The Bunch family

The Bunch family

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Course Reflection


This has been an amazingly interesting course that has shown me the kind of world that can exist by utilizing the power of the Internet through online education.  The learnings that took place in this class were different when compared the traditional Center for Distance Learning (CDL) classes that I have taken over the past 2 1/2 years as the use of social media and ongoing communication with the class happened frequently and sharing of everyone's ideas was strongly encouraged.  The only social media tool that I had used in the past was Facebook, primarily for sharing pictures of my family and contacting old and new friends.  The Facebook group, CMC11, proved especially useful for communicating with everyone that was in the course as well as others that had been in the course previously or individuals that were just interested in the Multicultural Communication aspect.  This course also showed how creativity happens and how to best cultivate it to produce regular results.  I thought that learning about MOOCs and how people across the world can take advantage of using this resource to obtain a free education.  Cognitive biases were interesting to study as people generally handle similar situations in a way that they have proven to work; however there are many different learning types and personalities that handle problems differently.  I also liked learning about how creativity, innovation, and risk are tied together in the workplace and how a project team can benefit from diversity and how cultivating discussion between managers and employees is critical.  I would strongly recommend this class and type of learning to anyone that is looking for a refreshing change in the way that we connect with each other with the shared goal of becoming educated and experienced.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Creativity, Video Games, and MOOCs


David Gauntlett’s Making is Connecting video informed us that our culture places a heavy emphasis on television and the time spent on it on a daily basis (Gauntlett, 2010).  I also agree with his point about the majority of video games being very linear; however there are a few exceptions such as Minecraft, the SimCity series, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and the Sims series.  These games may not be as action-packed as other popular titles but they allow for the user to create their own world while still experiencing unpredictable events.  Another similar example is Second Life One, which is not really considered a game, but is a virtual world that works on the same principles of being powered by multiple users’ creativity to make the world allowing individuals to express their own unique creativity by building a custom avatar, home, and store.  There was also an interesting game study showing that there is no right way to play the game and that many people made their world or their sims a version of what they were or actually experienced in real life (Griebel, 2006).  One of the wonderful things that I have learned about MOOCs is that there a lot creative elements throughout the entire experience.  This particular MOOC demonstrated how we can connect across the world in many different ways through social media, blogs, YouTube, e-mail, and video chats.  Blogging, linking, and using Web 2.0 tools are all methods of expressing an individual’s creativity while having the ability to increase their connectivism (Gauntlett, n.d.).

Gauntlett, David (2010).  David Gauntlett: Making is Connecting, January 2010.  Referenced from
Griebel, Thaddeus (2006).  Self-Portrayal in a Simulated Life: Projecting Personality and Values in The Sims 2.  Referenced from
Gauntlett, David (n.d.).  Making is Connecting.  Referenced from

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hewlett Packard's STEM initiative


Hewlett Packard (HP) started an initiative in 2010 to assist with the core science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learnings that occur throughout the world.  Their goal is to engage students to assist them with using computers to solve major social issues by improving their problem-solving capabilities.  HP is doing great works through spreading this initiative to encourage students’ exploration of current knowledge and creating their own creative ideas to be applied to real world issues.  Collaboration with other partners in Egypt, Africa, India provide motivated students with the opportunity to make a better future for themselves by enhancing their analytic and technical skills to build upon their personal knowledge preparing them for college-level learning experiences.  Students learn about cloud computing concepts, particularly the virtualization aspect, and how cloud technology can be used to solve greater world issues.  By connecting with similar STEM learning programs HP has been able to begin the process of bridging the gap between low-income students by giving them the ability to use webcams to perform video-conferencing, participate in webinars, and become connected to other online learners around the world (Hewlett Packard, 2010).

Hewlett Packard (2010).  HP Catalyst Initiative.  Referenced from

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creativity and the Youth of Today


Until our recent Google Hangout on 4/6/13 I had strongly felt that the technology of today is crippling the creativity of today's youth.  Having a 3 and 6 year old has made more sensitive to this as one of the best parts of being a child is pretending that wooden blocks are tanks and that plastic army men are waging war across the house.  Colleen's comment about how they don't necessarily lose creativity, but achieve creativity at a higher level made me start to reevaluate my point of view.  I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to write about this during this week’s blog post.  After doing further research I modified my view on this topic as technology is not the blame for the decrease of creativity in our culture, but may be directly related to how the early educational system has changed in the last few decades.

