7 Principles for effective online teaching

I have been away for a while, ainy because I am busy with the impemmentation of knowledge worker technologies, and partially because I am bloggine on y personal blog. For now, I want to capture Chickering and Gamson (1987)  seven principles of effective pedagogical practices for online teaching before they get lost. They are written in 1987, but I find them still applicable today:

  1. Encourage contacts between students and faculty in and out of classes.
  2. Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race.
  3. Active learning is encouraged in classes that use structured exercises, challenging discussions, team projects, and peer critiques.
  4. Students need appropriate and timely feedback on their performance to benefit from courses.
  5. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike.
  6. Communicate higher expectations.
  7. Provide a diverse delivery system.

Evolution: Lynn Margulis

Lynn MargulisToday, through a Facebook friend, I discovered Lynn Margulis. She disputed evolution and defended her idea that evolution does not happen gradually, but in a leap. She is a remarkable woman. Her first article was rejected by 50 scientific journals, and accepted by only one. Now, that article is considered a landmark! When will scientific and academic arrogance seize to exist to allow proper evolution, or leapution, of human knowledge?

Reading about her made me wonder about few things: why I am not exposed to women of her caliber? I meet a lot of smart women on daily basis, but I rarely meet a woman who thinks in the absolute like her. Am I in the wrong circle? Should I be working somewhere else? Is it too late? I wonder.

Back to Margulis. She based her theory on one simple fact: there has been no evidence for biological gradual evolution from a the bacteria form to human form for the last 542 million years. This made me think: would she have reached the same conclusion if life form has existed for trillion centuries. Isn’t 542 Million years trivial in that scope. Isn’t like a sneeze in the life of the universe?

How does relate to De Chardin? He talked about an evolution from a geosphere to biosphere. Was it gradual or was it a leap?

Margulis idea adds value to divine creation. If we consider God to be an energetic being, and not a physical entity, can we say that this energetic being is driving evolution? According, to De Chardin, evolution has a purpose. Is this energetic being driving the evolution?

One last idea: I just forgot it 😉

Memories: My Parental Grandpa and his garden

I have decided today to move my personal memories from my blogger site to here. I do not know really why? I should one day.

Today, I want to talk about my parental grandpa. The last time I had a major interaction with him was when I was 10 years old. I did not have any major interaction with him until he passed away when I was 22 years. He was 85 or so.

My memory reminds me that everybody loved him. Everyone said he was funny and light hearted person. I did not feel that when I was young. He always ignored me. I felt he favored my other cousins, especially my aunts children. Most my direct interaction with him were negative. Either telling me I am not doing something right, ask me to do a tough chore, or criticizing something I am doing. The only positive memory is when I hard him telling my father that my white skin will make me a successful doctor. They kept talking about me for around 5 minutes and how I will heal people the moment they see. Then he called me and said: “When you grow up, you must become a doctor. You should start reading all medicine xxx”. And he gave me a bunch of them. If I did not hear him complementing me, I would have thought he was punishing me by forcing me to read these xxx!

My indirect interaction with him were lighter. I still remember when we sit around the table with the large family and crack all these jokes. I did not understand them. But everyone was continuoulsy laughing around the table. This gave me a positive feeling. The only joke I still remember it is his saying: “Money is not yours, what is yours is what your mouth own. When you eat, praise the lord”. It rhymed beautifully in his language. It was like a prayer before eating. It was fun.

The other found memory of him is seeing him working in his garden. Since I was living in the city, this memory is the only experience I have about nature. I admire him for giving me this chance. I remember him taking care of every single plant, flower, tree or pieace of grass. Once he allowed me to water a tree. I was around 7. For me, it was boring. So I played with the hose to make the water dance. Obviously he shouted at me forcing me to stop playing and focus on water the tree. I remember he had different set of roses. I loved their smell. I like to go there, pull down the stem to reach down my nose. Inhale strongly so the smell fells my lungs and give me refreshing strength. You guessed it. He will shout at me because I might break it.

Other fond memory about him was during the festivities. He would come to our house and give us money. the moment he walks in, the whole house will become filled with laughter and joy. He was a man who can set the mood. I still remember his bedroom which had a huge mirror attached to a beautiful antique dresser where many items were placed there. One of them contained caramel drops. I used to be thrilled when he gives me one piece. Although I did not know how to eat it until I was 7! I used to think it is a chewing gum and try hard to break it with my teeth instead of sucking it. I can blame my week teeth this incident.

Another memory about him when I was older… maybe aroung 16. When my family talked about his walks. He take 2 pounds of orange and walks all around the city eating these oranges. He ends the day on the beach where he watches the sunset. Then go back home.

I know about his death when I was reading the newspaper. I went directly to my grandma and spend few days with her. She was strong. She told many stories about him.

The last story I heard about him was 3 years ago, when my uncle told me what happened at his death bed. My uncle said that my grandfather held his hand and whispered: “Love Each Other!”. Then he passed away. My uncle still writes this phrase at the end of every email he sends me.

Jido Abousohail, that was his name, had a lot of impact on my life. Ala yerhamou.

Jido Abo Souhail in His Garden
My grandpa, in his garden with my sister (in the middle) and my grandma (on the right)


لم تنظر لي الحفيد الخاصة. شعرت أنه كان لطيفا مع أكثر

Detect language » Arabic

A Read: Getting a message from God in the Internet age

Nice read on Edmontonn Journal. I like to capture the following qoutes:

“Social media has challenged today’s Catholic Church to fit 2,000 years of belief into a 140-word tweet”, says Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith.

“Technologies focus on quick reads instead of deeper thought”


“The church needs the way to reach the heart, but must go through the distractions of the head to do so, the archbishop said”

visit his blog: http://archbishopsmith.blogspot.com/