Reflection for CMC11

Hello again! This will probably be my last “official” post for CMC11, the MOOC I’ve been participating in. However, I do rather plan to contribute, I just don’t promise it will all be strictly related to the course!


To my understanding, the overall idea of the CMC11 MOOC is to open you up to creativity and the idea that cookie-cutter solutions are not always the key, and I think it does a great job of this! You are encouraged to read what interests you pertaining to creativity and to find even more such information. The other side of this course is also to encourage communication, whether it be multicultural or not, in person or via electronic devises. In fact, this particularly applies to communication via different electronics mediums, as we sometimes loose our touch or human feeling with such devises.


I personally took more from the creativity side of the MOOC. I think my favorite part of the course was that it inspired me. This MOOC made me want to be more creative. I’m no artist, as much as I’d like to be, I can draw stick figures and a seahorse (random, I know). But that’s not the only way to be creative. This course has inspired me to keep writing on this blog as expression is a form of creativity. It has inspired me to find activities that make me happy and relaxed. At the risk of sounding super sappy, it makes me want to find ways to discover myself. And I think that’s a lot of what creativity is all about. No matter how you express it, if you find a way to be creative, you find a way to be yourself.


If you take this course, I encourage you to take some time and Google creativity. See what you come up with! I found some really interesting articles: some were focused on how to coax your creative genius out, others were just about what it means to be creative. Everything was informative. Some of the articles provided within the MOOC focused on how people are trying to revamp the current education system in more creative and “outside of the box” ways. Which leads me to another eye-opener of this course. In reading the different articles related to how we learn and different methods being tried, you’ll come across the fact that as you tap into your creative juices you will open yourself up to new ways of learning (and you’ll just learn a lot without really realizing it).


At times I felt like perhaps I wasn’t quite on course with the MOOC, like I was off on a tangent that didn’t quite apply. But the beauty of this course is that that is ok! You’re still learning and you’re still broadening your horizons. I loved the freedom of this course and the ability to sort of do your own thing. Embrace it, because that is one way you will leave this course with much more than when you started. And don’t be afraid to ramble, or be short, or do what you do, because this course is about that. It’s about embracing yourself and others and whatever creative endeavors you may happen upon. And most of all, just have fun! How often do you get to take a college course where they essentially say: “Here’s some material, now do what you do and run with it”? You don’t! So enjoy this course while you’ve got it and see what you can take away from it. Like I say, I feel, if nothing else, I have grown as a person and an individual because of this course – and that’s something that I rather needed in my life.


Have fun everyone! I know I did!


Call Me a Hippy

This is how a simple argument can turn into creativity!
I use lotion, every day, after I get out of the shower.  I like to have nice, smooth skin.  Well, my boyfriend thinks it’s kind of silly and so the other day he pointed out, “Do you even know what’s in that stuff?  It’s probably not that great.”  So I retorted that if it bugged him that much I’d find some that was all natural.  Well, I think I’m going to do one better and try and make my own!


