Friday, September 30, 2016

They Should Change the Title of the Class

            I am required to take eight different management classes during the course of my studies.  Currently, I am taking the first. The most recent picture of my instructor looks like an apostle or kindly old grandpa.  The portrait on the faculty wall is older.  He is younger and looks like a deejay - kind of like Wolfman Jack - or perhaps it is just the psychedelic background that gives off that illusion.  His voice doesn't carry like that of a D.J. He doesn't seem to have the same charisma as some of my other instructors.  I've only been to one of his lectures.  It was okay, but it wasn't the most interesting one I've attended.  I just assumed it was the subject matter.  I mean, Management103: management principles.  Doesn't that title, all by itself, make you want to snore?

           Last week he announced that we'd have a "special guest speaker" for this week, but what I think it was, really, is that he was unable to do his lecture for this week and gave us a link for another professor who teaches the same class.  What a difference!  I have nothing against my own professor, but the "guest speaker" who took over this week just held my interest more or explained things better or something (a D.J. personality, perhaps?).  I'd like to attend his class again, but it is at the same time as my professor.  So my plan right now is to give myself the opportunity to once again attend the live lecture conducted by my own professor.  If that doesn't work to my advantage, however, I will spend the last week of the class attending the live lecture of the other instructor.

            Management bores me.  Business bores me.  I have had some good managers.  I have had managers who have been let go as they should never have been put in the management position in the first place.  And I have managed others - perhaps not well, but no worse than any manager that I've ever had.

            So in this lecture, the focus is on the four functions of management and the difference between a leader and a manager.  The substitute instructor pointed out that perhaps the classes should be called Leadership classes instead of management classes.  I don't know why that choice of words made such a difference for me, but I'd be willing to go along with it.  I don't particularly enjoy the idea of having to take management classes, but I wouldn't mind taking some leadership classes.

            I think that there are some individuals who seem to have a naturalness about them that make them great leaders.  There's my son, Randy, for one.  That kid's got a lot of talent and charisma.  He takes like a duck to water with most things.  He's been asked to step into management positions.  He's a great leader.  We can all become great leaders, but for some of us, it takes more time and effort to master the skill.  In my last post, I mentioned Gary Kelly, CEO for Southwest Airlines. 

            What an awesome leader!  It was never his intention to become a leader, or climb the ladder of success the way he did.  I was just reading in USA today that his first ambition was to become an oceanographer.  He had even become a certified scuba diver.  He gave that up to play football.  That didn't work out for him either.  He was an accountant for Arthur Young & Co before becoming familiar with Southwest Airlines.  
            Through this assignment, I have achieved great respect for this awesome leader.  If I am ever to fly again, I will do it Southwest if at all possible.  They are the only airline that I know of that doesn't charge a fee for checked on luggage, at least the first two pieces.  I'd actually like to work for Southwest airlines.  Employees are treated even better than the customer.  How many businesses can say that?
            I may be a leader right now and not even know it.  It's not a position that I intentionally desire, but I would rather be a leader than a manager.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Two more assignments

I have had a couple of things wander in and out of my mind - but I haven't connected my thoughts.  I have an assignment in my management class to write up a 500-word essay on leadership answering three specific questions about Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines.  I've brainstormed my ideas, but haven't formed any sentences - which I should be doing instead of posting to my blog, but somehow feel the need to post something.  So here it goes.

I have already posted two of my assignments from the philosophy class that I took.   Six stages of critical thinking found here and an outline of my power point Sometimes . . . Dreams Happen . .  found found here

In this post, I will share the two assignment from the other two weeks of class.

The first one is Making Emotions a Part of Digital Technology written  in response to this video.

