This week, in my Creative Designs for Instruction class, we watched a couple of amazing TED talks. Very few people think that they can draw well. I happen to be in that camp. My family is actually riddled with creative talent, and my family encouraged, recognized and helped develop our individual talents. Most of my childhood, I really loved drawing. I think it was around my Junior year in high school that I decided that I couldn’t. My mother is a very talented artist. She paints, sculpts, draws, woodblock prints, paper crafts, you name it… I remember, even when she colored in coloring books with me, my drawings were never as good as hers. So by comparing myself, I fell short. That’s all perspective. We can all draw, we just have our own styles. In fact, she probably has told me something similar herself. My inner dialogue/critic was just more noisy than her words of encouragement. I encourage you all to watch these two short TED talks, and participate with the speakers. You just need a couple pieces of paper and a pen.

Just for fun, here are the drawings I made:


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This is my poem about loving Colorado storms, but missing the ocean.

Deep blue poem pdf download

Photography, audio, poem and mixing by Christina Moore. 2 soundtracks used for the background:

Thunderstorm: Patty Jewet, Colorado Springs, CO, USA – Front Range Thunderstorm by Sylvia Shale, Published June 10, 2016, Usage Attribution 3.0,

Ocean: Lagos, beach, Atlantic ocean, by Frank Schulte, Published December 1, 2009, Usage Attribution-Share Alike 3.0,

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A Tale of Two Courses

It Was the Best of Instruction; It Was the Worst of Instruction


While sometimes dreaded by instructors, course evaluations are important for a number of reasons: materials become outdated, new organizational objectives are created, historical organizational objectives are updated, and student/organization needs change. Ideally, evaluations would occur at least yearly for each course and instructor, or as needed when major changes occur in an organization.

To read the full paper, click here:

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Have you ever wondered if you had a subconscious hidden bias? One of the topics we discussed in my Master’s class a couple of weeks ago (an ongoing and important discussion to have throughout a lifetime) was that of equity.

One of my fellow students shared this website, where you can anonymously, and at no charge, take quizzes to see how you are biased in your thinking. It was a very eye-opening and enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it to anyone that is curious and has 15 minutes to spare.

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I’ve been working on a term project on how to hit the reset button on your career, and start over fresh. I have collected a bunch of quotes, that I’ve found inspirational over the years, and applied them to some of my photography. Feel free to download them, and use them in your own materials, if they resonate with you. -Cheers!

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I recently deleted Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram from my phone. I still have the accounts, I just won’t be posting to them from my phone, or surfing them as often. I’ve got my blog and portfolio set up to automatically post to my business Facebook page, and to tweet. This election cycle has been brutal. I was finding myself spending a significant amount of time watching people bicker on Facebook and Twitter, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

After watching this video for class:, I removed the tags of my kids on FB. When they were here this summer, they commented that, “I always post the most embarrassing photos of them.” I had already removed the offending images, but I went ahead and removed all the tags as well. I figure if they want to be tagged in something, then they can add the tag themselves.

Another step I took was to clean up old photos on my business page of Facebook. There were a few old random events that I had photographed, and left all the best photos. I chose to clean those up, keeping only the best of the best. I plan to go through my photos yearly moving forward.

Care to share your thoughts on privacy and tagging? I welcome the discussion.

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A beautiful guided meditation to relieve anxiety. It’s great for all levels, and I found it to be very relaxing. It’s only free this week, so here’s the overview if you find this blog post later:

  • Sit on the ground in a position that’s comfortable to you. I prefer cross legged. Keep your back straight, hands resting on your knees. Keep your eyes closed. 
  • For five minutes, breathe in through your nose for a count of four seconds. Hold for five seconds. Then breathe out through your nose for six seconds. 
  • Focus on your breathing, and the sensations in your body. If your mind starts to wander, lovingly bring your thoughts back to your breathing. 
  • Return to breathing normally. Introducing the mantra: I am safe, I am loved, I am ok. Repeat this mantra, with relaxed breathing for one minute. 
  • Place your right hand over your heart and your left hand over your navel. Repeating your mantra: I am safe, I am loved, I am ok. Do this for two minutes. 
  • Place your hands on the floor. Feel yourself being grounded to the earth. Feel yourself being powerfully anchored to the ground beneath you. Continue this for one minute. 
  • Bring your palms together. Raise your hands, resting the tips of your thumbs on your forehead. Relaxed breathe. Focusing on calm and peace. Continue for one minute. 
  • Keeping your hands up, take three deep breathes, in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for four seconds, out through the mouth for five seconds. 
  • Lower your hands to your heart, and feel yourself relieved of your anxiety. Namaste. 