I’ve actually been looking into Wen hair products lately, too.  They’re supposed to be more natural and better for your hair.  In fact, it’s supposed to be a cleansing conditioner vs. a shampoo.  However, Wen is like Proactiv: you order a supply for x number of days and then they automatically send you more at the end of the time period.  You can set this up to bill you and send more every 30, 60, or 90 days (most likely, I haven’t gotten that far with Wen but that’s how Proactiv did it).  Well, what if I don’t need it every 90 days?  What if I can make it last an extra month?  Tough shit, I’m going to have to pay for more and have it sent to me.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not made of money and I’m currently thinking about taking another job where I may not make quite as much as I do now.  So while I was Googling for different lotion recipes, I thought, why not shampoo, too?  I could potentially make something like Wen for a fraction of the cost and then just make more when I need more!  And when I was on one girl’s blog, she not only makes her own lotion, but her own chapstick and deodorant.  Well, I love Burt’s Bee’s and I think it has more uses than just for your lips.  (I just started putting some on my nails and I think it might help!)  But read the ingredients on a tube of BB, you can read everything, so I should be able to make something equivalent.  And it may be weird, but a couple of years ago I actually started to develop an allergy to deodorant, I think it’s the aluminum in it, and I get a really embarrassing rash under my arms, who wants that?  So here I am, call me a hippy, but I’m going to try and go all-natural with some beauty products!  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Mary Kay girl and I will NOT give that up, nor will I be tossing out my hair styling products, unless I could make equivalents, but that probably won’t happen with hair spray…lol)
The best part about all of this is I can infuse whatever herbs and scents I want into my own stuff!  I’m not completely holistic, but I do believe that different plants/herbs have different healing properties, and I can tailor that to what I need.  Plus, they obviously have different scents and I like to tailor smell to my mood!  Also, I think that with this I’m going to start chronicling more with this blog and I’m going to start fixing it up and personalizing it!  Thank you CMC11, I never would have started a blog without you (I always kind of thought they were silly), but I’m really starting to enjoy this and see it as a creative outlet!  So I guess the class has been quite successful for me!

Creative Thinking Exercises

This week I’m going to make my post rather brief.  I found an awesome website with one page dedicated to creative thinking techniques.  They’re all little 1-5 minute exercises that help to change the way you look at things.  They make the point that we are conditioned to always think in particular patterns and it’s when we realize this and can break away from these patterns that we can begin to increase our creativity.  Check it out, they’re interesting little exercises!

The Way We Live Now (Part II)

I know I’m wordy and I tend to ramble…But here are the last three questions I chose to answer.

9) What piece of writing has most changed your heart and mind? Phrase, lyric, letter, book, poem, inscription.

I love science fiction/fantasy novels, particularly the fantasy (sometimes that sci-fi gets a bit much for me).  One book I read is by Dennis L. McKiernan and it’s titledThe Dragonstone.  At the very end of the book, on the back of the last page is a single line and it’s a quote from one of the characters and one of my favorites:  “The first rule of life is to live.”  I find much strength and truth in this one quote and it has always stuck with me.

14) Are religion and democracy incompatible?

I think religion and democracy are no less compatible than religion and religion.  However, I think we sometimes take our beliefs to the extreme, and that is when things can no longer mesh together.  When we believe so strongly that there absolutely can not be any other possible alternative, we shut ourselves off.  I believe in God.  I believe He made me in His image.  But I also believe that He is kind and that He is everywhere, perhaps even in different forms for different people.  I believe God has a general plan for me and that He wants me to do well and to make good choices.  I think the idea of democracy is a good one and that He would endorse it.  However, we are only human so democracy is not perfect.  That doesn’t make it bad or evil, but instead should cause us to strive to better it.  Perhaps democracy as we have come to know it is becoming incompatible with religion, but I don’t feel it has to be (nor should it be).  How can we be responsible for everything?  How can we know everything?  We can’t.  So perhaps we should begin to lean on our Higher Powers more.  Perhaps our legislators should look inside themselves for answers instead of at their ratings in the polls or their opponents.  Our democracy has become flawed (and probably always was to an extent) but that does not mean it is incompatible with religion.

15) Half the world’s languages are so seriously endangered that they are likely to die out during the course of this century. Does it matter?

