Month: October 2018

Open Source Applied – Real World Use Cases

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On 10/27/18 at 3:45pm, I attended the All Things Open Conference Session : Open Source Applied – Real World Use Cases at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC presented by Justin Reock, of Rogue Wave Software.

Open Source Applied – Real World Use Cases

This talk began as a webinar. As time has gone on, more Use Cases have been added with real code. So I guess we could say that these examples are the community additions. Several particular projects and technologies and companies were shown here are about how Rogue Wave has helped companies make a full business model out of providing free open source software.

OSS (Open Source Software) is everywhere.  In fact, his first OSS shirt was from microsoft. In the same year that he received that shirt, Steve Jobs said open source software would kill innovation. The microsoft hope was that everyone using the materials would be able to increase its usability and make it the market leader. The Apple context was that clones were dead weight. Steve Jobs saw open source software as the open-door policy for companies to copy one another without innovating, creating a vanilla world with everything the same.

With Open Source, there are no barriers to the content and market. How are people using this and how are they benefiting from it? Numbers show us that many company are building with it, releasing it, and most importantly building off of it and improving upon it.


This guy was incredibly knowledgeable. He was a little fast in his talk though. He noted that he only had 45 minutes to discuss his information, and apparently this was a 1hr talk  🙂

On a personal note, It was interesting to see how many MAC computers were at this conference, and there were certainly tons in this room.

Did I gain as much from this as I could have? Not really, but I wan’t knowledgeable enough to take advantage. This was a very high-level talk and well above my intellectual ken. Justin Reock knew a great deal of the specifics of these objects.

Here’s an example:

Question: “Based on your client example, how portable is this solution?”

Answer “HOw portable? It was a fulfillment warehouse using CAMEL components that were baked into activeMQ and servelts for encapsulating date, so Yes, very portable.”

Well out of my territory. Perhaps you understood it, but sometimes I’m just not brilliant enough for my own plans.


Managing Conflict in Open Source Communities

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On 10/28/19 at 1:45pm, I attended the All Things Open Conference Session: Managing Conflict in Open Source Communities at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC presented by George DeMet, founder and CEO of

Managing Conflict in Open Source Communities


Getting to know the presenter

George began with a short introduction. He’s been involved with drupal for 12yrs. Drupal has over 100k active contributors, and for several years he has been chairing the drupal community group. They’re a large project, and have been expanding, getting larger in the last 5-6 years.

More and more is being asked of the dev community by companies and users, and these things don’t always scale well. 60+% drupal 8 developers experienced or observed conflict in drupal issue queues, IRC, etc.

Its not always easy to find trolls when they are hiding behind aliases. We cannot always act or react right away and cause attention to those trolling. Contributing to this is the rise of reports made in bad faith. SO that means a series of standards have got to be made, made clear to the community, address them individually with the person in question, and not getting bogged down with the impact of social/political issues. We also have to avoid being reactive to context collapse. In some cases, intentional distortion or misinterpreted information can be delivered from the opposite side and cloud the issue. this makes it very difficult to get to the rub.

Patterns of Abuse

SLACK can also be a great deal for trolling environments. Accounts can be created, thrown away, and otherwise fired and destroyed. Our job is to increasingly fill in the gaps.

Patterns of conduct and abuse requires us to keep better records. People should not be able to skip communities and continue a line of behaviors. We need better tools, reporting mechanisms and procedures. especialy for handling reports of sexual harassment and/or assault.

Women and people of color

All of this has an impact on open source diversity. while drupal is up to 7% contributions by women, on average only 3% of open source code contributors are women. We have literally no way of knowing how many people of color are in open source. Women are far more likely than men to encounter unwelcoming behavior including stereotyping and unsolicited sexual advances. Women are likely to talk with those they know, but are less likely to collaborate with people they don’t already know. Open source is a great way for someone to build their reputation, however, more women may find themselves shut out and undervalued.

To make codes of conduct.

First, establish a firm standards for behavior and appropriate conduct when interacting with others. Help create inclusive spaces where people can feel safe and welcome to contribute. Make it easier for everyone to participate and share ideas in a professional and respectful way. A code of conduct is worthless if there is not structure to support it mechanisms to enforce it. Is it an employee or empowered community member? Is it a community and safety team? Is it volunteering team or sponsored group?

Ideally you want a diverse group fielded who are known, trusted, and identified for a high emotional intelligence. Members should have multiple ways to file reports and know how to reach out to individual members of your enforcement team. Be clear about how these conflicts and concerns will be handled, and how others might be included if they have expertise which cannot be easily fielded- for example if their first language is not english, yet they are perceived as constantly degrading or harsh. Be transparent about the activities of your enforcement teach and always be communicating the purpose, scope and processes with the wider social community.



Opening Keynote: Enter The Mesh

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At 9:00am on 10/22/2018, I attended the Opening Keynote session: Enter The Mesh, presented by Burr Sutter of Red Hat, at the All Things Open Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC

Opening Keynote: Enter The Mesh

As before, Burr remains one of the fastest-talking-Hawaiian-Alabamian I’ve seen.  While I”m not terribly familiar with this software, I deeply appreciated his approach. Using his background to discuss his journey through open source as one similar to a martial arts movie, Burr moved us through a series of skill challenges, areas of growth and training, and mastery techniques required to excel. Using a close understanding of self-discovery, challenges followed by growth and training, he slowly built from an allegory of a talented and motivated individual growing into a seasoned professional into a short training sequeway. From the segueway, he rolled into specifics with Qpid dispatch, Amazon Web Services, and

Service Mesh is also translated as a “service grid” as an infrastructure layer for inter-service communication. Buyanant CEO Willian Morgan explains what Service Mesh is in his article WHAT’S A Service Mesh? AND WHY DO I NEED ONE? Why cloud native applications require Service Mesh.

