Week Zero Assignment

Same Course, New Format

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by catherinecronin: http://flickr.com/photos/catherinecronin/8444998755

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by catherinecronin: http://flickr.com/photos/catherinecronin/8444998755


This is my thoughts during week zero of the first instance of the Open Course on Flipped Learning. I want to create an initial post here so I can push my posts into the course feed located at http://aulainvertida.org

FlipClass FlashBlog – Part Three

And This Week’s Topic

And Now for Something Completely Different

Since January 2014 I have a policy where all homework assignments (of which I have two types) are all due on the last day of classes. So this semester that will be at 5:30pm (local time in Guadalajara) on May 6th, 2015.

Are you Serious?

Another Boromir meme.

Another Boromir meme.

Yes, this works and here is Why

I’ve thought a lot about why students do not hand in homework early (well humans in general). The answer lies in following the incentives.

In most classes (including mine until about 5 years ago) there was no reason to hand in assignments early. Let us list the advantages:

  • You feel good about yourself
  • The teacher (if she notices) thinks you are amazing.
  • ummm. can’t think of anything else

Now, let’s list the reasons students wait until the last minute:

  • That physics/calculus/computing teacher that always screws up the homework problem and it turns out the problem was impossible to solve. Haha, that funny teacher #someoneShootMeForWastingHours
  • The teacher that always extends the deadline when they notice that nobody has done it yet (vicious cycle anyone?)
  • If I wait until all of my friends do it, they can help me
  • I get a buzz off that last minute rush
  • I could think of more, but this blog post is due soon……

Let’s Flip the Due Dates

See what I did there? Yeah, I’m hilarious under a #flashBlog time crunch.  Instead of having students base their schedule on “What’s due tomorrow so I can start today?”, I want them to move towards “What is available that I can work on now?”

That’s It?

Well yeah and it works pretty well. I want to talk about this in much more detail at my FlipCon15 talk in Michigan so I’m saving all of the “good stuff” for then.

I sure hope that gets accepted. Details, details.

Your Turn

So, am I nuts? Are my students lining up to lynch me for yet another serious of crazy experiments from their Canadian teacher here in México? Let me know!

My sticking point in Flipclass

Challenged AcceptedP8HNi4g

So I was happy to have the chance to get a full #flipclass chat in this evening. Today is the first day of a new semester, I already wrote about my big plans for this year so this post is not about that. I don’t feel stuck in practice but I do have something to write about. You can see my courses live (we just started today) over here on my WordPress connected course hub. Special shout-out to Brian Bennett for pointing me to the cool stuff in the #CCourses community

Here is how it went down.

Not Flipped on First Day

So today was the “typical” first day of class for 3 sections of two classes I am teaching. I basically spend the whole class talking to say I won’t be talking/lecturing much for the rest of the semester. I need to figure out how to get past that on the first day. Any ideas out there? Input is more than welcome?

Click image for source.

Click image for source.

My Personal Kryptonite

Okay, here we get into what my biggest weak point or sticking point is for #flipclass. How do get to the shy students, the ones that say “everything is cool/fine/alright” when I check in with them in class?

I spent a good amount of time working on discussing why it is important to ask for help and how we can all help each other as a community. Perhaps this new adventure in getting my students to share openly #indieWeb style which is also known as Connected Courses (see the DS106 project) will get them talking more and bring them out into the open. I don’t know yet but I have to try something different.

Your Input is Welcome

Feel free to comment here or even better via Twitter with our amazingly awesome personal learning network (PLN) on the #flipclass chat Monday evenings 8pm Eastern Time or just anytime of day/night using that hashtag.

Post Activity Thoughts

I will link the blogs shared during the flash-blog activity (@guster4lovers will post soon). Here they are courtesy of Cheryl Morris on her blog.

A New Semester, A New Year

A New Hope Start

Click on image for source.

Click on image for source.

Tomorrow we start another semester and a new year. I am looking forward to another year full of challenges and meeting new students.

Connect All The Things

I moved my course out of my Learning Management System and onto a a site of its own site influenced by the Connected Course setup. I am so glad to have found the work of Jim Groom (@jimgroom) and the rest of the folks in this area. Check out the great example of a connected course at the DS106 site.


Another big shoutout to Brian Bennett (@bennettscience) for pointing me in the right direction, to Brian Lamb (@brlamb) for answering my questions on Twitter and an extra big internet hug to Alan Levine (@cogdog) for his helpful blog post series on the plumbing of a connected course. I probably could have done this without them but they all made this so much easier and fun because we are all #betterTogether on the internet.

