Thursday, March 15

Today is Thursday of Week 9. If you have not done your story yet for this week, that means today is Storytelling Day. Go wild, and try something new as you start the second half of the semester! Here is a link to all of the Week 9 assignments.

Class Procedures and Reminders

Success Tip: Jumpstart your storytelling with other people's stories. A great way to get ideas for your own storytelling is by looking at other people's stories, and this week is a perfect time to try that out because for the Week 9 blog comments, you are browsing people's story posts to choose what you want to comment on... which can give you lots of new ideas too! So if you have time, do the Week 9 blog commenting before you do this week's storytelling, and see if other people's experiments can inspire your own storytelling.

Spring Break is coming! Your Week 9 end-of-week assignments are not due until the weekend at the end of Spring Break (March 24-25), but I would urge you to finish them now so that you won't even have to think about this class during vacation. Week 10 will start on Monday, March 26, after Spring Break.

Project Stack. If you turned something in by Sunday at 9PM, you should have comments back from me, and I will continue working on the Sunday assignments today. While you are waiting on comments back from me, you can check the stack to make sure I received your email.

The following items are for fun and exploration:

Blog Stream. If you are looking for a storytelling style to try, you might combine the first-person style with backstory, imagining that character's earlier life and ending your story where the traditional story begins. For a great example of how that can work, here's Ashley imagining the life of the hero Karna; her title lets you know that it is a backstory: Before the Rivalry Began, and the first sentence expresses in first-person form the driving force of Karna's identity: I am born to be something more.

India Item. People have strong feelings about the "Abused Goddesses" campaign in India; speaking for myself, I think it is a powerful expression. Find out more here: Abused Goddesses. This is their Saraswati poster:

Myth Video OR India Video: And following up on the goddesses, here is another one of the Crash Course Mythology videos: Great Goddesses.

Myth Book Online: Today's free book is Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn. See the Freebookapalooza blog for links and the table of contents.

Proverb of the Day: Today's proverb is from Japan: Someone who stands behind a wall can see nothing else. Find out more at the Proverb Laboratory.

Writing: Here are some wise words from Maya Angelou about creativity: You can't use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have.

H.E.A.R.T.: And here's a reminder from about being good to yourself:

Growth Mindset: Today's growth mindset cat knows that mistakes are part of the growth process: My mistakes help me grow. You can find out more at the Growth Mindset blog.

Video: And here are some writing tips from the genius writer Kurt Vonnegut: Tips on How to Write a Great Story.

Event on Campus: It's a Dance Party in the Union Food Court tonight with Bollywood and Angolan dances from 6PM-9PM (details). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.

March 15: The Ides of March. Each month in the Roman calendar was marked by special days known as the Kalends, the Ides and the Nones. Today, March 15 a.k.a. "The Ides of March," is the most famous day in the Roman calendar because it is the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated. Caesar failed to heed the warning to "beware the Ides of March" (a line made famous by the soothsayer who appears in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar). You can read more about the Ides of March in this Wikipedia article.

Check out the Twitter stream for information and fun stuff during the day, or click here for past announcements.

Russian Table

Russian Table has been revamped. Don’t worry, there is still the classic чай (tea) from the самовар (samovar) and VERY Russian пироги (pies, a.k.a. pizza from the Domino’s down the street). There is still a diverse mix of students from differing Russian levels, enhancing everybody’s experience outside of class. Now, Russian Table includes not only a discussion of the language we all love, but a huge cultural aspect centered around all Slavic nationalities that keeps attendees coming back for more. Thanks to Rachick, last Wednesday, we learned many fun facts about Russian politics, the fall of the Soviet Union, and Serbian and Georgian identities! Here are a few to share:

-At the fall of the Soviet Union, Georgia made the national language Georgian for a time, banning all others, including Russian. While many citizens could communicate in Georgian, this was restrictive for many, as Russian may have been their first language, or simply because it took away their rights to speak in languages they loved. This restriction did not last.

-There are many tribes that live in Serbia, in the Far East of the Russian country. While, now, many most likely speak at least a little bit of Russian, they all have their own unique languages without any Slavic origins. It is theorized that these peoples migrated from North America, originally mixing with the Native American tribes, across the ice bridge connecting Russia to Alaska before settling in Siberia.