Below is an explanation of Willian Morgan ‘s Service Mesh.

It’s responsible for the reliable delivery of requests through the complex topology of services that comprise a modern, cloud native application. In practice, the Service Mesh is typically implemented as An array of lightweight network proxies that are deployed alongside application code, without the application needing to be aware.

Service Mesh Features

Service Mesh has the following characteristics:

  • Intermediate layer of inter-application communication
  • Lightweight network proxy
  • Application non-aware
  • Decoupling application retry/timeout, monitoring, tracing, and service discovery

Currently, two popular Service Mesh open source softwares, Istio and Linkerd , can be integrated directly into kubernetes, of which Linkerd has become a member of CNCF.

Understanding Service Mesh

If you use a sentence to explain what Service Mesh is, you can compare it to TCP/IP between applications or microservices, responsible for network calls, current limiting, fuses, and monitoring between services. For writing applications, there is usually no need to care about the TCP/IP layer (such as RESTful applications over the HTTP protocol), and the same use of Service Mesh does not require things between services that were originally implemented through applications or other frameworks. For example, Spring Cloud, OSS, just give it to Service Mesh.

Phil Calçado explains in detail the ins and outs of Service Mesh in his blog, Pattern: Service Mesh :

  1. Connect directly from the most primitive hosts using a network cable
  2. The emergence of the network layer
  3. Control flow integrated into the application
  4. Decompose the control flow outside the application
  5. Integrated service discovery and circuit breakers in the application
  6. There are packages/libraries dedicated to service discovery and circuit breakers, such as Twitter’s Finagle and Facebook’s Proxygen , which are still integrated inside the application.
  7. Open source software for service discovery and circuit breakers such as Netflix OSS , Airbnb’s synapse and nerve
  8. Finally appeared as the middle layer Service Mesh of the microservice

The architecture of Service Mesh is shown below:

Service Mesh runs as a sidecar, transparent to the application, and traffic between all applications passes through it, so control of application traffic can be implemented in the service mesh.

How does Service Mesh work?

Let’s take Linkerd as an example to explain how Service Mesh works. Another implementation principle of Istio as Service Mesh is basically similar to that of linkerd. Subsequent articles will explain how Istio and Linkerd work in kubernetes.

  1. Linkerd routes the service request to the destination address, and determines whether it is a service in the production environment, the test environment, or the staging environment according to the parameters in it (the service may be deployed in these three environments at the same time), is it routed to the local environment or the public cloud environment? All of these routing information can be dynamically configured, either globally or individually.
  2. When Linkerd confirms the destination address, it sends traffic to the corresponding service discovery endpoint, which is the service in kubernetes, and then the service forwards the service to the backend instance.
  3. Linkerd selects the fastest-responsive instance of all instances of the application based on the delay in which it observed the most recent request.
  4. Linkerd sends the request to the instance, recording both the response type and the delayed data.
  5. If the instance hangs, does not respond, or the process does not work, Linkerd will send the request to another instance and try again.
  6. If the instance continues to return error, Linkerd will remove the instance from the load balancing pool and periodically retry later.
  7. If the requested deadline has passed, Linkerd actively fails the request instead of trying to add the load again.
  8. Linkerd captures all aspects of the above behavior in the form of metric and distributed traces that are sent to the centralized metric system.

Why use Service Mesh?

Service Mesh didn’t bring us new features. It was used to solve problems that other tools have solved, but this time it was implemented in Cloud Native’s kubernetes environment.

In the traditional MVC three-tier web application architecture, the communication between services is not complicated, and it can be managed within the application itself. However, in the case of today’s complex large websites, the single application is decomposed into many micros. Services, service dependencies and communication are complex, with the “Fat Client” libraries like Finagle developed by Twitter , Hystrix by Netflix, and Stubby by Google. These are the early Service Mesh, but they are all suitable for specific The environment and the specific development language are not supported as platform-level Service Mesh.

Under the Cloud Native architecture, the use of containers gives more possibilities for heterogeneous applications, and the kubernetes enhanced applications have the ability to scale horizontally, allowing users to quickly compile applications with complex environments and complex dependencies, while developers Focus on program development without undue attention to the cumbersome things of application monitoring, scalability, service discovery, and distributed tracking, giving developers more creativity.



Additional Backup Slides To Keep Us Motivated


deck available


How To Open Source An Internal Project

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On 10/22/18 at 9:45pm, I attended the All Things Open Conference Session How To Open Source An Internal Project at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC presented by Vicky Brasseur, Open Source Strategist and Author of Forge Your Future With Open Source.

How To Open Source An Internal Project

This session opened with VM Brasseur (she went by Vicky), introducing herself. She was an open source policy & strategy freelancer, as well as an author & community moderator for She was Vice President of the Open Source Initiative, and I’m the author of this, the first and only book all about how to contribute to open source, available RIGHT NOW beta at the URL above.

That’s just the long way of her saying, “I do this stuff for a living: helping companies understand, use, release, and contribute to FOSS in a way that’s effective both for the bottom line and for the community”. She provided her contact information in the slide, and we were encouraged to use it. is where these slides could be found after the event, or currently if you are legally blind or would like your own copy to look at. We were also encouraged to tween during this talk.

So, your company is going to release an internal project as open source. Are you ready for your new responsibilities? You could just throw the code up on a forge like GitHub or GitLab, but it’s unlikely to receive attention or provide much benefit to the company.
Open sourcing an internal project requires a lot of thought and work. Releasing a project as open source requires changes to the development, build, and release workflow. This is not about the code per se; it’s the processes and infrastructure that surround the code that make the project successful.
Topics we’ll cover today include:
  • Identifying company goals for the project
  • Prerelease due diligence (licenses and code hygiene)
  • Community expectations and maintenance
  • Processes that need to happen in the open
  • Communication (internal and external)

This session continued with a question about her book, Forge Your Future With Open Source, and a question about whether or not anyone was reading the book. A person mentioned they had learned about it on the SLACK board, and she inquired about his username. When she knew it, she immediately asked if she could give him a hug. He moved quickly to get it.

