostility.
  • Why does the world fascinate me?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

What is Sin?

Let's start by saying what it isn't.

It's not temptation.  If temptation were sin, Christ sinned. 

It's not one's personality.  We all have a tendency to introversion or extraversion.  These are not sins.  Introversion is treated as a sin or disorder in some evangelical churches. 

It's not being discerning enough not to jump on every bandwagon.

It's not physical weakness.

It is rebellion.  It is hatred.  It is walking away.  It is deciding to do these things. 

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I really wish the person who keeps posting comments about getting cialis and levitra would stop it.  I just delete them, and they know that, so I'm not sure what they are achieving.  I assume they get paid to go around to other websites and do this, but I'm the only one seeing them and I have no interest in those drugs.

Public Speaking Online, Part IV

During the Web Speech             One of the helpful suggestions from the business writers used for this appendix ...