Month: March 2019

Using Real-Life Clients in the Classroom

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On 2/24/19 at 1:15pm, I presented at the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference with the Session Using Real-Life Clients In The Classroom at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC. This was co-presented by Carla Osborne of Wake Technical Community College

 

Using Real-Life Clients in the Classroom

At this event, we discussed the ability to work with clients in our classrooms, from beginning to end. This process included setting out the fear involved with

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you for attending our presentation this afternoon. I’m attaching the videos that were in the presentation with a short description:

Baking and Pastry Arts Introductions

Since the student chefs are on another campus, this was our way of introducing them to the graphic design students:

https://youtu.be/huIHq1LyMjk

Client/Media Relations – Summer Session 2017

We have fun in our department and for this video we roped in one of our Networking instructors as the client:

https://youtu.be/ECISRiKKaS0

Client/Media Relations – Summer Session 2018

For this video we recruited a theatre student from NCSU to play the part of the client for Beet Box:

https://youtu.be/PZnMa59Z9KM

Design Apps III

In this short video Julie Evans introduces the rebranding assignment for Joe Van Gogh

https://youtu.be/0uVLMGwcWeE

And here’s the interview with the owner:


We hope you found a few tips you could implement in your own classes. Please reach out if you have questions or if you would like to share your experiences with working with clients in your classes.

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Training UP: Lifelong Learning In IT

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On 3/7/19 at 9:00am, I attended the North Carolina Computer Instructors Association Conference Session Training UP: Lifelong Learning In IT at the SCITECH Building at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC presented by Jill West, instructor at Georgia Northwestern community college.

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Training UP: Lifelong Learning In IT

JIll West mentioned in the opening that she was very pleased with the NCCIA, and was interested in grabbing a similar conference in their area. Not quite sure how to do so, but she was very interested in making that happen.

Mostly, she is teaching intro to computers. It deals with a range of students from “no idea how to right-click” and others who “have built their own computers”. She can bring both psychology and cognitive psych to the table on thinking, learning, how do we process, learn and experience the world differently.

We started with some quick informational questions.

Myth or Truth?

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Different learning styles and we learn best when taught to our best style.

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MYTH.

If we continue to teach to the students, that’s how they learn. If you teach to the best way for the content, and also include several different modalities, you’ll find greater success. Especially if you’re using multiple different modalities.

Psychologicalscience.org/journals/pspi

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Left-brained people think more logically?

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MYTH.

People use one side of the brain more for specific tasks. Neither our personality characteristics nor cognition are determined by dominance.

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Intelligence is fluid and can change based on mindset and environment?

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TRUTH

Acknowledging a genuine effort and progress rather than their inborn talent encourages students to try harder and take more risks, which increases performance success.

Its important to see education as a journey, not a destination. View mistakes and setbacks as catalysts for growth without ignoring the need for standards of achievement.

Slide8Progression of technology. We’ve been teaching about technology that is older than the classes we’re teaching. Students that we’ve taught 10 years ago or 5 years ago are already outdated. How can we future-proof our students?

Learned some new techniques by practicing or using natural curiosity. What skills were I using? Audio, visual cues, experimentation, trial and error.

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Are we learning things outside of our teaching-specific activities? What is it like getting back into the shoes of our students? Remember what its like for our students. As you’re looking at the class material, remember. When you leave here today, try to learn something new.

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How do we get past those humps?

Monitor your own learning. Step back and say “here’s what I’m learning”, “what don’t I know”, “what do I need to learn what I don’t know?”. We need to be able to teach our students how to do this.

What did it feel like for you to learn. Why were you learning it? What worked best for you to learn it.

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Progression of learning

We need to keep this learning going.

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We learned a new skill in the class, an incapacitating hand grab

What was it like us?

Was it awkward to stand up? Was it awkward to touch anouther person? Was it awkward to learn an awkward skill set? How about walking through the steps? Who’s a germaphobe? Sometimes we couldn’t see what was happening. Sometimes there was a disconnect between what you wanted to do and what you saw or could do. Some people found it to be fun, engaging, and exciting. One said that they would not even know that they could do that. All these ideas could be seen in the classroom.

Was this something you wanted to learn? For some of us, yes. For others, not really. When the opportunity presents itself, it becomes fun. Did it take things outside of our comfort zone? Some of this becomes uncomfortable for others.

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Stages of Competence

In the beginning, we don’t even know what we don’t know. From Naïve, we discover, and begin learning and putting in effort. It is here that we know we don’t know enough. From knowing things, we practice and move into competence (I know what I know and am improving) and eventually  it becomes muscle memory or second nature. That said, the hard part is that what we really need to do is use self-study and peer review to understand that I don’t know what I don’t know. This process of discovery allows us to repeat the learning process for ourselves.

How can I get the students to be motivated to get over the hump? Especially if they aren’t motivated.

“I was excited. My students, however, cannot be forced to be motivated and excited”

For some students, its overwhelming. When there is too much to know, learn, absorb, what should we do? In chemistry, this is called “tightering”. Make things easier and bring in materials a small piece at a time. Consider reframing this for students. It’s a great deal of information, it brings information, reframing this as a positive action.

Slide15

Creating Momentum

How do we create momentum?

Share your passion. Why are you in IT? I like to learn, I like to see how things work? Why is it important to learn this material? Why should they be excited if they are not excited? Don’t be upset if you’re in it for the money. What is the motivation of the money? Successful? Provide for the kids and family? Keep taxes and society moving? You’ll make more money if you get better grades.

Help student develop their passion. Ask your students to go out and find out for themselves. Research shows that If you approach the problem as ”I’m going to help you tap into your skills and develop YOUR passion”.

