As temperatures start to rise, we hope you’ll join us in our spring cleaning purge and sunshine frolicking among the tulips. No? Just us?
In this Issue:
→Tech Corner- Simplemind
Looking back: A semester in review
After her first CUOL course, Anne Trepanier was looking forward to hearing what the students had to say. She was right to be excited.
It is rare that many surveys get more than a 13% response rate. But when it came time to give pause and reflections on Professor Anne Trepanier’s course, almost half of the active students took the time. Trepanier wanted to know how her first online course went. She had her own ideas, of course – “it went very well” – but she wanted the students’ version.
All in all, the review was positive. In the survey, one of the students wrote that the most successful use of technology in the course were the video clips Trepanier integrated into her lectures because it “allowed me [the student] to understand certain issues that were important a little clearer.” The lecture provided the layer but the real steak and potatoes were the videos.
On the flip side, when students were queried about what the least successful use of technology in the course was, the feedback was largely tame. One student wrote that they found no “least successful use of technology – they were all useful and accommodating.” Another simply wrote, “N/A” (not applicable).
Last December, CUOL spoke with Trepanier about her plans for innovative use of technology within her course. She planned to have weekly quizzes that would test student’s comprehension of the lecture (not graded), and also weekly assignments with deadlines. These assignments simply asked the students two questions: a) what was the topic discussed today, and b) what’s the most important question to answer right now. They could write only two lines if they wanted. But they had to respond before the time limit expired. The point was to discourage the students from procrastinating on the lecture watching. And if the survey is anything to go by, it worked.
Trepanier wanted to do away with the passive mode of learning that is prevalent in online classes. She organized online debates about three different topics, with set formats (for example, each post/rebuttal had to include references to readings or quotes, etc).
“The goal of the course was to be able to participate in debate about Quebec and Canada in an informed matter. And I think it was a success,” Trepanier says.
And at the end of the day, 94 per cent of the respondents said they would recommend the course.
Looking forward, Trepanier say she would like to incorporate a glossary or lexicon of words that she uses in lecture, as well as create a star-ranking system that the students could use to rate each other’s book reviews that were posted on the forum.
Anne Trepanier teaches CDNS/FINS 2501
Finding his way
For the past decade, Girish Simmonds (pronounced guh-reesh) has worked in the hospitality industry. He’s waited tables and managed functions on both sides of the globe, from Canada to Australia. He still lives ‘down under,’ but an invisible thread connects him to home – his CUOL courses.After years of struggling with the traditional school model, Girish Simmonds found his stride among the discussion boards and online videos available through CUOL learning.
It’s his third try at post-secondary education. He’d never been that good of a student in high school, he says, but had enrolled in a design program at Algonquin College after graduation, only to drop out and enter Carleton’s enriched support program. After a year of studying, he needed a B+ average to be accepted into a degree program. Simmonds had a C+.
It wouldn’t be until many years later – after he’d moved to Vancouver, done some traveling, met his girlfriend, followed her to New Zealand, then moved to Australia with her – that he considered giving school another go.
“I’m kinda starting to settle down and pick some direction,” the certified yoga instructor says. “I mean, I’m almost 30.”
He’s been taking and enjoying a few psychology classes, among others, while also working fulltime and teaching yoga.
After this semester, he’ll have completed seven and a half credits.
“[CUOL] works well for me, for my personal learning style,” Simmonds says. He has a learning disability, and the ability to take breaks during the videos and go for a walk, or rewind something he missed has really helped, he says.
“It’s actually given me a lot of confidence. I’ve gotten a few A+s.”
Simmonds is also working toward a business accounting and bookkeeping certificate from Algonquin. Within the next year he plans to return to Canada with his girlfriend – who is a baker and was trained as a pastry chef in Vancouver – and one day open a café.
“I really have a strong passion for food and I love to cook,” he says. He acknowledges the challenges with opening a café; it often takes a few years before the business starts turning significant profits, but he says “it’s something that we hope to do together.”
This month’s feature: �
When it comes to capturing your thoughts and other fleeting wisps of genius, smartphones can sometimes be more convenient than pen and paper. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than grabbing a pad and a nearby pencil stub and scribbling a quick mind map or to-do list.
But sometimes inspiration strikes at inconvenient times – perhaps you’re out walking or at the bar and unequipped for quick jotting. Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll know that flashes of genius are rare and precious and, tragically, likely to be forgotten if not written down immediately.
SimpleMind can help with that. The free app allows you to create and capture different mind maps, helping with the organization of presentations/projects/to-do lists. With both an app for android or IOS, plus desktop access, it is a simple way to create a quick mind map which you then can have with you wherever you go.