-Putin used to be the right-hand man of Yeltsin, former Russian President, from 1996-1999. Yeltsin, however, was an alcoholic and resigned in 1999, at which point Putin took over. Now, Putin and Medvedev have been alternating between President and Prime Minister for almost 20 years.

I would highly recommend anyone to come visit us at Русский столь, Wednesdays at 5 pm in Kaufman 221B, and share some пироги!

Some Merge AR VR updates

As people still search for Merge Cubes they are not totally sold out yet but there has been some really cool stuff happening..

  1. Merge has started an educators group.  with currently 358 Members.

This group is great in that it has many people sharing curriculum guides for the Merge Cubes and new ways to use them.

2.   I taught about Merge cubes at #EdcampOKC and I posted some pics on Twitter and low and behold one of the companies that has 4 Merge Cube Apps is in Tulsa. So Friday, I am driving out and seeing where the Magic Happens and talking about collaboration..

Check out Steelehouse Productions  Super excited to take a personal tour this week.. more to come!!!

Check their Merge Cube  Apps Hangry Herb,  Mr Kranky, Invasion, and SuperSugar Crash!


My 2nd stakeholder would be a…


-25-55 years old

-Married with kids

-$100,000-$300,000 combined income

-Health conscious

-Exercises regularly

-Upper middle class

This type of stakeholder will be the one buying the groceries for their families. Mothers often are the ones that emphasize healthy living and do most of the cooking. We need to show that mothers need to shop here because it is the best quality of ingredients for their kids.


For unit 3.1 we were asked to create our first mailer using photoshop!

For my mailer, I wanted it to exemplify the brand, their many locations and the accessibility of visiting a store due to the large amount of locations.

It took a lot of trial and error to learn photoshop but I am ultimately pleased with my result. I think it is simple, which is sometimes best. If I was to add on to it I would add the address and phone number and maybe some other pictures.

My reaction was pleased since I taught myself how to use photoshop with little help and the mailer portrayed what I was trying to get across.

Info Literacy Learning Community – Week 5 Newsletter

People walking across a street crosswalk in a large city.

I’ve converted the curriculum for the fifth (and final) week of this info literacy learning community into this newsletter covering the people facing issues from all the topics we’ve studied. This post is divided into three sections that you can review and study at your leisure during the week.


During our time together, we’ve explored many issues involving technology, privacy, and truth. To conclude this learning community we’ll turn our attention toward how these problems we face manifest in people’s lives. These issues are why we’ve gathered here in the first place, because we want to better prepare ourselves and our students to face these problems.

As we conclude our time together, spend time this week reflecting on how each of our topics plays a role in your own life. Your experiences may not be too far removed from some of the stories we’re about to explore.


To spark our discussion this week, we focused on three stories of the issues facing real people in higher education and around the world.

First, we considered the right to be forgotten, revenge porn, and how fabricated video can readily be produced. We explored these topics through this story of a 30-year-old victim of revenge porn who was secretly filmed by her ex-boyfriend. The victim found herself unable to gain employment because searching her name online yielded these videos.

For our next story, we talked about how fake news and hoax narrative was used to justify government inaction in the case of the kidnapped Chibok girls. Stephanie Busari’s Ted talk video (above) was the foundation for much of this discussion, although recently another hundred girls have been abducted by the same terrorist group, Boko Haram. These are some of the real consequences of proliferating false information—justification of inaction. These are ramifications we need to engage our students with as we approach issues of truth and misinformation.

Finally, we explored online harassment and the disproportionate targeting of women and people of color. These issues were explored through the lens of higher education, in particular we focused on Tressie McMillan Cottom’s story. With the rise of hate crimes and white supremacist propaganda on our campuses, it’s imperative that we engage our students with these issues.

Many of these conversations were difficult and unnerving, but critical for us to consider as we explore the best ways to address these topics in our lives and in our classrooms.