Let students solve REAL problems. The best problems are the ones you don’t know the answers to. Here’s a real problem, I need a real solution. How did you do that? How can I ask the right questions to get to the right answers.

Highlight our purpose in IT (or design). Build up the people around us. Put this in a community context  and the purpose will help attract women to IT. If you can frame IT as a way to help people. This can draw more women

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MINDSET MATTERS

Fixed mindset is really about performance goals and showing off the abilities you have. Instead, use a growth mindset. Learning goals matter. Increase ability as a choice to increase what you know. Attribution teaory is  a major factor. To what do you attribute the loss or victory? How can you improve that?

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How do you think?

Images, words, pictures, cause and effect. Picture your bedroom at home. What does it look like? If you cannot look at your room in your mind, you may have affentasia. Can you think what it would look like on the other side of the room? What if it were on the ceiling? What if all your walls were dark purple? Relying on pictures in your mind can be normal. Hyper affentasion is an awareness but not knowing how to see pictures which might be changing as above. Its not a disability, its just different.

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Metacognition

Thinking about thinking. Students do not naturally know how to do this on the whole. Some students will have to be taught how to do this. The way to do this is to be really brutally honest with yourself.  How do I find my blindspots? How do I know how to do this?

Become aware of thoughts, make decisions about that information. Take ownership of the learning process: identify confusion along the way and at the end. Make informed decisions: think in terms of cause and effect.

What did you really think about this. Really think about it. What did you learn? Why did you learn that? How could you improve your learning of that?

Consider encouraging your students to take a myers-briggs test to get to know themselves. http://Personalityhacker.com has a free one. http://brainbench.com does also.

For some students this can be an eye opening experience. Do you like working with people, how do you actually start thinking about things differently.

Engage courageously.

Slide23

Bloom’s Taxonomy.

The farther we get in the understanding and context. The words tell us how deeply they need to know the material. Students need to know the different depths of understanding. We need to start helping them to understand that there are different ways and different depths of ways to know and understand materials.

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How to teach metacognition.

Awareness:L explain metacognition and draw attention to thinking. Self Reflection: Ask students how they think. Ownership of learning: Ask students how they learn.

At what age does metacognition develop?

No piaget age can be given, but at age 4-5 they learn with questions, but at 4th grade, there is a large shift where they engage at an awareness level.  At the teen level, they may not have the full ability to understand everything. They can engage with the idea and let that build on the idea themselves. Give them the language and it will feed itself.

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Desirable difficulties

Learning isn’t always easy ,and always shouldn’t be easy. Pre-testing- knowledge begets knowledge. They cannot pass the pretest, but prime the pump and help them to see that they don’t know everuthing, and help them to see what they don’t know. Concept a and concept b in the brain are related. If one is connected to the other, you can go forward and backward to make the connnecitons clear. They must have the connections. A few pieces fall into place, and while its uncomfortable at first, it will clean up and fall into place later. Knowledge begets knowledge.

Make mistakes.

Forgetting- and then remembering and restoring (learning loop) is a positive thing, it makes things better to learn

Procrastination (except absolute last minute) is the same as incubation

Interruption (especially at the worst time) is the same as percolation (zeigarnik effect). It is worked on items in the back of your brain and this allows you to move on to complete the materials more succinctly. Those who are interrupted often do better on the final.

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Teach Critical Thinking Skills

Socratic questioning. Understand their thinking. Real your own questions. Answer back with questions.

Culture of curiosity. Problem-based learning. Never know it all

Self explanation. Link new learning to old knowledge. What is it that I still don’t understand.

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Distributed Practice.

Spread studying over longer periods of time. Schedule repetitions, not every day, but spaced longer as time goes by. http://supermemo.com schedule re-exposure to information based on Wozniak’s calculation.

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Interleaved Practice

It better to do a little of each thing, and spread the items out a little at a time. Learning needs to be connected to other ideas. As pieces are learned, they are connected in pieces and more is learned over time. Switching items back and forth are very helpful.

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Self Testing

Students who tested themselves did better than those who studied fully and then tested. Put info in and practice taking it out.

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Contextual Clues

Context both internal and external. Consistency vs. variety. These items allow us a backdoor connection to the material. If you’re tested in the same room, study in the room. Those who studied in different rooms, were able to test better in different rooms. Study in different places- home, coffee shop, school.

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Becoming An Expert.

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Set students on a path. Teach them to find themselves on the cutting edge by:

Reading the materials which are breaking news, and constantly updating their knowledge base by investigating materials on the internet.

Consider Certifications in their discipline. There are lots of different ways in which your students can learn, test their knowledge, get recognized as an expert, and otherwise seek out ways to test themselves and seek approval from outside sources in an effort to set yourself apart from the competition.

Seeking Involvement with the Community. Within each discipline, there is a community. Some are randoms and others are partially interested in the community. Others are movers and shakers, professionals working in the field, on top of the industry, and otherwise deeply involved in the industry. Still others are geeks, a thorough and distinct knowledge of the material to the Nth degree. Teach your students to interact with this community- through forums, websites, reddit, Q&A forums, discord servers, etc.

If they aren’t petrified of doing so, have them visit with some! Go to meetups, leads groups, and other items where people meet to discuss the best of their industry.

Go to Conventions. Conventions are places in which professionals from many industries get together to discuss items in their bailiwick. Mostly these are attended by industry professionals. This is the perfect way for students to hobnob with individuals on the cutting edge, hear about items of knowledge given to those people, and learn about new technologies which should be considered. This is a great way to go where the movers and shakers gather (for getting hired), and learn about skills which are being suggested as new standards. Its a great place to network!

