Index - academia & thesis
- Deeply happy (May 05, 2012)
- Giving the same talk over and over (April 18, 2012)
- curriculum calibration planning simulation (November 17, 2011)
- Intro, Reason1, Reason2, ..., Conclu (November 16, 2011)
- ACM hierarchy of Computer Science (November 14, 2011)
- Narrowing down papers for Lit Review (November 12, 2011)
- Research Area Paragraph (October 29, 2011)
- Research Problem Statement (October 29, 2011)
- The Craft of Reasearch (October 23, 2011)
- On being part-time, IV (June 29, 2011)
- Yikes! Fit it all in one paper (April 17, 2011)
- Golden projects (April 03, 2011)
- When are simulations meaningful? (March 05, 2011)
- Put off by book introduction (February 20, 2011)
- First term complete (January 09, 2011)
- Letters to a young graduate student (December 09, 2010)
- topics at hand: graphical models in game theory, operations research and open learning object repositories (October 30, 2010)
- Paper presentation, and continued harassment (September 27, 2010)
- online Journals with no feeds (September 20, 2010)
- On being Part-time, III (September 04, 2010)
- Stillness (September 02, 2010)
- 4 classes! (August 12, 2010)
- Academic Earth & other open educational stuff (July 16, 2010)
- Dimensions (June 26, 2010)
- On being part-time, II (June 01, 2010)
- It's official (May 15, 2010)
- Math Education (April 19, 2010)
- Should I be worried about self-plagiarism? (April 18, 2010)
- Finding kindred spirits in academia (March 10, 2010)
- Academic papers online: Reading them, sifting though them: One researcher's strategies (February 28, 2010)
- Managerial mindedness (February 05, 2010)
- Global coherence and the ability to perform a retrieval (January 14, 2010)
- On being Part-time (January 06, 2010)
- Open Research, Collaboration & Proper attribution (December 26, 2009)
- Upheaval (December 17, 2009)
- Registration update (December 17, 2009)
- First Advisor Meetings (December 13, 2009)
- Statement of purpose #2 (December 06, 2009)
- Statement of purpose (December 06, 2009)
- Changing attitudes (November 14, 2009)
- One step at a time (November 13, 2009)
- Conference proceedings (May 15, 2009)
- Journals galore! (February 26, 2009)
- Research Blogging (February 07, 2009)
May 05, 2012
There are lots of things that make me happy. Here is one of them.
Several months ago, I treated myself and bought my very own copy of Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques by Daphne Koller and Nir Friedman. When I got it, of course I read thru the table of contents and delightfully skimmed through the book and figured out what I knew already (very little!) and what I did not know yet (most of the book!)
Anyway, this is what makes me happy: I was reading through somebody's work today and I observed that a discussion they had about the nature of human knowledge could be clarified with some analysis a la Russell and James (see previous blog entry, Cognitive Realism & Cognitive Relativism)
Then, I read a little further and noticed they had implemented an algorithm in a certain way, and I wanted to compare their way with a more general way (according to what I assumed I would take in an undergrad course), and so I pulled out the Koller and Friedman book, and I found what I wanted to find. While I was there, I browsed around the book again and some of the other pages jumped out at me, so I read them. The book speaks to me differently as months pass! Different things jump out.
This meandering, this reading and writing, this pushing and being pushed by knowledge is very enjoyable, and rare. It's like the whole universe of books and knowledge just wants to be EXPERIENCED. And that's what I'm doing. I'm "doing" the knowledge on my bookshelf by mixing it with my own thoughts.
This makes me deeply happy.
I also feel really lucky because most people in the world don't have access to books like I do, or the spare time to be able to read them, or a healthy body that is not preoccupied with hunger or illness or other physical challenges preventing them from enjoying intellectual things.
April 18, 2012
Hello, blog! It's been a while. I would like to say two things.
First, this performance by Therion is awesome. (Via Nocturna) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBZsbKFs-j8
Second, I am giving a talk tomorrow and I was thinking about how I could improve. I rehearsed in front of my husband and daughter and figured out a couple changes to make for the better. Then I thought, "wow, if I had to give a presentation on my work every month, I would get REALLY good at this". One of my weakest skills is thinking on my feet. I have to work very hard just to give an acceptable performance. But if I did it more often, maybe the material would become old news and it would be easier for me to talk about it while up on stage. (but it would also suck a lot of energy out of me if I had to do it every month.)
Thank heavens for blogs! ;) (Blogs allow people like me to express our thoughts when we are in our best environment - ALONE!)
That said, for some reason, I only have trouble with certain kinds of talks. Sometimes I find it very easy to get up on stage and talk about something. (For example, if I have to give an update in front dozens of people on a topic that I'm knowledgeable about, I can do this quite comfortably and easily without much preparation.) But for my talk tomorrow, I'm all worried about every nuance. Strange!
Or, teaching: I can run a 2 hour course just fine with some preparation. But why is a 10 minute talk so much more difficult? I guess, because when I run a course, I always have some breathing room where I get people to work on their own, and then I teach a little bit, and they work on their own or groups, etc. With a 10 minute talk, every word counts and and mistakes are much more costly. If I make a mistake in front of a class I am teaching, I just say oops and figure it out with students helping me with suggestions. With a talk, if I make a mistake I'm screwed. LOL!
November 17, 2011
I did it again. Googling for papers to help me with my research, my own work turns up in the search result.
If you Google curriculum calibration planning simulation then one of my papers is #1.
November 16, 2011
A good template for a work of research is: Intro, Reason1, Reason2, ..., Conclu. This model comes from The Craft of Research.
I am trying to follow this model. Recently, I figured out what what my claim is. Or, at least, I have a coherent paragraph explaining the research area. (Roughly: it's that the Ecological Approach can be used for global coherence planning.). You put the claim at the end of the intro.
I think that it takes a little more work to get the Claim out of your Research Area paragraph. You have to actually start to try to make some progress on your work and go back and forth and figure out what your claim is as you go.
Lit Review Thesis Statement
I even figured out what the "thesis statement" of my literature review is going to be. Here it is. I might change, because you never know when you are going to stumble upon another paper that rocks your world.
Researchers have worked on Instructional Planning in three perspectives:
1) Based on a Curriculum or Plan set by the system and well marked up learning objects and pedagogical rules ("mathematical / logical"), includes "course generation" research.
2) Based on a Recommendation (based on collaborative filtering, the students own behaviour - student modelling - or other similar students).
3) Direct input from the student (ex. student says "Harder", "Easier" etc.).
Most systems are a combination of these. Most work in (2) is about finding the next "immediate" learning object or action to take. Many recommenders do not consider what the student activity should be in a weeek or a few months; it's more about the activity at hand. My work is kind of a deliberate usage of (2) while taking the global, long-term focus of (1).
For a while, I was stuck on how to find my Reasons. See the first paragraph of this post? I start with an Introduction and at the end of my Into is a Claim. The bulk of my thesis is a series of Reasons.
But I got totally stumped on how to come up with Reasons. I know a lot about research methodology and collecting data and stuff. But how do your conclusions and analysis drawn from your experiment fit with these "Reasons"?
