Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 8.47.13 PMA few observations after four days of my first-ever online class:

1. Learning

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this way is completely rewiring my brain. I have decided to try to do it all online — the textbooks are on my Kindle app (had to ask my 14-year-old how to highlight Kindle text), I take notes on my iPad, and of course the readings and lectures are at the Coursera site for the course. It feels more difficult to remember tiny details (did Jeff Jarvis write that, or did I see it on the Google site?), but it’s also undeniably more efficient. And cool.

Speaking of cool, no way did I ever imagine seeing a motorized Android wheeling past one of the towers of the Northwestern Library, with Deering in the background. This was the opening video of the first lecture.

2. Video lectures leave a lot to be desired. The professor, Owen Youngman, is a nationally known expert in digital media, and I enjoy his blog a lot. I’ll bet in the classroom, he is terrific. But online I find myself wishing I could ask a question, and seeing slides with concepts on them as the lecture keeps going feels a lot like listening to the radio while trying to read the newspaper. How quaint, I know, but multi-tasking has never been my thing.

3. Google Plus sucks. So far I have gotten hundreds of notices from around the world saying, basically, “I’m glad to be taking this class.” It’s interesting, I guess, to know that there are 42,000 students in this class from 156 countries, but I am probably going to opt out of this forum unless something more substantive comes up soon.

4. Best part of the class so far: Watching the Google Hangout chat between Youngman and journalist/author/thinker Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis’s book, What Would Google Do?, is one of the assigned texts for this class. The reason I wanted to take this class was to think again about how the media — starting with my former employer, The Commercial Appeal, and going on from there — can rethink how they do what they do. No one in journalism would deny that the print media business model is broken, and it seems clear to me now that it’s only a matter of time before the advertising that newspapers and magazines sell to support their journalism won’t do that any more. Many of the choices traditional news organizations have made seem exactly the wrong ones, but what are the right ones? The Jarvis Hangout interview (I hope you can see it; the link might be accessible only to MOOC members) begins to answer those questions, which, as he points out, is the “moral of the course.”

Final note: I got a 4.25 out of 5 on the first quiz. Crap.

No Comments | Category: Women Who Think

NUcomputerkeySo I have signed up for an online class. It’s the not the first time I’ve tried learning this way, but I’m as excited as I’ve been in a while. (My last try, a wonderful-sounding course on creativity taught by a Stanford design prof, crashed on the shoals of graduation season at St. Mary’s.)

The course is from Northwestern, and the Medill School (of Journalism, I think … do they still call it that in Evanston?). It’s called Understanding Media by Understanding Google. Hey, you can sign up, too, if you want. It’s a MOOC, a massive open online course, and it’s free. So far, it looks like north of 40,000 of us from around the world are taking this class.

OK, it’s not exactly free. I’ve loaded six new books onto my Kindle. It will take some serious time and discipline to figure out all the ways to communicate with my classmates and the prof, Owen Youngman. I’m a little overwhelmed at the volume of texts, links, wikis, forums and the comments on each. (Do we really need to have a discussion about Youngman’s religious preferences?)

It’s time for me to go down this path, though. The school where I work has jumped into online learning in a big way: St. Mary’s was a charter member of the Online School for Girls, and many of our wonderful teachers do their thing online, too. Many of the girls will take an online course before they graduate; there’s talk that an online course might become a graduation requirement. My kid is going to a school where all of his learning is online, and he spends his homework hours each night plugged into his laptop. I know from watching him that online learning is different from the books/lectures/notes learning I did in high school, but I don’t really know how. I need to know.

My brainiac husband has been taking online classes for several years now — computer programming from Stanford was a recent one, I think — but since he is an engineer who is also an online entrepreneur, I’m not sure our online learning journeys will have much in common. Still, at least I am on social media already. Maybe that’s one learning curve that won’t be so steep. (Though I am a newbie to Google+.)

In these blog posts I want to write about taking this course as if I were talking to a plugged-in but not necessarily online-learning literate friend. Tonight’s news flash: I’m a bit overwhelmed. This is a university-level course, and it’s been a long time since I had graded homework, forget about graded forum discussions.

Tomorrow’s the first day of class. Somehow I think it won’t be the same as Basic Writing, circa 1977, which was my last first day at Medill. Wish me luck.

No Comments | Category: Learning about Learning

kneeI punted a race yesterday.

That’s right: I trained all summer with a women’s running group, paid the fee for the race, picked up my shirt and bib, then didn’t go. I’ve never done that before.

I had a good reason, I guess: Last weekend, I did my first Zumba class ever, and though I loved it, it didn’t love me. By the end of the day of the class, my knee was swollen and throbbing, and no amount of ice, ibuprofen and fewer miles seemed to help. Friday night when I was out with Andy, I finally told him about my knee, and he pointed out that I didn’t have to race if I didn’t want to. I had literally never thought of that.