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Making Performance-Based Testing Work For Your Students

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On 3/7/19 at 9:00am, I attended the North Carolina Computer Instructors Association Conference Session Making Performance-Based Testing Work For Your Students at the SCITECH Building at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC presented by Amy Savino, product manager: IT/Networking/Cybersecurity at Cengage.

 

Making Performance-Based Testing Work For Your Students

Cengage is on a recent path to a deep dive to a more authentic, personal, intentional, inclusive content. They want to make students more employable, building the lifelong performance-based work.

This workshop was intended to be used for a roundtable conversion. This was primarily about certifications and whether students take them, why or why not, and what are the concerns of the students for sitting in the exams, particularly CompTIA exams.

This was quickly apparent that it was not about building these items into our classes with examples. This was not about how to create these kinds of questions, or how to expand existing content to fit into a mold where these would be helpful. Instead, this was an infomercial in which Cengage wanted to talk about their existing service. No one in the class used the service, or gave certifications with Microsoft or CompTIA. So, that was a bit of a bust. Many people were too polite to leave.

I took this time to bring up my concerns over examinations in general, especially Adobe ACA exams. I related my concerns in ways that hopefully they would consider.

The experience of taking a certification exam can be daunting for students, so having a campus center which is convenient is helpful. Students could conceivably study together, work together, and then travel over in a group to the location in relative safety and mental security. A large part of this is also the social aspect- having a social safety net if you fail, or a group with which to celebrate if they achieved a passing grade. Going alone to a testing center where they are not familiar, paying additional proctoring fees on top of testing fees can be awkward and slightly scary. Being alone in that area is also a bit of a downer. Working together before, celebrating or licking wounds together can be helpful. I talked how many more adopters they might have if the testing centers could be more easily located on campuses.

When asked whether we were using Cengage Unlimited products, no one had used this or heard about it. When they asked whether we used any of the practice exam materials provided by Cengage, most of us admitted to having used them in the past. None of us used them any longer.

When asked why, a general consensus noted that practice exams didn’t quite focus on the topics which the final exam covers. Faculty who had used it found large sections went uncovered, and some sections covered did not show up on exams. Still others found that testing in sections had questions which did not relate to materials covered. It can be difficult to find the best product to help students feel that they are prepared while they are approachable and cover an accurate range of questions and materials.

PBT (performance based testing) are seemingly better for critical thinking. They showed several slides with numbers and statistics showing that students using performance-based questions were more knowledgeable on PBT Tests.

Cengage wants people to grow the confidence in the critical thinking skills, and expose them to questions with a PBT feel that they’d experience on the exam.

By 9:15am Cengage dropped a few people, myself included.

At this point they talked about MINDTAP products, specifically about A+ products. I am unfamiliar with this material, and was not the only one. They decided to do a deeper dive. This isn’t really helpful, because it moved into an explanation of the materials and how they worked. Because only 1 person in the group used this, several people immediately disengaged. It was partly explanation, but mostly a sales pitch.

The problem with this should have been clear: If no one is using this software, telling us more about it and requesting feedback is difficult. Hearing about it, and (knowing, using it, answering questions from students about it, etc.) are clearly different things.

They discussed the need for covering Bloom’s Taxonomy in classroom materials with the classes, and most of us were well-versed. Each class included a pre-assessment and post-assessment to show how students have adjusted over time.

Behind the scenes they explained how their materials worked: Mainly each built from scenario-based questions, including quality distractors (items such as: has a USB Mouse), include JIT (Just in Time) Feedback, and remediation maps to chapter Learning Objectives and exam objectives. On top of these questions, they are hoping to add simulations to give the look and feel to the practice exams.

Next, they want to know: Would it be better to have active simulations in the class, VM (virtual machines), or items which will be closest to the exams? Will adding critical thinking and learning skills be helpful so that it is closer to the real world or will it be better to be closer to the exam?

Should Cengage materials be based more on virtual scenarios, or something which is testing based?

Tyler Dockery’s opinion on this matter:

What is the goal you’re hoping to achieve? Make your work based for that. If the goal of the material is to be ready for the real world, have more simulations as assignments. If the point is that full completion of the certification exam is the end goal, the certification exam should have a closer connection to the testing and quiz components. Different teachers will have different goals, so opening options on that will be helpful. Giving faculty the option to have access to real-life materials OR test prep OR both would be your best answer.

Also, some areas of this state have different levels of monetary values, and this adjusts the goal of the class materials.. In some parts of the state, students may not have the money to include the testing as part of their experience.  For low-income areas, teachers may focus more on real-world skills as opposed to testing and the costs involved with that. This offers some the path to certification and others the path to job skills, still others might enjoy both.

 

Witold Sieradzan’s opinion on the matter

Almost every 2-year degree is outshined by a BA degree. If you have connections with companies, find out how many of them are actually looking for this certification. Can you contact recent recipients of the testing and connect them with companies who value this certification? We are maintaining mostly Community College students, and if the bonus of the certification could be made more clear would be helpful.

 

9:45 Cengage Unlimited start.

At this point, the Cengage representative began talking about the new Cengage Unlimited product and wanted some feedback. Not much talk about that, since no one used it or heard about it. We looked up CompTIA certification and saw that in NC there are 179 jobs using those as preferred specifications for jobs and requirements.

The Cengage representative decided to talk about a new product they would be creating called Cengage Cloud+. Witold Sieradzan also asked if we had some material for one of our newest classes: CTI-141 Cloud and storage concept. I was unfamiliar with class, so we looked it up online. We introduced the material to the Cengage representative, and she wrote it down. Cloud+ Cengage-They agreed that the material could be a good connection.

