Rania Naim Brings Up Some Great Points On the Independent Woman

God & ManEven the strongest girls get tired of their responsibilities. They get tired of taking care of themselves all the time, they forget about appointments they’ve made and bills they have to pay. They get tired of the independent life they chose to live. They get tired of everyone’s expectations and the number of…

via Even The Strongest Girls Need A Break — Thought Catalog

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Creating the (Physical and Mental) Space to Write

Great article on how the creative writing process differs for everyone!

The Daily Post

Over at Discover, editor Mike Dang asked five bloggers to describe and take photographs of their writing spaces. Read their responses.

When you write, are you typing at your desktop computer in your home office? Drafting a blog post on your phone, right in the WordPress app? Or are you like Deborah, below, creating your desk for the day at your favorite coffee shop?

To write in, I like a cafe with wooden floors, high ceilings, and tables with ample space. Once committed, I make the place my own. I give myself over to a familiar wafting aroma. I order an Americano, no milk, no sugar please. I arrange my piping hot coffee and writing accoutrements on my “desk,” and then I take in the sounds around me. An espresso maker sputters and whirs to an undercurrent of percussion-driven electronic beats and the indiscernible vocalizations of a female singer. Voices murmur, mostly in…

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Black Rabbit Holes

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It’s easy to lose yourself in an ocean of diarrhea that is the overwhelming population of New York City.

There’s a reason why people come here to submerge themselves in an endless abyss, where there’s no way out to be found. Sometimes there’s just no turning back. I suppose that’s the appeal that this enchantress holds for all those who fall under her spell.

New York is the girlfriend that will make you fall in love, right before she rips out your heart and breaks your spirit. 

I’m on the edge of falling in, and what scares me isn’t that there’s no returning. What scares me is that I don’t want to look for a way out. I want to fall in, and once I do — I may find that I actually like it. I enjoy the feeling of being consumed, swallowed whole by a culture that embraces the lost and the bereft. The hope is that you’ll find yourself amongst the chaos. It’s a gamble that may not pay off. In fact, it may even drive you further down that chute.

But you see, that’s not how I was raised. I was raised to be responsible. To think of consequences. But spontaneity comes easy to me. I am reckless by nature and once I let myself give in to it there is no stopping the black rabbit hole I will fall into.

So here I am. Ready to crawl into non-existence.

Higher Educational Publishing: From Print to Digital

When higher education first started to include primitive digital technology across colleges and universities in North America before the turn of the century, educators and corporates alike were on the fence. Some saw the potential of integrating the old with the new and deemed it advancement, but others were convinced that new technology was a threat to the sacred institution of learning. However, living in a world like today’s, where our every waking moment is infiltrated, governed, and consumed by technology, only a traditionalist technophobe would deny the importance of digital learning. For those in the educational sector, digital solutions are just that – solutions, to rapidly increasing costs of operation, changes in student demographics, and an accelerated rate of demand for improved and effective methods of increasing student learning.

The prospective benefits of efficient digital learning tools are innumerable. While switching entirely to a digital platform may not be completely viable at this point in time, including a digital component to an existing course has proven to be very useful, especially in introductory courses. The demand for a more blended product – a textbook with supplemental resources – is continually growing. A vast majority of instructors at college campuses across the country say that one of the top factors affecting their decision for the adoption of a new text for their course is the supplemental material provided with it. Aside from ease of read for students, and content coverage of the text, the third most important factor is the price of the textbook. Digital learning tools thus lead the way in being both cost effective and supportive of individual student and instructor needs.

Well thought out and custom-tailored instructional products can be not just cost effective in their model, but also improve the quality of learning and reach a wider target audience and demographic. In fact, with the appropriate use of data analyses, student outcomes and learning efficiency can be improved significantly. These products can determine specific areas that students need to work on, provide opportunities for educational games or other interactive and engaging learning tasks, include simulations that enable learning practically without the risk, and help with reminders that enable metacognition. Metacognition has been proven to be effective in increasing scores on learning outcome measures, independent of demographic variation, scores at baseline testing, or differences in motivation levels (Wang & Guo 2003).