I come from a long line of stoics. Complaining about an ache or pain just wasn’t something our family ever much countenanced, and I still feel slightly ashamed when I call in sick to work. Living with my hardworking but tender-hearted husband all these years has helped a little, but yesterday was miserable.

“You totally could have done that race,” my conscience shouted at me all day. And I probably could have. It would have been pain from the beginning to the end, and more pain later. I probably wouldn’t have come close to the time goal I was trying for, but I would have pushed as hard as I could. Should I have done it?

Truthfully, running fast is painful for me, even on a good day. Most runners have run through pain, and most don’t like to talk about it. This weekend’s adventures have given me a lot to think about. Should I keep trying for a time goal, even if it hurts? Am I taking the easy way out, letting an achy knee make training decisions for me? What about slowing down, running longer, and concentrating on the fun of it again? It’s probably not a coincidence that I have been running alone a lot lately. I miss my running friends, and the way the miles slide by when there’s someone to talk to.

I will keep thinking, but in the meantime, here’s the good news: My knee feels some better today. Maybe I’ll hit the road tomorrow morning and see how things go.


1 Comment | Category: Healthy Self

deadwatchThe word for the Women Run/Walk Memphis training Monday night was BREEZE. As in, payday loans no credit check there was one! Good thing, too, as we were doing payday 2 wiki hill repeats yet again. Though when I said it, we had just finished hill number one, and I didn’t actually make a sentence. I just croaked out, “Breeze.” I think the coach I was running with thought I was saying, “That was a breeze.” Which it certainly wasn’t.

Five hills later (we did six altogether), I actually didn’t feel as completely trashed as I had the first week. Why? Maybe because the payday the heist temp was only 83, though the humidity was killer. Maybe because I had had payday loan a big protein breakfast–eggs scrambled with summer veggies–and veggie soup for lunch. payday 2 cheats (What should I eat on days when I know I’ll be doing a really tough workout in the evening?) Maybe it eeiaa? payday was the two Jolly Ranchers I ate on the way to training. And maybe it was because I am actually payday loans las vegas getting faster. Nah, probably not.

In other news, my slick (expensive) Nike+ Sport Watch has died. Or, rather, it drowned, on the tide of all of those sweaty Memphis runs. As you can see from the photo, the watch has completely stopped working.

I called Nike customer service THREE times before I was able to complete my complaint, and Nike is sending me a new watch (after asking if I wore it scuba diving. Uh, no). Likely not in the color I want, though, seven days of naked runs later, I’d really like to know how fast and how far I am going. But what payday loans online really concerns me is payday loans near me that my current watch is less than a year old. The sweat-drenched runs will continue. If it quits again, I’m getting a Garmin. Which I now know is what the cool kid runners all have. Who knew?

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Running schedule for this week: Monday–hillsx6. (DONE.) Tuesday–rest. Wednesday–3 miles. (DONE.) Thursday–6 miles. Sunday–4.1 mile direct lender payday loan race through the leafy streets of Evanston, IL, the college town of my heart, on the way to a last-hurrah vacation in the Midwest. I’ll be wearing purple–Go Cats!

No Comments | Category: Only In Memphis

stormovermemphisThis week’s adventures in running included the first actual week of speed training, and, for the first time ever, I ran hill repeats. This is pretty much what it sounds like — you run up a buying cialis online hill at a certain pace, then jog slowly back down. It was incredibly difficult. I only did four; the rest of my group did five. I ended up thinking that this might not make me faster, but it certainly taught me how to run through pain. I felt sort of nauseous by the end, and I remembered a conversation I had with Tomas during his cross-country season last year. He was telling me that some of the kids, including the fastest ones, threw up at the end of a race. I told him with a laugh that I would never do that — I would certainly stop running if I felt like throwing up. Monday night, I wasn’t so sure.

Here’s what I learned this week: 1) Hill repeats don’t get easier. If you go out fast, you’ll be crawling by the end. 2) Relaxing your arms and hands (and face!) really does help. 3) Encouragement makes all the difference. From now on, I will be sticking with Linda, the 60-year-old coach (she volunteered her age, I promise) who kept up a constant patter during the whole run and hugged me at the end.

gaudysummersunsetOh, and a pretty fierce storm blew through Memphis Monday night, but not a drop fell at Shelby Farms, where we were training. The photo at the top of this post is what I saw on my way home, while I was still out east (those are the buffalo in the foreground, and the storm in the background), and here is the amazing sunset over the Mississippi I saw when I got home. A pretty cool payoff for all those hills, you know?

This week’s running plan: Monday — uh, hills. Tuesday — weights. Wednesday — 4 miles. Thursday — lap swimming. Friday — 3 miles. Saturday — 5 miles. Sunday — rest. Gotta be ready for hills again on Monday.

No Comments | Category: Uncategorized

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