All-in-all, I don’t think they got all the information they wanted, but perhaps it was a good test case. Computer Instructor’s Association might be a nice connection for CompTIA, but all the MS Office products were a pretty big stretch. I wish these were more clearly marked as sponsor sessions.

Introduction to Git and GitGUB

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On 3/6/19 at 10:30am, I attended the North Carolina Computer Instructor Association Conference Session Introduction to Git and GitHUB at East Carolina University’s SCITech Building in Greenville, NC. This was presented by Michael Schore of Wake Technical Community College.

 

Introduction to Git and GitGUB

  • Without VCS (a version control system), there are problems when you overwrite a file.
  • Why is it good, why use it and what is it?
  • Who should use it?

 

What is a version control system

  • It Tracks changes to files, especially text files
  • Source code for every piece of software or code library is written or has been written in some form of text
  • VCS is also called source code management (SCM)

A version control system is really just a way to take care of added text and then to catalog and understand what text was added, when, and by whom.

History of GIT

Version Control Systems really got their start as coding back in 1972 – SCCS (AT&T). Any participants in the class working then? A few. At the time, attendants were using fortran or punch cards.

1982 RCS much higher performance.

1986 –cvs concurrent use was an issue though

2000 – apache tracked as a subdirectory

2005 – linus torval. Replaced proprietary bitkeeper SCM

 

 

What is a version control system (VCS) Good For?

Think about the tracking required for software or web environment. How many files might be in a basic bootstrap environment? 10? 30?

Initializer.com will assist you in making a basic website with GRID, BOOTSTRAP, etc. Choose one, and it will spit out the basics needed to begin that type of website. Easy, but if you don’t know how to code this, not helpful. Many students may feel initially that using a system like this is smart, helpful, and saves them time, but unfortunately if they do not understand the coding it takes to see, use, change, and adjust this material, they don’t really know how to upkeep the websites they’ve started. In the end, they feel disheartened, upset, and as if they’ve wasted valuable time. Many will choose to have failed rather than put in the time end effort to learn what they have missed.

Without version control in the classroom, students do not always have the steps that many employers would like to have from new employees. Students with an understanding of version control software can quickly and easily move into a software or coding environment, while those without the experience may find themselves having to learn on the job.

Students have excuses, but an online version control system bypasses many of these. If the dog ate their flash drive, the computer fell from the table, etc., anecdotal evidence notwithstanding, having versions of materials available online allow them to go anywhere. They can go to the school lab and work on their materials. They can go directly to the classroom and begin working on it without pause.

 

 

Are Our Students Prepared? Are We Preparing Them?

Modern workflow options require us to ask: Are we really preparing students for jobs in the workplace? If we are teaching students to work on local machines, is this really the industry standard anymore? This opens us up to problems like those noted above. Transportation issues, mechanical and electronic failure, home wi-fi or general connection issues, windows and software updates, etc., can all be blamed without a cloud-based server or version control system. If the students cannot produce the class files at class time, its a real problem

Using GIT and GITHUB is something which can be used to assist students in job availability and preparedness. Employers in coding or web design & development can learn a great deal from a GitHUB. They can see how many updates the students have made, how many active files students are using, how many adjustments they’ve made to existing pieces and how timely the responses are to requests. It allows them to see the technical writing and explanations shown, and many other pieces of material. Imagine the increase in employability this could bring to the table.

Its not all a bed of roses though. An issue with this can be some learned helplessness on the part of our younger, or online students. We need to generate students who break out of their shells and learn to solve problems for themselves. If students don’t feel they have been given a number-by-number, step-by-step approach, many will check out and simply say that they cannot fulfill the project. We need to teach them to rely on themselves and prepare themselves to solve real-world solutions.

Watch this learned helplessness video at: youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7RBqTndJ8

 

What is GIT

Starting in the fall this will be taught in the classrooms at Wake Technical Community College. Git is distributed version control available via the internet or any online connection.

  • No communication requirement with a central server
    • Faster
    • No single point of failure
  • Encourages programmer involvement and “forking” of projects
    • Developers can work independently
    • Can submit change sets for inclusion or rejection

This allows us (both workers such as students and observers such as faculty, bosses, and the general public) to see who checked out individual files, how many lines of code were removed, as well as how many lines of code were added into the environment. It adds accountability into the online group project environment, because there is no way to mask the amount of work done, and code from one update can be checked against code from earlier updates (avoiding duplication and/or copying) as well as against later versions (avoiding duplication and reprinting materials, or having useless code removed later by others..

Who Should Use Git?

  • Anyone needing to track edits in text files
  • Anyone working with appropriate files in a collaborative setting
  • Anyone not afraid to use command-line tools
  • Types of files being worked on
    • Web files (html, css, JS…)
    • Web Programming (PHP, Python, Ruby,Perl, ASP…)
    • Programming (JAVA, C, C++, C#, Objective C…)
    • Offshoots of web languages (like coffeeScript, ActionScript…)
  • Can track other types of files, but not as useful- think images, sound files, etc.

Installing GIT

Nothing difficult about installation. It runs anywhere.

Bash, Apple and unix flavors come with Bash. Windows version installation is an option (GitBash). Having the right-click option to open GitBash from any windows explorer location is a great thing.

Configuring GIT

Systems have all been going to GUI over the years.  Students are afraid of command line. This really allows us to go back to basics and add in another level of professionalism and base-level working knowledge into our classes earlier. Configuring Git is as easy as using the .gitconfig file in the configuration folder.