“If you get a chance to hug a librarian, you always hug a librarian”. — VM Brasseur

She mentioned that we could quote her on that. It was also mentioned that several NC State Librarians were present at the event, and she should take the time to meet them if she could.

The speaker paused to provide an important key suggestion for other speakers:

Have your first slide include a set of items to be completed prior to the beginning of the presentation, such as:

  • set your timer
  • turn off cellphone
  • remind the audience that your slides are currently available so that they do not have to take photos
  • etc.

Setup some expectations:

If you have already set up the project, a bad release can potentially harm the project. IF you’re looking for an online resource, don’t grab an enterprise-level solution. Don’t damage the potential success of the project by doing a bad job of releasing it because you’re trying to follow some “this is how Big Enterprise does it” sort of guide and thinking that’s all there is to it.

This talk is not a one-stop-solution. There is no silver bullet, so don’t look for one. If someone tells you there is one, be very suspicious. You have a special case. Everyone does. Every company and every project release will be different.

Companies don’t know they should be looking at things before they start, they only know they should have after they are done and trying to monkey patch things after the face.

This talk WILL introduce important concepts that, in my experience helping companies do this sort of thing, I’ve found are most often overlooked or handled poorly.

She’ll be giving us a very high level summary of the steps required. There’s no way to do more than introduce the topics due to the time constraints, but we were encouraged to contact her for a consultation. It’s hard work to release software correctly, and it’s hard work to build and maintain a community around it, but it can be very worthwhile

What even is open source

Lets get on the same page. Brasseur finding that, more and more often, it’s important to clarify this term up front. Because, it turns out, over the past decade of really impressive growth of free and open source software projects and use, folks have lost track of the answer to this very important question. There is a definition:

These definitions are over 30yrs old. Any software described as open source but failing one of these items, is NOT open source by definition. These rights listed above are guaranteed.

Specifically, many people don’t realize that there’s a definition of what it means to be “Open Source”. It’s called the Open Source Definition, it’s maintained by the Open Source Initiative, and it’s accepted around the world as the single canonical definition of open source. Built upon the Four Freedoms and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, the OSD details what is required of any software that calls itself “open source.” Software that does not provide for every one of these 10 items is, literally by definition, not Open Source.

Why should it matter to you

Let’s say you’re building a product at work. You find this software library that does exactly what you need to help your product function. It says it’s “open source,” and you can see the source code right there, so you use it. Then you learn that the maintainer of the library has a different meaning for “open source” than you.

To them, “Open Source” means that you can see the source code, and you can maybe even use the source code, but if you start to make money because of the library then you have to give them all of YOUR source code. Suddenly, you either have to completely rearchitect your product or you need to hand this maintainer your source code, because they were working under a definition of “open source” than you.

Unless we understand and work under the same definition of “Open Source” a great deal of issues can arise.

With a single, accepted definition, you sidestep this problem completely. Everyone’s using the same definition, so anything that says it’s
“open source” should match that definition. However, you still would have the problem of inspecting a project to determine whether it matches that single, accepted definition.

Do you really want to inspect and analyse every single project you use to ensure that it matches the definition? No, of course you don’t. That would take for-EV-er, which means you’d probably never do it, which means you could end up at a BIG risk of using a project that might not meet the definition and require you do do things you don’t expect. But, it’s OK. You don’t have to inspect and analyse all projects. Instead…

The Open Source Initiative does that for you. Or, more specifically, it does it by reviewing licenses under which the software is released. OSI accepts request to review licenses. They look at the license and definition and ensure they are in full agreement. IF agreed, all is good. If failing, you are still allowed to use it, but not all of your freedoms are assured.

To help ensure the freedoms and benefits of the Open Source Definition, the Open Source Initiative reviews software licenses and compares them against the Open Source Definition. Those licenses that obey definition are “OSI-approved.” Because the approved licenses ensure adherence to the Definition, only those projects that use an approved license are guaranteed to be open source. You don’t have to inspect or analyze at all. Just check the license, make sure it’s OSI-approved, and know that it matches the same definition of “open source” that you use.

As you’re looking to release your project, all you have to do is pick a license from this short list, apply it properly to your project (clearly there was not enough time at this point for determining what “properly” means), and you’re off to the races. No need to register the project, no need to get a lawyer involved to draft a license, tons of money saved on analysis and legal fees, plus the peace of mind of knowing that everyone means the same thing when they say “open source.”

Now that we have definitions out of the way, let’s get started with one of the most important but also most ignored steps in releasing an internal project as open source.

Why your company is doing this at all: This is literally the most important first step. If you’re doing this for altruistic purposes, If you love it: great. If you want to gain something: awesome.

what are your benefits and goals? you must internally agree on benefits and goals. If the question brings 5 answers, you have some problems. Your company has and will invest a lot in this thing you’re looking to release If the company receives no benefit from releasing it… And if you can’t all agree on what that benefit is… You’re going to have a lot of problems down the road.

Your answer to this question must be generated to get the proper focus which will guide you through the project. Don’t skip over this step, be honest and realistic.

