Archive for December 2010

Back to School (finally)

December 6, 2010

I am finishing up my masters degree this semester through the CTER program.  I guess in about a week it will all be over.  As I am writing my last blog postings as a grad student at the University of Illinois, I realized that this is the first time I have done any work on campus. I dropped off my wife and kids at the Nutcracker Ballet at Krannert tonight and hopped over to Espresso Royale to get some work done.

I’m a little disappointed that I kinda missed the whole campus experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I love online classes, and many times it has been advantageousness.  I’ve gone to class in 4 different states (geographically, not mentally – I guess mentally I’m not sure), I’ve taken care of my kids while my wife goes to work, and I’ve been able to work at weird hours that work for me.

I’ve started to wonder what is the coffee shop of an online campus.  It quickly came to me – online social networks.  The more I’ve been in school the more people I’ve friended from the program (in one way or another – facebook/google/skype/etc.)

At night (or sometimes early morning) when I’m online I can quickly chat with classmates in the same way I would bumping into them at Espresso Royale.

Perhaps it’s not the same, but it’s a nice way to feel part of a cohort.  I wish I had worked harder at building an online social community throughout the program.

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Donors Choose

December 6, 2010

After hearing about DonorsChoose (again) during class I decided to give it a go.  I have had an idea about a GPS triangulation treasure hunt for a while and now I have start.  It was very easy to set up an account and get it going.  I just had to write a short description about the project and the students that is was affecting.

The most impressive part of the process to me was how they automated and linked everything.  I was able to choose my high school from a drop down menu after choosing my state and county.  They had the school data so it automatically showed that I was teaching in a low income school.

The other part that was easy was shopping.  I’ve received other grants before and one of the most time consuming parts was finding the best product, then finding out if our school was able to buy from this organization or if the grant would be able to pay in some other way.  DonorsChoose has a number of online stores that it deals with and you just search for products through their website.  I never left DonorsChoose to complete my shopping list.

The only drawback is that I was limited to the shopping selection that they had and I’m pretty sure DonorsChoose takes some money off the top for organizing the whole thing.  I guess they have to make some money too in order to stay alive.

So far I have three donors.  One is an old friend from college, one is a graduate from the high school and one is an anonymous person who liked my idea.  I’m hoping the “giving” season will also help me along in the process.

Ready to DONATE! (Thanks!)