  • Local Git config file… request slides

Editing GIT

Visual studio code can be used as the visual editor for github. You can also use color output of git.

Repositories

What is a repository? How do you create one? A repository is a place to save and store files. In a VCS, you’re trying to have a backup in case something stupid happens. If you have set up GITHUB and a repository, you can give it some information and choose a day and time to commit to those changes.

How safe is my data? How easily is it destroyed?

At its most basic, its just a file location, created on your development system.

Local repository can be set up, where your development is taking place so you can monitor and record its history.

Remote repository can also be set up, a place where your files can be saved as above, but offsite.

 

Creating A Repository

There is no free lunch. Once git is installed on your computer, its pretty simple to do. Looking at a typical website:

  • Using Git, initialize the project
  • Looking at the directory, we now see a .git file added and a (master) line added.

  

 

At this point in the lecture, we did some hands-on work with GIT to use the materials firsthand. It was a little technical, so I have included the slides as I was not able to type during this time.


  

Best Practices

  • Commit chmessage in example was very simple
  • Commit messages should be a descriptive message about the changes
    • Start with simple single line – 40 to  50 characters
    • Add more lines as needed but less than 70 characters
    • Keep messages in the present tense, not past tense
    • Bullet points using asterisks
    • Add bug number and tracking numbers in the material to be ready for business standards

 

 

Understanding GIT Architecture

Repository >> working >> git add file.html ?? staging >> git commit file.html >> repository

Again, this example was pretty hands-on, so I didn’t have much time for notes and notation.

 

 

GITHUB Training

Find some introductory GIT training and walk though it a few times. Teacher training  to master GIT and Git GUB training via https://education.github.com

Push the workflow ideas on the students. A student who understands GIT can easily understand and pickup the other repository functions. Whatever system suits the company Is the one they’ll use. Think it might be a passing phase? Microsoft bought GITHUB for 7.5 Billion last year.

Where will this go? We’ve recently added in educational contracts with GITHUB and Wake Tech. This allows us a bit of flexibility but can be difficult as it requires schools to work alongside an entity like Microsoft which is itself incredibly large.

 

GITHUB Campus Advisor program

  • As a Github Campus Advisor, you’re not only a master, but a champion of real-world tools at the School.
    • Unlock benefits provided by Github, including a free Github package to meet the needs of your school?
    • Event support, workshop kits and fresh swag delivery every semester
    • Early access to new education features and materials from GitHub education
    • Special invitations to github education events
    • Github camps advisors-only gear and special swag

  

RISE Training!

Posted on Updated on

On 3/15/19 at 12:00pm, I attended the Professional Development Session RISE Training at the Engineering and Technology Building (SE 226) at Wake Technical Community College’s South Campus in Raleigh, NC presented by Scarlet Edwards.

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RISE Training

We learned about the new RISE initiative across the state of North Carolina. Scarlet Edwards will be teaching us. RISE is critical for fall advising. This is a mandatory meeting for Matt Henry’s team, and they were nice enough to allow me to join this professional development training.

Slide2

Completion Percentages: A Clear Look

One of the important things that we looked at was a clear graph outlining the completion percentages for students attempting college level Math and English in the first two years of college. The two courses were not significantly different, so we’re looking at the math numbers here. While numbers are increasing as time moves forward and we are offering more online classes in these, numbers of actual completions are still low. However, statistics show that students who complete these gateway courses achieve degrees.

It should be noted that 2014-2015 is when the multiple measure model was begun.

The college would like to see more students completing English and Math “Gateway” courses in the first two years. Many students are holding off on these courses, and then failing them so many times that they fail to achieve a college degree, or are forced to complete their AAS degree at another institution- we do all the work toward great training, and another school achieves our completion. We’d like to stop that.

By “Encouraging” our students to take these courses before other standard curriculum courses for our degrees, we will ultimately see more completions and student successes.

Instead of offering testing for students, a new system will place new students into classes automatically, and we should encourage our students to take these classes first.

 

A Healthy Debate

At this point in the discussion, there was a very healthy debate which erupted. Many faculty members voiced their opinions before everyone was encouraged to save questions to the end. This training is mandatory, and it is very important that every person has a chance to hear the information. I held my questions for the end, but the following points were made very clear:

  • One faculty member has been teaching for 30 years. They noted that ENG and MAT courses are important, but the job skills are more important. Pushing off things that you like (technology training) for things which you don’t like (math problems and english papers) will encourage more students to quit early rather than late.
  • Another faculty member noted that we would have more completers in the programs if we could have pre-degree requirements like the nursing program has. They have a 100% completion and 100% job-placement rating because they are able to cherry pick the best students before they begin. If we had this ability, we’d have no problems
  • A faculty member suggested that if we could expand our program to a 3 year degree program we could solve many of these problems.
  • Another faculty member stated that since neither Math nor English were Pre-requirements or Co-requirements for any classes within their program, there was no impetus to push this agenda. As student could get perfectly far in the program without facing any barriers to success.
  • Another faculty member noted that students who fail in a majority of the intro classes do so because the ESL (english as a second language) and EFL (english as a foreign language) students have passed ENG111, but still cannot read or communicate well. Those students have already met these requirements and already are on a road to failure. This program should start with ESL and EFL and then evaluate success before putting this to all faculty
  • One faculty member with over 20 years teaching noted that this system has not worked in the past and would not work. This was heavily agreed upon across the room, but since we hadn’t really heard the proposal yet, I thought this point was moot.
  • One faculty member was quite vocal that programming required a mathematical mindset, but did not require intense calculations. Taking the math class before buckling down toward making some headway in their degree would not help the student, but might detract them from any of the material.
  • One faculty member who had to take the gateway college algebra math class recently noted that the course was set up in such a way that unless you had taken the course before, your chances of completing it satisfactorily was nearly impossible. Unless, they noted you had already known the material of the course. It was set up so that those who knew the material would pass first time through, but those without intimate knowledge of it could be “thrown to the wolves”.
  • Eventually, order was restored with the interest of finishing in time. I took notes on my questions.