Based on your interests and as you feel compelled, here are a few more topics to explore related to social media:

Personal Digital Health

The Root of the Problem



Lastly, you’re invited to reflect on questions such as:

  • From the content you studied this week, what should we be teaching our students about the people facing issues from the topics we’ve studied?
  • What’s a small change you can make in your course for the benefit of your students?

If you’d like for your reflections to contribute towards a “document of recommendations” composed of all the reflections of the participants in this training, you can submit your thoughts to this form.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Christopher Burns via Unsplash.

Let’s Teach Our Kids About the World

One morning not too long ago, I was sitting in class next to a friend of mine who happens to be from Latvia. We were talking (complaining) about our upcoming exam that focused on different aspects of the Cold War. While I was simply not looking forward to having an exam early Friday morning, Sinthia was exhausting herself with studying.

Growing up in America, I’ve studied the Cold War every year I’ve taken a history class. Sinthia, on the other hand, recently moved here from Eastern Europe where her classes focused on Latvia’s relationship with the Soviet Union following World War 2, not ours. That seems like a rather obvious point to make, but in the moment, I was taken aback. Like, oh, yeah, I guess American history isn’t a requirement for the rest of the world.

Since then, I’ve been so interested in learning how history is taught in different countries. I imagine historical relations play a part in how certain countries or events are portrayed in many textbooks, especially in regions that are more censored than others. Besides that, I cannot help but think about how much history I’ve not yet learned. Sinthia’s knowledge of the world post World War 2 varies from my own, yet neither are wrong. It is now a goal of mine to bring back a history textbook from every country I visit in the future.

While I strongly believe in the emphasis on knowing your country’s past, I wish more world history would have been incorporated into my curriculum over the years. In relation to much else of the world, America is fairly young. As every classroom in the States has once sang, in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue (and committed many atrocities against the native people). However, many centuries lay before that journey to America, all rich in history that isn’t enforced in our curriculums. Although I’ve yet to take a history class in another country, I can assume from Sinthia’s concern that day that this isn’t something unique to the United States. I personally think teaching history more broadly would encourage students to be open to learning new perspectives. However, as all my favorite dystopian novels imply, that might be what many are afraid of.

My Experience With the NISO Experience

During the last week of winter break, while most students were consuming as much sleep as possible before returning to class, I was lugging all of my belongings back up to my dorm room, conveniently located on the 9th floor. As a NISO peer mentor, I had to attend the mandatory two-day training session before participating in the Crimson Connection orientation. The New International Student Orientation (NISO, for short) is a program all incoming international students go through prior to beginning classes at the University of Oklahoma. Crimson Connection, the final step at arrival, runs through several presentations regarding rules, social norms, and advice on coping with culture shock. As a mentor, I was assigned to a group of 10 students to ensure a warm welcome to our campus and serve as a helpful resource for these students as they settle into life in America.

Over 100 students from around the globe arrived in our student union on what was likely the coldest day of winter so far. My heart went out to the incoming groups from places like Africa, the Middle East, and South American countries who left behind their warm climates for our wind and ice that day. Thankfully, no one seemed to let the weather bring them down. Going into this program, my intentions were to make sure these students felt comfortable and have a positive impact on their time here.

In retrospect, I realize I initially felt more like an advisor to these students instead of a friend. In a way, I guess that is what we were supposed to be. However, I’m thankful I let go of my ego and genuinely bonded with several students. When orientation came to an end, I offered rides to their apartments. Sarah, a girl in my group, brought along 2 of her girlfriends. Hearing these new friends of mine thank me for being so kind and welcoming gave me such a warm feeling.

It didn’t stop there, however. The very next day Sarah invited me over for dinner with the girls, a gathering that has become a weekly tradition. Sarah, Clara, and Maureen are far more than just ‘my students’ now, a notion I regret ever buying into. They are some of my closest friends. Now, just halfway through their semester here at OU, they are the ones who have made a priceless impact on my life. If you ever notice me taking my shoes off immediately upon walking into a home, thank the girls. (Leaving your shoes on in a home is a sign of disrespect in French culture, which I think is awesome.)

If you’re a student at OU reading this, I cannot place enough emphasis on this program. Not only is it fulfilling, it can be a life changing experience. Please consider applying to be a NISO peer mentor or joining any similar program you can!