One of the articles in the CDL project page reinforced my belief that kids are becoming less creative as a study showed that since 1990 children have been less able to produce creative ideas that are unique or original.  This doesn't mean that this is true for every child, but overall seems to ring true according to the research.  What I think is the most important point from our video discussion and the NBC article is that creativity needs to be nourished on a consistent basis and not suppressed (Rettner, 2011).  My daughter, Jayden, has been in school for almost 2 years and I am surprised to see the amount of generic homework that comes home every week to reinforce the math, reading, and writing skills as well as the lack of creativity in the classroom.  It seems that the education system has changed in the last 30 years to have a lesser focus on music and art, and a more rigid focus on rules, regulations, and testing.  Although I am not good at art or music I still enjoy it and believe that every individual has the ability to create unique and creative pieces.  I understand that this is to help improve on the New York educational system by ultimately creating smarter students when they get to the point of graduation followed by higher education experience, but it appears that it may ultimately change society in the long run if there isn't a drastic change to the educational system at an early level.  The world needs more software developers, independent entrepreneurs, inventors, and authors that bring their creativity to their work.  Children’s IQ has been shown to increase, however their creativity has decreased over the recent years according to Torrance’s creativity tests (Newsweek, 2010).

With the technology available in movies, television, computers, smart phones, and tablets it doesn’t seem that much is left for the imagination.  At 36 years old I can appreciate the interesting things that technology can do, but it still doesn’t compare to reading a good book like Fahrenheit 451 or The Hobbit which allows your mind to paint the picture in your mind based strictly on the author’s words. 


Newsweek (2010).  The Creativity Crisis.  Referenced from

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Padlet resource


I would like to share a Padlet wall with the group to show the learning experiences that I have had in the CMC course: .  I recommend using this site as a Web 2.0 tool to document your artifacts.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Digital Storytelling with ds106


Digital storytelling is the art of presenting stories using computer-based tools and includes narratives, memoirs, essays, documentaries.  This information is typically presented using multimedia aspects including pictures, sound, Web publishing, and video with the length typically being between 2-10 minutes (University of Houston, 2013).  ds106 uses digital storytelling components to present information on their site via live radio and previously recorded video.  The ds106 project has redefined what we have typically known as digital storytelling.  They embrace the MOOC model by providing the online course through live radio broadcasts, open lectures, and webcasts.  They allow their listeners to upload their contents to live radio.  This allows the end users, the students, to be able to submit and share their work with the others in this open class.  Similar to other MOOCs, students can either take the course for credit and are required to perform their required assignments according to the class schedule, however if they are not taking the class for credit then assignments are optional and can be done in whatever order the student sees fit.  This is then able to be shared on social networks to bring attention to their work to other students that may or may not be following the #4life hashtag (DS106, 2013).  One of the great things that this program and other MOOCs address is the intercultural aspect by being able to reach people that are interested in a variety of topics addresses at a college level.

University of Houston (2013).  What is Digital Storytelling?  Referenced from
ds106 (2013).  What is ds106 Radio?  Referenced from

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Global Communication


It was great to see an Answers in Genesis cartoon in the links for this module, I love their comic strip and their organization does great work with the Creation museum and Christian apologetics.  However, anything related to the supposed Spiritual Awakening or the New Age movement is untrue and I was both surprised and disappointed that new age information such as the Sunfell link was presented in this course.  Sunfell is a writer for pagan and witchcraft articles by her own admission (Sunfell, 2003).  One of the biggest problems I have with spiritualism, the New Age movement, and Moral Relativism is that they claim that there is no such thing as right or wrong, as it claims to be up to the individuals belief system.  I understand that I may be one of the few people that disagree with this, but I don't believe that it belongs in a college course even though we are discussing Global communication.  The one-minute meditation video was interesting and I would imagine that some people would use a similar technique for prayer instead of just reflecting within our own lives and thoughts.