Slide3

NC Math Completions

These numbers on this slide were disturbing. One faculty member let us know that they told us the class was an issue, many people smiled politely. Based on population numbers, only 7% of African-Americans, 10% of Hispanics, Latinos, and Asians, and 14% of Caucasians pass a gateway level math course within 2 years of enrollment.

Lets take a look at the numbers for these specifically

Slide4

Gateway English Completions

Looking at other states, we see that there are similar numbers based on gateway courses. We see there are 2 specific options noted here: Gateway courses which require a pre-requisite class or classes, and Gateway courses which require a co-requisite class. In North Carolina, we require pre-requisite classes to determine whether students are ready or prepared for English and Math. We double-check this with compass testing.

Looking to other states, we see that several of them are using a similar system. Some have better numbers, others are below ours. These states, however, have seen a large increase and jump in completions based on the change from pre-req courses to co-req courses.

By adding in a secondary class— a co-requisite class— the states have found that they were able to dramatically increase the number of course completions. Some say that because students are able to continue working on ideas and concepts outside of class time.

 

Slide5

Gateway Math Completions

Again, we see the schools have very similar numbers to ours above. Again, when introducing the co-requisite courses, completions dramatically increase. These co-requisite classes are a bit like labs for science courses, or labs similar to language courses.

 

Question: Are these results accurate, or are they patting themselves on the back?

Answer: Good question. Our team visited schools in these states. They asked these same questions, and yes, these are the results they are seeing by the numbers.

 

Slide6

What Is Rise

RISE is the program in North Carolina which we will use to achieve a similar system. Durham Technical Community College is already using this system in North Carolina. We will be taking this system up in Fall 2019. We will use this information to help us advise our students and to get to know the system completely.

It is important to note that this system will be put in place to get our students into the English and Math Gateway classes sooner. Students who complete these classes in the first two years seem numerically to have greater success and completions.

Question: What if we find that students placed in these courses are not achieving these results?

Answer: Our intent with the RISE system is not to increase the passing rate. We are just using this system to allow students to get access sooner and receive concurrent support at the right time for the students.

 

Slide7

How Will Students Be Placed?

Compass testing was an easy requirement, but not every student tested well. And, the compass test will be going away. Moving forward, we will be using a new system based primarily on high school GPA. Based on a high school GPA, students will be placed in a column which will determine where students will start: Specifically, will a student be able to enter the gateway course directly, will they be required to take BOTH the gateway course and a co-requisite course, or will they need to take a transitional course?

GPA is the main determinate, but we can also see that testing scores on the ACT will also be taken into account. If students have scored well on the ACT score (within 2 points of the Target Score) of the particular category. Poor grades can be augmented by good test scores.

High School GPA is good for 10 years. If the result is over 10 years old, or not available, the student can pay to take the test for placement.

Slide8

RISE Placement Credits

In the new system, all of our pre-curriculum classes and requirements go away. Based on the high school GPA, students will receive some or all credits for transition courses.

Slide9

STAC Screen Need

Currently, we’ll need to use the STAC screen to see the credits given, as well as GPA and ACT scores. It was important to remember that the RISE system will not be in effect until the fall. Eventually, we will have a new screen called “XRISE” which will give use the right information.

 

Question: Is the ACT really this prevalent?

Answer: Yes, most schools use it now or encourage it. If a student does not have it, we may have SAT options available later, but just place them appropriately.

Slide10Slide11

RISE Placement

DAP Accuplacer is going away December 31st, if not before. Retaking the placement test is not allowed if you have high school GPA within 10yrs. Taking the test will cost the student money, and may take 5 hours. There are 3 sections of math (mastery tier 1,2,3) and 2 sections of english (mastery tier 1,2).

 

Slide12

Placement Test Q&A

In looking at the placement test Q&A, we ran into some questions about the placement testing. I’ll add them here:

 

Question: What if the student hasn’t received their official high school transcripts?

Answer: We can use an unofficial transcript to determine these courses.

Question: What if we have an army vet who joins and they don’t have a record?
Question: What if we have a student who school burned down/no longer exists/home schooled without GPA?

Answer: It happens. They’ll have to take the placement test and pay the fee. Some vets have been in the service so long that they have no GPA and have not undertaken any education, they take the test. Some old schools had paper records, and suffered a calamity or are no longer around, especially private institutions. Those students would take the test. Some home school students simply were not given grades. They also take the test.

 

 

Slide13

Co-Requisite Class Debate

At this time, there was another very lively debate. Many people had some loud and angry opinions. When the information was presented, it was given to us a very straightforward manner. This matter-of-fact information was clearly noted in an effort as if the presenter was trying to gloss over information. Eventually, the facilitator and the group head got people calmed down enough to continue. Concerns included:

  • One teacher with 20 years of experience who noted that this system would still never work
  • One teacher with 30 years of experience loudly noted that this would be impossible to keep track of
  • One teacher noted that some students would possibly be facing 9 hours just for math with a co-req, and 15 hours for math and english courses and their co-requisites. How will a student be able to start their education if they are taking 15 credit hours in the first semester?

After calming down, we settled on a few related questions.

 

Q&A Session

Question: Will the co-req grade count towards the GPA?