The moment you give the software, you have multiple stakeholders. The community has to gain a benefit from using the material… Else you lose their trust, their support, and their contributions. Which doesn’t mean your company gains nothing out of it… It just means you have to collaborate in good faith rather than be a greedy pig.

if you don’t have a goal:

  • You won’t know what you want to get out of creating this open source project
  • You will never know if you’re on track or need to change tactics
  • You will not know if you’ve achieved success
  • You cannot define meaningful metrics.
  • You cannot show metrics and results without a goal, its just vanity metrics. IF

Its important to note that in most cases, you’ll be doing this as part of a job or business. If you can’t show any sort of results through your efforts, then your open source effort becomes the lowest hanging fruit when budget cuts roll around. FIGURE THIS OUT UP FRONT

Let’s assume you have goals figured out. What are your next steps? if you cannot show a success to your company, expect to get cut funding and/or get fired

Clean your project. These are things that can get your company into a lot of trouble, so review all code, comments, documentation Are you going to release your GitHub commit history? You better clean that, too.

Badmouthing others will get a nastigram or a lawsuit. Some of us like to swear a lot. Many people, however, aren’t cool with that. Profanity, rudeness and bias will not make others feel welcome— this will hamper the community.

IF you’re going to release, commit to history. You will find most bombs in the documentation and history. Clean it dilligently.

When the project leaves the door and is distributed, that is when licenses get kicked around. The licenses on which you rely must be in compliance. Don’t leave the review to the dev team. Get your IP counsel involved. Don’t play fast and loose with license conditions. Get your IP laywer in the room so that they have a say in everything.

“Distribution” is the trigger for most FOSS licenses. Releasing a project is distribution. Review all of the projects on which your company’s project relies Make sure you’re in compliance with the terms of the licenses of those projects

Clearly Defined is a relatively new but very actively developed and supported project for gathering the information you need for this due diligence. It’s an ever-growing community-driven resource for curated license, copyright, and project source code location information for free and open source software packages It can be a very good way to bootstrap your due diligence process You can learn more about it and contribute at this website. Now that you’ve done your due diligence, now you’re ready to release the project, right? Wrong. There’s still plenty you have to do before the project is released.

You cannot just slam your project onto GitHub and walk away.

Consult with your legal counsel. NOTA BENE! DO NOT IGNORE THE MAINTENANCE OVERHEAD FOR THESE! Figure out this process BEFORE you release the project.

Do you need a cla/dco?

Answer: It depends.

Get your lawyer involved. They will always say “yes!”, because they are risk averse. Walk them through it and talk it up, but don’t underestimate the reasons behind your choices. You have to collect, administer, and commit to them. You have to verify and followup with each item. Most importantly, they are not free.

Other things to think about

There are a lot of other moving parts you need to consider and put in place before releasing the project.

Bug reports. Are there things you want or don’t want to see? Is it essential to get a browser version and name for each item? Start simple to get barebones information which you need to solve the problems. Styleguides might not be an issue, until you see tabs instead of spaces. Set the expectations so that everyone has as good of an experience as possible. An internal Jenkins might be best set to move to an External Travis. You cannot keep everything internal because then… no one can see them

Please provide a code of conduct to start. Just do it. You will get some people who will not work if there is a code of conduct and some who will not work if it does not have one clearly assigned. Get the team trained on how to conduct code of conduct issues.

This is table stakes now, folks. Don’t forget: it’s not enough to have a CoC document. You also have to learn how to enforce it. There are specialists who can help you with this and I strongly recommend you contract with them for training.

These are worderful. Be as detailed as possible to make this work. This should be more of a table of contents to point to the proper pages. You don’t need a ten page annotated document.

TLDR; no one will read if this is too bulky. Make it short and easy to digest.

If you don’t have one, people will invent their own method of contribution and you won’t like it. If you want folks to contribute, you gotta tell them how. This file is how you do it. Be as detailed as necessary. Include pointers to other docs, such as:

  • Setting up dev environment
  • How to open a bug report
  • How to get a patch landed
  • Styleguides
  • Roadmap
  • etc.

If you don’t have one of these, people will just invent their own contribution methods and you probably won’t like that. Head off people making you angry by clearly defining your expectations and the community will do their best to meet your expectations.

This should really be the last thing you do. NOT THE FIRST. If you rely upon copyleft software, you’ll have to have a copyleft license. if you don’t like that, you’ll have to re-architect the entire software package at the end. Don’t use your personal preferences, use the model your end user wishes. Do it right.

Everyone always jumps to this step first, but it doesn’t actually have to be done until just before you release the project. License selection may be influenced by the license conditions of the projects on which yours relies. Start at GPLv3. If that won’t work for business reasons (do at least try it, OK?) Fall back to Apache, then BSD-3, then MIT. It’s a spectrum.

LIcense or copying in the repository is real. add copyright notice to each file. add license notice to each file. If you’re purchased, don’t make the users have a burden of proof that the early item was available. Its a perl script people, automate it!

Take guidance from the GPL instructions. They are usually seen as the most thorough. Few other licenses provide instructions. Thanks, FSF! A PITA? Dude, this stuff can be automated

You probably need to market your project, but that hasn’t really been discussed here. there is another session later (Diedre) who may cover that.

Remember that I mentioned earlier that releasing the project is only the start. Once it’s out there, your company can’t maximize its benefits without the help of a community.

You can’t gain any of those benefits without building a community. You can’t build a community without building trust .So how do you do that? How do you build trust?

Without trust, you cannot get benefits. How to build trust and get a community? You have to work in the open—all project and management work in the open.

All open source bits must be in the public. All development work happens in the open where everyone can see & participate in it. Features aren’t developed in quiet in-house and then popped on the community.They will want to contribute. All build processes should operate in the open and publicly. They won’t know what it is and how good it is.

The project accepts contributions of all sort from the community Community collaboration and influence in the roadmap Community should feel like a primary stakeholder in the project, not simply a low cost workforce Community participates in all elements of project governance

Let others contribute. Collaborate, let them influence the roadmap. Keep the external open source moving. Its tough, but its possible. they are primary stakeholders, not a cheap labor force.