The World Wide Web has given everyone that has Internet access the means for global communication unlike anything ever before.  I think that the rise of spirituality in general has increased when the Internet became popular allowing for individuals to share their beliefs.  When people feel connected to others in different parts of the world they feel that it is because they are spiritually connected.  There are both positives and negatives to having the ability to affect people in other countries.  In this globalized economy I have seen my previous jobs including manufacturing/production, IT help desk, and technical support become outsourced offshore for cost saving reasons.  As many corporations are outsourcing offshore to other countries including India, Philippines, and Mexico it becomes much more difficult to provide support in the United States due to the cost.  Parts of India's economy is built on having these outsourced call center jobs means that those workers can have a higher quality of life and better provide for their family.  The total corporate cost savings is upwards of $30 billion, which can be used to invest in the US.  With outsources workers receiving half the wages of a US worker it makes more sense for large companies to go in this direction whenever they can (Call Centers India, 2010).

The positives of a high-speed global communication network are that businesses and individuals can communicate, send files, use cloud computing Web apps to collaborate on projects, and make their productivity more efficient.  Countries like China and Russia are well known for their cyber-terrorism acts and constantly produce viruses and other malware including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks using botnets targeting government, financial, and private corporations alike.  Identity theft is another growing concern in the US and people around the world are trying to commit fraud via spam e-mails, malicious websites, and phishing attempts (Wilson, 2008).  On the bright side, we are able to learn about new topics and work with others around the world to pursue higher goals, whether on a personal level, for educational reasons, or for business.

Sunfell (2003).  Who is this Sunfell person, anyway?  References from
Call Centers India (2010).  Outsourcing to India aids US economy.  Referenced from
Wilson, Clay (2008).  CRS Report for Congress.  Referenced from

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cognitive Biases


Cognitive biases that are already formed will influence our creative thinking based on a combination of our own personality, social, economical, and the workplace environment factors.  I have found from my own experience that the congruence bias has been my focus while working at a VoIP call center when customers are having a specific problem.  One of the first things that I like to do is try to replicate their VoIP issue through by doing the same thing that they are doing on my test phone.  If I am able to replicate their issue than it means that there is a higher level root cause happening that may be related to a call cluster issue.  If I am not able to replicate then it means that they are either having a local network issue or it is user error.  To avoid this we try to communicate effectively with each other to quickly learn if other agents are experiencing the same issue.  Another biased trap that I tend to run into is the belief bias model.  After doing the same task repeatedly I find that it typically ends with the same result I make assumptions along the way instead of doing thorough troubleshooting (WikiPedia, 2013).  Thankfully it is somewhat rare that simple issues become much more complex issues, when this does happen I have wasted precious time by going through the motions instead of performing additional work to get to the real answer.  To avoid this issue I would have to spend additional time on the typical call and have a lower overall case closure rate instead of just being wrong once in a while.

Another similar cognitive bias that I came to realize that I have after starting taking classes at Empire State College is the time-saving bias.  I have difficulty completing papers and discussions during the week due to work, so throughout the week I do a lot of reading figuring that if I spend time on that it will make the writing portion easier to complete on the weekend.  The problem that I then run into is that I barely have enough time on the weekends to complete what needs to be done.  To avoid this I should still read during the week but start a draft of my paper or discussion, then post it when it I it is finished on the weekend.  Anchoring, or focalism, is one of my tendencies that is getting stronger with the more experience in the call center field and has turned into a bias.  Information technology and information systems is a rapidly changing field and I have found that sometimes I am not able to keep up with it and stick with what I know (Science Daily, 2013).  Instead of exploring new technologies such as tablets and smart phones I keep using my Windows 7 desktop.  This bias is difficult to overcome as experiencing new technology usually costs money and my time is very constrained right now.  I hope that once I have more of these two resources I can stay current with the IT/IS trends at least to be familiar with them.