And then I figured it out. You have to read through all the papers in your lit review, and beyond, and look for stuff that other people have done that support your claim. And then write about it and cite it. This seems really obvious, but I hadn't clicked two and two together. That is how you begin the process of finding your reasons: gather them from other people's stuff and cite them.
I think part of my personal blocker was an aversion for finding research that "supports" my work because that's not "real science". Real science is when you have a falsifiable experiment.
But I was forgetting that there's no point in doing an experiment unless you know how your results would fit in with the rest of human knowledge on the subject.
And here's where your experiment fits in. The point of your Experiment is to create Evidence to support one of your Reasons in your thesis. So, many of your reasons will be because of other people's work, but your main contribution is putting all of this together and then adding your own OOMPH of evidence as well, as one of your Reasons.
November 14, 2011
I perused the ACM hierarchy of Computer Science and noted the entries that sounded familiar or seemed relevant.
I put them below.
After I did this, and I listened to recommendations of others' that I should read other papers in these areas, I asked myself: "How on earth do you find the papers that ARE in these areas?"
I am still not exactly sure, but the best answer I've heard so far is that authors take the terms below and they tag their own papers with these "keywords". This is how you know which category a paper belongs to.
F.4.1 Mathematical Logic (F.1.1, I.2.2, I.2.3, I.2.4)
* Model theory
* Global optimization
G.3 PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS
H.5.1 Multimedia Information Systems
Artificial, augmented, and virtual realities
Hypertext navigation and maps
I.2 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
• I.2.0 General
◦ Cognitive simulation
I.2.4 Knowledge Representation Formalisms and Methods (F.4.1)
I.2.8 Problem Solving, Control Methods, and Search
I.2.11 Distributed Artificial Intelligence
K.3 COMPUTERS AND EDUCATION
November 12, 2011
I have nearly 1000 papers in my collection. Before adding each and every one of them, I decided - "Cool! Yes, this could be relevant."
Obviously, 1000 papers is too many for one piece of work. So, I've started filtering.
And I found a really effective method. For each paper, I re-read the abstract and ask: Does this paper deal with content sequencing in an educational system? If the answer is no, then I exclude it from the literature review for my current project.
In some ways, this is painful because I am throwing out a lot of formal AI papers whose techniques could be applicable to solve my problem.
But I tell myself: This is my LIT REVIEW. It's about approaches people have ALREADY taken to solve my problem of interest. The "possibilities" papers can come in later. Right now, they don't count.
It's something else to have such a strong, precise, effective filter. Now I just have to write my paper. heh heh heh
October 29, 2011
This post is pretty similar to the last one, only I have (hopefully) put it together in a much prettier paragraph.
"What is Your Research Area?"
I am studying the paths that learners can take by following a series of learning objects that have been recommended to them through the Ecological Approach . I want to see if the Ecological Approach to presenting learning materials to learners can be used for automated curriculum planing where the curriculum is sensitive to adapting to an individual student's needs for a given activity, but also has consistency to stay on track with the learning goals over the long term. Simulation modelling software will allow us to discover relationships between the number of learners in a system, the number of learning objects, the rates of learning object visitation, and other quantitative characteristics of individual learner paths within a learning object repository that is shared with peers. Ultimately, we will be able to use the model make predictions such as an effective path for a new learner to take through the repository, or how a new learning object should be incorporated into the repository and recommended to future learners. In future work, this method for curriculum generation could be used with real students and real learning objects in a human subject study to discover whether students have a meaningful learning experience. This research will help readers to understand how much human effort is necessary for guiding a person through their education or whether the curriculum can be largely automated.
 McCalla, G. 2004. The ecological approach to the design of e-learning environments: Purpose-based capture and use of information about learners. Journal of Interactive Media in Education 7, 1-23.
From The Craft of Research (which I mentioned last time), I am learning some lingo. I am happy to be learning this lingo because it makes me feel like I will be able to "talk the talk" with other researchers.
First, I learned that "Research Problem" is something you are studying because not knowing this thing is preventing you from knowing other things. (as opposed to merely a question which you could ask about anything, but whose responses don't necessarily advance our research.)
I am learning other words like "Claim", "Reason", "Evidence", "Warrant" and literally how to organize your thoughts and questions strategically in order to present work that other people will want to read because it will help them. This is AWESOME! I still don't quite understand some of the lingo, like the distinction between primary, secondary and tertiary sources. I believe that I have information literacy skills here, but I don't understand the language being taught in my book. They are different ways of knowing. But the one in the book is more refined than the methods I have cobbled together by myself.
I tried to put together my own research problem statement using the structure described in the book. Here is what I came up with. Note: this is much more reflective of my discussions with my supervisor than my work on this blog. So it will seem different. But it is still what I'm working on. :)
Topic: I am studying the paths that students can take through a series of learning objects, as informed by the ecological approach [citation required] (using a simulation model)....
Indirect question: because I want to see if this approach to collaborative filtering can be used to build a curriculum planner that is sensitive to adapting to an individual student's needs for a given activity, but also has consistency to stay on track with the learning goals over the long-term.....
Significance: in order to help my reader understand how much human effort is neccessary for guiding a person through their education or whether the curriculum can be largely automated.
(Note: For people outside of my field, here I need to emphasize that it's the curriculum that is automated, not all of the activities. So, my work does NOT mean that the student could get a complete education only by using a computer. The computer can put together an activity that involves grouping with other students, or making a visit to a more experienced wise person to learn something in particular from them, or going on a field trip, etc.. )
The "Significance" part is the claim on your reader's interest. You'd have to change this around depending on who you are writing for or how you want to structure your work report to a particular audience.
October 23, 2011
It's funny how I was saying last time that I wished I knew more about my field.
On Wednesday, I had my first day of class of CMPT 880, which is an introduction to research class for Computer Scientists doing M.Sc. or Ph.D.. The class text for this course this year is The Craft of Research from the University of Chicago Press.
First, this book taught me how to frame my topic relative to my readers.
As I continue to read, it is teaching me how to relate my topic to the literature. Here is a gem, it says to "invest time in doing the general search". I LOVE that. To have permission to read how others have written about my topic from a general perspective. *sigh*
I am so deliriously happy with this book and am really happy it was on the syllabus this year. I think this is all the "permission" I need to commit the time and apply the discipline that I have been lacking so far in my research career.
June 29, 2011
(5) Tuition billing
A great perk of being an employee at my university is that when I take graduate courses (which I cannot do on paid work hours, but, I am lucky to be allowed to work around the classes) I qualify for a tuition waiver (only 1 class per term is permitted).
I had a mild stresser recently because I sent in my forms to have the tuition waiver applied to my account, but even 3 months after I had submitted, the systems still showed I owed hundreds of dollars. Ack! This was because I filled in the entire summer months May - August on the same form, but in the back-end system this is actually 2 terms even though in my head it was just 1 chunk of time. (Sprint & Summer) So I sent email, and a staff person responded promptly to clarify that they could not apply the tuition waiver until after the start of the term, but indeed they still had my form, and the hundreds of dollars in fees would be waived eventually. Whew!