All of this will take time Building a community takes time. Building trust takes time. Don’t be in a rush. If your company works consistently in the open and in the best interests of the community, it will see the benefits and it will meet its goals. It’s just not going to happen overnight.

Q & A

Can you stop people from using your open source software if they are using it for illegal means?

No. unfortunately, once its open, its open. YOu will not be held liable for the action though. Even she cannot stop users from useing the material. She’d love to stop Nazis, homophobes, transphobes, etc. from using it, but she cannot. Now she might not meld their updates and force them to do it themselves, but she will not be able to hold back any aspects of what is released.

Should the licenses really, really be in every file? Even CNF files?

YES. the copyright and license file should be in each file. Every reasonable file will have comment sections. Just place it in every single file at the top. As you pluck a single file out, it looses the association with the copyright and license information from the original folder

should the ENTIRE material be in each file

NO. its in the book, but essentially copyright, year, company, copyright found in c: (github) location

Using Metacognition Strategies to Increase Student Success and Completions

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At 1:50pm on 10/19/2018, I attended the professional development session: Using Metacognition Strategies to Increase Student Success and Completions presented by Denise Barton, PhD, as an ongoing pathway of professional development in an online class at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC.


Using Metacognition Strategies to Increase Student Success and Completions

So, I’ve got a bit of a confession to make. I have been using metacognition to support students in improving their work in several of my classes, in helping them understand how to draw and design more effectively, and helping them to listen better during student and faculty critiques.

There are some videos shown in this course while I haven’t seen, along with the share and pair exercises listed on the video website, so this should be a great experience.

This course teaches you about metacognition, and while reviewing our thoughts and feelings on our progress, and how we might improve this (ah.. ah… get it!?) we can always feel free to email me at Denise Barton to gain assistance answering any questions we may have. I have also heard that perhaps in summer 2019 they might be offering a metacognition professional development course for faculty who want to use it to improve their teaching and students’ learning. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.


How to get the most out of studying

There are 5 videos located at This website (text url:

After I viewed each one, I took a break before taking any notes to ensure that I heard all the information.

Developing a Mindset for Successful Learning

This video gives an overview of the information presented in the video series. The information is organized into 10 Principles of Effective Studying that students should understand if they wish to maximize learning from their study time

Beliefs That Make You Fail…Or Succeed

The first video examines common mistaken beliefs students often possess that undermine their learning. The video tries to correct those misconceptions with accurate beliefs about learning.

What Students Should Understand About How People Learn

The second video introduces a simple but powerful theory of memory, Levels of Processing, that can help students improve their study.

Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning

The third video operationalizes the concept of level of processing into four principles that students can use to develop effective study strategies.

Putting the Principles for Optimizing Learning into Practice

The fourth video applies the principles of deep processing to common study situations, including note taking and highlighting while reading.

“I Blew the Exam, Now What?”

This video addresses what students should and should not do when they earn a bad grade on an exam.


Final Thoughts on Metacognition

It was a little exciting to revisit this work. I incorporate this into my classes, but its always nice to see the great effect this can have on students and other individuals. I felt this was great training, and I’ll be incorporating more of this in my classes.

Transform Your Imagination Into Reality: AR, VR, and MR

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On 3/7/19 at 1:45pm, I attended the Online Learning Consortium Virtual Conference Session: Transform Your Imagination Into Reality: AR, VR, and MR presented online by Corinne Hoisington of Central Virginia Community College.

Transform Your Imagination Into Reality: AR, VR, and MR

Important note about the session:

***Warning: This session is for instructors who can handle extreme excitement and engagement actually using VR/MR/AR


Can it BE a reality?

The real world is not flat after all, so why constrain our online classrooms to experience the digital world on a flat screen? An online student may be isolated from the instructor and other students, this ability to be virtually immersed in another environment could be invaluable. Instead of just staring at a flat computer screen, students could be transported to a more traditional classroom environment, a chemistry lab, or even a historical moment in time anywhere in the world.

The shift from 2D to 3D is as natural as adding color to movies and television was in the 1950’s. In many ways, it is even more impactful. Virtual and Augmented Reality is changing how a student is immersed into our curriculum. What started out as something that was simply “cool” has become a way to engage learners like never before. An online student may be isolated from the instructor and other students, this ability to be virtually immersed in another environment could be invaluable. Instead of just staring at a flat computer screen, students could be transported to a more traditional classroom environment, a chemistry lab, or even a historical moment in time anywhere in the world. Experience ten different virtual reality educational activities for your online classroom including an Oculus Rift and Mixed Reality! Join us for the ultimate immersive experience!

Opening and Closing Statements

I am a fairly straightforward person. I learn by receiving information, discussing it, seeing its value, perhaps moving through a dialogue, and once recognizing the importance of a thing, I like to consider its practical value.

Corinne Hoisington is an enthusiastic cheerleader who is extremely excited, outgoing, and the kind of high-energy presenter who says “I can’t HEAR you!” several times before she will begin working. Frankly, this is something I cannot stand.

Corinne Hoisington is smart, she knows what she’s talking about, I just cannot stand her delivery.

My participation in this setting was very short. I saw the beginning portion, but once the presentation began, there was very little keeping me here, so I stopped caring and left. I just cannot work in those conditions. Again, Corinne knows her stuff, I just cannot learn like that.


Lead Presenter: Corinne Hoisington, Central Virginia Community College

Corinne Hoisington is a full-time Professor of Information Systems Technology at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA with over 25 years of teaching experience. Corinne also travels over 200,000 miles a year keynoting to college & university professors and online conferences in over 70 worldwide cities a year for such customers as the Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft’s Camp 21 International Events, Cengage Learning, Merlot Distance Learning, Texas Distance Learning Consortium, Capital One International Bank, London’s Executive LIVE 2017, and the International South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, TX. Professor Hoisington is the recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Computer Programming. Corinne presently has authored over twenty textbooks with Cengage Learning/National Geographic such as the Android Studio Boot Camp, Dreamweaver Creative Cloud, Outlook 2016, Office 2016, Microsoft Windows, Technology Now, and Visual Basic 2017.