Making Emotions a Part of Digital Technology

                Technology has affected our communication in several ways.  We have gone from backyard visits and using card catalogs at the local library to relying on electronic devices for everything. We've been encouraged to go to school online, shop online, work from home (online) and correspond with one another electronically.  We don't even have to leave the house anymore.  It almost seems as though human contact is no longer encouraged.  Yet there are those who seek to "humanize technology"
                I found myself smiling through the majority of the Ted Talk video featuring Rana El Kaliouby.  I genuinely admire the passion she shared for this digital emotion reading product which has been named "Affectivia".  I'd like to share some things that were discussed in the video and some of my own view points and "emotions". Three specific points come to mind.
                The first point I would like to make is that emotion-recognition technology is a great tool to have for those who are dealing with children or others who may have autism.  Our human minds don't always grasp what emotion is being expressed, but emotion-recognition technology has programmed twelve billion emotion data points.  This makes it sound as if this technology is more accurate than any human.
                Rana el Kaliouby says,This would focus on pragmatic training, helping these kids understand the meaning of different facial expressions and how to express their own.” (Matheson, 2014)
                My second point is that this technology would benefit those that are going into marketing and graphic design.  This would enable the advertiser to understand the emotions of potential clients who may or may not use said product as it might give instant feedback of how the consumer may feel about said product.
                The third point I would like to make is that emotion-recognition technology in the workplace may assist with quality control. Employers would be able to know when their employees are really working and earning their pay or if their employees are goofing off and need to be dealt with. Perhaps employees will be able to work more effectively with humanistic technology.
                As a personal use, el Kaliouby jokes (or perhaps she was being serious) about app being applied to all appliances.  One example that she used was having the refrigerator recognizing stress.  Her suggestion was that the fridge would automatically lock so that the person who is stressed doesn't binge.  What if the emotionally stressed person becomes angry and breaks the fridge or smashes the computer because of humanistic emotional response?  While there are many positive aspects to this technology, I am not 100% in favor of it.
                Let me give you the example of the talking elevator doors.  Elevators on cruise lines will welcome passengers and let them know what deck they are on.  In the beginning of the cruise smiles and genuine pleasantries are exchanged among the passengers. However, before the cruise has reached its end, the novelty of the talking doors has worn off. Passengers are annoyed by the elevator voice.  Passengers are in a hurry to get away from the elevator.
                I make this comparison as I foresee the novelty wearing off.  I still think it would be great in a teaching environment, but I think the advertising has gotten out of hand as it is. Even my husband, who has done marketing and graphic design and does want to continue working in an advertising business, says he would not be comfortable with this app from a consumer's point of view.  We both feel that it is like having "big brother watching" at all times and that our  privacy is somehow being invaded.
                Before I close, I would like to describe two pictures and caption that recently caught my eye.  In the first picture, there are three children wading in the river and playing in the mud.  The expressions on their faces show that they are all having a wonderful time.  In the second picture, three teenage girls are shown with their eyes focused on their cell phones; one reading, two are texting. The reader reveals just a tiny bit more expression than the two "no-emotion-whatsoever" teens that are texting.  The caption reads:  "So glad I grew up doing this (picture number one) not this (picture number two)"


                In conclusion, we have become an electronic tech-minded society.  So many people seem so focused on their machines than that they don't even know how to respond to humans anymore.  I know that some people were surprised by the statistics of the older generation being more expressive (or emotionalist) than the younger generation.  It actually makes sense if you set your mind on the two pictures.  The older generation grew up relying on imagination and emotional contact. Many of the younger generation of the second picture are so busy with electronic technology, they fail to see or learn emotion.  I think it would be better for the majority of the human race to learn emotions from other humans and not be so reliable upon machines.

  The other assignment was on elaborating more on a certain fallacy.  I picked the one from this video below

Post-Hoc Fallacy

                                For most my life, I seem to have had a problem with communicating my point of view though I don't know when it started. I would guess it was during my teens when I picked up fallacies to use in my everyday vocabulary - which would explain my lack of proper communication.  I suppose I have been a walking fallacy waiting to happen.  Though several fallacies exist in my life currently,  my focus for this assignment will be on  the "post hoc fallacy" as demonstrated by Ernie and Bert.
                This fallacy can occur well before the teenage years. As I don't remember back this far from my own personal life, let me use my nephew as an example. There was a time when he was playing with a  light switch near the front window; at the same exact time, a fire truck barreled down the street.  Moving a light switch from one position to another has  absolutely nothing to do with the fire truck blaring, but in his two-year-old mind, he had caused the fire truck outside his window.  Of course, there was disappointment on his part when more fire trucks didn't appear as he continued to play with the switch.  That is one example of a post hoc fallacy. 
                Another example that I remember from my own life occurred when I was perhaps eight years of age.  In my bedroom were three posters of big-eyed girls.  Each had granulated backgrounds, one yellow, one pink and one blue.  My father had taken them down in order to paint my room.  He used masking tape at the edge of the ceiling in order to keep the ceiling white while painting the walls pink.  After he had finished, I started to retrieve the posters that that been removed.  I found only two, the blue and yellow.  As my big-eyed girl on the granulated pink background was missing, I frantically searched for it.  When I set my eyes upon a trash can full of the pink splotched masking tape, I cried because  I had assumed it was my missing poster crumbled in a heap.  I had jumped to conclusions.
                I think jumping to conclusions is what a  post hoc fallacy is; or in other words:  "After this, therefore, because of this"  Unfortunately I still haven't learned my lesson.  I still have that bad habit of thinking that because there was a ten dollar bill in my room before my daughter arrived and because it was missing when she left, she must have taken it.  This is a fallacy can be overcome if I will ask questions rather than make accusations.  I hadn't taken into consideration that she had turned on  the fan and the ten dollar bill had been blown onto the floor.
                My goal is (and has been) to try to analyze  not just the situation, but all of the possibilities involved. I know I haven't always taken  all the facts into account.  I need to ask questions and not accusations.  I need to understand the situation before drawing a conclusion.  I am better at trying to listen and understand.  I don't think I'll feel like I've accurately completed overcoming post hoc fallacy until I no longer jump to conclusions.