The cognitive bias that can repeatedly cause issues outside of work is the availability heuristic model.  With 3 other people in my immediate family with their own minds and decision-making ability that occasionally react differently than I expect.  Making assumptions about the way that people will act or react to given scenarios can occur differently than one expects, however is difficult for me to stop this bias even through I realize it is incorrect (WikiPedia, 2013).  To avoid this I should start treating each day as a surprise and simply do my best to prepare for multiple possibilities (e.g.: car problems, sick children, work problems, etc).  I have found that having biases makes up part of an individual's personality which leads to their creative output, however if it were possible to have no biases at all it would have a different effect on their creativity overall.

WikiPedia (2013).  List of cognitive biases.  Referenced from
ScienceDaily (2013).  Science Reference: Cognitive Bias.  Referenced from

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Creativity, innovation, and risk


Examining at the creativity and innovation aspects from a business perspective was interesting to me as experience has taught me that companies can create new products or offer new services that sets them apart from their competitors.  Without these key factors a business is likely to fall by the wayside while other companies that manage their risk investment while cultivating ingenuity are more likely to succeed in this diverse global marketplace.  Collaboration between departments should be encourages employees with different skill sets and unique ways of viewing a problem or tackling a new project that could benefit from a diverse team (Business Dictionary, 2013).  This is especially important to consider by Project Managers if they want to have creative brainstorming sessions during project meetings to determine which path they should go down.  Cultivating an ongoing open discussion between managers and employees is crucial for businesses that are looking to have more innovation in their products.  This should not be limited just to what the business does, but can be expanded to be inclusive of the daily operational scope to reduce the drudgery and complacency that creeps into the workplace environment over time.  While this cannot be forced upon someone, if the employees are open to new experiences and becoming weary of their job functions it could be beneficial for managers to have smaller team meetings to motivate their workforce, and ultimately benefit their company.

Business Dictionary (2013).  Six Effective Ways to Foster Innovation.  Referenced on March 10, 2013 from

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Creative Resolutions


From my experiences in the workplace there has been a noticeable difference between people that just use typical troubleshooting or problem solving techniques to solve a variety of issues compared to those who tend to think outside the box and tackle the problem from a different approach.  Instead of waiting for a creative idea to happen, they tend to take a standardized approach to solve the problem creatively.  These types of individuals are especially necessary when working on projects that encounter difficult or frequent roadblocks that cause delays.  This allows the individual or team to focus on innovation; which is defined by Baumgartner as the actual implementation of the best ideas that come from the brainstorming process.  The innovation approach to creative problem solving steps that are recommended to get to the point of innovation are listed below:
1. Clarify and identify the problem
2. Research the problem
3. Formulate creative challenges
4. Identify insights
5. Generate ideas
6. Combine and evaluate the ideas
7. Draw up an action plan
8. Implementation of the best idea(s)
By using some or all of these steps during normal troubleshooting processes has the potential to make difficult problems easier to solve (Baumgartner, 2011).  Working in a call center providing solutions to customers that are having a problem with their VoIP phone system can often present challenging issues to work through, and standard troubleshooting isn't always effective.  Clarifying the actual issue can help save time when both the customer and I are on the same page, but looking at the problem from a different point of view is often helpful when identifying a solution.

Baumgartner, Jeffrey (2011).  Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Basics.  Retrieved March 3, 2013 from

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hashtags in a Learning Environment

Although I don't have very much experience with Twitter or using hashtags the more I learn about how they can help businesses spread information about their company and for educational institutions to increase the range of learning experiences for their students is astounding.  Couros stated that the shared learning stream adds value to the work that he is doing by being able to filter easier and that that he is not limited by the stream.  Many educators are utilizing Twitter to share their educational material as well as asking for help. When a hashtag is created to be used for educational purposes This is also helpful for companies to create a hashtag for their business conference so that the audience is able to learn more about their ideas and their presentation(s) and have the opportunity to meet other attendees with similar interests or jobs.  This class has already used the recommended steps for creating its own hashtag that makes sense with the subject by creating the #cmc11 tag which is simple and easier to remember, as well as being relevant to the course.  Hashtags bring the online learning community together by sharing lecture lines, relevant information to the subject, and even their own notes.  Starting conversations online is becoming a great way for others to think outside of their sources and explore creative new ideas to further everyone's learning (Couros, 2011).