If I were to re-word this for someone else in my situation (i.e. employee wondering about summer fees for grad school) I would tell them: You can send in your form in April, and they will waiver the spring fees in spring, and you have to wait until summer before the summer fees show up as waivered.
(6) Here is something that a couple of professors warned me about Part-Time grad school that has NOT happened. They said that I should be aware that since part-time grad school takes longer, that I will be stuck with the same thesis for longer, and that I could get sick of the work and of the idea. This has not happened.
April 17, 2011
I am trying to write a term paper. I have years and years of research behind me and I am so frustrated that I, in my limited humanity, cannot condense it all in one paper. And I don't have enough time to sift through and decide which pieces are relevant and which aren't according to consistent criteria. And I am citing the same papers I have been citing for years. Is this good? Is this bad?
I guess it is important to have a foundation. So, it's okay to cite the same core papers again and again if you need to. Breathe in, breathe out, relax.
I am worried that I am spending too much time on the literature review and that I didn't go far enough in terms of pushing/exploring the research goals.
Also, I re-read a paper authored my myself in 2008. Some of the phrases and assumptions I wrote make me want to melt into my shoes from humiliation. Did I actually write that? What was I thinking? Am I any better today?
I am aware that the part about myself that embarrasses me the most is also the part that I love the most and is the most unique. Arrraggghhhh! Being human is so conflicting!
Writing papers under a deadline is so conflicting!! Waaahhhhh!
April 03, 2011
Have you ever worked on something that just fills you with power? For example, today I was saying to myself: "Dude! My foundational knowledge metric zeroes out when I increase the number of task domain categories! Why??? Oh, I wonder if it's because my knowledge space requires Hamiltonian connectivity."
So many things I learned in the past decade and a half went unused. When would I ever have a chance to talk about whether my graph has a Hamiltonian path? Never, until I started taking this class where I got the chance to build a graph-based model and investigate its multidimensional properties!
Why wasn't my undergrad experience nearly as fun as my grad experience? From today's perspective, I look upon those classes as long history of learning neat concepts, but never applying them. Or, maybe I'm just experiencing a "the grass is greener on THIS side" moment. Anyhoo, my class history is changing from "long history of stuff that I learned but never get a chance to use" into a "library of uber power". I am in my element.
I think the reason behind my nirvana today is that "grad school" is powered by my passion -- *I* am to boss (for the most part, LOL) -- rather than me following blindly through a bunch of hurdles probably set up by some person (or committee) who has a totally different perspective and background than I do, and is ignorant of my motivations.
Also, I have lost count on my cups of coffee. I think it is only 3. Whoop, whoop!
And another thing! I have been high like this in the past, and when that happens I shine rainbows and sunshine and inspiration, even if I am wrong. See, I LIKE shining out the ideas, even if they are wrong, because if I work hard enough, I might bump into someone or some resource that can help me understand better. And then the rainbows are optimized, strengthened, evolved. But, there are several people in my past who have told me (sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, and sometimes possibly misinterpreted by myself) that the radiating unicorns are shameful, and I should not shine outward unless I am scientifically, logically, statistically confident about being correct. I say, Boo on that!
March 05, 2011
There is a ball of fear in the pit of my stomach. Why? Because I'm building a simulation model and things are unfolding nicely, to the point where I really have to ask: What questions are going to be answered by this simulation? What predictions could it make? How do the various dimensions relate to each other, and how to the agents influence each other? I have to make a lot of decisions. Yes, I am basing as much as possible on others' research findings, and being explicit about all the other assumptions I make. (The number of references are climbing rapidly in the literature review in my project writeup.) But I am the one making the decisions about which research to reference. And there is so much out there. And when I find something that supports a connection that I have made in my model, I use it. The output of the simulation is only a reflection of what I have put in. To some degree, (caution: curse word ahead, hehe) ... I feel like I'm just making shit up.
Why is a simulation model useful? Because it can help you see the broader picture. You can observe emergent behaviour that might not have been possible to see otherwise.
I am at a scary point in my learning, I guess. I have enough knowledge to plough forward, to be "the boss". But I am not entirely confident about whether I am doing the right thing, because it is the first time.
I guess I just have to trust myself, keep going, and hope that if I make any mistakes, that they will come to my attention somehow so that I can learn from them!
February 20, 2011
Excitedly, I picked up a new book on Game Theory. After the first 3 sentences, I put it down. The author had set up a scenario where his wife had gone away on a trip and he was invited to sit at a table with three young women speaking in sultry voices. Apparently, he had a dilemma. I expect that the rest of the introduction continues with a discussion about how the study of game theory could help resolve such a dilemma, but I couldn't read another word. I felt as if I had been attacked somehow, but couldn't put my finger on it.
I wanted to learn about game theory. But now I am trying to sort out my reaction to this completely unexpected presentation of "poor male game theorist" and his apparent issues with infidelity.
My first problem with the book's introduction is that the author apparently expects his audience to be other men like him. Really, if he expected his reader to be, say, a heterosexual woman, would he have used that example?
My second problem is the clumping of the three young women together to represent the adversary, or the enemy. This is done SO often in the media, where a single woman is "good" but the rest of the world's population of women are put into a single mass of nagging, unfair, demanding harpies. (See: exceptionalism)
I will end my rant there. It is such a fight to keep up your head every day, fighting off these messages that "women cause problems" or "women are bad" or some other message saying that women are unusual, outside-of-the-norm, a special case, a dangerous element. Reality check: Women are people!!!!!
I will conclude this entry with a quote that I believe is attributed to Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler:
"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."
January 09, 2011
'Just checking in. I have officially completed my first term as a working-full-time-Mommy-grad-student.
One would think that my biggest worry would be "having enough time". But that was not the case for me. I DID have enough time. Granted, I was really, really busy, but, I never felt overwhelmed or that I was in any danger of having to drop out or quit my job or anything drastic like that.
Actually, in addition to my class, my job, my family, I have been reading Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate and occasionally playing some World of Warcraft. It is pretty magical the way I am pulling this off. (I sound pretty smug. We'll see how I sound after my mark from the Term 1 class rolls in. LOL!)
My Term 2 class is looking like it will be very, very thrilling intellectually (Operations Research!!) and my advisor and I are making aggressive steps toward establishing my thesis topic.
I haven't had much time for blogging. But that is okay, because I am finishing classes and making progress on the thesis. Stay tuned.... :)
December 09, 2010
I thought this was a good post, from Female Computer Scientist: Letters to a young graduate student.
October 30, 2010
topics at hand: graphical models in game theory, operations research and open learning object repositories
Today I'm working to consolidate some ideas:
- Process Modelling (Operations Research)
- Strategy Modelling (Game Theory) - examining relationships between agents as a pattern over time in a graphical model
- history and momentum of my home field, AIED: the ecological approach, user modelling, agent negotiation, and I'm sure a whole other universe that I cannot call forth right now due to lack of caffeine.
Following is a discussion through these points.