Yes, yes, yes!  Of course it matters!  Language is beautiful and essential and it is inherently a part of who we are!  Some people get mad when they hear others speaking in a foreign language at the mall (or wherever).  Me, I like to just listen to it.  I particularly like languages I know nothing of (i.e. anything other than English and Spanish).  When I listen to Spanish, I constantly try and pick up something I know.  When I listen to a language I have no knowledge of, I can simply listen to it.  Have you ever tried that?  Have you ever just listened to the different sounds, the different intonations of a foreign language simply to enjoy/admire it?  Try it.  Now think if someone took your language from you.  What if they said you may no longer speak in ______, you can only speak our language.  Try it.  If you know a bit of a second language, try and speak only that language for a day.  Can you truly express yourself?  Can you express yourself the way you would be able to with your own, natural language?  Of course, if you’re not fluent, it’s that much harder, but think about if you were completely fluent in another language.  Will there be some things you still can get across quite like you want?  Of course, because it is still foreign (and COMPLETELY tied to culture, too).  This is not a bad thing, that it’s a foreign language, but it is bad when you have to completely loose your own.  Language is part of our identity, when we loose it, we loose a part of ourselves.  Obviously we won’t be able to save every language (do we still know ancient Sumerian?  No.)  But we should try and conserve and hold onto what we can, because it’s hard to get that back.  Plus, think about how much goes into developing a new language.  Try and invent your own, but think about not just words but how you’ll use them.  How will you make things different for past and present tense?  How will you pluralize words?  What about verbs, nouns, etc?  There’s so much work involved, it’s a shame to loose that.



Well, there you have it, the wordy ramblings of some life reflections of yours truly!

The Way We Live Now

I’ve been looking through the discussion threads and I found an interesting one pointed out by Carol Yeager.  She directs us to the page that poses 25 questions relating to the way we live now.  I’ve picked out 6 of the questions I feel strongly about, but I’ll break them up into two posts.

1) Why do we read novels?

I love reading, so this immediately stood out to me.  I feel there are many reasons we read novels.  I read novels to escape and to live vicariously through the characters.  Whether it be Edward and Bella in Twilight (I am NOT a Twihard, *I might not even have spelled that right* but I do enjoy the books), or perhaps Frodo and the Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I love to live their stories in my imagination.  A truly good novel will leave me feeling happy and entranced, but somehow empty, too, because I wish to continue the story.  Novels make me want to live my own story, too.  They make me want to live my life to the fullest and best I can, to live up the the lives of the characters.  Novels can also help to teach us.  Many people enjoy historical fiction – these can harbor many fun and interesting true facts (although sometimes you have to sort out the true from the elaborated).  Many novels also contain cautionary tales, whether they are set in the future or the past, about what we as a society should avoid.  You might as well ask why we tell stories, or fables, or legends.  Books can always give you freedom (or a much needed escape), whether you’re in a jail cell, your living room, or a faraway island.  I think the true question is, why wouldn’t we read novels?

5) Do you think we are reaching a point at which technological ‘progress’ kills the spirit and what we are or will it liberate us all?

This is a more serious question, and I think the answer is both.  I believe both of these possibilities are true, but as to which will truly win out, I am unsure.  Think of all the advances we can make (and have made) thanks to technology.  We landed on the moon, pi has been calculated to unbelievable lengths (and it’s still getting longer!), we have medicine that can help the sick.  We have done great and wonderful things with technology.  We understand our world through physics and the advances technology has made possible in that field.  We can accomplish so much in a day thanks to the aid of computers and machines.  But we can also spend hours and days upon end glued to a screen killing zombies.  We make guns that when used inappropriately cause endless harm.  It’s so easy to find a picture on the internet, why would we bother to draw one?  Why knit a blanket when you can buy one?  Why go outside when everything you need is inside?  We need to find a balance and that can be very difficult.  Some of us make choices that stifle ourselves and others don’t.  They say the truth will set you free: the truth is we make technological progress, but we still need to stay in touch with our roots.

7) How can we see the ratio of women to men reach equality in every walk of life, from birth to death, in education, work and play?

We can’t, and it’s rather stupid to even try.  I’m not saying I’m not for equal rights.  I’m a woman, of course I want equal rights (I’m not a crazy man-hater or anything, though).  But the fact is, life will never be completely fair and completely equal at all stages and in all aspects.  What we should focus on is how can we all, men and women alike, achieve our greatest potential and use it in order to better ourselves and our world?  Having men and women be equal at all stages in life in all aspects is like striving for communism (this may be a bit harsh, but I think you see where I’m coming from).  Guess what?  Men generally have better upper body strength, they generally are more inclined to perform better in math and science.  Women can be more empathetic, we can be better organized.  I’m not being racist, but the truth is the truth.  Oh, and I love math and science and do quite well in them, but I don’t have great upper body strength.  I may not ever get to the highest rung on the corporate (or scientific) ladder, but I’m going to do the best I can, for me.  I’m not going to do it to level the playing field.  Besides, sometimes when it’s harder to attain something, it makes you want it and work for it that much more; why do you suppose women have made such great strides in the last few decades?  Sometimes, competition can be good.