With a variety of visual styles available, and unlimited page size (for your unlimited genius) you very well might enjoy making the map as much as you enjoy the benefits that come from having made it. You can drag and drop your nodes, as well as tap to add new topics. Made a mistake, there’s an easy undo button. When finished, you can share your map via email or export and print your map as a JPEG or PDF.
There are other mind mapping apps that have more features, such as mindmeister, but if you just want something simple and reliable then 4-star SimpleMind should do the trick.
Tales from the Field
Among the mountains in northern Italy, this student built a memory that she’s taking with her into the future.
Anna Kozlova’s life is on the brink of shifting from one phase to the next. Reason being: she’s about to graduate. It’s a scary, exciting, nerve-wracking and satisfying time. As she waits for the yes/no to her overseas graduate school application, she’s recently spent a lot of time reflecting on her past four years. One memory rises above the rest.
Last year, she wintered in Trento, Italy. The city sits in a wide glacial valley just south of Austria and is surrounded by mountains with elegant names such as the Vigolana, the Paganella and the Monte Calisio; if she felt so inclined, Kozlova could have said hi to the Alps from her balcony every morning.
“It was out of this world. Felt like I was living in a dream,” Kozlova says. The Canadian government and the European Union funded her experience through a competitive scholarship program. Between the four universities involved, just five students are accepted, Kozlova says.
Initially Kozlova had intended on doing an exchange to the Netherlands but abandoned those plans when she got the call about Trento.
While studying at the local university, Kozlova took a CUOL course. She wanted to finish her law minor, and she was behind on some courses.
If it weren’t for CUOL, Kozlova would have had to spend an extra summer working on her undergrad. A small price to pay for a semester in Trento perhaps, but a welcome convenience all the same.
When she talked to her fellow international student friends (Italian, German, French… take your pick) about CUOL, she says they couldn’t believe it.
“It was so revolutionary to them. The idea that you could take your exam here and then send it back to Carleton. It’s really just an amazing service Carleton offers and I recommend it to anyone.”
With both Milan and Venice to the south, Kozlova says you could go anywhere in and around Trento and be soaked in culture and history.
A week after stepping off the plane, Kozlova took a trip to Venice for Carnival. The world-famous festival is recreated in different cities around the globe, but the biggest and oldest celebration has always called Venice home.
“People really go all out,” says Kozlova, who looks somewhat underdressed in her pictures among the hordes dressed in full 18th century splendor.
But all parties must end and eventually, she had to rejoin the 21st century. Europe’s charm stuck with her though, and she plans to foster that love through her masters studies. Which – if all goes well – will be completed in Europe.
Campus Connection: Renovations
Are you on campus? Wondering what all the banging is about? We’ve got your answer.
The peaceful hum that lingers over Carleton’s campus during the summer months is growing louder this year with the exciting sounds of renovation and construction! There are multiple student services and buildings being improved and expanded, including the MacOdrum Library, the new fitness centre, and later in the summer, the Student Centre. While the occasional closures can be somewhat irritating, think of what you’ll get in return!
For example, the new 11,000 sq. ft. athletics center will be twice the size of the current gym and will feature brand new, state-of-the-art equipment. It opens in June, and has summer memberships starting as low as $59. Check out some of the fitness classes if you’re looking to have a more social fitness experience.
SASC Advising for CUOL Students
Are you registered in a CUOL or Evening course and need to see an Advisor? Do you have questions about changing your major, adding a minor or dropping a course but aren’t on campus during the day?
The Student Academic Success Centre is happy to announce extended advising hours during the 2013 summer term for students registered in CUOL or Evening courses only. This option is available in an effort to accommodate those students who are not on campus during our regular office hours and cannot use our drop-in advising service. We will be scheduling appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 5:00 p.m., but space is limited, so please contact us via email to schedule your advising session soon! Please note that after-hours advising may not be available for all requests; we will work with you ensure your academic needs are best met.
The Student Academic Success Centre is located in 302 Tory Building, down the hall from the Registrar’s Office. Please send your appointment request to email@example.com from your cmail account. Be sure to include your full name, student ID and detailed information about your inquiry.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Where do you watch YOUR lectures? At a coffeshop? On the couch? In bed? No matter where it is, we want to know. Send in a picture of you in your “CUOL habitat” with a 50-word description of you and your special class viewing spot, and if we publish it in our newsletter, we’ll send you free CUOL memorabilia (a toque, a USB and a pen)!
→SASC Advising for CUOL Students:
SASC will be offering some booked appointment slots for students registered in only CUOL or evening courses during the 2013 summer term.
more on page 4…
→Thinking of taking a course over the summer?
The CUOL summer 2013 course list is now available on our website!
→Missed a CUOL lecture?
Catch up on missed lectures – rent them online.