Over the past few months, I've been interested in process modelling, which has led me to the world of Operations Research. (relevant previous entries: It's about influencing the process, strategy and process)
I am currently reading Stochastic Modeling: Analysis & Simulation by Barry L. Nelson. I think this is exciting because some of these methods may inform my true problem, namely, given a system that recommends learning objects to a learner, how do you maintain some sense of cohesiveness? Operations research deals with streamlining larger goals that have many small/dynamic/uncertain parts. I think. In my mind, it is not too much of a stretch to say that in Education, you have an enumerable number of overreaching goals that pass through zillions of smaller/dynamic/uncertain experiences as you read, create your own knowledge, and interact with others.
I might need to track down some ideas in cognitive science that explain how people keep their own long-term stories when supplied with random piecemeal input. And knowing what humans are good at already, what would be the role of the machine? To let the learner explicitly represent the long-term abstracts, I guess. But, further, if the machine recommends new material it should be able to direct it to the correct context.
(why do I always get to my point when I only have like freaking 8 minutes before I have to run off to a meeting or appointment, damn it!)
the point of this entry was to articulate that there is a good body of work in AIED research about Learning Object Repositories and that an exploration of non-closed repositories is interesting. I would consider the objects in the repo as a key part of the Environment in a game theoretic sense, and the objects are important components of a "move" in a game.
What happens AFTER a learning object recommendation is interesting, and I think that an important tie-in is to give the learner a chance to put an explicit link in the system from the object they read (or interacted with) toward something they create themselves for show and tell to others (whether it be a synchronous or asynchronous presentation does not matter in my view).
I am still missing some critical pedagogical language, here. I may have to freaking invent my own just to make this work.
OK, gotta run, I'm late, again!
September 27, 2010
Recently, I produced my first artifact as a "real" grad student. :) I'm taking a class where students are asked to select a relevant paper to the course content and lead a short (~15 min) presentation/group discussion about that paper.
So I got really excited and I picked a 40 page paper and then wrote a 2 page summary, complete with a hand-drawn diagram. Then I added a starter page explaining how this paper relates to the course content, and why I picked it and why I thought it was interesting, and then I added a list of questions for discussion fodder.
I want to post the handout on this blog because the paper I picked shows a really interesting way to link the task domain ontology with pedagogical actions. (along this line of thought from a previous post) But I am worried about copyright, uncertain if it would be right because I'd just be posting a summary of someone else's paper with no new research of my own.
I'm sure it's probably okay for me to post my paper summary handout (but not the actual paper because it's hidden behind a firewall which my university pays $$$ so that people like me can access it.)
But I'm not going to post it right now because I'm actually still feeling bummed out about the harassment I experienced tonight. After I put the player on ignore, I received another message immediately from a player with a different name. It was like, "Why did you put me on ignore? That was really mean. I'm sorry. I want to fix it, but it's really hard if I can't even talk to you." So, I ignored that player too. UGH!
What's a girl gotta do to relax around here?! :)
Anyway, I imagine I'll post something about my paper review when I'm feeling confident and courageous again.
September 20, 2010
Have I mentioned how irritating it is when an online journal does not offer an RSS feed? How am I supposed to find out about the latest publications? You mean I actually have to load up their website? There are DOZENS of journals whose publishing schedules are unpredictable to me. There is no freaking way I have time to go through each one to check for something new.
Gosh, I'm spoiled. LOL
I am a young enough researcher to have very little experience relying on paper journals as my primary source for the state-of-the-art. True, they didn't have Wikipedia when I went to university. But I wasn't doing graduate work, either. How did people do it?
September 04, 2010
(4) Additional overhead - Health & Dental plans
Upon my acceptance as a graduate student, I was automatically enrolled in a Health & Dental Plan, which costs me a significant fee. If I provide proof that I am already a member of another that provides comparable benefits, which I am, then I will be permitted to Opt Out and I will no longer have to pay this fee.
So, I took some valuable time out of my day to fill out all the paperwork and apply to Opt Out. I had to scan in a member card from my and upload the file to the Health & Dental Plan website, and look up a couple other pieces of identifying information.
About 1 or 2 days later, I received an e-mail saying that the documentation I provided was unsatisfactory, and unless I returned with better proof before the end of the Change of Coverage period, I would be required to pay the fee.
I am frustrated and angry because I do not have another 3 hours to spend chasing down paperwork. I am seriously considering paying the fee, even though it is a lot of money, but at this point in my life I actually have more money than I have time. So it would be less costly for me, overall, to pay hundreds of dollars for something I do not want. This is crazy!
Realistically, I will probably go and e-mail someone to ask for help. I can't find any documentation that's better than what I have already uploaded, so, perhaps a kind soul out there can produce a letter of confirmation for me. And then I can quit complaining about my actually-quite-privileged life.
(But what a waste of precious time. Grumble, grumble, grumble.)
September 02, 2010
I love how it feels when I know the paths to a database, how to set up drivers to access that data using multiple languages. I love to set up a webserver (usually Apache + Tomcat) and to take care of client requests. I love to build a nurturing environment with models and forms and shapes and abstractness, with connections to real data. I love expanding systems to multiple servers using protocols, web services, XML, HTTP on various ports or employing HTTPS and encryption as appropriate. I love listening to people's stories about how they use systems and about how environments can be built to support them and their endeavours, to make them stronger. To extend their cognition, even.
This is the sort of thing that drove me towards the M.Sc.. Class starts next week. My supervisor and I discussed this week about the production of an artifact that would start to shape my thesis.
Meanwhile, the "outside" and "real" reality pushes back. I have to figure out how to perceive the "outside" as not an opposing force, but a supporting one. In other words, at work it is EXTREMELY BUSY and my sweet toddler is sick with a fever, sleeping in the other room even as I type this. Back at work, I sense need from my colleagues and I have very good ideas on how to make their jobs easier. But my tools are out of reach because there are so many distractions and no opportunity, no quiet. How do you make it all work?
I believe that the answer is, "Stillness". In order to access the realm I described in my first paragraph, I have to arrange for my limited human brain to be clear of clutter. 'Same if I expect any success whatsoever with my M.Sc. endeavour. Like, the desktop on my computer has hundreds of unorganized icons and I can't remember how to access the mysql server nor hook up an HTTP server because it has been SO FREAKING LONG since I've done this.
The familiarity and the paths are all gone. I want to bring it back. I call this "resurrecting familiarity".
(I concede that at work I have made huge strides in accessing my technical love again. But it is still a battle.)
So, as soon as I hit "publish" I am going to log out, create a new user on my computer and "Start Fresh" with a clean desktop. Right now, my desktop on my home computer does not feel like it's "mine". It's just a repository of endless things I have to do but do not have any time or opportunity to do. It's a tangle of screaming red alarm bells and panic.
I hope to create stillness, and I hope to resurrect familiarity. I am aware that there is a group project in my class, which starts next week, and I've already thought of a few ideas about how I'd like to tie my past research into this upcoming experience.