LEA126: Empowering Leaders Through Self Reflection

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On 10/1/18 at 1:15pm, I took part in online professional development through Wake Technical Community College’s Leadership Program with the Session ULEA 126, Empowering Leaders through Self-Reflection! This was co-presented by Lori Dees and Emily Moore of Wake Technical Community College


LEA126: Empowering Leaders Through Self Reflection

Our overall goal for this course is to help improve our own practice of self-reflection in order to strengthen leadership skills. Upon completion of course activities and assignments, I was awarded a certificate for two hours of Professional Development credit.

Module 1: Self Reflection Basics: What and Why?

Upon completion of this lesson, we should be able to:

  • Define self-reflection
  • Locate several research articles on self-reflection
  • Identify the relationship between self-reflection and leadership
  • Discuss reflective leadership

Practicing Reflection Online


I have seen this famous quote at some point in the past. It speaks to the importance of reflection across the ages, and how it can bring us wisdom. I hope to keep this in mind and share with a little about my own journey with reflection. This should also help me consider some ways I can incorporate reflection into my practice as a leader.

Think its important here to define two key terms:

Reflection- consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose (Merriam-Webster)

Collaborative Reflection- sharing reflections with each other


Why is it important to learn about reflection and to be a reflective leader? I think that reflection is key to leadership. Reflection is powerful. Self-reflection is a powerful tool for self-improvement and for self-appreciation.


Again, this is another ancient quote that you may be familiar with. Although I certainly do not think that your life is worthless if you haven’t been practicing reflection regularly… :).  Reflection is an important part of maintaining balance and focus in life.


Reflection is productive. Later in the lesson, I see I’ll be watching a video featuring Giada Di Stephano, a Harvard researcher. I already watched it though 🙂

In that video, she discusses the findings of a study on reflection. You will want to watch the video for details about the experiment and the findings of the research team. Essentially, this research demonstrated the relationship between reflection and learning. This study has some important implications for teaching and leading.



We do not have to rely on just the research to know that reflection works, however. Through our own experiences with collaborative reflection, we become convinced that it is key to personal growth and development and to leadership. As we explore the research on reflection, and practice collaborative reflection as part of this course, perhaps I’ll cover the redesign process myself, and come to some important realizations.


There are some common barriers to reflection, especially to collaborative reflection, including the fear of exposure (being vulnerable with ourselves and others) and insufficient time for reflection. Some possible ways to overcome these barriers include making reflection intentional, using online forums dedicated to reflective practice, and encouraging vulnerability. Asynchronous communication is great for millenials, but it can also be good for working professionals when reflecting with others.


We have developed two sites dedicated to online reflection through discussion forums available on Blackboard shells. The first of these is the one we call our “blue site,” which is our internal site available to Wake Tech employees. Membership on this site is open to any Wake Tech employee and provides you with the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across our campuses as you reflect together. They send a weekly reflection prompt to serve as a reminder to reflect and to give you a starting point for discussing issues and ideas together on the forum. In addition, there is an external site, our “green site,” that we use when we present to our community college colleagues across the country. This site is open to anyone, and is hosted on the Blackboard MOOC platform.

You can find and enroll in this class by doing a google search for PRO Project Blackboard Course sites. It is here:


This graphic shows a snapshot of the activity on the site. Although we have forums dedicated to different interests and areas of the college, our weekly reflection forum is by far the most popular. Comparing the number of “hits” to posts in the previous slide also shows that people like to visit the forums to consider the thoughts of their peers, even when they do not wish to post themselves. Some sites call this “lurking,” but we don’t! Participation in any form means that you are making reflection a part of your day. You can also post anonymously.


Looking at this, consider the difference between the “boss” and the leader. As I read over the list, I took a brief moment to reflect on the qualities of my own leaders over the years. How can I demonstrate the qualities that will make people want to follow me?



The Power of Insight

From Values to Action


Finally, in order to demonstrate my understanding of the first lesson, I was asked to reflect on one of the following topics, discuss my thoughts with others and report what we covered :

Reflection 1

Thinking about what I have learned from the first lesson, including the article you read, identify three reasons for incorporating a regular practice of self-reflection into your practice as a leader.

Reflection 2

Thinking about what I have learned from the first lesson, including the article you read, identify at least two qualities of an inspirational leader. How can I incorporate these qualities into my own leadership style?


Thinking this over, I decided to read an article on Leadership by Meier

Prompt 2: Thinking about what you have learned from the first lesson, including the article you read, identify at least two qualities of an inspirational leader. How can you incorporate these qualities into your own leadership style?

I felt most strongly attuned to the idea of flexibility in leadership. In thereadings for this first lesson. There was a great graphic representing the difference between a boss and a leader. The real leader here “Generates Enthusiasm” instead of issuing ultimatums, they “Develop People”, and values “Strength In Unity”. These values are not ones in while there is a set goal, but an ideal in place which must be adjusted and judged based on what every person can bring to the table. You cannot excite and enthuse people in the same way- each must be approached individually. You cannot develop people in the same way, or we’d all be wunderkind polymaths. Each person must be motivated and encouraged individually. Strength in unity is not built by seeking a wall of spartan soldiers, but in the creation of a set of individuals who can work together as a team with each bringing their own skills to bear to help the group. In the classroom, faculty approach the class with a single idea, but encourage each students with tweaks to performance and ability, finding the best in each and encouraging it. This helps me to find the leader within myself, and I can aspire to the difference between boss and leader, and of course by looking to the best examples of leaders before me.

