Making Research Real for my CRE101 and ENG102 students


I’m grateful to be attending AERA in San Diego. Most of you probably already know that the American Educational Research Association (AERA), “a national research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.”

This has been a great opportunity for me to reconnect with long-time colleagues and be reminded of the importance of scholarship in our teaching profession.

As I’ve been learning and reflecting over these past few days, I realize that my students are using the word “research” loosely and incorrectly. I’m considering changing my vocabulary, and I want my ENG and CRE peeps to help me with this. We really have three very different processes when my students and I talk about research at GCC:

  1. Conducting a scholarly investigation
  2. Reading research, and
  3. Doing research 

    When we are reading and evaluating sources with ABC or CRAAP, we’re conducting a scholarly investigation. I’ve realized that I need to help students be more intentional because some think that when they Google a term, they are researching it.

When I help my students to read research, it is typically part of learning about the benefits and limitations of different types of evidence.

The final area of doing research is not something my students do; however, they do participate in the PSY290 data collection and we learn about the process through the poster sessions. PSY 290 students will be presenting their research at an in-person Poster Session on Wednesday, April 27th from 10-11:30am in the Lobby of the LS Building (entrance is on the west side of the building).  My students will earn five (5) points extra credit for texting me a selfie with one of the presenters and their poster.  We will be doing an assignment next week related to the poster presentations.

I’ve also been reminded by my colleagues here at AERA that gathering student data and self-reflection are key to improving myself and the overall teaching profession. I plan to engage more with the self-study special interest group. I’m grateful that MCCCD allows us the time and funding to travel and grow! I’m grateful that COVID has eased up enough to allow these inspiring people to gather!

GCC in 2033

For this last week of GCC’s Write 6X6 challenge, the suggested prompt was to write about where we see GCC 5 or 10 years from now – a “vision,” if you will. This prompt brought up another vision I had almost 10 years ago – one that changed my life in profound ways.

Before anyone gets excited, I am a scientist. I don’t suffer tales of the paranormal gladly. I had a vision about 10 years ago that absolutely came true, but plenty of my other visions did not. For example, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Radio City Rockette. But I digress . . .

The day of my vision started by walking my daughter Taylor to her first day in a new job at a Manhattan advertising agency. A few months earlier, Taylor took an uncharacteristic leap and packed up to move to the Big Apple. Tears filled my eyes as we hugged a block away from her office, lest any of her new colleagues see mommy walking her to work.

After we parted, I decided to take a stroll on the High Line, a public park built on a historic, elevated rail line. Full of public art and flora and fauna (okay, birds and squirrels) right next to the life-sounds of the city, walking the High Line makes for a brain buzzy with introspection. I thought about Taylor’s exciting new career — and the one I was currently enduring as an assistant research professor.

View on the High Line

Right there on the High Line somewhere between 26th Street and the 10th Avenue crossing, the thought flashed, “I want to teach at a community college!” I then spent the next hour or so going over in my mind how such a position would feed my soul. (Yep, I said soul – this scientist has one, too.) This wasn’t the first time I considered community college teaching, but it was this one particular vision that spurred me to action.

I had one eensy problem. The leadership in my then-department had a policy: If you apply for another position, you must resign in order to receive a recommendation. You know where this is going. I quit my full-time job. With benefits. And a retirement plan. To become an adjunct. If my mother were alive to see it, she would have muttered, “Mary, Mary, Mary . . .”

Shortly after my decision to leap out into the CC job market, the net in the form of an adjunct gig at GCC magically appeared. (Did I really just write about magic?) More adjunct opportunities came from SCC and NAU. I even returned to ASU to lecture for a couple years before I landed in the residential position I am in now. My point is it’s been a long road to get here, but I have never been happier and more fulfilled at work.

My vision of GCC in the next 10 years is that we continue to grow in our vibrancy and remain as wonderfully student-centered as I believe we are today. My vision includes a faculty who feel valued and energized. There’s a wonderful book entitled, If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students. My hope for GCC is that all faculty feel fed so that they may be fully present for students.