I have struggled for a long time to try and resurrect familiarity, and next week begins an opportunity. I sure hope I can do it. I'm old enough to know that desire and good intention are not enough. It's a moment-to-moment persistence and dedication.
That is why I am writing this post right now instead of playing World of Warcraft. heh, heh.
August 12, 2010
Surprise, I am registered in 4 courses this fall!
For a person intending to keep her full-time job, this is very scary!
Okay, technically, it is still only 1 course. Let me explain.
The actual REAL and SINGLE class I am taking this fall is called Advanced Learning Technology.
The other 3 pseudo courses are,
- the thesis, which I register in every term until I'm done
- seminars, and
- the newest one..... I learned yesterday that there is a mandatory ethics course that all graduate students must take in their first term. This freaked me out a little bit because I had only allotted time for 1 course, the Advanced Learning Technology..... but apparently the ethics course is fairly short. Also, it's self-directed online. (good, I can do it on the weekends!)
But I wanted confirmation that the ethics course is actually short. After hunting around on the college Graduate Studies site, the Student & Enrolment Services Division site, the official catalogue description, plus a couple college-specific graduate student manuals, I decided I had to e-mail the instructor. I felt kind of bad e-mailing the instructor because my registration receipt says there are 250+ students in this class and I can't imagine the reams of e-mail she gets. But I tried to keep my message short and clear, so we'll see.
UPDATE: The instructor replied right away. She confirmed that the course takes about 3 hours. WHEW!!!!!
July 16, 2010
This site is cool, Academic Earth - online video lectures. I learned about this from Kelsey Topola, USSU VP Academic Affairs. Thanks, Kelsey! (link back to Kelsey's blog) Also thanks to Chris Brooks for pointers to some of these other things too, below.
- iTunes U (example: U of S on iTunes U)
- My other blog entry about Open Access / Open Education type jargon
- Connexions - open educational modules
- University of Winnipeg Video On Demand
- Kahn Academy (lol, looks like i blogged about this one briefly before)
Not to mention things like Learning Objects, SCORM, IMS, ...!
June 26, 2010
Ooooh. I just had a moment. I was reading a paper about graphical models in game theory. As I was reading, I realized that the author was performing an analysis of computational complexity, and was subscribing to conventions in that field. i.e. Some of the things that the author seemed to be striving for had nothing to do with anything creative about graphical modeling or game theory, but, was reaching for some ideal or set of rules established in another subfield.
This was my realization: That authors communicate to you through multiple dimensions. It helps comprehension if you can identify these dimensions.
Maybe this is obvious to most people. But I have only just figured it out. Heh.
June 01, 2010
In an earlier post (On Being Part-Time) I identified 2 challenges that I have encountered so far in my grad school journey. I would like to add a third item to the list.
(3) Sick. As an employee, I am granted sick days for myself. However, when my child is sick, I have to use vacation to stay home with her. Why don't employment plans account for time-off required for people who are primary caregivers for other human beings? I expect that the absence of this rule is because the system is designed to support men who had stay-at-home wives who would shoulder caregiving responsibilities. Well, it's the year 2010 folks, and it's time to update the system!
May 15, 2010
I have received and replied to letters of acceptance from the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the Department of Computer Science here at the U of S. I take my first class in September 2010 and my supervisor will be Dr. Gord McCalla.
I'm grad student. Woooo!
April 19, 2010
For my thesis, it is likely that I will write a tool to support the planning/design/continuous-execution-and-redesign of an online math course. I created this entry to help me keep track of the many educational math tools I have worked with, studied, or stumbled upon. This list is in no particular order. I will continue to add to this list as I encounter more.
April 18, 2010
I am working on a blog post whose purpose is to flesh out some of the motivations behind my thesis work. I thought that maybe I could save myself some work in the future, even copy/pasting some of the paragraphs from my own blog into my own thesis. But, would that be self-plaigiarism? For example, isn't it academically dishonest to submit a paper that you wrote for one class again in a second class, if the topics are similar?
To be safe, I thought that I could just put in a citation to my own blog. That way, I'd be doing it "properly".
But, if all the "meat" is on my own blog and my thesis turns out to be a re-packaging of "older" stuff already on my blog, will this devalue my thesis? Should I keep my ideas unpublished, and "save" them for my thesis?
I won't let these worries hold back my creativity. I will continue to blog with all my might. I just hope I am not shooting myself in the foot. What's a young open researcher to do? :)
March 10, 2010
I'm sure I have written before about how "research lonely" I get sometimes. I have so many ideas, and I want to share them with other researchers in related fields. I've spent well over a year now signing myself up for social networks and being aggressive about making connections with people.
I don't think that there is actually anyone else working in "exactly" my area. So the best that you can do is keep working on your own stuff and share with others as much as you can. Although you will never find anyone with exactly the same set of goals, you *will* find someone with a subset of common goals, and these cases are where you can start looking for collaboration. I know I have found several others lately and I just love emailing back and forth with ideas. I only wish I had more time to do so!
Anyway, the point of this entry is to share a remark. After scrounging the World Wide Web for Artificial Intelligence researchers (Twitter, Blogs, Academia.edu, Yahoo Groups, etc.) I have been amazed off my feet that the most active group has been LinkedIn.
Like, WTF? Isn't that service for job seekers?
But no, there's some really great talking and sharing going on about AI research. I am flabberghasted.
February 28, 2010
The following describes my personal strategy as a creative person to cope in a world of "too much input". I also put a finger on the density of idea-sharing (twitter, blog entries, PDF papers) and how this affects my idea-processing strategies. In this article, I describe two scenarios about reading academic papers, and then I formulate a rule-of thumb for the everyday E-Academic. (heh, I just made that up. E-Academic.)
Scenario One: Papers on the Mobile Device
I am always trying to optimize my usage of time. I would like to read more papers. I have a great iPhone app that allows me to do this on the go. Most of the time, I use my mobile device when I am nursing my young daughter (and can't really be doing anything else). However, after several months of trying to use "nursing time" for "getting more papers read", I noticed that most of the time I was not browsing through academic papers. Instead, I was Twittering and skimming Google Reader headlines1. Why? Why? Why? I thought maybe this was a personal discipline problem, or procrastination. But it's more than that.
Here is my hypothesis: The more "dense" the material, the more "output" is required by the information consumer. When I read a paper, I am most productive when I have it printed out, and I can write on it, and when I can blog about how I think some of the ideas in the paper relate to my own work. Mixing and matching ideas is difficult on the mobile device, because it requires lots of window switching: the PDF viewer, the paper annotations, my blog post in progress, and so on. On the other hand, Tweets do not require much "output": most of the time you simply read it, other times you click a link, other times you Re-Tweet it, etc.. My point is that to process a tweet, most of the time you can do this with a short set of atomic operations.
It's great to have papers handy on the mobile device, but it's not the best medium for reading a new paper (especially a technical one) for the first time. Reading papers on a local scale requires artifact-production, where an artifact is an annotation, a tweet, a blog post, a conversation, or anything like this.
Scenario Two: So many papers! How can you read them all?
Let N = the number of cool papers with possible links to your work.