In the article How Self-Reflection Can Make You a Better Leader, I was very taken by this phrase:

“Self-reflection is not spending hours contemplating your navel,” Kraemer says. “No! It’s: What are my values, and what am I going to do about it? This is not some intellectual exercise. It’s all about self-improvement, being self-aware, knowing myself, and getting better.”

I find the examination of your feelings and motivations to be an excellent introspective moment, allowing us to to feel out situations. This flexibility allows us to change our opinions, desires, and if needed, re-examine out choices and commitments. Will we shirk on those commitments, certainly not. That said, we can certainly approach them with the understanding and ability to work through the issues with the best intentions, and mindful of what our actual goals are, the equitable standards that we commit to internally, and solving the problem with the optimal outcome in mind.

I feel the judgment of the individual should be taken into account at every opportunity, constantly weighing in the best actions to go with each situation- while being mindful of the commitments you’ve made. This was great reading.


Module 2: Self Reflection Standards: What and Why?

Upon completion of this lesson, we should be able to:

  • Identify four lenses for reflection
  • Explain the relationship between vulnerability and leadership
  • Assess key aspects (values and emotional intelligence) of their own leadership styles
  • Discuss ways to apply the results of self-assessments for personal and professional growth


Leadership Quote


Three pioneers in reflective practice theory are John Dewey, Jack Mezirow, and Donald Schon.

Dewey brought reflection to the forefront of education in the early 1900s. In the late 1900s, Mezirow began developing his transformative learning theory, which focuses on using reflection to change one’s worldview. A few years later, Schon was exploring reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. Reflection-in-action refers to reflecting in the moment.

Imagine you’re leading a group and you start to notice the session isn’t running smoothly. Through a quick reflection in the moment, you decide to change your approach. Next, imagine you’ve already finished leading a training. You return to your office to reflect on how the session went and make changes accordingly. This process is called reflection-on-action. All three leaders in the field of reflective practice have numerous publications you can explore for further information.


Stephen Brookfield is another leader in reflective practice theory. I’ve had a book discussion on Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. At that meeting, we explored Brookfield’s approach to reflection. Brookfield sees reflection as a process that must utilize four lenses to be the most beneficial.


The first lens Brookfield proposed was the autobiographical lens. Using this lens, you want to remember what it feels like to be a learner. Because his book focused on the teaching profession, the lenses are explained from a teacher-student perspective.

As a leader, you can translate these lenses to your daily responsibilities. Some ways you can reflect on yourself are to reflect on any experiences you have had as a graduate student, in professional development workshops, or as a conference attendee. You may also want to reflect on your experiences in a new and intimidating learning environment.

Brookfield shares a story about his first experience swimming and his first experience driving. In both cases, he was an adult, and he could reflect on what it felt like to be in an intimidating learning environment for the first time. He reiterates how important it is for us to find opportunities to experience something new and intimidating so we don’t forget what it feels like to be led through a new process.



Other ways you can explore the autobiographical lens are to write or review your philosophy of leadership, make audio/video recordings of yourself leading a group, keep weekly leadership logs that record your leadership experiences, create yearly leadership audits that you can compare at the end of each year, create role model profiles of leaders you admire, and write a survival advice memo that you would give to someone who was taking over your position.


The second lens Brookfield discusses is the student lens. To utilize this lens, you will need to reflect on feedback you receive from those you lead.

One way to implement this lens is to reflect on yearly evaluations from your team, training evaluations after you have led a training session, or conference evaluations after you present at a conference. Taking the time to reflect on this type of feedback is essential to becoming a good leader and reflective practitioner.


The third lens Brookfield discusses is the theoretical lens. This lens focuses on the theory behind  your practice.

Brookfield encourages us to constantly seek out and reflect on theory in our field. Some ways you might incorporate this reflection are to complete LEA courses, read scholarship of leadership, attend conferences and workshops on leadership, and subscribe to professional leadership journals.


The final and most crucial lens Brookfield discusses is the peer lens. Without putting this lens into practice, the other three lenses will fall short in giving you the full benefit of reflective practice.

Brookfield strongly believes collaborative reflection is essential to a promising reflective practice. Ways that you might collaboratively reflect are participating in collaborative benchmark projects focused on leadership and intentionally participating in structured critical conversations on leadership.


It is important to note, that as you begin to incorporate these lenses into your reflective practice, particularly the peer lens, you may begin to notice a fear of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is critical to growth in a reflective practice. One of your goals should be to embrace this vulnerability so you can become a stronger leader.


Brene Brown discussed her vulnerability research in a video below- which I had already watched. I watched all the videos before viewing this material, so it was a nice tie-in.

In her video, Brene talks about the importance of being willing to be vulnerable and how this practice can lead to personal growth. It was interesting.


In Brown’s video, she shares the quote on this slide from Theodore Roosevelt. After reading the quote and reflecting on why she may have chosen to include this quote in her discussion of vulnerability, I though about some of the times I had dared greatly.

“Showing up in the Arena” affected my worldview. I was able to see things from the place where the action was truly happening, and get a better understanding of the real problems being faced. I also had a chance to taste the real defeat and trials which covered that job. In short, I gained a new perspective and much more respect.

Do you think vulnerability is necessary for leadership? Why or why not? I don’t think that vulnerability equates to this “In the Arena” idea. I think vulnerability is not necessary, but flexibility should certainly be awarded. That ability to be wrong and still be a leader would be more important.


Let’s discuss some steps to increased self-awareness.


To experience the benefits of a reflective practice, It would be good to investigate and understand our personality types, personal values, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence.


