Category: Research Assistants

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Denizens of Dr. David’s Neighborhood: Lizzie

Returning to my office two of my student research assistants were “at their work stations.” One was engaged in an animated phone conversation in Spanish with someone in Honduras. She has the difficult choice this weekend of choosing among three graduate school acceptances. Hasta luego, we have a brief team meeting where I update them on present and future projects (CrowdFunding proposal for extending their book publishing capabilities; a grant to fund brain fitness training research in the fall). I indicate that I also want to make a screen cast of each of them before Tuesday. Both Alison and Lizzie are very facile with technology learning tools such as iMovie. I share with them that I soon am going to need to find some new student assistants. THEY know best what goes on in Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood, so they will do my “vetting.”

I ask Lizzie to share her experiences as my research assistant.

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Curious David Revisits His Global Outreach Attempts

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It’s past time for a more systematic global outreach by me and my students. Today I met briefly with some visitors from China. I wished them a Happy New Year of the Monkey. Then I began setting up some “Skype” dates with family and friends in London, Madagascar, Hungary, and Switzerland. I’d love to reconnect with Reidar (are you in Norway or Spain?), Inci (are you still teaching in Turkey?), Irma (we’ve lost touch since our conversations from beautiful Lithuania), Simone in Costa Rica, Anna in Kenya and Miguel Luis in La Mancha, Spain—his blog is marvelous. If you would put me in touch with your Antarctica bride’s maid friend, Emily, I would have reached out to all continents:).

Alison and Lizzy are focused on developing a student guide to Skype. Here are my latest marching orders to them:

Here is their draft in progress. How might it be improved?

Technology is continually improving and changing the way the world interacts with one another. Schools are starting to go from hard cover textbooks to textbooks that are completely online. Other resources that schools utilize are programs that allow students to continue practicing and understanding concepts through online homework and additional help online. Many schools, even at the elementary level, require students to have their own computer in the classroom. With this increase in the usage of technology, face-to-face interactions are suffering due to the ease of using email, cell phones, and social media sites to interact with one another.

Skype is a learning tool that utilizes the world of technology while also incorporating face-to-face interactions with other individuals across the world. In our scenario, Dr. Simpson has used Skype to interact with individuals from other countries for business and education purposes. Additionally, the student research team has interacted with Skype inside and outside of the classroom.

For example, Alison has used Skype in the classroom when teachers wanted to bring in guest speakers. Sometimes these speakers are unavailable to drive or fly to that specific location because they may live halfway across the world or do not have the resources to pay for the trip. By using Skype, guest speakers from Qatar, Africa, and different states were able to present and bring insightful information into the classroom.

From a business point of view, Skype can be used to hold group meetings. For example, if a group of individuals need to get together to interact about plans, presentation details, or other business related aspects, but cannot all be at the same place at the same time, Skype can provide the solution. Skype allows individuals to make group audio calls up to 25 individuals and video calls with up to 10 individuals from anywhere in the world. The video call option is limited though to 100 hours per month, 10 hours per day, and 4 hours per video chat.

Some of the platforms you can access Skype on are computers, cell phones, home phones, tablets, televisions, and video game systems. With having a free account from Skype, one can send messages to one another, simply make voice calls, or hold video chats with individuals from anywhere in the world. Also, one can use the option of screen sharing which allows one to view the other person’s screen. With the new chat feature on Skype, one is able to share files and photos. The files can also be shared while the video chatting feature is being used. With the free version of Skype, an individual can text mobile phones or call landline phones at reasonable rates. To pay for these additional rates, Skype allows one to pay through many different options that may be unique to each country.

To access more features, one can purchase Skype Business. The Skype Business rate starts at $2.00 a month per user. Some of the features of Skype Business that the free version is unable to access are that an individual can video chat with up to 250 people. Also, Skype Business allows you to schedule meetings outside of work in Outlook.

Through the technology of Skype, individuals are able to utilize Skype in the classroom, for personal use, and business.

GOTTA RUN TO GIVE MY FIRST EXAMS OF THE SEMESTER.

Anyone thoughts or experience with Skype would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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What Do my Students Do in My Absence (Part 2): Lizzy and Tia’s Take on Voila

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Voila is a great screen casting software that can be downloaded on your iMac, iPhone, and iPad. Since Evernote is getting rid of the software, Skitch, this new feature was created in place of it with more features that are very beneficial.

When using this app you are able to take a screen shot of your full home screen, or capture a certain section of your home screen with the different screen shot tools. You are also able to overlap multiple screenshots in the software as well. In addition, if you would like to record your voice or anything on the computer while using the device you are able to do a recording. After you have taken the recording, it will open up in Voila and you can trim your new video and have the recording play over the screen casting. One flaw of Voila, is that you must download an additional app to have noise with your recording. You also need to export your recording to an app like Imovie to complete and edit your recording. Here is an example of our research team using Voila and Imovie to show people how to use Survey Monkey.