A look back at 2014

An Eventful 2014

This has been an incredible year filled with many great events and advances professionally. I thank my family, my colleagues and friends for making this such a great year.

Stats Monkey Says

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 660 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Backup Your Data

How Important is your Data?

Backup Tape Drive

Backup Tape Drive

If you are reading this blog post, you have some form of data. Your data comes in various forms: photos and videos of your family and friends, assignments for school or work, saved printouts in pdf format of important transactions, scans of receipts of purchases.   That last one is really important now that almost all retailers use cheap paper and printers that cause your receipts to fade to blank within weeks.

Simple Solutions

A simple option that will work for many people is to put your files on Dropbox, Google Plus or some similar cloud based solution. The advantage here is that the setup is simple.  Of course, do not rely on only this option.  If the company disappears or accidentally loses your data, you will find yourself out of luck. These services will also keep around files that you deleted (and older versions) for a certain amount of time or number of transactions.

The other issue with these options is that your private data is visible to that company and anyone or government that wants access to that data.

There are ways to encrypt your data before it is backed up so that you effectively are backing up “noise” to the cloud. That will be another post for another day. If you want a good reference about how to secure your Dropbox account, please check out this and other excellent blog posts at How-To-Geek.

My Current Setup (Working Files)

I use Dropbox and Google Drive for various files but mostly for data I want to share easily with others.

For my personal data that I need to have access to on multiple computers (and mobile devices) I have two setups for two types of data:

  • the often changed data and small files
  • large files and projects that do not change so often

The first set is stored on my own git repository on one of my personal Linux servers.  Git allows me to track/store all changes to the files so I can roll back to older versions if necessary. Git also makes synchronizing changes to my files across various computers easy which is important since I use four separate computers for my work on a daily basis.

Git really is not a good option for large files so I have them in another setup that I simply mirror/synchronize across my systems using rsync over ssh between the machines.

My Current Setup (System Backup)

I have protection with redundant copies between my working machines but I also keep two sets of backups of my main workstation/server. Over the years I have tried various systems but recently I settled on rsnapshot.

This system is very simple to configure, it does imaging backups of my system with the following schedule:

  • every 4 hours giving six rolling versions over the previous 24 hours
  • every day giving me access to the previous 7 days of file version
  • weekly which I have setup to maintain the previous 4 weekly versions
  • monthly and keeping the previous 12 months
  • yearly and planned to keep 10 versions of yearly snapshots.

Since this is imaging backups,  the total space used is only the size of one copy of each file and any saved previous versions of those files that have changed.

And of course to avoid disaster of a single site with those backups on the same machine’s I also have a second configuration to a backup drive set (RAID 1 redundant which is the same setup as my main storage) that I run weekly.

Plus I have another backup I run every semester or so and store in another location. Yeah, I’m paranoid.

Image Credit

Click the image by Robert Jacek Tomczak for full credit.

Your Turn

Are you backing your data up? Was this helpful? Let me know.


Oh yeah, I should be Blogging more

Reflections in November



So for various reasons I decided to move back to WP.com hosting instead of my self-hosted WordPress installation.

The export/import migration chewed up many of my images which forced me to review each post for broken images and patch them up.

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Remembering Kristen Nygaard

Remembering Pioneers

I find myself in Vancouver at SIGGRAPH 2014. This was the same location of my first conference back at OOPSLA 1992. I was still an undergraduate student in Computer Science at the University of Victoria, Bjorn Freeman-Benson was my professor of a topic course in Object-Oriented Programming and had invited us to be volunteers at some conference in Vancouver.  Little did I know that this would lead to me volunteering with OOPSLA, SIGPLAN and the ACM from 1994 through 2007 as a member of the conference organizing committee.

Strange how one small event leads to so much in life. I could write volumes about how OOPSLA has impacted mine.

Simula 67

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Big Five Workout

Summer is a Time for Shift

Time for a workout but first some reflection on summer.

I very rarely teach very the summer. The main reason is that I really like to use this time to reflect and plan for the next academic year. I have a bunch of posts in the queue on teaching which I need to get out soon. My shift to coaching other teachers in Flipped Learning and technology in education over the last six months really restricted the time I wanted to use for posting

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F is for Flexible Environment

Pillars of Flipped Learning

Flipped Learning Network LogoThe Flipped Learning Network (FLN) announced a formal definition of the term “Flipped Learning” back in March, you should go read that definition on their site here.

You may choose to agree with parts and have disagreements with other parts of the definition but I think it is important that the FLN set out this definition to give us talking points and a concrete document to point people to

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