iratewizard

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Month: June, 2012

Unit 6 – HTML

I had a love/hate relationship with this week’s assignment. At first I couldn’t get anything to work. Then, I seemed to get it all to work. Then I think I got overly ambitious and nothing worked. Last semester we got extra credit for posting part of our assignment to our website, so I was able to somehow load it onto my main page. Other students made separate pages and I wanted one. So I was hellbent on creating one. It took a few hours. I made some pretty big missteps, but I succeeded in the end. I now have two links to two separate pages on my homepage (one for the class from last semester and one for this class). I’m so proud that I finally figured it out. Is that sad? So I think these are called subfolders. Now if only I could figure out how to make subdirectories. And what the difference is? I consulted lots of websites, mostly W3C (including http://validator.w3.org/check and http://www.w3.org/International/getting-started/). Sometimes it helped. Other times I felt more confused then when I started. The validator frustrates me because it finds more problems than I am capable of fixing. I seem to understand enough to know where the mistake is, but not necessarily how to fix it. I prefer to look at the source code from other sites. To see what others did can help me to figure out my own mistakes. I find this extremely helpful. Maybe that’s cheating, but when it comes to websites I don’t think it’s always necessary to start from scratch. This is, however, how I got in trouble. I saw something I wanted to emulate and tried to copy the code into my site and next thing I knew my website wasn’t showing anything anymore. It’s a terrifying feeling to think I’ve erased everything, but with patience and lots of cursing or prayer (you choose), I think I resolved it all in the end. My site is still pretty bare bones, but it’s way more than I could have done 180 days ago.

Adding to my frustration was 10 minutes or so when I was pretty sure I had accidentally deleted this blog posting. One minute to realize I had lost everything. Eight minutes of walking away from the computer angry at myself. One minute to return and realize that it had been saved as a draft. The good thing about frustration is that it can’t sustain itself for very long.

Unit 5 – Polite Computers

Disclaimer to the Polite Computer: These packets were sent to the MAC address of the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient, please be polite enough to not open the packet.

Disclaimer to the System Administrator: You may be as impolite as you like. Packet-sniff away.

Continuing the theme of etiquette, I must apologize in advance to the world of computer technology for the following post. As far as my learning style goes, I prefer to learn as far away from screens and technology (beyond paper and pen).  So that’s any screen. No matter what’s on it.

So I print everything out (visual) and keep away from the computer for as long as possible. (Terrible for a digital information course, I know.) And, this might be even more unbelievable, but reading on paper keeps me more active and engaged. I like to make lots of notes in the margins and attach post-its with more notes. I like to flip through my post-its after I’ve done my initial reading and go back to things I’ve highlighted or left for later. It’s interactive (a word we’ve set aside for computers, though I don’t see why).

Reading on the computer is dull, boring. I’ve got nothing to do with my hands (kinesthetic). The light from the screen hurts my eyes. Clicking on links and watching videos is distracting. I find it harder to stay focused. As a result, my style has resulted in several reams of paper that have died for this course. But I consolidate the readings on as few pages as possible and plan on recycling everything once mastery of the information is achieved.

I’m sure this is not what Felder and Soloman had in mind when they wrote about active learning, but I think it’s a complimentary parallel. I like to work in groups, but find this difficult due to the structure of the course. This is why I may push for a study group earlier than Sunday, when we’ve all pretty much mastered the information on our own. The class has written a lot about visual learning on the discussion boards and it was interesting to read a professional definition, after which I concluded that I may not be one after all (which supports my flip-floppiness on the GUI vs CLI discussions). I found Kolb’s model to be too boring even to read, so I can’t imagine I’d fit into that model. I like the model proposed by Gregor. I’ve often alluded to these concepts in my former life in education publishing. It’s interesting to consider perception in learning, as oftentimes a subject that starts off as concrete can become abstract (like mathematics and the sciences).

All in all, I must be like most: a combination of lots of styles (depending on the material, weather, and what song comes on the radio).

Unit 4 – This Incident Will Be Reported

In keeping with our ongoing command line versus graphical user interface debate, it’s a bit refreshing to see so many ways to complete the same tasks. This makes me think that computers or those that program them are aware of this great debate and therefore offer their users a variety of ways to get things done. Options. Maybe the CLI v GUI debate doesn’t need to be resolved. It’s a bit refreshing.

I am finding the assignments ‘a piece of cake’ to complete but slightly harder to digest. I can follow directions, but get hung up on the overarching concepts. I’ve been reviewing past weeks before moving on to new ones and that seems to be helping me a lot. If only, to remind myself how far I’ve come and all the new terms and commands I’ve learned and remembered. Assignment 1 was simple enough to follow. Although, I first tried to complete it at the public library, which did not work. I am unable to confirm IP addresses at the public library. I wonder why this is. I have tried this for several assignments with no luck. I find this both frustrating and ironic. Trying again from home, proved successful. When encountering the alert message in Firefox, I for the first time ever, actually read what it said and felt like a warrior clicking on “I understand the risks” (because, honestly, I didn’t).

I much preferred adding a user using the command line over the gnome desktop admin utilities. However, if left to my own devises I know I would choose the latter. I struggled with the webmin approach, but because of my own oversight and not the computers. It still left a scar. I still hold it against webmin. Overall, I’m starting to warm up to the idea of the CLI. I’m more focused. I think I would get distracted when working in any other option. At work, distractions are often the curse. The phone rings, an email comes in, human beings start talking to you… something about the command line makes me think I would remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, where I left off. If I were interrupted at the gnome desktop admin utilities or using webmin, I think it would take me a bit longer to remind myself where I had left off… or forget completely. You may notice that my affinity towards one over the other waxes and wanes almost daily. Maybe by the end of this course I’ll pledge my commitment, but don’t hold your breath.