Five years elapsed between my initial vision and inking my employment papers with GCC, but every minute of the struggle to get here was worth it. Whatever we do collectively to move GCC forward over the next 10 years is worth every bead of sweat if it helps our students to live out their own visions of the lives they want as well.


May GCC be as vibrant as this mural on the High Line!

The post GCC in 2033 appeared first on My Love of Learning.

Living with VIM and Vigor: The Vision, Intention, and Means to the Good Life


In my role as Student Engagement Staff in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department I often get to interact with students in need of direction and guidance.  With one recent encounter I used a method of personal analysis based on the work of the late USC philosopher, Dallas Willard.  He called it the VIM method.  I outline some of what I shared with the student below.  What I particularly like about this approach is that recognizes the critical importance of “vision.”  This is to acknowledge that people cannot be forced into human flourishing or that which is good for them.  What we can do is to paint a vision of the good life that they might find alluring and motivating.  As I interacted with this student I tried to guide the discussion with questions that would bring this student face-to-face with their ultimate goals and their understanding of the “good life.”  I think “vision” is the key component and the other two (intention and means) can fall into fall rather nicely under the guidance of a wise counselor.


  • What is your vision for the “good life”?
    • Physically, emotionally, spiritually
    • Relationships
    • Vocation, life-work
  • If the desires of my heart came true, what would it look like? (Try to be specific)
  • What do you want to be doing/experiencing in …
  • One year?
    • Two years?
    • Five years?
    • Ten years?


  • Vision is not enough.  We need to intend by an act of the will (actually, repeated acts of the will) to move toward the Vision set before us.
  • We cannot merely dream—we must act!
  • Clarifying vision can help motivate intention.  As I see clearly the good life, my desires for it increase and I’m more and more willing to move my will toward it.
  • Have I really intended to pursue the Vision before me?
  • Am I willing to begin to make the changes necessary to begin to see the Vision fulfilled?
    • If not, why?  What is holding me up?


  • What are the tools, resources, people, and practices that I will need to see Vision fulfilled?
    • Tools, resources: Technologies, Services (counseling, professional organizations)
    • People: Counselors (professional, wise family and friends), family, friends
    • Practices: Study habits, time management, focused “free-time,”

Question: What one thing do I need to do today to pursue VIM?

6x6x6 Tiny Stories in the Rarely Seen Internet Corners

With time and the accretion of stuff that accumulate from years of tossing things on the web, again and again I stub my toe happily onto very small bits of serendipity that quietly sits there, doing it’s own, unnoticed bit of marvelousity (yes web editor red underline, I made up my own word).

Note: This is a last installment in my participation in the 2022 Write 6×6 Challenge, where has the weeks gone? But hardly the last blog post here, hope the other 6ers keep going.

I have been in the twitters and here on the blog doing semi regular bit of web yodeling for my collection of web serendipty stories.

This one here is not quite in the vein, but it resonates more with what I find many people miss about this. And that a story is not just “this happened, here’s the tweet”. The story is all context that surrounds it and also a telling that gets at to some kind of emotional level. It’s not Joe Friday imploring, “Just the story facts, ma’am.”

Actually I was flitting around trying to find a topic for his post, looking through a few browser tabs that have been sitting there long enough to be showing web dust. One was my own photo that I had plans to use for a new post, and it was sitting in the tab so long, I forgot what the post was about.

I think I was trying to recruit volunteers to take over a recurring (fun) web task. Maybe I do remember, But that’s not this post. Sure Unsplash is full of photos that look so professionally perfect and so like all the others there, that I often look for things in my own flickr pile first. I probably searched on “help wanted” and found this image:

Odd Job Names 1
Odd Job Names 1 flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

It’s a job advertisement from a New Zealand newspaper, that alone hints at the antiquity of the photo (November 2004). That time ripples off the memory cells and clicks that that was maybe the 2nd of 3 times my colleague Richard Elliot in Auckland had found a way to invite me to his institution (UNITEC) to do some workshops and visits.

That alone, a point in time and a location trigger a whole stream of connective pieces. That’s why I think that the A in AI is the bigger factor in making sense of Artificial Intelligence. I guess I was being intrigued by the names of jobs, an “All Rounder” needed for a bakery.

