This issue, we’re channeling a healthy mind, body and soul for midterm season—delicious and nutritious recipes, workouts you can do in your bedroom, an interview with imagination expert Dr. Jim Davies to get your creative juices flowing, and an app that’ll give you financial peace of mind. Best of luck, CUOL-ers!
In this Issue: (pdf copy)
Jim Davies—Professor ProfileCatching up with Carleton’s resident doctor of imagination
|Jim Davies, CGSC 1001|
Dr. Jim Davies is fascinated by the imagination.
As an associate professor of cognitive science and director of Carleton’s Science of Imagination Laboratory, Davies speaks on the subject like one would describe the escalating plot of a favourite TV show.
“My goal in life is to understand imagination,” he told his audience during a 2010 TEDxCarletonU Talk he animatedly delivered. “I want to get under the hood and figure out how it works. When you read a book, or someone asks you to imagine something, that picture in your head—where does it come from? How do you decide what goes in that picture?”
Davies has devoted experiments, essays, research and rhetoric to tackling that question and others like it. Some of his current studies focus on artificial intelligence and working with two- and three- dimensional models of the imagination to explore processes of visualization. For instance, if someone were to say the word “bow,” whether the image called to mind is a bow from a violin, a bow and arrow or a ribbon on a dress.
While giving a talk on the subject to a group of high schoolers during a Shad Valley summer enrichment program, a couple of them took the idea a little too far—Davies remembers asking a student for a one-word suggestion to plug into the system to see what image popped up, and receiving the word “God” in reply. Needless to say, the image in the middle of the screen was “very hard to understand,” he says with a laugh.
But Davies is no stranger to the study of religion and the human psyche—in August, he added another bullet to his exhaustive list of publications with his book “Riveted: A Unified Theory of Compellingness” on the psychology of art and religion. And though he’s been teaching at Carleton for seven years, he makes his CUOL debut with a first-year cognitive science course titled “Mysteries of the Mind” this fall.
“I’m kind of a performer, so I’m excited,” says Davies. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
He’ll continue to direct the Science of Imagination Laboratory at Carleton, delving into the nitty-gritty of how the mind processes information (as he explains in a recent interview with Nautilis Magazine in New York City) with his team of students.
As for understanding the ins and outs of imagination? It’s too complex a subject to comprehend in its entirety.
“Understanding completely would take more than my lifetime,” he says. But that’s not to say Davies is about to stop trying.
Taking Responsibility in Your Online Course
There is often a misconception that online courses are “easier” than face-to-face classes as you do not have to commute to campus and can complete the work on your own time. However, online courses can be more rigorous and students have to work harder, assume a greater individual responsibility, and be a more proactive learner to be successful. The following are 10 key qualities of a successful e-learner:
Log into your cuLearn class every day. Be a regular class participant and contribute your ideas, perspectives, and comments, and read those of your classmates. Even if you miss a day or two, it can be very difficult to catch up with the discussion and you may feel left behind. Your instructor is not the only source of information in your course and you can gain great insight from your peers and they can learn from you as well. Testing and challenging ideas is encouraged, so be prepared to accept friendly challenges from your colleagues and your instructor.
Take your program and yourself seriously. Elicit the support of your colleagues, family, and friends before you start out on your online learning experience. This support system will help you tremendously since there will be times when you will need to work for extended periods of time without interruptions and your network should respect your privacy during these times.
Make sure you have a private space where you can study. Ensuring that you have a private working space will help lend importance to what you are doing as well. Your own quiet, personal space where you can shut the door, leave papers everywhere, and work in peace is necessary. If you try to share study space with the dining room or bedroom, food or sleep will take priority over studying
Be sure you have a capable and reliable computer environment at home and at work. Establish and maintain a smoothly functioning and secure working platform on a personal computer, including adequate backup procedures and virus protection. Be sure that you have all the appropriate productivity software loaded and up-to-date on your workstation and establish and maintain a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. Be sure that your workstation is able to receive e-mail and attachments from outside your home or workplace, and that any firewall issues are addressed.
Be open-minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process. Sharing experiences is made easier by the anonymity of the online environment and as a result, may appeal to a broader range of learning styles and personality types. Students who are typically shyer in face-to-face classroom environments may be more willing to share their opinions online.
Think through ideas before responding. Meaningful and quality input into the online classroom is an essential part of the learning process. Time is given in the process to allow for the careful consideration of responses.
Be professional. Unfortunately, some people become aggressive or disrespectful within the anonymity of an online class experience. Being
polite and respectful to others is not only common sense, it is absolutely required for a productive and supportive online environment. Remember, you are dealing with real people in your virtual classroom. In a positive online environment, you will feel valued by your instructor, valued by your classmates and your own work will have greater value as well. Read on to find out more about the topic of “netiquette” in hybrid and on-line classes.