I figure that N is pretty much infinite. So how do you cope? If you want to publish something, how do you make sure that you have read everything that's relevant and made sure to figure out how your work compares to others and that you are not duplicating something that has already been done?
How do you read strategically? I figure I've got the basics - i.e. learn to read the abstracts, conclusion, etc. without getting bogged down by details. But on a grander scale, how do you deal with the sheer number of papers? And, (last question) how do you select your "depth" in research? In my relatively short career as an amateur researcher (4 years) I've been a breadth-first sort of researcher. While I attempted to go into depth 2 or 3 times I never got as far as programming anything or doing anything too specific. This is the second challenge E-Academics face today: *Which* papers do you read? There are so many!
To be successfully creative in depth, Todd Henry at Accidental Creative suggests Closing Doors. (Thanks, via @JohnDCook) To guide your work to completion in suffictient depth, you must limit your input and commit to some decisions.
And how do you "close doors"? How do you force yourself to be specific? I think that the key is to put your energy and effort towards *producing* something: a blog article, a software system, giving a talk, organizing a group activity on the topic -- anything like this. By starting along this path, your work will generate new questions, and, the sheer volume of these new questions will drive away the too many other distractions.
In this way, you continue to lead a life full of exciting newness, but, it is guided towards some depth. And when you produce your artifact (the blog article or whatever), you will have gone into sufficient depth to judge whether this is a good path to continue onwards, or whether you ought to backtrack and pick a different direction. Reading papers on a global scale requires a filter.
The rule-of-thumb that I have adopted for myself is this: Work to turn your ideas into artifacts. Artifacts can include tweets, blog posts, face-to-face conversations, publications. Keep producing, and keep sharing. By creating artifacts, you keep your interest "tuned in" which creates a better filter for today's bombardment of input. Continue to browse those headlines, and stay creative.
1 I don't want to imply that Twittering and reading RSS headlines is wrong: in fact, it is one (of many) important source of ideas for my work. It's just that in this case Twittering was going against my goal, which was to read more papers.
February 05, 2010
Here is something new that I've learned about myself: when a new project idea or some work request or favor or anything comes my way, I'm able to determine if I can do it myself (with my current set of resources), or, if I have to say, "that's a great idea, but we'll need additional funding for that." This happens frequently, several times per week. (I live in a world full of ideas and new initiatives! It's great, but, if you don't know how to say no you will wear out. Also, I am one of those people who'll shoot out the new ideas in all directions, too, so. heh.)
I was feeling bad this morning for my recent trend of saying "No" (or, "that's a great idea, but will need additional funding," heh) but then I caught myself and realized this is GOOD. It's GOOD to stop and think and not dive into some source code at every opportunity. And I do still say yes sometimes.
I'm not a pessimistic killjoy. I'm a good manager.
January 14, 2010
I'm in the middle of my workday but I just had a brainwave and wanted to record here before I forget. I don't know if it's significant, but, meh, record now and analyze later. ;)
The theme of my M.Sc. thesis is going to be Global Coherence and Local Adaptability in Instructional Planning. I'm starting on this work with the mindset of trying to identify the need for global coherence in an online course or lesson plan. As my advisor said, "Why do you need a syllabus?" If an instructor were to start talking on day 1, and continued with another topic on day 2, and just kept going without giving students any plan or forewarning about upcoming topics, many students would be disoriented and might not perform as well. (could i site this somehow?). So it seems that there is some value in providing an overall vision. This is one premise of my thesis work.
So today my brainwave occurred as I was cleaning up icons on my desktop. I thought, "overall vision helps with retrieval". The only way to make sense of this mess was to have some sense of the "higher order of things" that organizes them. So, without the global coherence you lose your ability to recognize the significance of a given detail.
I understand that the sub-field of AIED, Instructional Planning, which applies Planning technology from artificial intelligence (often used in robotics) for sequencing course content. One reason research has halted in this area is researchers found that the ability to sequence content at the large "Course" level (as opposed to sub-topics within a chapter) was not worth doing because things change so much it doesn't make sense to plan too far ahead. At least that is my current understanding. So why bother with planning and course material sequencing at all?
But without a global plan, you lose context required for making sense of new material.
I just started a new category on this blog tagged, "thesis".
January 06, 2010
Here are some challenges I have faced so far, being a part-time working mommy graduate student.
(1) For my graduate studies program, the tuition model at my university charges a flat rate per term (say $1030.00), regardless of the number of classes you're taking. My program requires 5 classes and a thesis. I only have capacity to take 1 class at a time. Therefore, at two terms per academic year, my course work will take 2.5 years, which means I pay for 5 terms, which would be $5150.00. A student who is able to take 3 classes at a time (full-time) could finish classes in 1 year, which is 2 terms, which would only cost them $2060.00. Do you see? It costs me, a part-time student, Five Thousand bucks and it would cost a full-time student Two Thousand bucks, for taking the same number of classes.
(2) Time. Department seminars are usually (always?) scheduled from 3:30-4:30 in the afternoon. This is stressful for me because daycare closes at 5:00 p.m. and I have to make sure I pick up my baby before closing. Thirty minutes is not enough time for me to get from the lecture theatre to my car and to the daycare. I leave the talk a few minutes early and I miss out on the "good stuff", questions and networking afterwards.
December 26, 2009
I think that citing your work is important because it gives due credit to people's efforts, and, it also allows researchers to "trace" their way through the evolution of an idea through published works.
Proceeding with my MSc work, I've been thinking about how inevitably a lot of it will end up on this blog. How do I cite properly? How much? What if I get inspired by a twitter conversation, should that get referenced, too?
In Open Research, I see ideas evolving more rapidly due to increased collaboration. To me that implies denser citation. Then, optimism turns into fear that I will be so busy with documentation that I will not have time or freedom for creativity.
I figure as long as I link when applicable I should be cool to go back and do up a proper reference list according to APA or whatever if needed. In my perfect world, all of this would be done automatically!
For now, I think I will just tell folks or email them or whatever (or link to them if it was a digitized interaction) if I refer to our conversations here.
December 17, 2009
This was a big week for my research life due to my advisor meetings. After sharing my research ideas and getting some feedback, I feel like I'm looking at my problem in a different way. I wish I could have done this more often over the years, but. Alas. :)
Last week, I would have told you this: I want to pick a tool from AI, and adapt it and extend it for creative application to my problem. I'm less confident about this approach right now. This week, I'm playing catch up towards "normal" research from my 3-and-a-half year long independent project.
The other thing I have to tell myself is that I'm still at the beginning. The whole point is to evolve and change.
I finished my statement of purpose and I met with two possible advisors. Next I have to finish my CV. I started preparing my full CV, but then I read on the application package that they only want a short resume, so I will have to select a subset. This shouldn't be hard, but I had an oops moment when As usual I had barreled forward full steam ahead and took the long way.
I do want to finish the full CV because it's good for me to have. I'm surprised at the difficulty I had over remembering details of some of my past projects!