I did not have (or maybe just did not use) online dictionaries, I can easily now find it’s not a reference to the cricket position but I did a fair job of inference in my caption to the photo:

Funny names for “help wanted” ads- I guess this is for an “all around” worker?

The camera information on my photo sends more associative trails- flickr reminds me I took the photo with an Olympus C4040Z maybe my first personal digital camera? I remember that I had access to one at my work at the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (for the MCLI still around, now the I stands for Innovation) and I ended up buying one for my personal use.

Adjacent photos indicate I was intrigued by the Kiwi job titles – Panel beaters and Paper Runners are all very descriptive of the work.

But going back to the All Rounders photo, I spotted a comment:

Hi – Borrowed your photo to illustrate a blog post which asks where’s the green job revolution, that was promised as Thanet off-shore wind farm goes live in the UK amidst figures that only 20% of the 900 million spent went to UK companies.

(there now I’ve gone and spoilt the plot!)

Thanks for sharing your photo – very keenly observed.
Cheers – Jonathan.

p.s here’s a link to your photo in situ:

I would have seen this… 12 years ago when the comment was added! That seems almost surreal that a web sie would be around long enough to keep ancient comments alive. But better yet, that blog link to the Solar Panel Quoter blog is still alive (alas they gave up the blog posting in 2014, last new post).

It was a nice find for me as over the last maybe 6 years I have been tracking known reuses of my flickr photos in an album, and the All Rounder photo needed to be added.

So it took me 11+ years to respond to the comment but I did

Ha! It only took me 11 years to see your note of reuse, thanks, and its a welcome relief that your post is still alive. I hope the green revolution finally got “’round” to it

I guess they last bit if interesting finds in this flickr photo is, woah, this little silly thing has been seen 7,683 times!

This is hardly a crowning post in the realm of blogging, but to me it’s all these little threads and memory jogs that can come from a tiny little quiet corner of the internet that gives me a good feeling about things.

The little things and the mind ripples they can generate, that is much more exciting to me than cryptocurrency and the metawurst.

Featured Image: My Google Images search for “tiny flower cracks” (with results set o Creative Commons license only) yielded a result from pxfuel – from experience I know that sites like that just yank from the source sites, so I went upstream to locate the original image from Pixabay by klimkin. I always try to not just grab free photo but get them from a place where I can give credit, even if a license says I do not have to.

Onward Nurses!


The New Nursing Student

Dr. Ingrid Simkins

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 

You might be saying to yourself, “I’m just trying to make it through to the end of the semester…I can’t even think that far ahead!”. Small measured goals are certainly a way to assure your immediate success, but every so often pause, reflect and examine a future goal. These goals marked by time are not finite, but instead open to opportunities that present themselves and opportunities you create. However, no matter what direction you are currently headed, remember that as a professional your learning is life-long.

Week 8 – Lifelong Learning | Teaching in a digital world

Perhaps you wish to be a L&D (or insert current desired specialty here) nurse. Then put things in motion to network and shine during that rotation. Ask for those letters of recommendation from your clinical instructors, introduce yourself to the staff and leadership of that unit. Be prepared to be asked this very question in the interview for your dream job.

Your desire to be the best nurse would include keeping current by attending workshops and conferences and to seek certification. As you acclimate and grow in the role you may want to pursue becoming a midwife…again endless opportunities exist.

It is important to formulate some long term goals, then in times that are stressful or attempting to derail your efforts you can refocus and get yourself on track. So moving forward…what are your goals?

The new Graduate Nurse

Dr. Mary Resler

The hardest part of becoming a nurse is over. You have completed a rigorous nursing program; kudos to you! However, the most challenging part of nursing is just beginning. Moving forward after a hard shift can be challenging. After losing a patient that you have spent countless hours helping, moving forward can be challenging. Moving from a high census shift with low nursing staff can be challenging. Moving forward after a code can be challenging.

Georges St-Pierre Quote: “Set your goal and keep moving forward.”