emotional References
Kaliouby, R. (2015, Dec 19). Ted Talks. Retrieved from You Tube:

Matheson, R. (2014, July 31). A market for emotions. Retrieved from MIT News:

fallacy References

Logical fallacy: Post hoc ergo propter hoc


CRITICAL THINKING - Fallacies: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc [HD]
                Paul Henne

The Fallacy Project: Examples of fallacies from advertising, politics, and popular culture.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Like a Fish out of Water . . . so Far out of My Realm

          I remember taking a communications class in college.  I think it was an elective.  It turned out that there were only seven or eight students, the instructor and me.  We all sat around one table to have discussions.  We were told that we didn't have to purchase a book, but each of us would teach a lesson.

          I was the only student in the class who was not a communication major.  For the most part, they seemed to be talking in languages that I, myself, did not understand. The week before I was assigned to give the lesson, I wrote down the topic name and went to the library to do some research.

          I'd be lying if I didn't say that I had bluffed my way through the assignment.   I had used an example that somehow got out of hand.  The subject I had picked at random was also advertised on a button that one of my classmates had been wearing.  I honestly hadn't noticed until she pointed out.  Or perhaps I had, and used it on a sub-conscience level. It was a good conversation, as I recall, but for the most part, I wasn't even a part of it.  The one wearing the button apologized for steering the class away and getting "off topic".

          "Actually," I said with semi-faked confidence, "This conversation has been a great example of what I was hoping to convey."  And summed up whatever notes I had prepared for the remaining two minutes that were left.

          This mod I am taking two classes: Management Principles and Pre-Algebra.  The math class (once again) is non-credited, and yet I would much rather deal with my math class and not even deal with management - and yet this is a series of eight required management classes.  I honestly don't know what everyone is majoring in, but I get the feeling that many of the students are business majors striving for this coveted management position - or are actually in management positions at this very moment.  

         And then there or those in health care who will obviously need teamwork and leadership skills.  I admire them so much for going into health care as we all depend on them and I am grateful.  And then there is me.  Uncomfortable at the topic of business, seminars, incentive rallies, and big corporations.  I did not move to Myrtle Creek to go corporate. 

          I worked for a chapter of Swire Coca-Cola for a few years when I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Our paychecks were issued out of Atlanta, GA.  I would rather know the person (or people) who sign my paychecks than to feel like a number in the system.  Our department was okay.  Sometimes there'd be some of us who would go out to lunch together, or support each other with wedding showers, baby showers and what have you.  But the turnover of employees was constant - either due to advancement or being let go. 

          I was in the imaging department - working at converting paper documents over to an electronic system.  I did not have to be on the phone, deal with complaints, or handle confrontation.  I was a responsible employee who went in, did my job without supervision, and was comfortable in my situation and really saw nowhere within the company in which I wanted to advance.  I'm introverted.  I enjoy being introverted.  It was an okay job.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been less goofing off and if everyone else had worked as hard I did - or that I could have been paid 2-3 times the amount as I was working three times as hard . . .           