 

Voila allows you to edit your screen shots in multiple different ways. Some really nice features that Skitch doesn’t have is that you are able to add stickers to your screen shots as well as add a spotlight to a certain part of the screen shot. The spotlight helps a section you select stand out and blur out the rest of the background of the screen shot as much as you would like. Another feature that you are able to do that Skitch can’t is blur out in different ways. You can do motion blurs, the static blur, a pixelated blur, and etc. Also, there are different kinds of arrows you can use in Voila to lead someone from one spot of your screen cast to another to show them instructions, like where to go from point A to point B, and etc. Voila allows you to marquee the pictures as well. This means that with any of the shapes they have or what you create, you are able to put that shape on a certain part of the screen shot and duplicate it. So that part you’ve chosen can be more bolded, or put in another screen shot. Below is an example of the different effects and borders that Voila has available to us.

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In Voila, you can paint the background of your screen shots so they are in a different color other then the default gray. Also, you are able to change the color of every option that you use besides the blurs. So, you can change the color of the arrows, the background, the stamps, and etc. In addition to changing the color of the background, you can change the outlining of the background. So, instead of just having a straight outline around your picture, you are able to have a different look such as dashes.

However, Voila still has the same great features Skitch does. You are still able to put a text box in different shapes on your screen shot, so that you can write something that you may want to specify. Also, you are able to change the coloring of the text if need be. If you rather not type in the text box, but still want to write on the screen shot, then you are able to use the pencil feature and use free hand on your screen shot. Voila does not have the highlighting feature, but that is why they have the new spot light feature.

In Voila you can create shapes or add certain shapes in the picture that you are able to write text in. You are able to change the coloring of the outside of them which will not change the text that you type on the inside of the text box. Also, there is a feature called, Callout. This feature is one that has more text boxes in different shapes, but it also includes certain memes that you can put in your screen cast as well.

Another fun feature Voila has is the ability to take screen shots of any website directly through the application. This is efficient to all users since you do not have to leave the application to complete your desired task. Also, you are able to import your own photos from iPhoto and edit them with Voila. Once you are done editing your desired photos, you can then import them back into your photo library. Here is an example of a screenshot taken directly through Voila, and then edited after the screenshot was taken.

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Overall, Voila has many new features and old features that Skitch once had. Voila seems to be more user friendly, as well as having more options for editing and screen casting purposes.

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Why Twitter is Rising in Importance in My Personal Learning Program

DSCN8780It’s my research day. I just helped Leo the Great Pyr onto his Central Bark Doggie Day Care bus

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and had a team meeting with Lizzy and Alison, two of my student research assistants. Before I gave them research assignments, I shared with them my Christmas ritual of opening up Jacquie Lawson’s marvelous Advent Calendar App. Thank you, Jacquie, for giving us reasons to smile and be in awe.

While we are working I receive a Facebook communication (and feedback) that Katerina and Tim Miklos, now in England, enjoyed the wedding video that Alison produced with Imovie as one of her research projects with me on Tuesday. I hope in the near future to research and develop with my students global communication tools such as Skype by communicating with Katerina in England, Ben in Hungary, Maren in Madagascar, Andrew in Switzerland, and Hersonia in Mexico. Who else abroad is willing to help us learn together?

I’m monitoring my Twitter feed as I write this blog piece and find 10 ideas, resources, and thought-leaders worth following. The dross is outweighed by the nuggets as I refine my Twitter filters and make better use of Twitter applications. I still am not quite ready to explore Twitter Chats. Just because a technology learning tool HAS capabilities, doesn’t mean that I need them –or that I should change my teaching to accommodate them.

Thank you Teri Johnson and Jane Hart for firmly but gently nudging me into exploring the use of Twitter.

Here are 10 tweets that informed me or guided my personal learning today:

  1. I see that Maria Konnikova has a new book out in January. She writes so well about psychology and pseudo science. I preorder the book and send her a brief note. Thank you, Maria, for your clear thinking, your lucid writing, and your thought-provoking ideas.
  2. Alec Couros recommends a Ted Talk about “Where Good Ideas Come From.” If I can find time, I’ll take a look at that before teaching my research Seminar. Thank you, Alec, for the inspiration.
  3. The indefatigable Richard Byrne alerts me to some free Technology Tools for Teachers.
  4. While I am data mining resources from K-12 I take a quick glance at my Edutopia feed.
  5. A colleague on LinkedIn suggests reposts an article about skills every young professional should have. I see value in sharing this with my advisees.  Thank you, Rebecca!
  6. I see a Mac 911 MacWorld piece about how to incorporate special characters into documents. I’ll need this as i try blog pieces in different language. I snag it (oops, gotta be careful. I own that App and I am starting to use my Dictation software as I write blogs).
  7. Richard Kiker’s use of Paper.li motivates me to return to exploring its utility as a curating tool. I assign that protect to Arianna.
  8. I am reminded and convinced that it is important that I incorporate thinking about climate change—and doing something about it into my life.
  9. I take a quick look at a recent EverNote blog post since I continue to struggle with most best to master its features.
  10. I glance at recent posts from LifeHacker—always fun to read and read one about how there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

YIKES! Tempus fugit (or as Mrs. Bode, my Howland  High School Latin teacher often punned, Time fidgets!)