Moving forward from a student nurse to a new graduate nurse to an experienced nurse happens quickly but not without bumps in the road and growing pains. Moving forward is learning from your mistakes or watching others’ mistakes. Moving forward is forgiving those mistakes, learning from them, and becoming a better nurse because of them.

Moving forward is joining a professional nursing organization and participating in it. Moving forward is taking continued education classes. Moving forward is precepting a nursing student or a newly hired nurse. Moving forward is advancing your degree. Moving forward is improving patient outcomes. Moving forward is almost anything but standing still. Which means moving forward is the only direction to go! Remember, nurses are lifelong learners.

The new Nurse Educator

Dr. Grace Paul

Free Career Development Cliparts, Download Free Career Development Cliparts  png images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library

Nurses indeed must strive to be lifelong learners, whether bedside with patients or in the classroom with students. A great bedside nurse may not be a great instructor, and a great instructor may not be the best nurse. As nursing faculty, we help motivated students who know their chosen profession and want to do their best. Therefore, faculty is expected to be equally vested in their students’ success.  Faculty should be able to help students of different ages, learning styles, needs, and life experience. We must be flexible and adapt to students’ needs.

Inspire your students to be lifelong learners by being one." - #education  #educationquote #teach… | Education quotes, Motivational education quotes,  Education blog

While it is important to learn different ways to help students and develop your role as faculty, it is also important to invest in your career growth. Career development and career growth are different. Career development is short term and career growth is long term. How do you see yourself in three, five, or ten years? What is your career trajectory? What is your path moving forward? If you don’t plan your career goals, you may be stuck for decades. Due to the healthcare industry’s explosive growth, nurses have more choices. You must be deliberate in charting your career goals.

Strategically weaving a nest!

A career trajectory plan keeps you on track. A simple plan like the one below helps us write down what we want to do with our career. Plan strategically. It helps us to keep us energized, focused, and engaged. You can revisit these plans (for example, once a year) to decide whether to continue on or change direction. Your career trajectory can be a combination of vertical and horizontal movements. Vertical movements are promotions within your institution. These are far and few today. Horizontal movements are lateral moves which are more fulfilling, more engaging, make more of an impact, or make more of a difference in people’s lives.  Movement is the key! Good luck!

Career Trajectory Plan

Focus AreaCareer GoalsStrategiesExpected Date of StartDate completedExperience or Evaluation
Professional Development     
Scholarship – Teaching/learning, Research     
Community or Voluntary Service     

Get Ready to Stretch


In 10 years, I see GCC providing quality education that meets the needs of our students and their ever growing need for flexibility.

In order to meet the growing demands of flexibility from our students and their employers, we need to be willing to make schedules strategically. I am all for faculty teaching courses that they want, however the time, format, and frequency of class meetings need to meet the needs of our students. I would like to see us adopt a more positive outlook on reviewing our data. I want all of us to see how our students are doing as they progress from our course into the next. Are there areas that we can grow as instructors to better meet the demands of the next course in our students sequence?

Then I want us to look further into the students’ future careers. What are we leading them toward? What will their work environments look like? What areas can we as faculty grow in order to provide them with the skills they need in their future careers? Can we partner with companies to ensure relevance to our content and our students’ future work environments?

Our faculty are strong and more malleable than we know.. If we get back to the root of the reason why we are all teaching and given the evidence to support change for the betterment of students, we can overcome the discomfort change brings.

Our students are our customers and we need to be sure they want to keep purchasing our product, “knowledge.” We want to create classroom spaces that are collaborative and dynamic. These spaces require ingenuity and innovation. We are teachers but that is only the surface. We are learners and cheerleaders for our content and our students. We are already taking steps to bring more flexibility and change to our classrooms, curriculum, and college. We can see these changes in the online tutoring, the new modalities for courses (live online, flexible attendance), online test proctoring, student services chat systems, instructional videos, grace periods on assignments, allowing students to Zoom into a class session, and many more that I am sure I have missed.

We are well on our way to seeing a full scale change in our campus and yes it will probably take us 10 years to truly adopt the growing world of flexibility but it can be done and I cannot wait to see it.

Into the FYRE!