Be willing to speak up if problems arise. Many of the nonverbal communication cues that instructors use to determine whether learners are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, etc.) are not obvious in online classes. If you experience difficulty on any level (either with the course content, assignment instructions, or technology), you must communicate this immediately so your instructor will know that you are having difficulty.
Apply what you learn. The more opportunities you have to apply what you learn, the more you will retain from your learning. This will vary according to where you are in your life, but try and apply what you learn in your online course to your other courses, your workplace, and everyday life. Also, try to make connections between what you are learning and what you do or will do in your career. Contributing advice or ideas about real world application of on-line learning will help both you and your colleagues.
Have a positive attitude. One of the most important qualities of being a successful online learner is having a positive attitude towards your online course. You recognize the benefits and value that an online course provides and you view online learning as a viable option and alternate form of education, and not a replacement for face-to-face courses. In advocating the merits of distance learning, you will reinforce the value of your efforts in taking the course for yourself.
Courtesy of the Educational Development Centre (EDC)
A few too many Subs of the Day can creep up on your wallet just as easily as they can on your waistline. And as all of us university students have learned the hard way at some point or another, jam-packed school schedules don’t necessarily mean saving money—all of that on-the-go sustenance can eat away at your hard-earned cash.Whip those out-of-shape finances into high gear with this money management app.
That’s why this month we’re loving Mint.com, a personal trainer for your personal finances. It’s a free online money management service and app that aggregates all of your accounts (debit, credit, savings, investments, loans and property) and automatically groups your spending into categories and sub-categories (for instance, “Food and Dining” is broken down into restaurants, fast food, groceries, coffee, etc.) so that you can clearly see how much you’re spending and where in one handy pie chart. Set monthly budgets and savings goals for yourself for each category, and change them up depending on your circumstances. Cut back in certain areas and Mint will show you exactly how much you’ll save over time.
The best part? Download the app to your Apple or Android device and it’ll send you notifications reminding you when you’ve spent over budget—a built-in babysitter for those of us who tend to get extra-generous when Friday night rolls around.
With more than 10 million users, rave reviews and awards from CNN Money, The Webby’s and Kiplinger’s, Mint.com is a genius tool for whipping wayward finances back into shape.
Tales from the Field
When her first-year courses were a mess of scheduling conflicts, Rebecca Saab turned to CUOL. Four years later, she’s still a devotee.
When she was in her first year at Carleton, Rebecca Saab’s schedule clashed. Her mandatory courses overlapped, and the alternate sections had already filled up.
“I was freaking out,” the honours psychology major says with a laugh. “Since psych is such a huge program and one of the top majors, more students means it’s harder to get into those required classes.”
A trip to the Student Academic Success Centre introduced her to CUOL, and she found she could easily resolve her conflicted schedule by watching recorded lectures from home. Now in her fourth year, this seasoned veteran of web-education continues to top up her schedule with online courses to manage her chock-full calendar, and has some advice for future users.
“Pick one day a week to watch your lectures,” she says. “I’ve used the same tactic since first year and it’s definitely been working for me.”
Allotting a specific ‘CUOL Day’ keeps Saab motivated to stay on top of her course load, even though she doesn’t have to physically be in a classroom once a week. Instead of cramming in the whole lecture in one go, she lets the new information sink in by taking short breaks, keeping her mind refreshed and her eyes from being strained.
“Just don’t wait ‘til the day before your exam and watch ten lectures all at once,” she laughs.
Although online courses are undoubtedly less social than meeting hundreds of like-minded students in the lecture hall, Saab found that she could change that by registering with friends, engaging in class forums and scouring the list of those enrolled for names she recognized—and even made some new friends while she was at it.
“It’s definitely still possible to stay social,” she says. “In second year a bunch of us made a study group and did chapter summaries for an online class. I guess it worked, because we all ended up with A’s.”
Now, Saab is juggling working on her thesis (she is planning on examining eating disorders and attachment) with actively volunteering for the Student Alliance for Mental Health and planning out life post-graduation—she’s considering taking her GRE test and applying to graduate school next winter.
“I think I want to be a clinical psychologist and help people with mental illnesses,” she says. “But only time will tell.”
Three quick and easy workouts for midterm season
The beginning of a new school year means fresh resolutions. It can be the perfect time to kick off a new workout routine, but midterms looming on the horizon and the onslaught of assignments are not so conducive to nightly trips to the gym. We’ve compiled a round up of quick and easy exercises to break up your study sessions—all of which can be confined to the square footage of your bedroom.
For the full-time student with a full-time job:
When the New York Times first reported on the Scientific Seven-Minute Workout this spring, the notion quickly went viral—a complete workout in the time it takes your pasta to boil? Too good to be true.
It’s high-intensity interval training comprised of 12 different exercises using only body weight, a chair and a wall. Perform them in rapid succession, allotting 30 seconds per exercise and a 10-second recovery period in between.
