It’s Been a Reasonably Quiet Day at Camp Carroll as I return to Campus for the First Time Since Mothers’Day

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It was a reasonably quiet day at Camp Carroll as I returned to campus for the first time since Mothers’ Day (Commencement) . I adjusted my invisibility cloak to semi-permeable but kept the missile defense system active. I spent most of the morning shoveling a path through my office and lab—the piles of papers, notebooks, etc. gave clear evidence that I had departed in a hurry. So THAT is where my Ipod was! Yech—that sandwich needs an escort out to the trash bin.

I dealt with the usual annoyances of computers not working; lack of access to locked rooms and I left today satisfied with having created creating a semblance of order in the office and lab.

How delightful to find summer notes on my door from three alumni! (I’m looking forward to chatting with alumnus Mike Martin about our collaborating on an applied social psychology research project. Thank you, Anita Rodriguez, Julie Sascer-Burgos (PsyD!), and Kristina Dones for stopping by. Of COURSE, I remember all three of you—and yes, I’d love to get together either in person, via Skype, or by phone. Thanks for your kind words—and the memories!  Yes, Kristina (class of 2009) I too have many positive memories. Anita and Julie (class of ’82) remember my office being in the basement of Voorhees. Each of these three former students also had classes with my two emeriti colleagues, Ralph and Virginia Parsons

David, Ralph, and Virginia

David, Ralph, and Virginia

It’s amazing (satisfying) how much I can get done with no interruptions. I chatted with a student who is trying to return to campus after experienced some academic difficulties. I believe that she will be able to graduate and I tried to be be both appropriately supportive and realistic about how she needs to change her behavior to succeed.

I had a brief visit from two colleagues. I shared with Psychology colleague Chris May my excitement about (self) publishing my statistics text and we made a lunch date. Tomorrow I (sigh) have three meetings.

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Time to head home and see how the Newf is doing in my absence. She has now been home a week since her week’s hospital stay.

 


Dear First-Year Student

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Dear First-year Student,

I may not meet you for awhile since I am not teaching first-year courses as often as I used to. I do offer you a heartfelt welcome.  You may well be the son or daughter or niece or nephew of one of my former students. That happens a lot.

First-year students have played a very important positive role in my life during my 36+ years of teaching here. You have made me smile, motivated me to learn from your enthusiasm, made me proud as I have seen you grow across your years here, and made me especially happy when we have been able to stay in touch across the years.

You sometimes have been favorably referred to as “the App Generation.” Don’t forget that your best apps are your values and your mind. You, the Class of 2018, do have very different life experiences than I. I look forward to learning from you and with you—if not directly this year, then in subsequent years. Do drop by and say hello in the interim.

Here are a few friendly suggestions I offer based on my years of teaching and learning.

  • Don’t be too proud to seek help or advice from faculty, staff, administrators, and older students here—especially those who know the campus and our students well.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to try new things, to meet new people (especially from different cultures) and to learn how to learn better. Let us become a global choir of learning.
  • Research suggests that the quality of relationships (e.g. with peers, with faculty)  is central to a positive, successful college experience.
  • Set aside some time for self-reflection.
  • Let  self-discipline enable you rather than imprison you, find the right balance between service and involuntary servitude, between doing a right thing and doing things right. My own freshman year at Oberlin College in 1967 was informative and formative, lonely and elating, value challenging and values affirming. I envy you the learning opportunities that are here.

 

 

 

 

David in Carroll Land: Liz, Amy, and DumbleDave Explore ExamTime

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David

Examtime is a relatively new (beta) version piece of software which has interesting potential for students and teachers. Here is a relatively recent Lifehacker review.

by dsimpson

Here is an example of a fun “quiz” I made. I included multiple choice, True/False, and multiple response check-list formats. It was easy to upload images. I’d like to see the capability to include html code, videos, and hypertext links.
by dsimpson

Here is a silly example of flash cards:
by dsimpson
Here is some feedback I received from two of my research assistants, Liz and Amy:
Amy

Liz
ExamTime is an education tool used to make mind maps, quizzes, and notecards. The application also allows you to take notes and build schedules for studying. ExamTime is a great place to for students and educators to collaborate and share information. The application is currently in a beta version and is a free tool.

To explore the features of ExamTime I made a mind map, notecards, and a quiz. Of the three, the most time was spent on the mind map, which was the most extensive of the three. I found the ability to personalize the mind map very appealing. ExamTime allows you to make the map as linear or randomized as you wish. Other features include, the ability to add notes or pictures within the mind map and to customize the shapes and colors to make the map visually appealing. This tool is an exceptional addition to classrooms, educators, and students of all ages. For example, 100 level language students could use ExamTime flashcards to study vocabulary, make a mind map for verb-conjugation practice and quizzes for cultural integration.

Things I especially liked. On the surface, the application is very simple, but has many features. I particularly like the ability to create quizzes to share with friends for studying together. I also love that after creating a mind map, with a simple click you can transfer the information into notes. Additionally, you can add videos, links, photos, and slideshows to a note. Not only does this application have a significant number of options for studying, it is very user friendly and allows members to organize a large pool of information quickly and easily.

Things in Need of Improvement. When making an extensive mind map, there is a set amount of space available, so running out of room can be a concern with this application. Another struggle is perfectly matching the color and shapes of nodes so the final product looks polished and professional. Additionally, hypertext links cannot be added to the information which can limit some types of information sharing.

What are your experiences with Examtime? How does it compare with other similar software?

Ten Meditations on Meditating

There is an interesting, well-written article in Time Magazine about Mindful Meditation that recently drew my attention for several reasons.

  1. This is a semester I finally have an unusually large amount of time to focus on reading, writing, reflection and research as I plan an ordered exit from Carroll Land within the next two-to-four years. There is much yet for me to do before I move on.

2. Since my Oberlin College days I have been interested in “East Asian” philosophies and religions. I recall being intrigued by Herbert Benson’s first empirical studies of the “Relaxation response”.

3. I have always admired his holiness the Dalai Lama, who holds an honorary degree from Carroll COLLEGE (WI).  Ah, the things things I remember that many here at Carroll do not know or recall since they weren’t here then:).

4.  I have been very impressed by the research and values of Richard Davidson, who shared the evolution of his research program in a well-written, thoughtful book The Emotional Life of Your BrainHere are some of his current activities.

5. I have also found of value thinking about (though I have been remiss in practicing) the ideas in Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius’s Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. I truly have been blessed to have opportunities to pursue each in my 35 years here surrounded by bright students and colleagues.

6. Some of my younger Carroll University colleagues are starting to gain well-deserved  recognition exploring these topics and building bridges across interdisciplinary areas. And, their enviable publication rate even motivates me (in my own way) to match/complement/ supplement their scholarly contributions—but at my own speed as I savor the twilight of my career here.

7.  Recently President Obama (who is visiting Waukesha, WI today which may explain the many hovering helicopters) has called for a BRAIN Initiative. Concomitantly, there is an explosion of apps and software claiming to improve thinking and to optimize brain power.

8. I have been intrigued by recent attempts to popularize and capitalize on such findings and initiatives and am contemplating doing some modest research to address their claims—particularly those that purport to improve memory, enhance happiness, and enhance one’s ability to focus.

9. I’ve always been fascinated by the too much neglected research of Ellen Langer’s creative work exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness—as she uses the terms. I found fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still struggling with believing its implications of age-reversal. Still there IS empirical evidence (needful of replication and extension) that subjective perceptions of age can be affected by the mere process of measuring variables related to aging. This merits further study.

10. So many questions to answer. Time to make some decisions and see where the research takes us.