Instructional e-book

In this unit, you will learn about the growing importance of E-books across the board to enhance learning. E-books are emerging medium of designing instruction in the format of a book which are digital and provides a personalized learning environments for your students. You will first read the article on the role of E-books in the education, read a webpage that explains the growing importance of E-books, and then watch a video tutorial on developing an E-book using a free software provided by Apple called iBooksAuthor.

I enjoyed this assignment most of all, as it allowed me to use my growing Javascript/HTML skills to good effect. iBooks Author has a widget called HTML5 widget which lets you embed these Javascript apps in your e-book, and play them for people when they click on them. Also useful was the 3D widget, which let me experiment with a new way to look at Magic Eye pictures: on the side of a free-rotating 3D cube, in the hopes that it would improve the illusion.

Download iBooks file (iOS/OSX only)


Top 5 Web 2.0 sites and top Web 2.0 community

[image credit: Vmenkov] Three.js, a Javascript library that lets you embed 3D computer programs in your website. Based on WebGL. A shameless plug for my own website, where I hooked together MIDI.js with Lilypond music notation software and Mutopia library sheet music to make an online player piano. Host your own blogs by downloading the WordPress installation package here, and installing on a virtual Linux web server at Amazon Web Services. Dress up your website with fancy Javascript-based GUI controls courtesy of the non-profit jQuery Foundation. Another Javascript GUI control, this one is a fancy text box with line numbers at the beginning of each line and code folding / highlighting for text. Optimized for showing programming code on the web. The community I choose is GitHub, an online open-source project coordinator. When you contribute to projects on GitHub, you build your history as an active contributor, which can be useful on your resume for some tech jobs. My GitHub profile!


For this assignment, you will create a single day class activity using web-authoring software such as Weebly. You will submit the link via iLearn. Please see the rubric for more details.

While I was working on this assignment, I was preparing for the 3rd lesson of my 4-lesson thesis website, a tutorial on undergraduate computer science. I combined my efforts and made a WebQuest about regular expressions, the topic I was going to cover that week. Unfortunately, the WebQuest doesn’t really fit in with the true purpose of lesson #3, which is to teach parsing with regular expressions, so it will remain an ITEC 815 project. This one taught me about an interesting new format for web activities that I can use to make future WebQuests.

Computational thinking

In this assignment, you will create a tool to help students calculate, analyze, or otherwise apply information gathered from various sources. This could either be in the format that you will present to your students or represent an assignment that you will ask your students to complete as part of the assessment. Please see the rubric for more details and resource section for more details.

In this assignment I converted the EOWL online word list into Excel format, and put it in a worksheet as the database for valid English words. This way you can type some text into a box on the Excel UI worksheet and the computer can tell you if it was English or not. There were also some statistics and charts on letter frequency that were derived from the EOWL dictionary.

This was a new way of using Excel for me, using formulas to look up and summarize things, and I hope to add it to my repertory!

Open Excel project

Concept map

For this assignment, you will create a concept map which could be of a concept, event, or life cycle in a form that visually organizes the information. You will use Inspiration software to create the concept map. This concept map will consist of a combination of various media as appropriate such as graphics, audios, and videos that can be embedded in the graphical presentation. Submit ONLY INSPIRATION FILE, which will have an extension of .isf. Do not submit word, PDF, or PowerPoint format. These formats are not acceptable for assignment submission. Please see the rubric for more details.

This was an interesting assignment. The purpose of it was to show us how students can use concept maps to organize their understanding of a subject, by making one ourselves. Mine was about computer science master’s degrees, and the pros and cons of getting one. I think it solidified my position on going to more graduate school!

Open PDF version

Digital storytelling

[image credit: Doc Searles]

For this assignment, you will create a short video (1—3 min duration) narrating a story from life. You will publish this video on YouTube and paste the link in the respective assignment section as part of the submission via iLearn. Along with the video link, you will also submit the video project storyboard document. Please refer to the rubric for scoring of this assignment.

This video came out much better than I had expected it to, which is encouraging. Part of the reason was that UC Santa Cruz has a media archive including aerial pictures of the campus. The video covers about 15 years in my life along with changing attitudes towards tobacco, and I didn’t take many pictures during the part of my life I spent at UCSC. We were invited to sketch our own pictures instead of using possibly copyrighted material, but I didn’t feel confident enough to do that and instead used free material from Wikimedia Commons or the campus archive.

Blog it!

For this assignment, you will create a blog (weblog), which is a reflective journal to share your emerging perspective about technology integration in to school curricula. You will make an entry after every class session until the end of the semester to discuss your journey of exploring and enhancing your skills of technology integration. Although, this process will continue until the last class, as part of this assignment submission you provide a link of your blog on the assignment due date, which the instructor will use to grade your assignment at the end of the semester Please refer to the rubric for more details.

This assignment forced me to think of new ways to present information on the screen, as part of it was to embed different types of media in each blog post. Media types included a Google Doc with online calculations, a self-authored Youtube video, an SVG icon, and a Javascript/HTML5 app. The Blogger platform made it a little more complicated than in an ordinary website, but not impossible.