Index - accomplishments
- First Year of M.Sc. Program, dare I say a Slam Dunk? (May 12, 2011)
- Great Ethics Resource (February 23, 2011)
- Technology Week 2010 (November 02, 2010)
- Time management (October 27, 2010)
- Cognitive Surplus (July 22, 2010)
- Gave a talk today (March 17, 2010)
- Accomplishments (February 18, 2010)
May 12, 2011
I started my M.Sc. program in September 2010. Since I wanted to keep my full-time job, I have only been taking 1 class at a time. To date, I completed 1 class in Term 1 and 1 class in Term 2. (Okay, technically there were 2 classes per term. In addition to the main classes I also an online research ethics class each term that was just a pass/fail, and I passed both.) I worked really, really hard in both of my classes and got A grades.
So, there we have it. I am living proof that it is possible to be a person who is working full-time, a parent, woman in Comp Sci, M.Sc. student with a A grades in all her classes. ("all" classes being just two of them, but, hey, I figure I earned bragging rights!)
In my department, there is an "introduction to research" class that all grad students typically take in their 1st year, known lovingly as "Eight Eighty" (CMPT 880). The main part of the class is to do a major research project under the supervision of your M.Sc./Ph.D. supervisor, with many projects acting as a "lead-in" to the thesis work. I did something unusual and I did not take that class in my first year. Instead, I am going to complete the major project work for that class this summer, and take the course in the fall (with my project basically already done and just gathering participants for my study). Theoretically, I would be free to take another class at the same time, seeing as the non-project workload for 880 is relatively light.
It's been a neat experience. I've lost count of the number of people who've assumed I would be taking 880 this year, were surprised to learn that I was not. I am very grateful to my supervisor who is backing me on this. I don't actually know if it is "allowed" to miss the class your first year or not. I simply did not register for the class and nobody from the department has contacted me or anything. Whenever anyone grills me about it, I just say that I have my supervisor's permission. This is making it possible, bearable, keeps my head up. Because I am really sensitive to "doing things right" and I hate breaking rules. But if "The System" is not set up to be inclusive, and I am one of the excluded, then I will take pleasure in twisting The System around. :-D
In terms of grad school in general, I ALSO have the backing of my boss, who is encouraging of employees who wish to pursue higher education. He does not give me a hard time about having to be away from my office to attend class, rather, he enthusiastically asks me what I am learning about and shares his own experience.
I can see very, very clearly why there is not an abundance of diversity in many programs. The "streamlined" part, the "default", the surrounding administrative structure, has many built-in assumptions that you are a certain type of person with certain freedoms and assumed lifestyle. If you are a person, like me, who does NOT fit this mold, then the only way to make grad school possible is to ignore the mold.
So there is my accomplishment: I am ignoring the mold and succeeding. Bwuahaha!!
Thanks to everyone in my life. :-)
February 23, 2011
Yay! I just completed an ethics course for working with human research subjects. I do not actually know yet if I will be working with human subject studies for my M.Sc., but, at least now I have some background in case I do!
I read through all the sections and case studies and completed the questionnaires at the end. I am inclined to worry that I might forget an important detail, but I was very happy to learn that the tutorial is kept online and accessible to everyone. So if I want to refresh myself on how to think inclusively and make sure I have not forgotten an important detail, all I have to do is go back to the website. Even better, the content is carefully maintained and updated by a group of senior research ethics specialists. This is so great!!!!
Here is the website link for anyone interested in reading up for themselves. Note that the tutorial is tailored for a Canadian research audience.
November 02, 2010
This week at the University of Saskatchewan, it's Technology Week.
This year, I have the pleasure of being a panelist at one of the sessions, Open Educational Resources, because of the Public Class Pages (Open CourseWare) project I'm involved with as part of my job.
As part of my segment, I'm going to plug the Open Scholar Facebook group. hehe
October 27, 2010
Have I ever told you about the time I took the self-test about Extroversion - Introversion? I'm pretty sure I got it from Alyssa (who has a new baby, by the way -- go and wish her congratulations!).