Answer: Yes, since it has credit hours, it will count towards student GPA

Question: How will the co-req count toward our degree credit numbers?

Answer: It will not be marked as a requirement. Students who are required to take it will have to do so.

Question: What if a student fails the co-req but passes the gateway class? What if they pass the co-req but fail the gateway class? What if they’re withdrawn from the pre-req class?

Answer: We’ll be talking about this later, but if a student fails the co-req class, they will be automatically dropped from the gateway course. However, if it comes down to the end of the course and the student passes the gateway course, they will still retain credit. If it comes down to the wire and the co-req is passed, the student will be able to take the gateway course a second time.

Question: What if the student chooses not to sign up for the co-req?

Answer: The co-req and the class will have to be signed up for together. They will be taught by different instructors. To sign up for one, the student must sign up for the other.

Question: What if the student stops going to the co-req class?

Answer: If a student is withdrawn from the co-req class for any reason, they will be automatically withdrawn from the gateway class.

Question: What if a student signs up for a co-req gateway because it fits their schedule. They are not required to take the co-req class.

Answer: Yes, that is true, but if they drop or withdraw from the co-req, they will be withdrawn from the gateway course. Students can opt-in to take the co-req but they’re under the same course requirements as other students. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Slide14

Gateway Transition Courses

Developmental classes will go away at the end of the summer. Since there is really only a single ENG111 transitional course now, any students in remedial programs should endeavour to take RED097 to get themselves to the ENG111 course. There are several transition courses for math, because there are several gateway math courses. In some cases, this can be very helpful, because any math class can be used for our degrees.

Pedagogically speaking, a better option in some cases might be for students to sign up for the gateway w/co-req on purpose.

Slide15

RISE Placement

Just a recap: the DAP Accuplacer is going away December 31st, if not before. Retaking the placement test is not allowed if you have high school GPA within 10yrs. Taking the test will cost the student money, and may take 5 hours. There are 3 sections of math (mastery tier 1,2,3) and 2 sections of english (mastery tier 1,2).

Slide16

 

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Advising Consideration

Students taking these classes will not have the same teacher for the gateway course and the co-req course. The gateway course teacher can take the grade of the co-req into account when deciding on a final grade for the course.

Healthy Debate #3

At the question about this, faculty had some very strong opinions

  • One faculty member asked to know what the criteria which could be taken into account might be?
    Answer: It is up to the teacher. They can take anything into account. Assignments, attendance, final grade, class participation, its all up to the teacher
  • One faculty member said that this sounded totally subjective, and some faculty members can take it into account and others would not?
    Answer: Well, it is up to the teacher to decide
  • If students ask the teacher and the teacher says “They will not take any other classes into account” can they change their minds?”
    Answer: Yes, it will be up to the teacher to decide
  • If the student no longer wishes to be in the class or co-req because the teacher is colluding with the gateway teacher, or vice versa, how will that effect them?
    Answer: leaving either class will put them in a new course and new co-req— the classes are linked. This wouldn’t be  good idea though, the new teacher may decide to take the grades into account and you’re right back where you started
  • So, if a student is getting an A in the gateway course, fully participates, and is leading the class, they could still fail or get a b,c,d,f in the class… totally at the teacher’s discretion
    Answer: Yes, the teacher can take the other class into account. If the student is not participating in the co-req classes, the gateway teacher could adjust the grade at their discretion.
  • Don’t you think this might cause a lawsuit? An A-level student can be failed or dropped massively because while they are attending all classes, the co-req teacher might feel a “D” is earned in one class and should be pushed into the other?
    Answer: Its possible, but they probably wouldn’t. But they could.

This seemed like it was going to be a problem. There is no official policy, its just teacher-decided material. Looks like it could be misused, abused, taken incorrectly, etc. The school is going to be on the wrong side of this.

Slide22

Optional Examples

Take a look at each of these examples and see where they should be placed!

 

Example 1: Kim

Slide23

Because Kim has a 2.8 GPA or higher, she can go directly into a Gateway course.

Slide24

Example 2: John

Slide25

John will need to take transitional math courses, unless he can complete up to MAT050 this summer. I’d advise John to track down his 2011 high school transcript (clearly not present), and to take ENG097 this summer if his GPA was 2.2 or less. This would get him into the ENG co-req in a single session.

Slide26

Example 3: Brandy

Slide27

Brandy can go directly into the MAT121 Gateway because while her GPA is less than 2.8, she has an ACT math score which is high enough. She can take the gateway course over the summer, or better still, just take a break. She’ll have to co-req ENG111.

Slide28

Example 4: Wheaton

Slide29

Wheaton is good to go with no co-req due to high GPA and ACT scores, if the ACT was in 2008. Otherwise he’ll have to take the 5-hour placement test. Wheaton looks super-duper young to be in his 30s. I think this was a plant.

Slide30

Example 5: Amy

Slide31

Amy has too low of a GPA to go into any gateway courses alone, but she has a high enough ACT in Math to get a co-req course. She’s applying for the spring, so if she can take MAT020 this summer, she can get into MAT110 in the fall. Similarly, if she can take DRE097 this summer, she can get a co-req english course.

Slide32

Example 6: Pete

Slide33

Pete can take MAT121 in the fall with a co-req. He’s got credit for the high level maths, so if pete can finish MAT010-050 this summer, he can skip the co-req. Instead, he should take DRE097 this summer and get into the co-req for english.

Slide34

Example 7: Chasity

Slide35

Chasity is looking at a co-req with math, but I don’t know the SAT scores… If she can complete DRE097, she can take the co-req with english in the spring.