         Several years before that I was at Nordstrom working in the Cafe.  I felt like our department was the pion of all departments and seemed unwelcome participants whenever we were asked to go to meetings . . . we didn't sell the prestige merchandise that glorified the other departments (although I personally wasn't/am not a fan of Nordstrom products; for as much money as one may spend on an item, I should think it would be better made)

         My brother works for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  Neither Swire nor Nordstroms was not near as overwhelming as MGM.  What a tremendous mass of people day in and day out.  Too many people.  I felt claustrophobic as a tourist.  How would I ever handle a work situation?  seriously?  I realize there are benefits that come with oversized and prestigious companies that one would not find with a ma and pa store.  But given the opportunity of prestige or ma and pa, I'm going to go with ma and pa.
          I love the interaction with small businesses, the socialization of truly knowing those that I work with.  Making a personal connection has always been more important to me than money.  But I'm not saying all big businesses are so focused on money that they forget how to be personal.  Corey says MGM Grand has been great.  I think he is treated like a person for the most part.  I think he's had to force himself into that role, and maybe it doesn't bother him so much.  But Corey is introverted, too. 

           Then again, there are those in health care who I would like to respect and admire who also have to deal with management andI suppose have had their share of conventions and pep rallies. I heard that Costco is a great company to work for. Costco is closed on federal holidays.  Good for them!

        So our first assignment for my management class is to watch a video and visit this website on One Smooth Stone and answer three questions with opinionated answers but also references to back those up.  I am impressed with what they do, but at the same time, pep rallies and incentive seminars really aren't my thing.  Swire used to have those.  A lot of people all gathered in a room and lots of cheering and laughter and what have you.  It was generally overwhelming and out of my comfort zone and I was never happy about having to be there.  There's nothing wrong with being enthusiastic or trying to get your employees excited.  It was the idea of being in a crowded room with a lot of noise that made me squirm.

          It isn't just in a job situation either.  I don't like crowds.  I don't like the applause and cheer drowning out the music.  Or having to stand up every 15 seconds if I want to watch the activity going on in the field.  Why did those people in front of me purchase tickets for seating if they're not going to sit?  Given a chose between intimate gatherings vs. rubbing elbows with glitz and glamour . . .  I'm going for the intimate.  

          I also don't want to be in a management position - which probably doesn't account to what the interviewer wants to hear when I go out to "sell myself" for a job position that everyone else is also applying for.  I do know how to play the game.  But again, I seriously would rather my job be intimate as well as my life.  I need to be happy.  Conventions don't make me happy - even if they're entertaining.  I'd rather watch them on YouTube from the comforts of my own home than sitting on somebody's lap for a better view. 

          I should also be working my assignment rather than creating this post.  It's just so dang hard when there's no passion!  

          Yesterday Roland and I went to the senior event where we watched "Sully".  I'm amazed at all the cautions that were taken and the lack of understanding or communication among those trying to discredit Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger, I realized that my training for management may have nothing to do with my career or current position, but maybe something greater.

Nature's Way

Roland is
allergic to birds
but he insists on
filling the bird feeder
with seed so
he can watch the
birds fly around as
he looks out the
window in his

There aren't magpies in
Oregon.  I thought they
were pretty birds but
learned to hate them when
they wouldn't leave our already
pathetic crops alone.  In
Oregon the most hated bird seems
to be the blue jay.  I think
blue jays are really pretty birds  - but
blue jays are bullies.

Funny, I remember watching
"Peep" with Jenna and there was
one story in which Peep, Quack and
Chirp encounter a blue jay who
thinks she is special and is
unkind to other birds.  I didn't
know that I was watching an
accurate description of the real
life bird.

So Roland has watched blue jays
bully other birds and he has
purchased big seed and
little seed and
has decided to feed the little birds and
let the blue jays fend for themselves.

I have opened the front door a
few times after Jenna goes to
school and have seen a
black cat scurries off as
I step out on
the deck.

He runs away looking like a
rather guilty culprit afraid of
getting caught.  I'm not
interested in catching him.  If
he should be interested in
the birds (which I think is
the reason for hanging around our
yard) and catches them, I hope
he removes their corpses.  I
really don't want a bunch of
dead birds in
our yard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunbeams and Blackboards

I taught Sunbeams twice in my mom's ward.  Both times I was blessed with four reverent children who folded their arms and listened to the lesson.  They may have been too quiet.

Ever since I've married, each class - not matter the age - that I have taught in primary has had at least one very quiet and focused child and at least one who is all over the place - except for my lesson.