Both professors I spoke with had a caution about being a part time student. I'd never thought about this before. I'm ALWAYS thinking about my research so I didn't really identify with the term "part-time" just because I plan to keep my day job. I guess I'm just surprised that my status is a bigger deal than I thought. Maybe grad school is not for working mommies, and maybe I'm being naive. But I want research to be a part of my lIfe so much (and it is) but I am craving mentorship and the companionship of other researchers and students, at to me grad school seems like the best option.
I don't know. It feels weird to be having doubts already, when I'm still early in the formal process, but I understand that this is normal.
December 13, 2009
Tomorrow I'm meeting with a possible advisor for my M.Sc. program. I am actually a little nervous. I have no idea why, because this is something I want to do, a lot. I think I associate nervousness with things that make me uncomfortable, like public speaking, in some cases. But nervousness can be associated with good things, too, like being nervous about going on your first date with someone that you really like.
There is a second professor I want to speak with as well, another possible advisor. I don't know if I will be able to meet with him before the holidays, but it will be relatively soon. I've given myself the goal of having my application package submitted during the last week of January. Need to finish the resume / CV, get my transcript, ask for reference letters (and I want to leave a good month or so to give my references enough time for the letters), write the statement of purpose....
This grad school thing is looking like it's actually going to happen.
I had a moment today when I was briefly paralized with fear about being able to find the time to work on my thesis and course work. But I have thought about this for years, and I have a plan, and I really want to do it. So I'm going to try.
December 06, 2009
Here's the thing. I'm having trouble with the Statement of Purpose because the stuff I'm most excited about is the stuff I want to study, the stuff I want to learn more about, the stuff I want to BEGIN work in. But the problem is that I'm such a newbie, I don't know anything about it, and I sound like a nitwit when I start using technical terms that I clearly have no background in using. So I find myself shying away from the really interesting stuff and talking about things that I DO know about.... but then the writing comes out boring because I really am less excited about the things I know about already.
There. *heaves shoulders*
As I put together my application for grad school, these days I am trying to write my Statement of Purpose. Gosh, it's hard!
I consider myself to be an articulate person with a lot of ideas. But I feel like my writing comes out like mush when I take a stab at this important document.
November 14, 2009
As I'm making serious progress towards my dreams of grad school, I find that my attitudes are changing a little bit as I conduct my research.
Ideas that are foggy and unexplored, especially long-held ones, are causing a little voice inside my head to say, "you are going to have to face this (i.e. explain it) so you might as well tackle this now". Just in the last day or two I find that I've been putting more effort into fully articulating my ideas. I'm thinking ahead about what sorts of questions someone else might ask as they read, and I'm trying to address them.
The fact that I have been researching on my own has definitly had some damaging effects on my work. Rarely does anyone ask me any questions which means that I rarely get to explain my thinking behind my work. Despite my twittering and GoogleReadering and Yahoo Grouping and supposedly OpenResearching, I am so "research lonely". I wish there were more people in my subfield who are also blogging so that I could talk to them about their research and maybe they would be interested in my work, too.
I should also say that researching on my own for the last several years hasn't been ALL bad. For someone who hasn't even started their masters, I know my field exceptionally well. It's just that my contribution to the field has sucked.
Finally, on the matter of being the odd one in the pack (or at least perceived being odd) I invite you to go and check out Seb Paquet's posting, How to Deal With Your Weirdness.
November 13, 2009
In the long road towards getting into grad school, I made a big step this week. I put together my CV! I've never prepared a CV before. Every morning before work I get to my office early and try to spend a few minutes plugging away at it.
I had a lot of questions... for example, I received several scholarships but that was over 10 years ago: should I include those? I learned that Yes, you can, because a CV is supposed to be like a record of significant points showing your background, and the idea is that as you grow older and gain more experience, your CV grows too. I also didn't know if I should say anything about my maternity leave in the Employment History section. I've decided to omit it. I have mixed feelings about that, but, meh. It's not really employment, so, there. But at the same time I feel like this year was a hugely beneficial thing and a transforming piece of my life. It seems stupid to omit it. But I am omitting it. *shrug*
Anyway, the CV is not quite ready for printing because I have some tidying up to do, but, I've made huge leaps in getting it written up. Also, I was very impressed with the consultant at the Student Employment & Career Centre where I went for a drop in "Quick Talk" (hours are listed on this page). The consultant was professional, knowledgeable and had extremely good interpersonal skills. Also, he predicted that I would need to assemble a Letter of Intent or Statement of Purpose, and that I was welcome to bring that in for a consultation, too. I intend to do so.
The deadline for grad school applications is February. I'm doing okay. I think I can do it! Gotta do the statement of purpose, gotta have some conversations with the professors who know me best and ask for reference letters, gotta fill out several online forms....
.... One step at a time! Woooo!
May 15, 2009
So I thought I was officially a hotshot researcher because I was staying up-to-date with all the latest publications in my area. I figured out how to subscribe to the RSS feeds to a bazillion different journals. Whenever my baby is nursing, I sit down with the ol' iPod touch and skim through paper titles, occasionally reading through the abstracts, and for the really relevant ones I star them and download the full paper into my Papers app. Doubly cool of me, I figured out how to dig deep down in my university library's many links in order to access the full PDF of just about any paper I want. This is working REALLY well. Even when I go back to work, and if baby is still interested, I can see myself keeping up this habit of skimming through research papers while nursing the baby every evening. Staying abreast of the latest research, with a baby abreast, if you will. (ho ho ho, I am so funny!)
So yes. As I was saying. I found this awesome research rhythm, using all the latest technology to stay ahead of the game. I was, how do you say, "the shiz"!
But then I read this article in the latest Communications of the ACM, "Conferences vs. Journals in Computing Research" by Moshe Y. Vardi. Basically, the article says that in Computer Science, Journal publications are SECONDARY, and that the primary means for publishing research results in in CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS.
So, I was like WHAT?? Am I missing out on some totally huge world of computing research right now because I only have journal pubs in my RSS reader?
And that is where I'm at right now. Free time over the next few days shall be dedicated to figuring out how to get me some conference proceedings.
UPDATE (July 2009) Okay, I learned about the existence of IJCAI. This makes TWO conferences I know about, so I will start this bulleted list and will continue to add conferences here as I learn about them.
February 26, 2009
I stumbled upon another site that lets you subscribe to RSS feeds of academic journal publications, so I gobbled up a dozen or so more feeds in my Google Reader.
I also thought that if there's anyone else out there interested in the same or similar stuff as me, they might appreciate knowing about some of the journal articles that are influencing the consciousness of the author of this blog. :) I plan to put stars next to the journals that are particularly close to my field. (Haven't done this yet, at the time of this writing. My five-month-old is currently wailing at me... I better go, heh.)
