Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another 190 Days

Looking back over the summer, I really didn't do much of anything. Let's see I was unable to get financial aid due to not meeting the rate of completion. I did go horseback riding and I went to Surfside Water Park. Other then that, I have been in the house.

I have been thinking about my life and all it has to offer. Time is not slowing down, as a matter of fact, it seems to keep on moving forward. Another 190 days is around the corner. How will I manage my time? Work on my homework is much as possible. Right now this is a priority for me. Also, I need to maximus my profits by doing extra things at work if I can.

During August, there are many things that I will accomplish:

Walden University
Pass the three courses that I am taking. I have to pay for school too. The end of August I will pay $2,000. The term doesn't end until November, I have time to get this taken care of.

I have been in school since August 2005. I took a leave of absence and now I am in it to win it. My hold ups are writing these papers. They are called KAMs. I should have had them complete a long time ago. I have to write three of theme. At this moment, I only have 3 classes, 3 KAMs, 2 residencies, and 1 dissertation to complete my Phd. The courses and the residencies are the easy part. The KAMs and the dissertation is what is getting the best of me. I know it can be done. At the end of the month, I have to purchase the two books for the Breadth Component of KAM I. I will have it done by November. I can see what lies ahead, it is just a matter of focusing and doing what is needed to become Dr. Willetta Jackson.

August Bill's
Tag $70.00
Passport $90.00
T-Mobile $300.00
Braces $109.00
Wachovia $100.00
First Premier $100.00
US Dept of Edu $25.00
Tax Lien (Explorer) $956.35
Savings $1000.00

This is everything that I must pay for the month of August. Things are slowly getting taken care of. I am so proud of myself and my accomplishments. I have wasted time and money and now is the time to get it together. I am not getting any younger and I must use my resources to the fullest.

In the mean time, throughout the following school term, where there are ways to make extra money I will be there. The extra cash will help me pay off Wachovia, First Premier, and Walden. All things are possible, I must just believe.

Right now, I am about to complete my assignment for my Principles of Distance Education course. I am proud of myself and who I have become. I am capable of doing all things. All I have to do is believe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moving Toward Dynamic Technologies

Mindmap on Static and Dynamic Technologies

Where do I see myself on the Static-Dynamic Continuum.

As for now, I am on the Static end of the continuum, but after taken EDUC 8842, I am going to move toward the dynamic end. Static is where the technology is unable to be changing. On the Dynamic end, the learner is more involved on a deeper cognitive level. This is where you use Moller (2008), virtual simulations and gaming, multi-user environments, and mind tools.

Postulate on how you can begin to move toward the dynamic end of the “static-dynamic continuum” as a result of what you have learned in this course thus far.

In order for my class to move from a Static to a Dynamic classroom, I will have to let the students be more involved in the planning of the course. When deciding what standards I will cover the students will assist in determing what they actually want to learn from the course. While doing assignments, they can add things to the assignment that is not necessarily a requirement of the standard. Giving them a opportunity to explain or go in details on how they would create or do something better will move me in the Dynamic direction.

Moller, L. (2008). Static and dynamic technologies. Laureate Education, Inc.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The End Summer Break is Nearing

Summer break is right around the corner and I have made some major improvements. For instance, I took out a loan to pay for school. Actually, I did that just to see if I could get a loan with the tax lien and yes, I was able to. Since I did that school has been paid for for this term (June-August). Also, this will free up major cash at the end of the month. I started paying my bills when they come instead of paying them when I get paid at the end of every month. This has saved my money since I am not paying late fees. At the end of July, I will pay my portion of the tax lien off which totals $956.35. They don't take personal checks so I have to get a money order or cashiers check.

In not having to pay for school I will have a free $2,000 at the end of July and August. The loans monthly payment is $187.00. I took out a $5,000 loan. Thinking and organizing my future financial moves has been trying and I have things completely mapped out.

Walden University
This term has been paid for as I stated. The next term starts in September and lasts until November. Paying for this term is a thing that must be done. It will be done by the end of November. How? Ok, every month brings an extra $2,000. I will not start paying for the fall term until the end of September ($2,000). In October another $2,000 the term will be paid off then. Until I complete school every two months I will pay $2,000 for the term.

I know that financial aid is a good thing. On the other hand, it isn't because that is money that will have to be paid back once I complete school. I already owe about $55,000 in school debt, if I continued to receive financial aid by the time I graduate I will owe over $100,000. Not trying to have that much debt on my report. I am looking at things in a positive light. Yes, I was hoping I would get financial aid once I passed my courses, but I didn't. Truly, this was a blessing in disguise, honestly it was. So thanks for that!