George Couros (2011).  Twitter Hashtags In The Classroom.  Referenced from


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Information literacy

I thought that article on the different types of literacy was interesting and brought forth information about it relates to digital learning online.  When the term information literacy was first coined in 1974 by Zurkowski libraries were still using the Dewey Decimal system in libraries, and books that were not available at a particular library then it could be ordered from one of the other local libraries in the same city.  I thought it was interesting that the author mentioned the Prague Declaration that considers a basic human right.  I think that perspective can be potentially dangerous if an unethical government forced this on its citizens.  This has the potential to be presented in a way to show only the information that they want presented to the end users.  Information literacy at its core concept is a great idea, but can be a good foundation for the work that needs to follow to equip the people with the ability to access information through a wide variety of media types including Web sites, newsgroups, blogs, videos, social media, and lectures (WILDMNTNHONEY, 2013).  Before people need this ability to access information I think that it is key for the desire to learn to be present and fueled by whatever interests them.  It is not enough to provide the tools, but to actually provide a solid educational foundation  to assist with their understanding of the information that they can access.


WILDMNTNHONEY (2013).  Metaliteracy, Transliteracy, Transliteration, Transcription, Translation… What the Hell Are We Talkin’ About?  Referenced from


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Personal learning enviroments

I thought that the video about George Siemens' thoughts about the personal learning environment was interesting and caused me to reflect about how my kids learning currently takes place in school.  I agree with his point about most parents may not be familiar with the latest networking and communication tools, but they do want to see their children succeed in an ever-changing world.  Critical and creative thinking are among some of the most important things that parents like myself can impress upon their children.  With teachers creating a learning environment that has products including collaboration, democracy, innovation, and particularly communication they will be better prepared for what lies ahead in not only the rest of their formal educational experience, but with life itself (Siemens, 2009).  As online tools  continue to grow and change they should not be an issue if we are properly equipping our children with adequate self-tools that will cause them to learn and adapt to change versus sticking with what they already know.  What really needs to be impressed upon them is that communication in the world constantly changes and their ability to reach new people continues to become possible through educational technological progress.

Siemens, George (2009).  It's Not About the Tools, It's About Change.  Referenced from


Sunday, February 3, 2013


Reading the Week 2 articles and watching the videos about Connectivism has helped me to realize that MOOC is about interactivity between everyone that is connected via blogging, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.  Students are able to articulate their needs and reflect on their leanings with their peers, teachers, and others that participate just because they want to help others or continue to grow themselves.  Downes helps us understand what a good blog post should consist of and how it should be structured.  Using inductive and deductive arguments, explanations, and definitions help us to understand how the blog content should be presented.  Learning and mastering new skills is the most important part of the educational process.

The picture below helped me to better understand what this course/MOOC is really about.  While it is definitely different than the traditional Center for Distance Learning (CDL) classes I am used to taking at Empire State College, it offers a broader expression of creativity and brings the focus to sharing to and adding to existing content.  Stephen Downes from the National Research Council of Canada brings to light that as there are 400,000 educational blogs and that many teachers continue to use them as sources to show their students information.  These learning communities assist students by enabling them to share their opinion about a wide variety of topics in the educational world, which in turn spreads information to others (Downes, 2013). 
This MOOC is Something Else!
Downes, Stephen (2013).   Access::Future - Practical Advice on How to Learn and What to Learn.  Referenced from
Bogado, José  (2013).  Connection not Content.  Referenced from


Sunday, January 27, 2013

MOOC revolution

I found an interesting article about how MOOCs (massive open online course) can help a wide variety of students on an International level. Countries such as Egypt have students that are not able to take college-level courses if it wasn't for professors willing to give of themselves to provide an education to those that truly need it in order to obtain a better life for themselves or their family. The missing piece of the solution is setting up the location for the students to participate in the course. United States foreign aid could be used to rent a small building, install computers, and set up satellite Internet connections to turn this dream into reality. In the future there could be credible credentials to show their employers that they have knowledge about the subject that they studied (Friedman, 2013).

Friedman, Thomas (2013). Revolution Hits the Universities. Referenced from


Thursday, January 24, 2013

test post

This is a new post to see if it appears in the Blog newsfeed.