Time to protect myself against Internet Distractions.


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Decluttering Revisited


I seem to return to certain topics—like reducing virtual desk top clutter. I am once again in the process of reviewing “applications”—I’ve installed (first on my Mac, then on my Ipads, then on my PC’s).I read a thoughtful piece in the New York Times this morning suggesting that the urge to declutter or the perceptions of succeeding in the task may be misguided.And I just ordered a copy of a revised Stephen Covey book to assist in my reordering my priorities.

I have a goal of reducing the 37-years of accumulated office clutter by pulling together all the institutional research have done the past 37 years (thank you former research assistants) and combining it with present data collection processes. however, I am amused and annoyed to discover how technology sometimes makes data acquisition more difficult.

Right now two of my student research assistants are helping me pull together a blog piece dedicated to the Carroll alumni I have known as students across the past 37 years. Take a peak at a work in progress.

Let me know if you’d like a picture of you from year’s gone by. I’ll trade you for one of me OR of you today.

 

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Musings While Giving an 8:00 a.m. Saturday Morning Final Exam on the 37th Anniversary of My Carroll Job Interview…

The Newf

It was a foggy 5:30 a.m. morning when I let the Newf out for her morning “duties.” One of many good reasons for driving carefully to Carroll this Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I surely would NOT like to hit another deer—nor would Santa or my car.

Deer Me

I can still see fog outside my Rankin classroom. Thirty-seven years ago I was in this very building giving a sample lecture illustrating how I teach as part of my two-day job interview to become a faculty member at then-called Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I still have a copy of that presentation—and I remain at my first and only job for better or for worse. So much has changed—buildings, enrollment, technology, the institution’s name, the organizational structure.  I feel obligated to protect traditions and overriding institutional historical values, but there are fewer and fewer here that remember them. So many of my former mentoring faculty and staff friends have moved on through retirement or from life. I miss their wisdom but try to preserve their gifts to Carroll.

Ghosts of Christmas's Past

And here I sit proctoring an 8:00 a.m.Saturday morning final exam covering “Statistics and Experimental Design” taken by students several of whose relatives (aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters) were former students or advisees of mine. An_Outline_of_Basic__Cover_for_Kindle

There are times when they look and behave very young and I recognize that I am 65-years old. Many other times Assistantsthey keep me young with their energy, willingness to learn, and playfulness. I feel that way especially in the present of my student research assistants—four of whom are graduating this year.

It has been a rough semester. I continue to find challenging teaching three consecutive seventy-minute courses in a row with 10 minute breaks even when two of the courses are the same. And this year I am co-chairing the Planning and Budget Committee (with a delightful colleague and poet BJ Best).

It has been the Dickens of a task: The Wurst of Times and the Best of Times. Younger colleagues like BJ, though, and the fewer and fewer remaining colleagues from my past reinforce my willingness to remain here and make a difference before departing.

Best of Times, the Wurst of Times

The chimes just sounded. 10:00 a.m. Eight students remaining. Very good students among which several, should they wish, might join Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood as student research assistants.

Carroll’s 2014-2015 theme is “Time.” I just finished reading David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. Time to start grading so that I can finishing reading The Book of Strange New Things.

 

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Through the Looking Glass: (Ms.)Adventures in David-Land

S-TEAM

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Amy and David---Photo stored on Google Drive

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Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

Ryan and Phoumany

Amy
Amy Peterson

4 years ago, I anxiously started my career as a Psychology Research Assistant for none other than the “psychology professor with the big beard”, Dr. David Simpson. Our first encounter was delayed because after receiving my assignment and seeing his picture, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work for him, what a typical precocious freshman I was! But after meeting him and learned the ropes from the God-like junior and sophomores, I finally began to feel comfortable in Dr. Simpson’s neighborhood. Looking back, I can hardly believe how much has changed. Time has transformed me, well, all of us really. Now sitting in the office, reflecting on my future after Carroll in December, I’m nostalgic for those years. From silly videos and webcasts, to struggling through SPSS for the first time, to Survey Monkey, and our pilot course in global connections through technology, our accomplishments are innumerable.
Dr. Simpson always brings light and fun into the office, even when he has stuff to do. He always makes time to check in with us, or joke about his Chi Tea Lattes, and of course telling stories about dear Robin, the Newf. Working with Dr. S has turned me from a precocious freshman, to a slightly-cynical, confident, and “sassy” senior with smarts to match-or so he lets me think! Our S-Team is my work family and as a senior, it’s especially odd that Phoumany and Ryan aren’t still here working with us as they had for 3 years prior.
Life in David land is a never ending adventure full of learning, fun and family.