See, there is a scale with "E" at step 1 and the scale goes all the way to 30 with "I" at the other extreme. Closer to "E" means that as a person you are energized by being around other people, you enjoy lots of input and stimulation, and you are really comfortable talking and thinking aloud synchronously with many other people. The other extreme, "I" means that you get your energy from being alone, quiet, you like to take more time to think, you may prefer asynchronous communication. On this scale, I scored a 28.
Earlier, I mentioned that I had 14 meetings one week. My schedule continues to be demanding like this.
The point of this blog entry is to note something for the "Accomplishments" category on this blog, namely that for a couple weeks now I have been successful at organizing "Meeting days" and "Non-Meeting days". For example, yesterday I had 6 meetings and today I have 4, but on Thursday I only have 1.
Since meetings totally drain my energy and turn me into a zombie, and that meetings are inevitable, I might as well try and stack them together in order to minimize the damage. If I have days with 0 or only 1 meeting, this leaves me opportunity to use my deep-thinking and really leverage the power of my brain. Since the damage is caused by interruption to deep thought, having a day with 2 meetings can be as detrimental as a day with 7 meetings (for me, anyway). So, I may as well stack 'em.
So, hurray for me! :)
July 22, 2010
I skimmed a recent WIRED article about a concept Clay Shirky calls " Cognitive Surplus".
I have two reactions:
One: In terms of "Hours of Free Time", how do you account for a person's energy levels? We are not machines; we have peak productive times, we get hungry, sleepy, foggy-headed. Therefore, 2 hours of spare time does not equal two hours of creativity and collaboration. I quote the late Michael Jackson who said, "Let it simmer." Although he was referring to a moment in a song, this applies also to thought and ideas and our minds. Sometimes they are very active, but sometimes they also need to simmer. Resting and time away from "production / output mode" are important.
Two: I am supremely jealous of these people who apparently have loads of free time, either to watch television or to motivate themselves to use technology to collaborate and build stuff together, or whatever. Where is MY free time? What gives???
I concede that lately I have been able to pick up the odd paperback, and find the time to read them. As my daughter gets older she is able to spend more time playing by herself for several minutes at a time. During these interludes, although I am not totally free to my own devices (like, I am still unable to pick up a technical research paper because these take like 30 minutes of concentration, not the 5 that is available to me) but indeed I can read fiction. Can you believe it? Working Mommy Grad Student reading a paperback novel? I am halfway through Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. Not long ago I read Anathem. Hot on my list next is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
How do I do this? I am aware of my energy levels and I am able to optimize certain kinds of activities accordingly. So, yeah -- Free Time, Energy Levels, and Cognitive Surplus.
Oh, and I also use my time to be a kickass blogger. Hence the addition of this entry to the "accomplishments" category. ;)
March 17, 2010
I gave a talk today in front of approximately 50 colleagues - IT managers at the University of Saskatchewan. It was short (as planned), less than 10 minutes. I used prezi. I did a good job.
This is not the first time I have felt this way after giving a talk: I feel good and I would like to do this sort of thing more often.
I am thinking about my positive experience and am comparing it to this previous entry, which shows my less positive perspective on public speaking.
I need to mull over this difference of experiences before I can draw any conclusions.
February 18, 2010
You know, after that previous entry, I was thinking that I *would* like to sing my own praises, but on my own terms. So I created a new category on this blog called "Accomplishments". I have several things in mind that I would like to share here. I don't have time to type them out now, but, I'm glad that I at least have a place for them now.
Also, I feel like I will get to know myself better if I can come back and read about how awesome I am. I forget, you know... it is too easy to focus only on the present and the future, and to forget to celebrate the past and draw strength from it.
Also, I am pretty awesome, but most of the stuff I do is so technical that few people understand it and appreciate it. People won't know about my accomplishments unless I state them. Using this blog, I can articulate better and reach a wider audience to share these accomplishments.
Also, it gives folks a chance to find me for idea-sharing. I think that this is important.
Also, did I mention that I think I am awesome?
heh heh heh
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,