The group that has been most culturally relevant for me, has been the First Year Residential Experience cohort. I was pregnant when I was hired and was out for 6 weeks during my first semester at GCC. This made it hard to connect with my department.

The FYRE meetings were my favorite part of my first year. It was a place that I felt connected to and that I belonged. Everyone no matter their age, life, past work history, etc. are all starting new at GCC. This made it easy to connect and feel welcome. Chris Neilson cultivated a judgment-free space for us to feel safe asking questions. He was always available to talk to and about anything. My whole cohort was comprised of individuals that I admire still to this day and have continued to be valuable members on the campus. We span multiple departments and act in many different roles.

I feel so blessed to have had them in a challenging time in my new faculty life and still regularly get together with them to discuss the campus and life as a probationary faculty member. This is our final year as probationary faculty. I cannot wait to see where we grow from here!

Flip or Flop


I have been working hard to keep my students actively engaged in class and have found that making class worthwhile is what keeps them coming back. 

I have to ask myself, “what can my students get from me that they cannot get from watching a youtube video?” We are literally competing with the internet and all of the knowledge it holds. We must be better than the videos, even the ones we create, when students are in front of us. Why should they come to class if they can have the same experience online?

This is why I have embraced flipped classroom models and active learning. Putting the learning onto my students ahead of class and creating dynamic and engaging cooperative learning on the days and times that my class meets has created the draw for students to come to class consistently. 

If you are going to flip your classroom I suggest making video assignments (preferably video cued), where students watch a short clip of a longer video, answer a question or two related to the content in the video, then proceed to watching more of the same video or another short video, then answering more questions, and so on. This models more of the classroom feel of taking in some information and practicing it or reflecting on the new information before taking on more new information.

Before using video assignments, my students were not prepared for the active group learning activities that I had planned for the scheduled class times. These video assignments assess their progress and help to motivate the students to be prepared for class.

A Balancing Act


A Little of This – a Little of That

One of my goals as an instructor here at GCC is to improve students’ listening skills. Most of the time I do this without them consciously knowing it. That sounds rather odd. It’s not that they aren’t conscious, but they may be distracted — paying attention to other things — while improving their listening at the same time.

I ask questions that I hope will make them think about what they listen to in their every day life. I ask them to describe what they are hearing and what their first reactions are. I’ve found if I can include visuals they will listen a lot longer and understand more clearly what the music is trying to convey. I have discovered that students start paying more attention to everything that is part of their listening day, and that is my intention.

One of the questions I often ask is “Do you listen to orchestral music?” Most students answer, “No, never.” I then talk a little about film. Do they watch films? Again, most of them say, “Oh, yes, I watch movies all of the time.”

With that they usually realize that they have listened to lots of orchestral music. Here’s an example: Composer John Towner Williams (we have learned through trial and error that there are a lot of ‘John Williams’ out there so I have become accustomed to using his middle name just to make sure we are all talking about and listening to the same guy), who has had the temerity to scare us out of the water, share the feeling of flying under all sorts of conditions, whether on a broom, a bicycle, or as a bird, and show us the martial qualities of The Dark Force. I chose this clip because of the content, the audience reaction, and, in this case, not for the visual images, which are slightly blurry. The answer to your question about the first instrument you see is – a contrabassoon. This is as iconic as Bernard Herrmann’s strings in Pyscho, but I digress. One of these days someone will re-master it and it will be clear — but in the mean time, I dare you to stick your toe in the water….

Williams’ Jaws

Known for many different kinds of music, Elmer Bernstein’s music has been patriotic and poetic. Here is a well-known theme. I usually choose something from the film “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but you should all be familiar with this.

Elmer Bernstein’s National Geographic Theme

There are a number of others I could have included if we were learning some specifics, but I thought it might be interesting to simply poke a little fun with Vangelis:

Mr. Bean with one of my favorite conductors – Sir Simon Rattle

I hope you enjoyed the listening.

Apologies for any advertising that may have appeared. In Canvas this does not show up.

6x6x5 That One Thing

a hand with the first finger in the air against a solid blue sky

Now I slide down a potentially slippery incline plane to make a case for a life philosophy based on a line from a cheesy comedy-western film. Hardly the fodder for rigorous academic inquiry.