Gracie
Gracie Bubnik

My time in Mr. David’s neighborhood has been fairly limited because this is my first year. I had heard through the grapevine that there was a waiting list to become one of Dr. Simpson’s research assistants and somehow I was given one of the positions! At the time of receiving the email I was really excited to be given this opportunity! Then I was on mycarrollu.edu looking up my class schedule and realized he was one of my professors… I was terrified to begin my time as one of his research assistants. I was nervous that he would bring up class work during work and work during class. But we are here now, 2 months later, and I have found out that I can apply what I learn during work to my classwork and vice versa.
I know I haven’t been here as long as many of the other research assistants but I have found this little lab in the back of his office to be very comforting. And the family type relationship I have formed with the other research assistants and Dr. Simpson is something I look forward to keep building.

Jamie

Jamilyn Smolik

I started this journey with Dr. Simpson in the spring semester of my sophomore year as one of his Psy205 students. At first, I was extremely intimidated by him because I was still a very shy, insecure underclassman with little self-confidence who had a lot to prove. I have learned that he is not as intimidating once you get to know him, and he is always around to help me out whenever I need it. After taking one of his classes, I was then curious if he had any openings for faculty assistants the following year. Because, I was not very assertive or timely, I waited to contact him the following fall when school began again. Long and behold, I received an email back saying he would enjoy having my help and welcomed me to his team.
After being shown the ropes from some helpful upperclassmen, I have grown to be quite comfortable when working in the office. I now also help the newbies get affiliated and comfortable with working in the office. I enjoy helping/working on ‘up and coming’ projects Dr. Simpson participates in outside of the Carroll environment. All of his projects provide great networking opportunities not only for himself, but for us, the student workers as well. As for the other student assistants, I have become very good friends with all of them. It is as if we are one, big, work family. We get on each other’s nerves at times, but just like family, we make up and act as if nothing ever happened. As I finish up my final year at Carroll, I look back and am so thankful for the opportunity I have been granted to work under Dr. Simpson, but also am grateful I took the initiative to push myself in a direction that will impact my future.

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Maxine Venturelli

I remember as a freshman being assigned to Dr. Simpson as a faculty assistant for my work-study program. I took a breath and turned the doorknob into Dr. Simpson’s office to meet him for the first time. I was so nervous! What I did not know at the time was that I was walking into a place where I would make some great friendships and learn many things from the one and only Dr. Simpson. Starting off as acquaintances, they soon into my S-team family. See, these people are not just peers, but people who I look up to and admire. For the first few weeks working for Dr. Simpson, I was very quiet and shy, but that quickly changed. I slowly started to open up. Dr. Simpson takes the time to get to know each and every of his faculty assistants. He has challenged me to improve upon my weakness, while encouraging me to use my strengths. Over the years, there have been a multitude of projects that have taught me to collaborate with my fellow workers. Although, we did not always agree, we always ended up finding a solution in the end. One of the most memorable projects that we completed my sophomore year included creating our own course that focused on culture. Along with the project, we were each given an iPad. I loved participating in this project because I desire to become a teacher! Working with Dr. Simpson is a privilege. He involves us in projects and opportunities that are meaningful. I have so many memories that have accumulated over the years. My experiences here have shaped me into not only a better student, but a better person. When I graduate this coming spring, I will greatly miss the times spent in Dr. Simpson’s office.

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Liz Firkus

Looking back on the past four years gives me such a bittersweet feeling. It seems surreal to think that in just a few short months I, along with several of the other S-Team members will be walking across the stage at graduation. I remember walking into Dr. Simpson’s office for the first time, feeling absolutely terrified. This did not last for long though, Dr. Simpson and the other S-Team members very quickly made me feel right at home. The first two years we had the same six S-Team members who quickly became my family away from home.
As an assistant, we always have work to get done, but Dr. Simpson makes sure that we have a fun time doing so. He is always filling us in on the latest stories about Robin, The Newf, his big black Newfoundland “pup”. Dr. Simpson, being an avid reader, makes it a habit of giving away books from his personal collection, so I always have a new book to add to my collection, a recommendation for something new to read, or someone to discuss Harry Potter with. Dr. Simpson has always played the role as a second academic advisor as well, giving advice about classes to take and what adjuncts he is familiar with and recommends. Working for Dr. Simpson has been an amazing experience that has taught me so much that I will take with me when I leave Carroll. Any future students will be extremely lucky to be one of his student assistants.