Tax Lien
The total of the tax lien was almost $12,000. Now, it is $6,000 give or take a few. Those in between months that I am not paying for school I will pay off the tax lien. The lien is broken down by two vehicles. The Escalade and the Explorer. The Explorer is the cheaper debt and it will be paid off at the end of this month.

All I know is the lien will not be a factor by the end of 09. Leaving that in this year.

$5,000 Loan
Alright, I know I said I wouldn't get another loan, but I just had to try. Obtaining the loan has stopped much stress I had in having to pay for school. It threw my off when I was told I wouldn't get aid for school. That is A ok! The loan will be paid of in the next three months I believe. My plans are to pay off the loan before the end of the year. In doing this, it will benefit my credit score greatly. Once this loan is paid off I am going to get another one maybe for more money and have it paid off soon too. I have a plan just work with me on that. I am not going backward I promise.

Undergraduate Loans
Wachovia $2,580.57
US Dept of Education $13,000

Wachovia will be paid off by the end of the year. I have been paying $25.00 a month of the US Dept of Education loan. Slowly getting things taken care of. In my mind it is ashamed to have undergraduate debt and I have been out of school since 2000. Go figure. It will all work itself out.

My Savings Plan
I started saving a few months ago and have been dipping into my money. One thing I can say is I put it back. In my savings account I have about $100. When I get paid at the end of the month that will be $1,000. My goal is to have at least $5,000 by the end of the year.

Every other month will be a payment. Paying something toward my debts. School is a priority and I think I finally have it under control. Work with me. Eventhough, I have been paying things off, I still have been wasting money. At some point it has to come to a stop. I see what is going on and I contribute that to My Financial Success. Having to be accountable for my actions is a big thing. Not overdrawing in my account, doing what is right by my money, and learning from others has put a big push to pay off all of my debts. I have a plan and I know it will work all I have to do is stop wasting and do right by the money I receive.

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Strategies and Tools in Distance Education

Determine which technological tools and strategies are best for involving learners in building content knowledge, engaging in communication with peers and instructors, and working on authentic, collaborative, problem-based tasks in the online environment.

One strategy that's best for students is that they, Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford (2006) build interactive relationships among themselves and with the instructor also helps bridge the physical and psychological gap that occurs in online courses. Doing this will lessen the stress of not knowing anything (pg. 190). Being in an online environments can have one feeling isolated and alone. Building relationships will allow the student to have someone that is experiencing the same things to a certain extent.

Also, to support student interactivity in an online environment, Durrington, Berryhill & Swafford (2006) state, the learning environment must be supportive, open, and respectful. The instructor should in the beginning of the course give a detailed syllabus outlining the expectations for each assignment and how you should interact with your peers. There should also be a discussion area that allows for questions where the instructor and peers can respond to one another. All people should participate in this area, the instructor should answers question. The instructors presence should be known within the course.

The instructor as well as the students should ask questions related to their posts. If the instructor poses the question, the question should be in such a way Durrington, Berryhill & Swafford (2006) that all students feel comfortable in responding. The instructor should challenge the student to do more research. In this online environment we don't think to send a private email showing appreciation toward an in-depth response that was given to a post. This will support future participation and enhance the quality and depth of overall interactions within the course.

Overall, the instructors presences needs to be active in order for the students to feel comfortable in an online setting. This type of learning is different than the traditional setting and it offers the same type of results. The students need to interact with one another and need to be kind. The online classroom is different in that the learners are not at the same place at the same time. Regardless of that learning can be achieved if the students are given guidelines and standard to follow. They should know that their interaction with one another is a key part of the online standard.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Storyboard for Video Presentation

Gender Issues in Distance Education

In my Principals of Distance Education course I have to do a video presentation on gender issues. This is the story board, just a basic outline of what I will discuss within my presentation. I am introducing the topic for the keynote speaker at a seminar.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Collaboration in Online Learning

Module 3

How should participation in a collaborative learning community be assessed?