Wednesday, March 14

Today is Wednesday of Week 9. The second part of the reading is due today, and I hope you are getting some good ideas for a story you want to tell this week! Here is a link to the Week 9 assignments.

Class Procedures and Reminders

Success Tip: Mix and Match. Those of you who have been working ahead and/or doing a lot of extra credit may find that you are nearing the end of the class. As you think about your last weeks, you can mix-and-match, focusing on the assignments you like most, deciding on how you want to finish up your project, etc. Any combination of points to get you to your goal is fine with me!

Project Stack. I've replied to all the Week 7 assignments that were in the stack, and today I'll start working on the Week 8 and Week 9 assignments, based on the order they were turned in. While you are waiting on comments back from me, you can check the stack to make sure I received your email.

The following items are for fun and exploration:

Blog Stream. I wanted to share this great example of a science-fiction style story from Tyler, written in the form of a laboratory report. This is a case where passive verbs are the expected style! SCP-5093: Aindrastra; the story is now part of his Portfolio, so you can look at the evolving version of the story there.

Words from Mythology. The name of the day today comes from the Norse god Odin, a.k.a. Woden: WEDNESDAY, Woden's Day.

India Video: Here is one of Devdutt Pattanaik's "Decoding Hinduism" videos: Caste.

India Comic Book: Today's comic book is about one of my favorite episodes from the Mahabharata: The Golden Mongoose. See the Amar Chitra Katha blog for the Bizzell Reserve call number and more information.

Proverb of the Day: Today's proverb is from India: When the house is built, the carpenter is forgotten. Find out more at the Proverb Laboratory.

Writing: Here's a fun cartoon from John Atkinson about how plots are made up of different elements... one from Column A, one from Column B and so on: Movie Plot Generator.

Reading: I hope you enjoy this week's escape from reality while you are reading.

Growth Mindset: Today's growth mindset cat is always asking questions: In order to learn, we must probe and poke. You can find out more at the Growth Mindset blog.

Video: This is a helpful video, starting out with the "Let's eat Grandma" type of comma error, a.k.a. the vocative comma: 5 Comma Types That Can Make Or Break a Sentence.

Event on Campus: Come learn the basics of seed sowing 4PM-5:30PM at Sarkeys Energy Center; seeds and compostable pots provided (details). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.

March 14: Walter Crane. Today marks the anniversary of the death in 1915 of one of my favorite book illustrators, Walter Crane. You can read about his life and career at Wikipedia, and of course one of my favorites among his books is his beautiful illustrated Aesop's fables:

Here's a random fable from the book:

Check out the Twitter stream for information and fun stuff during the day, or click here for past announcements.

Leaving the Nest: Where and Why I Want to Study Abroad

Until I moved to the city of Norman to attend college, I had never lived beyond the limitations of rural Oklahoma. While I love my hometown, which is also the hometown of both of my parents, I’ve always been drawn to what lies beyond, pushing the boundaries of my traditionalist town. I respect the decision of my parents, like many others there, to settle down young and find careers within oil and agriculture, but it is not the future I want for myself. I’m thankful to have a family supportive of my choices to study subjects like writing, French, and international studies, but especially their encouragement of me going beyond the city limits of Hennessey, Oklahoma.

My cousin running through our family’s field after a day of harvest

Now, the opportunity to study abroad is in my hands thanks to my university’s global engagements fellowship, which I am a part of. As my French minor would suggest, my dream is to travel to France. The culture appeals to me in a variety of ways. I admire their focus on the arts, their attention to philosophy and history. Just looking at the streets of French cities, you can see the history sprouting from the ground. Buildings hundreds of years old still serving as businesses and homes. The French seem keen to living an effortlessly sophisticated life, different from the bustling, tense American way.

Beyond my romanticism, I want to travel to Europe to learn new perspectives. Ideally, one day I have a career that allows me to focus on international relations and help aid in compromising situations with varying perspectives. Therefore, I should probably have an understanding of some other world views. Furthermore, if I am putting myself through (and assuming I survive) the hardships of learning a new language, I better be able to use it one day. Where better than its native country?