1. Jumping jacks
2. Wall sit
4. Abdominal crunch
5. Step up onto chair
7. Triceps dip on chair
9. High-knees running in place
11. Push-up and rotation
12. Side plank
For the insomniac:
Is exam anxiety (or that extra shot of espresso) keeping you up at night? When sheep-counting just isn’t cutting it, try out Fitness Magazine’s eight-minute, five-stretch routine said to induce sleep—bonus: you can do them all in your bed!
1. Sit facing a wall or your headboard, about six inches away from it. Slowly lie down, extending your legs up the wall and keeping your arms by your sides with palms facing the ceiling. Hold for two minutes, breathing gently and feeling the stretch in your hamstrings.
2. Sit cross-legged on your bed. Exhale as you cross your right hand to your left knee and place your left hand behind your tailbone, twisting your torso gently to the left. Allow your gaze to follow. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing deeply, before coming back to centre. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Lie on your back with knees bent. Place the soles of your feet together, then let your knees fall open, forming a diamond shape with your legs. Rest your arms on the bed. If you feel any strain, elevate your legs by placing a pillow underneath each knee. Hold for two minutes breathing gently and feeling the stretch in your hamstrings.
4. For all you yogis, this is called the Child’s Pose. Sit comfortably on your heels and roll your torso forward slowly, bringing your head to rest on the bed in front of you. Lower your chest as close to your knees as you can, extending your arms in front of you. Hold the pose for two minutes and breathe.
5. Lying on your back, hug your knees into your chest. Cross your ankles and wrap both arms around your knees with clasped hands. Inhale and rock your body up to sit, exhale as you roll back down. Repeat for one minute, then catch some Z’s.
For the student who scavenged for a seat at the library for two hours and is not about to give it up to go work out:
Often, a quick five-minute break from cramming can be the refresher you need to get your blood flowing and keep plugging away. There are actually more exercises you can do from the comfort of your chair than you’d imagine—Lifehack compiled 29 exercises you can do at or near your desk. Here are some of our favourites:
1. The Football Drill: While seated, rapidly tap your feet in place for 30 seconds, simulating a run.
2. The Wrist Stretch: Stretch your arm out in front of you with the palm up. With your other hand, clasp your fingers and lightly pull down stretching your forearm. (This one’s good when you’re on page 14 of that never-ending essay).
3. Leg Extensions: While sitting in your chair, extend your right leg so it is level with your hip. Hold for as long as is comfortable, then switch.
4. Water Bottle Weights: Use a full water bottle as a weight to increase the intensity of your work out. You can do front-raises, overhead presses and bicep curls with a water bottle.
5. Chair Squats: Lift your rear end off your seat and hold for a few seconds.
Food for Thought
Three easy, healthy recipes to give you a midterm-madness energy boost.
To start your day off right:
Avocado scrambled eggs:
The creaminess of the avocado makes a healthy, flavourful substitute for your usual scrambled egg fixings—trust us, you won’t miss the cheese. And since the total prep and cook time for this fibre-filled meal is seven minutes, you can still make that early morning class. Via MyFoodbook.com.
- 2 avocados
- 8 eggs
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Beat 8 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Put oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the egg mixture and stir gently until starting to set, then stir in 2 thickly sliced avocados.
For a mid-afternoon snack:
The pumpkin spice smoothie:
For those of you who count down the days until Starbucks launches its signature fall drink, the pumpkin spice latte, this smoothie will satisfy your cravings without the calories (380 for a Grande, if you were wondering). Almond milk is
substituted for the latte’s condensed milk base, and it’s topped with nutmeg and cinnamon instead of a mountain of whipped cream. Throw
in a scoop of your favourite protein powder for a post-workout boost. Via the Lululemon blog.
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 frozen bananas
- 2 dates
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger
Toss all the ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and top with spices. Voilà!
For an end-of day dinner that won’t cut into your essay-writing time:
Gwyneth Paltrow’s six-ingredient salmon
The simple, yet flavour-packed sriracha-lime salmon from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook is a quick dinner that’ll give you some brain fuel for late-night study sessions. The sriracha (you know, that big red bottle they plunk on the table at Thai food restaurants?) gives it a kick, but the touch of maple syrup keeps it from being too spicy. Via Self.com.
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons tsp sriracha sauce*
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 1/4 lbs pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Heat oven to 425°. In a bowl, whisk together juice, zest, syrup, sriracha and salt. Place salmon in a baking dish lined with parchment paper; pour lime-maple mixture over top. Roast salmon until cooked through and flaky, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve.
Kyle and Connor
It was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to Connor Boyd and Kyle Nash on September 18th. We were heartbroken to hear about the tragic collision that stole the lives of six people, two of whom were 21-year-old Carleton students heading to class that morning. Connor was an English major and Kyle was in the Bachelor of Information Technology program studying Interactive Multimedia and Design.
From all of us at CUOL, our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and classmates of Connor and Kyle. It is our hope that the Carleton community bands together to support one another in this time of need.
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 fall 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!