Advances in Information Retrieval
AI & Society
AI EDAM - Current Issue
Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence Review
Artificial Life and Robotics
Automated Software Engineering
Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Cognition, Technology & Work
Combinatorics, Probability and Computing - Current Issue
Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Educational Psychology Review
Intelligent Data Analysis
Intelligent Decision Technologies
* International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education
International Journal of Hybrid Intelligent Systems
International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems
Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments
Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
Journal of Automated Reasoning
Journal of Classification
Journal of Heuristics
Journal of Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems
Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems
Journal of Intelligent Information Systems
Journal on Data Semantics X
Knowledge and Information Systems
Mathematical Structures in Computer Science - Current Issue
Mind & Society
Minds and Machines
Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences - Current Issue
The Knowledge Engineering Review - Current Issue
User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction
Visual Data Mining
Web Intelligence and Agent Systems
February 07, 2009
I recently learned that what I do -- actually putting my unfinished meanderings about my research up on the web -- is called "research blogging", via Daniel Lemire's blog entry, about Seb Paquet. (A couple of Montréal profs, I'm so proud! Yours truly was born in Montréal. Mais je pense que j'ai oublié comment parler en français.)
I'm a little freaked out that one of my future advisors will come to this blog and figure out that I have no idea what I'm talking about, and because of that they won't take me as a student. And now that I've typed out that thought I realize how silly I am and how I worry too much. *nervously puts on lip balm*
Index to Steph's NotesFeb. 24th 2007 - Weee! This new part of my website is not an entry, but rather a permanent fixture whose purpose is to "Look Down on All Those Notes With Some Grand Vision of Organization". Wish me luck. LOL
- Representing meta-data (fuel) & the different kinds of "hooks" that intelligent systems can use (how fuel is injected into the motor of the engine)
- Motivation: Semantic net / Rationalizable to a machine
- Semantic network
- Genetic graph
- Prerequisite AND/OR graph
- Constraint Satisfaction Problems
- Bayesian networks / causal graphs
- Technology & Philosophy: RDF, modus ponens,
- Predicates, Logic & situation calculus
- What kinds of data? - What kinds of meta-data would an AIEd system possibly need, and how is it represented?
- task domain knowledge
- "is-prerequisite-to"-type knowledge
- interactions with learning objects & other learners - (location, composition is-a/part-of, sequencing by restricting navigation, personalization, ontologies for LO context)
- lesson plans, curriculum plans, practicing sessions (What is stored, what is generated on the fly? What is remembered?)
- How to organize it - When is it stored in a database? Meta-data? Agent memory banks? Protocols? Repositories? XML files? Home-servers? WSDL services? Frameworks? Portable banks? P2P access?
- Database of object-agent interactions
- Concept of "Home" on a P2P network -- maybe the bulk of a learning object's usage data is on its home server and can be queried using WSDL or something ? Similar homes for each student's usage history, etc. Baggage problem.
- Links to the ontologies
- referring to a concept/relationship - ex. AgentOwl?
- Generation of this data
- Rationalization: For use by other AIEd systems
- What is generated - discuss items under part I.C.
- When it's generated - describe procedural model, which parts of the engine generate what (isa-part-of data, XML feeds, web services, meta data bout groups and collaboration, protocols, examples Friend of A Friend FOAF project)
- Technical notes of HOW it's generated: JENA, issues of implementation demo, my Hermione & Ron agent examples, lol
- Usage of this generated data - see part IV. A.
- Given the engine, who uses it?
- Students / Learners / "Me"
- instructional planning, student model, pre-requisites, tutoring, coaching, collaboration,constructivism
- Teachers / Educators / "Me"
- putting together lessons
- be able to browse through task domain knowledge in an objective / encyclopaedia format, then be able to pick-and-choose what you need for your students
- compose examples, design explanations, pull together diagrams, learning objects, etc. Haystack Relo?
- Administration / Governement / Structure / Crowd Control
- as restrictions/obstacles/sand pit to the robot in agent environment
- can't just have a swarm of students and teachers out there -- need structure of courses, curriculum, objectives, requirements (at least, we do in this day and age!) - Report cards, evaluation, feedback
- government, marks, certificates, requirements, funding, curriclum, attendance, delinquent, non-attending, motivation
- school''s images, goals, strengths, payroll, HR, security, accounts, permissions, privacy
- registration, failed courses
- User Environment -- How does this engine work? What does the user see on the screen?
- Introduction - Given a background in educational psychology, how does the system present itself -- what does the user see, and were does this data come from? Links to thoughts from part I.)
- Task Domain Browsing - Suppose you're you're just idly browsing through the "raw" content. How would it look when it's not wrapped around a learning-context or lesson or tutorial or anything. 'Cross between browsing a raw task domain ontology and browsing a learning object repository.
- Cleaning up the data -- Visualizing the data for humans to pick through the task domain and work on it. Suppose the "Subject Expert" discovers an advancement in science and needs to update the "world's" domain knowledge. (I used the "Subject Expert" terminology from Ontologies to Support Learning Design Context - Thanks Chris) How would they make corrections to ontologies and learning objects, or at least point the users of "old" objects towards adopting the newer ones.
- "Modes" - Learning & Lessons / Checklist - Homework, Assignments, Courses being taken / Collaborative mode / Teaching mode / Calendar- email -adminisrative mode -- See also the different kinds of scenarios in the ActiveMath system
- Evolution of this engine
- target some key implementation hooks discussed in part I - design an experiment/demo
- scrape a page - (Note, scraping can only give objective data, not in-context dat)
- LO repository - related to browsing the task domain?
- a learners "To Do" list - where does it come from? Assignments, courses.
- sample group scenario
- sample teacher lesson planning
- sample data "left behind"
- sample use of that data
- Data mining (for what? lol )
- discovery / generation of ontologies - when do you need to hunt for them, and when do you have to have a solidly-known & predictable ontology?
- I/O - where it happens, which languages, protocols, which agents perform i/o and when, precepts, actuators
- Role Assignments
- My Environment Adapts to me
- Displaying feedback from the server on JSP pages (Software engineering considerations)
- Sketching out a design (Content planning vs. Delivery planning)
- agent negotiations / social structures / ummm... Web 2.0 ?
- garbage collection of meta data
- Artificial Intelligence & Evolution
- Memory Culling: Necessary part of intelligence? (artificial or human)
- Applications for the Genetic/Evolutionary algorithm
- open learning environments
- Agents, pets, grouping, Community modelling
- Protocols - finding groups, cyber dollars, state diagrams (?)
- "Community Studies" - graphs & communication hubs, types of communities (free-for-all, hierarchy of authority, etc.)
- implications of joining a community - what do you share, which parts of your student model are relevant
- Walls & sand traps -- deliberate restrictions as problem-solving for learning
- Communication channels - individual-to-individual, individual-to-community, chat channels, agent-only "administrative" communications, ex. requests for related learning objects in a particular community, etc.
- Educational/Pedagogical focus (this part probably shouldn't be its own section but rather incorporated into the whole picture, but it's separate for me right now because I'm still only just starting to learn about it.)
- Semantics - what there is to talk about in Education
- ex. Merril's First Principles of Instruction, linking educational terms to AI terms
- Pedagogical skills for tutors -- supporting human *and* artifical tutors
- Student modelling - what the machine needs to know about the student, pedagogically-speaking, about learning history/preferences
- Roles - Simulated students, Coaches, Tutors, Teachers,