Note: This is another installment in my participation in the 2022 Write 6×6 Challenge, they must sometimes shake their heads at what gets syndicated into their site! PS who even remembers what I mean by blog syndications? Oops I am already writing off my intended path…

But there was always something more to this sequence between Billy Crystal’s Mitch character and Jack Palance’s Curly in City Slickers:

Here I have the dialogue:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

Curly: This. [holds up one finger]

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what you gotta figure out.

As usual with the internet, I am hardly the first or only to find meaning in it.

You find Curly’s Law used in blog posts that offer wisdom in marketing / branding, purpose-finding, theology, even skeet shooting. My first reference and maybe one of the more clever is Jeff Atwoods framing for an approach to programming.

To me I think in the edtech field there is often a Secret of Life desire for the “best tool” or teaching strategy or resource or X, this is the allure of solutionism (AI! eportfolios! Blogs! Web 2.0! Web3! Metaverse! the LMS! Badges!) when the better approach as a practitioner (be it teaching, using technology, etc) is that you have to (a) work at something like a practice (“stick to it”) and (b) that you need to figure out what it is, not rely on some company/blogger/consultant/keynoter to tell you what it is (“That’s what you gotta figure out”).

The one thing is… there is no one thing.

For me this has been at the core of things like a [obsessive] Daily Photo practice, the merging of that approach with the DS106 Daily Create, (which evolved into a WordPress theme for doing your own daily prompt activities) at one time it was running (which I still hate).

It’s not the most Important Thing (c.f. love, family, etc) it’s one thing you choose to devote energy to as a practice.

And yes I even once presented on this at Glendale Community College!

That’s fine, the usual CogDogBlog trope of sweeping up crumbs of the past. What about 2022?


I am slated to do an online conference session May 6 (yes I am being fuzzy on the details, still waiting confirmation) pitched as:

Take all suggestions for pitched solutions to pandemic sized challenges, inspirational messages from keynote speakers, promises of educational technology tools or teaching strategies as a magic fix, with the largest grain of salt. What can we get from a cliché dialogue from a Hollywood western character? Maybe more than you might think. I offer some lessons learned from the serendipity of the internet, tours of rabbit holes of curiosity, kitchen metaphors, image thinking, all to drive some discussion about finding and sticking to your one thing.

What’s Your One Thing?

I am seeking examples of types of “things” educators… well actually anyone, takes up in a Curly-like fashion. Something you do, likely outside the worky-work stuff, that you just stick with. That you find the practice eventually awards in maybe an achievement (running a marathon, baking a quiche, building a giant sculpture) but also, that gives you an internal sense of that Curly spirit.

It’s not something you are passionate about, it’s a thing you take on with a regular practice.

Is anyone willing to share their one thing? Often it is something our colleagues may not even know about.

What’s Someone Else’s One Thing?

If you are stuck on that, share what you know from a friend, colleague, maybe someone you see signs of the one thing in social media as a “One Thing” they seem to do…

Like I know Dave Cormier builds doors and garden gnomes and other wood things in his workshop.

Or Laura Ritchie runs a lot and wrote a book!). I see other colleagues building log cabins, long distance trail runners, being master gardeners, flying planes, making beer at home, heck I know 5 colleagues who make wood pens.

You see, these One Things would not really work for me, but it works for them. That’s a key.

It’s more than a hobby- I have a sense that the focus and practice that goes into someone’s one thing helps them decompress and even rethink their work or teaching practice.

That’s my experience when I take that deliberate time each day to go outside with a camera, try to relax and find something that would make for an interesting photo. I’ve not been doing Daily Photo thing 15 years to get an award or claim some achievement, it’s that the practice, the focus itself is the real reward.

Again I ask, what is your One Thing (and likely you have more than one, it’s not exclusionary). What is something you “stick to” doing on a regular basis? What does it do for you?

Featured Image: Yes a bit ironic that my photo was posted for the original @DailyShoot challenge (which inspired the DS106 Daily Create) but also references Curly’s Law.

Curly's Law
Curly’s Law flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Get Your Kicks on Write 6×6