#FreeVideoFriday – Meditation to Relieve Anxiety Right Meow — MOJO Yoga –

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We recently watched this TED talk, and were asked to react to it:

It took me a while to formulate my response to this assignment. I had a visceral reaction to it. I wanted to remove Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone. Then I watched the video, and something that Paul mentioned resonated with me: “Leaving the internet won’t fix your problems, wherever you go, there you are.”

I have noticed that whenever I feel bored, I start surfing my phone. There are so many other things that I could/should be doing. So I guess I’m addicted, in a way, to my phone. I hate being bored. My mom said, “I’m bored mommy” was my first sentence, and my dad swears it’s true. I love the idea of unplugging for a year. If I were to do that, I would want to go to some buddhist temple or something remote like that. I don’t think I could do that and still work.

Here’s the way I use social media, so that it remains a positive experience:

  • I choose not to let social media isolate me from my surroundings, and keep me from enjoying the small details. In fact, I feel closer to my family because they share photos and videos. I get to see my family, almost daily, while they live far from me.
  • It might have the ability to waste precious time and energy, but it can also make you more productive. As Paul says in the video above, he didn’t use his time away from the internet wisely. I think maybe it’s difficult for anyone to fill their days being productive. Your brain needs some down time and relaxation. Not every hour can be filled with something meaningful.
  • I do think that too much emphasis is placed on social acceptance. That’s a personal battle to have though. I like being liked, but my real friends are far more important to me than online acquaintances.
  • I don’t compare my life with my acquaintances. My mother brought me up under a simple rule: “Never try to keep up with the Jonses.” I live within my means, and focus on my own journey.
  • I try not to overshare (this one is tricky, as I tend to be very opinionated).

How about you? What are your thoughts on social media? Has it brought you closer to others, or do you feel it’s purely an addiction?


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There is a new, amazing pepper spray product coming soon, that I first noticed on my Facebook feed:

Here is why I find it so amazing:

  •  24/7 monitoring with GPS. It lets the police know exactly where you are when you spray it
  • It connects to your smartphone, and has a camera in it. It takes a photo of the assailant as you spray, and sends that photo to the authorities
  • It has a siren to get you the attention you need in an emergency
  • AND it’s the highest concentration of pepper spray allowed.

What are your thoughts? Does this seem like something you, or someone you love could really use? I am amazed at how many tools they have combined into this one product design.

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Every election I have voted to increase school funding by paying more taxes, and every year I see these emotional pleas for more funding. I don’t have children at home, but have volunteered at the schools, and have donated as well. I thought that one of the benefits of voting to legalize marijuana in Colorado, was to help support the schools. According to CPR, that is not the case. My taxes are crazy high! When I look at my yearly property tax breakdown, and a significant amount of that is going to the school, why is it that the schools are still underfunded? I realize that’s a complicated question to answer. I don’t remember the schools in Oregon ever complaining about needing more money. I do not expect teachers to supply their own classrooms, and I do support good wages for teachers. As fellow educators, what is your opinion on this?


I recently read Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? by Rita Kop and Adrian Hill.

There was a quote in the article that I found interesting, and worthy of exploration:

Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.

I totally agree with the quote. I didn’t grow up with much technology. I did take a computer class as an elective in high school, but it was definitely not a robust course. When I was in college, the internet was just taking off. I remember how difficult it was to get online via dial-up modems, and the annoying sounds they made.

I’ve often wondered what the result will be, 20 years from now, since people can just look up information they are wondering about. Everything you want to know is immediately available to you. Just the other day my grandmother was wondering who the first super bowl game teams were, and what year. She was amazed when I looked it up for her, on my phone, while we were talking on the phone. People seem to have no patience for research, as answers are usually immediately available on our phone, and people don’t seem to connect to one another in person as much (in comparison with my youth).

Here are some interesting resources/articles about these issues:

This Ted Talk is amazing to me. Sugata Mitra put a computer into a wall in New Delhi, and the kids not only taught themselves how to use a computer, but also taught other children. Very inspirational talk: (Links to an external site.)

I found this article that reviews what some psychiatrists and scientists think might be happening to “digital natives” (kids who have grown up in the digital age). Diminishing social skills quote: “When the brain spends more time on technology-related tasks and less time exposed to other people, it drifts away from fundamental social skills like reading facial expressions during conversation, Small asserts.” (Links to an external site.)