 

EXAMPLE 8: Julian

Slide37

Julian can take DMA040-050 and not worry about co-reqs, and eng with a co-req in the fall.

Slide38

Example 9: Sarah

Slide39

Sarah should take DMA050 this summer and DRE098 if she can. This will save her extra hours and cost

Slide40

I felt this was good training, but I already had a leg up on most people. I worry that summer school numbers of courses offered will go down. There will be courses offered, but there will need to be a far larger number of ENG faculty on campus, and that means more rooms.

Since our departments do not really require these ENG classes or MAT courses as pre-reqs for our programs, there is not an intrinsic need for us to push these classes sooner. It actually seems to work contrary to our purposes to push these classes at the beginning, and instead better to shove them off onto the summer courses. I worry about the “taking in to account” vagaries in the language, and see a pretty hefty lawsuit. If one student sues, another just has to “think” that the work is biased in some fashion to have a legitimate case. Once a student wins, every student who was under the policy could have legal grounds for changes to transcripts, and compensation if their grades were not good enough to transfer to their college of choice.

Dangerous.

Taking Your Seated Classes Online: An easier transition than you think

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On 3/6/19 at 9:00am, and then again at 10:30am on 3/8/19 I presented at the North Carolina Computer Instructor Association Conference Session Taking Your Seated Classes Online at East Carolina University’s SCITech Building in Greenville, NC. This was co-presented by Tyler Dockery and Carla Osborne of Wake Technical Community College.

Taking Your Seated Classes Online:

An easier transition than you think

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Q&A

How can you handle Attendance in the online environment?

Since students in an online environment might login and logout without contributing and demand that they are counted as attending, we suggest working differently. Base your attendance on turning in all work for the week. Since students have 7 days to complete assignments and materials, failing to present all or part of the course materials is a conscious choice on the part of the student.

If a student turns in all assignments and participated in discussions (regardless of grade), mark them as attending. Failing to complete one or more item in the week deserves a tardy.

What if you do not have ZOOM

Zoom is a free technology, and it allows you to record up to 40 minutes in the free version. Some people use Microsoft Teams, which also has video content. I have access to MS Teams, but honestly I don’t have as much experience with teams to know how it works.

What if you have good content, but its not Closed Captioned?

Some people find they can reach out directly to the video owner and ask for them. On youtube, you can ask the owner to open Community Contributions, and allow you to add in the captions that you’d like, but you can also use https://amara.org to create a closed caption overlay of the original video without breaking copyright. You will have to caption it yourself, but its a small price to pay for good content.

How do you determine the first dates in your classes?

At Wake Technical Community College, we have a course entry quiz which must be taken. The quiz is set for adaptive release, and once the quiz is taken, the plagiarism agreement is shown. Once the plagiarism agreement is submitted, then students can enter the class. This is not used everywhere though.

Some school use the first  assignment submitted as the entry date, but this causes a great deal of work on the part of the teacher, hunting down student by student in several areas just to get an answer. One instructor noted that she got tired of hunting and created her own entry material. Several other teachers followed her path once she displayed how easily it could be used.

 

 

IC3 Digital Literacy Certification Achieved!

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IC3 Digital Literacy Certification Achieved!

IC3 Global Standard 5

IC3 Global Standard 5 (GS5) is the newest addition to the IC3 Digital Literacy program. Like its predecessors, the GS5 certification is comprised of three exams: Computing Fundamentals, Living Online, and Key Applications. Certiport is committed to providing a truly global standard, and as digital standards and requirements advance, so does IC3. Best of all, because IC3 includes concepts and skills that apply to almost any school or career pathway, it’s the ideal solution for any student or jobseeker looking to validate their digital skills.

GS5 objective domains

  • Common features
    • Shortcuts
    • Reviewing
    • Selecting
    • Cut/copy/paste
    • Views
  • Word processing
    • Formatting
    • Layout
    • Fonts
    • Saving
    • Printing
    • Tables
    • Productivity
  • Spreadsheets
    • Common terms
    • Insert/delete
    • Modify cells
    • Functions/formulas
    • Charts
    • Formatting and manipulating data
    • Tables
  • Databases
    • Basic concepts
    • Metadata
  • Presentations
    • File types
    • Views
    • Slide management
    • Effects
    • Animations
    • Software
    • Design
  • App culture
    • Obtaining apps
    • Genres
    • Uses
  • Graphic modification

  • Mobile Devices
    • Using cell phones
    • Voicemail
    • SMS
    • Notifications
  • Hardware
    • Device types
    • Storage
    • Networking
    • Wi-Fi
    • Platforms
    • Compatibility
    • Internet
    • Configurations
  • Computer Software Architecture
    • OS and updates
    • Preferences
    • Users
    • File management
    • Navigation
    • Software installation
    • Troubleshooting
  • Backup and Restore
  • File Sharing
  • Cloud Computing
    • Concepts
    • Utilization
    • Web apps
  • Security
    • Credentials
    • Browsing
    • Anti-virus
    • Firewalls
    • e-Commerce safety

  • Internet navigation
    • Usage
    • Searching
    • Browser functionality
    • Common terms
    • Licensing
  • Common functionality
    • Websites
    • Navigation
    • Click types
  • Email clients
    • Applications
    • Etiquette
    • Email management
    • Attachments
    • Contacts
  • Calendaring
    • Events
    • Sharing
    • Usage
  • Social media
    • Digital identity
    • Site types
    • Cyber bullying
  • Communications
    • Tools
    • SMS
    • Chat
    • Distance
  • Online conferencing
  • Streaming
  • Digital principles/ethics/skills/citizenship
    • Changes in tech
    • Personal vs professional