A growing number of higher education publishers recognize this need for quality digital learning products and are focusing their resources on bettering these products. Macmillan Learning in particular, has always been ahead of the curve with this. Their newly appointed Chief Technology officer reinforces their vision of “improving lives through education”. Chelsea Valentine, who has a unique background as both a technology leader and a former adjunct professor, brings a fresh perspective to the job. She emphasizes the company’s future digital vision for more innovative and flexible solutions to deal with modern educational challenges. Through their primary digital learning product Sapling Learning, Valentine hopes to develop tools that will effectively escalate student outcomes. Macmillan isn’t alone in this endeavor either; other leading higher education publications like Pearson are jumping on the digital learning bandwagon too. Chief Executive Officer John Fallon recently introduced a cost-cutting plan that revealed a move to digital learning. Albeit this plan was met with resistance and was indeed, more out of a necessity to recover from a recent hit the company took as a whole, than to drive the company towards technologically advanced learning products, it still demonstrates a shift in the industry. According to the NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief on digital literacy (which was sponsored by Adobe Technologies interestingly) however, the problem seems to be “the lack of agreement on what comprises digital literacy” and this in turn, is what is leading to the impediments in many colleges and universities developing programs and policies that support a more technologically advance learning atmosphere. The brief further discusses other challenges faced by higher education in the United States, illuminates the best models of practice for digital learning, as well as makes recommendations for the implementation of successful initiatives.

Despite the advantages outweighing any cons, there is a definite reluctance for higher education to make a complete switch to digital platforms. In part this is due to flaws in the current way that higher education operates. The Learning Management System (LMS), a course management tool (e.g., Blackboard), is the only form of technology adopted by most universities. The push for technology is largely hindered by monetary self-interests in colleges and universities. By charging students the same amount for credits earned in an online course and a physical classroom, universities operationalize cost-efficient methods for their own gain. It doesn’t help either that these online course do not have specific material geared towards distance learning, but rather use repurposed lecture material. Any progress made towards a technologically advanced initiative is rejected at the hands of deep-seated traditional practices of learning and archaic cultural conventions.

May 5, 2017

For sources see:

Adobe Systems, “Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief.” NMC, October 2016, http://www.nmc.org

Geraghty, Kate. “Macmillan Learning Appoints Chelsea Valentine as Chief Technology Officer.” PR Web, May 2017, http://www.prweb.com

Hampson, Keith. “Is That All There Is? Higher Education’s Struggle to Leverage Digital Teaching and Learning.” Higher Education Management, December 2016, http://www.highereducation.net

Holton, Kate. “Pearson shares jump on new cost-cuts, investors rebel at AGM.” Reuters, May 2017, http://www.reuters.com

Steinberg, Scott. “Technology for Schools and Teachers: 5 Reasons Digital Learning Matters.” The Huffington Post, March 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Wang, Ling and Dejun Guo. “A Research on the Relationship between Metacognition and Learning Motivation.” Psychological Science (China), vol. 26, no. 5, Sept. 2003, pp. 829-833.

Insidious Geometry

“Paint me like one of your French girls”?

                 Insidious Geometry 

Trace my edges,
like you never have before.
Flesh out my corners, 
like an artist in a trance. 

                            ~Jaipreet Ghuman

*As published in Font, Volume 7 (Spring 2017).

“No Women, No Rape”

Inspired by Kalki Koechlin and Juhi Pandey’s “Rape? It’s Your Fault Women” and “India’s Daughter”

              "No Women, No Rape"

It's my fault. 
I walked home alone one night. 
It's my fault 
I have no place in this society.
It's my fault 
I wore a dress, a short skirt. 

You condemn me for having a life,
for wanting human rights. 
The patriarchy is not to blame, 
it's my fault. 

I'm only human. 
If you cut me, I bleed too. 
But Shakespeare is for men alone. 
Bride burnings and dowry,
that's my fault to. 
I provoked you.
You're my husband,
so it's not rape. 

Mobiles and movies;
the leading causes of rape. 
This is a plague,
a disease. 
You lay your hand on me, 
not once did you hesitate. 
How can I get this insanity to cease?

                                  ~Jaipreet Ghuman 

*As published in Growl, Volume 1 (Spring 2017) and Ramblings of a Perpetual Drama Queen