Since coming to Oregon, I have had the sad and traumatic, the devastation, the "Oh, I love my teacher" and the "good helper" - that's all been the same kid overall.  I think the most that I ever had attend a single class last year was three.  Before the year came to an end, it was generally just me and Elizabeth.  My lessons were of no interest to her. For the most part, she pretended she was a horse.

This year I have her cousin, Hayden, who just recently turned four.  He's been with me since January.  Then, just a few weeks ago, they added Christopher who had turned three in February.  I don't know who thought he was ready for sunbeams.  He's still in diapers. I don't think he's ready to be in sunbeams.

Granted, three years is a long time to be in the nursery.  It is a hard transaction going from playing with toys to just sitting.  From my observation, those that are in nursery for the longest, have the hardest time  adjusting to being still.  I know my Jenna did.  She still does, actually.

 I thought that perhaps having two children would be easier than just having one, but Hayden has taken it upon himself to be the boss of the class and to discipline Christopher and forget about me.

The lesson I had prepared for yesterday was on food and clothing. I cut an apple in half to show them the star inside.   

Hayden was impressed, but did not want to eat any of the star.  I cut the sides of each apple to give to Hayden and Christopher.  I also gave them pretzels and continued my lesson as they ate. 

 I told them that the clothes we wear come from different sources: for instance cotton comes from a plant which comes from seed,

 wool comes from a sheep;  his bumpy coat gets shaved off and it is used to make sweaters and socks.   

There is even a fabric called silk that is produced by tiny creatures that we call silk worms.

Hayden thought I was quite entertaining but refused to believe any of my "tales".  In his mind he knew that all people are smart enough to figure out that all clothes come from Wal-Mart.

Christopher found some chalk near the chalkboard and decided to start drawing with it - which upset Hayden.  After all, he is older, therefore he should be able to delegate Christopher's every move.  Oh, please.

If I notice the chalk and erasers, I will put them in a bag and hang it from a hook above the chalkboard as they can't reach it, and so I knew there was a piece of chalk hanging in the bag.  I retrieved it and let Hayden have the larger piece.  He proceeded to draw what he said was his name.

Hayden then excused himself to go to the bathroom, so I sent him down the hall to get a parent or grandparent to escort him while I kept my eye on Christopher, who decided to add his own handiwork to Hayden's.

Hayden came back all upset that Christopher would dare mess up his name, and so I told Hayden he could stand on a chair and rewrite his "name" so that it would be too high for Christopher to mess with.  His signature looked a lot different from the first.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Messing with Technology - Turn It In

          The topic for our last discussion in English class was on Turnitin - a device that supposedly makes it easier for the student to submit his or her work and get feedback on originality.  A colored icon appears in a column next to our graded assignment.  Green is the best color to receive.  It means that only 24% of your work or less was borrowed, paraphrased or quoted from other sources.  I just recently learned that there are five colors: 

What I don't get is the color coding on the inside that marks your assignment.

          I would have been more interested in viewing Grademarks or Peermarks, but the tabs wouldn't even open, and so I did not see the point.  Having the colors and source names in columns didn't mean much to me.  It might have well have been sent back to me in Japanese although my understanding of that language is even more limited.   

          I suppose I could research it further, but was told that the site is having technical difficulties.  The way Roland understands it, the university will no longer be using Turnitin.  I would think that may be more stressful for the instructors than for the students.  Maybe not.  I don't know all the ins and outs - except that Turnitin was supposed to be some kind of helpmeet.  I find it ironic that our last discussion was about something that the school has done away with.  Maybe not.  Maybe it has nothing to do with the school.  Maybe it was infected by a virus or sabotaged - which is a shame really, even if I didn't have a full understanding of it. 

          I don't dislike Turnitin - nor do I dislike Blackboard Collaboration (last post) once I get into it.  It's the 30 or 40 minutes of trying to get in (and I have tried several computers) that I don't like.  We were told that if we couldn't get into the writing center because of the Blackboard issues that we needed documentation of trying to get in.  That seems bogus that there would be that need.  If we can't improve for student conveniences (because the way it is set up right now is nowhere near convenient - at least for this student) I am in favor of doing away with it.  

          As of now, I don't know what all the technical rigmarole is involved, but I'm guessing the school has more than just Turnitin to deal with.  Perhaps I will know more this afternoon.  There is an assembly scheduled in an hour.  Should be interesting.