Step 1 is to investigate your personality type. Knowing yourself and others will improve your leadership skills. As mentioned in Harry Kraemer’s video on reflection and leadership in Lesson 1, if you don’t know yourself, you can’t lead yourself, and if you can’t lead yourself, you can’t lead others. If you know yourself, you will be able to easily recognize the personality types of those you are leading. If you know their personality types, you will be able to predict their behavior. Thus, you can take action to stop bad behavior before it goes too far and reinforce good behavior.

I might have gone a bit too far there, but I think you’re seeing what I’m saying.


Step 2 is to understand your personal values. We have two types of personal values: instrumental values and end values. Instrumental values are those you use everyday to make decisions. These values include being honest, polite, and logical. End values are those that reflect lifelong aspirations, such as equality, wisdom, and contentedness.

Why is understanding your personal values important as a leader? Your values set the tone for the people you are leading and help build trust within your group. If those you lead understand and sense what values are important to you, they will trust you and mirror those same values. Sharing values with those you lead allows for a more cohesive, productive team.

Understanding your employer’s values is just as important. You want to make sure your values align with your employer’s so you can positively reinforce those values with your team. Think about Wake Tech’s six core values.

How do your personal values align with Wake Tech’s values? I think that over the years, Wake Tech has chosen to value staff over faculty. As time moves forward, faculty breaks diminish, pay for faculty remains 47th in the nation, and no faculty member I know will admit to making at or above the median income for Raleigh, where the campuses are. I like the innovation here, but it can be very very difficult to move ahead.

Do you feel comfortable working in an environment where these values are important? I am a team player. Sometimes its more important to support the team than to run after individual dollars and concerns.

Are you an advocate for these values in your team?



Take Time to investigate your cognitive style. Cognitive style is equivalent to learning style. Consider the questions: How do I process data for making decisions? How do my team members process data? If you understand how you process data, you will be able to more easily identify how your team members process data. Understanding how your team members process data is important when you build committees or other small groups. You want to be sure to include team members from all cognitive styles on a committee so the team is balanced. Diversity is key when it comes to cognitive style and a productive team.



Step 4 is to understand emotional intelligence.I have already completed LEA 114 on emotional intelligence, and you may be familiar with these tenents. Emotional intelligence relates to emotional self-awareness, empathy, a positive outlook, emotional self-control, and adaptability.


Lastly, in order to demonstrate my understanding of the second lesson, I’ll answer ONE of the following discussion prompts.


After taking the quiz on Emotional Intelligence provided in Lesson 2, reflect on your scores.  Choose one or two competencies that seem well developed (look at your highest scores) and think about how you can exercise them even more fully.  You may also want to reflect on your lower scoring competencies.  Why do you think you scored lower on these?  What could you do to develop these competencies more?

Prompt 2:

After taking the personal values assessmsent provided in Lesson 2, complete the Self-Development: Exercise 2 included in the report. What insights did this activity provide? Will you attempt to stop any of your current actions? Will you attempt to start any new actions?

The item I had the highest score on (23 out of 25) was Emotional Self-Awareness, but I don’t really want to talk about that. I have a good handle on why I’m feeling the way I am. that’s a bit of a no-brainer.

The 2 items I had the next highest scores on were Adaptability and Positive Outlook. I am sure these are clear because of my background in the field. As a designer, I am constantly having to work with shifting schedules, clear guidelines which change at the last minute, and clients who change their minds or fail to choose clear winners in the design process. If one is not adaptable to change, they will quickly find themselves out of work, out of time, and without a pipeline of work coming in. Adaptability in the classroom keeps us on our toes, and allows us to structure and restructure the curriculum to meet the needs and abilities of our students- while making minute and major adjustments along the way to ensure that low skills get more time while advanced skill timelines are preserved. I have often thought that I could expand my knowledge in adaptability by taking some improv courses. I also found that I scored high in positive outlook. I think this was a high score because I surround myself with people who are uplifting, joyful, and superior workers. I am happy to be with them, talk with them, and thrive and grow alongside them. In my classroom, I reach out to students and share my positivity. In return, I am bolstered by their positivity. I could possibly improve this aspect of my life by tkaing prozac… just kidding. I could possibly improve this by shining UP the flagpole instead of simply working with my peers and students.

My Final Thoughts

The two items I scored lower on were empathy (17 of 25) and self-control (15 out of 25).

I think many of the questions with empathy were stated in a way that did not appeal to me, in which case I think I railroaded myself into a poorer score. Many of the questions for empathy seemed like they had to do with the discovery of others’ personal feelings, curiosity into how people are feeling and why, often questions came off (to me) as though you’d be demanding to know the emotional state of others, and that’s something I do not value. Every student is slammed. Those with jobs, families, etc., even more so. If a student is performing well, has their work in on time, and is participating in the class, there is no reason for me to be demanding to know their emotional states and why they feel certain ways. I have had numerous students crying in my classes, crying in my office, crying in the hallway or breakroom… they have very real feelings and are under tons of pressure. Students who are clearly hurting or in need of help are open to approach, but more often than not, a student in control of their faculties is just trying to keep things together. I’m happy to share their passions, joys and pains, but I will not be actively pursuing the reasons behind their emotional states unless they are forcing it on me. I open most conversations with students by asking “how’s your semester going?”. This is a nice, open question that invites others to talk about their wellbeing, but is non-invasive.

Self control is also a weak point. I think we all try to clamp down on our emotions and let our heads lead the way. I have a great deal of issues with self-control with impulse buying especially. I often give in to what I want and procrastinate. I can certainly increase this score if I were to exercise more self-control. There is always room to exercise more patience, indulge others before myself, and to work on deadlines first and personal choices last. But, of course, its easy to say you’ll do better, and difficult to make that a reality.

I found this class and this exercise to be quite reflective.