There should be a variety of assessments in the online learning community. Palloff & Pratt (2005) feel, evaluation of students in an online course can be challenging. Since you are not in a traditional setting your evaluation needs to assess what learning has been achieved. Eventhough learning is being done in the online classroom the assessments can still be the same. Paloff & Pratt (2005) provide several factors for online assessments.
  • Design learner-centered assessments that include self-reflection
  • Design and include grading rubrics to assess contribution to the discussion as for assignmnets, projects, and the collaboration itself
  • Include collaborative assessments through publicly posting papers along with comments from student to student
  • Encourage students to develop skills in providing feedback by providng guidelines to good feedback and by modeling what is expected
  • Use assessment techniques that fit the context and align with learning objectives
  • Design assessments that are clear, easy to understand, and likely to work in the onine environment
  • Ask for and incorporate student input into how assessment should be conducted

These guidelines set a standard on how grading will be done within the course. Having a variety of assessments gives the student that doesn't work well in groups a opportunity to shine on their individual assignments. This levels the playing field because people are different.

How do the varying levels of skill and knowledge students bring to a course affect the instructor's "fair and equitable assessment" of learning?

There are several examples that come to mind. For instance, student A responses and turns in assignments first, but the contribution as for as responses to classmates and blog posts are minimal. On the other hand, student B turns assignments in late, but gives thoughtful feedback to others. The blog posts are detailed and provide useful information to all that read. The instructor should grade the individual on the contribution to the course and how well the assignments where done.

If a student does not want to network or collaborate in a learning community for an online course, what should the other members of the learning community do?

Communication is the key in making this work. If the student doesn't want to participate this needs to be discussed amongst the team. The team should reach out to the person and find out what is wrong and how they can assist. Once the students have reached out to the member and there is no cooperation. The instructor should be informed of the students lack of interaction with the group. Also, overall reminders to participate in the course should be given by the instructor. Palloff & Pratt (2005) state, the instructor can ease the degree of resistance in the group by simply explaining why the activity is occurring and how it contributes to learnin objectives for the course. Ultimately, it is up to the instructor on how they will assess that individual student.

What role should the instructor play?

The instructors role in this is the facilatator. The instructor gives the assignments and provides the assessments. He/She will leave comments within the course shell providing scholarly dialict amongst the students. The instructor should provide information to the class that will introduce students to new information and or technology. Overall, the instructor should be the backbone of the course.

What impact would this have on his or her assessment plan?

As I stated, the instructors role is to provide information, feedback, and introduce the students to new technologies. The instructor should assess the individual on what they provide to the course. People are individual and what one is good in another my be slacking. The assessment should be done on the quality of the work, how they interact with others, and if they do the work at all. The instructor knows when the student logs on and how long they stay within that shell.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Friday, July 3, 2009

If it's not One Thing It's Another

In my last post, I stated that things are not as bad as they once were. Now, I am begging to differ. Currently, there is a tax lien on my credit report that I was not aware of. Also, there are two undergraduate student loans that need to be paid off so I can qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness program. There can not be any loans prior to 1998 to be able to receive this forgiveness.

Day before yesterday I found out that I didn't meet the requirements to receive financial aid for this term. Turning lemons into lemonade. Not getting financial aid will cut down on the amount of money I will owe once I complete my PhD. On the other hand, this is $4,310 that could be going to something else. The world and it's occurances are something. There are actually three terms in one year. That totals $12,930 a year. I keep telling myself, this is money and interest I do not have to pay out once I am finished.

Since finding out this news, my mind has been going a million miles a minute trying to sort out my plan of action to pay off my debts. Yesterday, I pulled my credit report and found that I have a 587, 635, and 635. My scores are better than they were without the tax lien.

This is my plan of action:
Pay $2,000 a month of debts for the next year. This will total $24,000. Using that money will allow me to pay off the tax lien in three months. Starting in September, it will be paid off by December. Through it all, I am going to continue paying something on Wachovia and US Dept of Education.

Life Happens
Life happens and it is all up to me to make sure I stay afloat. It is so easy to give up and just fall victim. I refuse to be a victim to my debt. Giving up vacations to pay off debt is a sacrifice and I am willing to sacrifice that money to have financial freedom. Another thing, I have $54,000 in school debt. The funny thing about that is I make about this much yearly.
Overall, I am somewhat saddened by not receiving financial aid. This is the outcome of not doing what is needed at the moment. Thinking about my life and how I have wasted time, energy, and money by not doing something when it needed to be done. No longer can I do that to myself. I am tired of doing this to myself and my money. Maturity is taking place and I am proud to say I am ready for the changes to occur in my life. Sacrifice is what is taking place in my life. I am ready for the changes and the debt will be handled.