Here is an article that I found about how our devices are changing our sleep patterns. Insomnia and other issues quote: “Neuroscientists suspect (Links to an external site.) the glowing lights emitted by laptop, tablet and smartphone screens mess with your body’s internal light cues and sleep-inducing hormones. Exposure to bright lights can fool (Links to an external site.) the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, and can potentially have lasting effects on the body’s circadian rhythms (your internal sleep clock). Our eyes are especially sensitive to the blue light emitted by screens. This makes it harder to fall asleep, especially for those who already struggle with insomnia.”

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I attended three of the lectures at TLTS.

  1. Video Games for Student Engagement, Exploration and Learning by Brad Strong. My takeaways from this lecture were as follows:
    • Use games to augment, not replace your teaching
    • Benefits of games: engagement, competition, immersion, control, group-based problem solving, can be mobile, augmented reality, allows learner to apply the learning
    • Choose your “sweet spot” within 3 parameters: Simulation (avatars), Narration (movies), or Ludology (game play) (Tetris)
    • Sliding scale between purely educational and purely entertainment
    • Students improve their test scores and learn more with games
    • Only games can address these issues: Boring becomes exciting, Dangerous becomes safe way to practice such as flight simulators, and Impossible becomes possible such as a Mars exploration
  2. User Experience (UX), Learner Experience (LX) and Usability in the Online Classroom by Baye Herald and Jennifer Panko. My takeaways from this lecture were as follows:
    • UX is measured in part by the ability of a user to achieve their goal
    • There are differences between Users and Learners. Users have independence, they are using a product/service, and have no monetary investment. Learners collaborate and need support and feedback, they are mastering challenging concepts or skills, and have a large investment.
    • LXD Learner Experience Design: A holistic approach that considers the entire learning experience. The learner’s perception of their learning experience is just as important as content, and includes everything before the class, during, and after the class.
    • Attitudes are shifting, but many learners new to online courses tend to devalue their worth. One way to combat this perception is to reach out to the learner before the course starts. Introduce the learner to the course, set realistic expectations on the time commitment required by the student. You need to make your learners feel connected and supported. Try sending out a survey a couple weeks into the course to take the learners pulse.
    • Test your learning site with students: One way to test is TAP or Think Aloud Protocol. Have your student navigate through the site and talk about their experience as they explore. Can they find the links they need? Is the navigation intuitive? How long do they have to search to find the materials they are looking for?
    • Evaluating LX: Your site should have the following traits: Attractiveness, Efficiency, Clarity, Dependability, Stimulation, and Novelty
    • There is a hierarchy of need for your students. Imagine a pyramid shape. Starting at the apex and moving down: Meaningful, Pleasurable, Convenient, Usable, Reliable, Functional. If there is anything wrong with the base of the pyramid, all the top needs fail. You want your learner to only be focused on the top (meaningful and pleasurable).
  3. E Portfolios as a Teaching and Learning Tool by 6 people (didn’t write all their names down).  My takeaways from this lecture were as follows:
    • Online portfolios are important for the following: capture digital evidence of knowledge and competency, archive progress and work, craft personal narratives, reflect and synthesize, demonstrate academic and professional skills, high impact practice, allows learner to focus on what skills they are building rather than their major
    • Try having a partner do an audit of your site, exchange social profiles with partner to see how you appear, are you oversharing for example?
    • ePortfolios forms a personal library or museum of an individual’s evidence of learning, builds their mission statement
    • An interesting way for a student to re-work their “About Me” page, would be to re-organize into three groups: Professional Experience, Educational Experience, and Life Experience
    • Students have a tendency to go further with their projects when they have a portfolio site. The idea of future sharing drives them to go further with each project.

Here is the link for the symposium: They had a very useful app for the event as well.

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Many people struggle with setting their white balance to be accurate in their photography. Using a black, white and gray card is a super quick, easy and inexpensive way of making sure your colors turn out accurately. This is a no brainer, for anyone who uses Photoshop, and shoots professional photography.

Here is a link to show you the process:

Here is a link to an inexpensive black, white and gray card for purchase:

As a general summary: Shoot the cards in the scene with your subject, then shoot without the cards as you normally would. When you are in Photoshop, add a levels adjustment layer, set the black white and gray eyedroppers to those colored cards in your photo. Voila!

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