Future Problem Solving Program

Hi All!

So, I’ve been reading some of the information on our CMC11 course site and while I read it, I keep thinking about how this applies to FPSP.   And I’m curious if anyone is familiar with the program?  It’s funny, because the program is quite large, there’s an annual international competition, but there are still many people who don’t know about it.

FPSP stand for the Future Problem Solving Program (more commonly referred to simply as FPS).  I participated in this program from 5th grade through my senior year and I actually help evaluate for competitions now.  It’s a rather interesting process that I feel applies to this course very well and some of you reading this may want to inquire into starting the program in your schools.

FPS starts with a hypothetical situation we call the Fuzzy (because it’s a “fuzzy” situation).  The Fuzzy is generally set 20-50 years in the future and relates to the particular topic the program is currently focusing on.  I’ve seen topics as varied as underwater living, to genetic engineering, to pharmaceuticals, to air transport; you name it.  Students will have researched the particular topic to get as good a knowledge as they can and will apply that knowledge to the problem solving process.  The Fuzzy will relate to the topic and present some challenges that are being faced as well as with some of the positive aspects of the topic.  Generally in groups of four, students will analyze the Fuzzy (which is about a page long) and look for the challenges within it and brainstorm challenges the think the Fuzzy might yet face.  The group will then choose their best 16 Challenges and write them up in a manner that the Fuzzy may run into this challenge.  Out of the 16 Challenges written, one is chosen to be the Underlying Problem or UP.  The UP is a key step to the process because this is what the students will choose for which to develop solutions.

Within the UP the group will include a direction which they believe it is important that the solutions take.  For example, they will include a phrase such as “in what ways might we best protect the forests of Northern Europe so that the purity of the world’s air is best improved” (at least, if the Fuzzy is dealing with the forests of Northern Europe and pollution).  So you see, this gives a desired direction for the solutions, which are the next step in the process.  As with the challenges the group will now brainstorm and choose their best 16 solutions to write up.  This is the truly fun and creative step, because students are encouraged to be as imaginative and resourceful as possible.  We don’t know what the technology will truly let us do in the next 50 years, why not dream big?  One time, my group and I decided we were going to harness the winds on Mars for electric power, (I believe the topic was concerning natural resources vs. fossil fuels).  The last bit of the process includes creating criteria to select the best solution and writing that up.  Oh, and did I mention that when this is done on the competition level, the groups only have 2 hours? (They have plenty of time to practice and research, though.)

I feel that this whole process is well fit to this course.  In particular, I think it would be interesting to use the focus of this course as a topic for FPS or to create a similar MOOC to help with the research the students do for the topics.

If you’re interested in learning more about FPS here’s their official website:

Creative Thinking Techniques

Hello Again!

Well, I’m trying to get better at participating in my MOOC and I’m quite enjoying it.  In fact, today I decided to just Google creative thinking and see what I could come up with and I found a really great article.  The article is by Neroli Makim and she references Prof. Richard Wiseman’s book 59 Secondsthroughout it (I’m going to have to look for this book).  You should totally take a chance to read through the two articles (there’s a link for the second one at the bottom of the first).  I found it interesting because I do a lot of the things she mentions and I never realized it.  For one, I almost ALWAYS lean towards the color green and nature.  And in the second article I found that when I work on my math I must tap into my inner creativity.  As a math major I’ve worked on a lot of theoretical courses that really challenge me, and I’ve found that oftentimes if I can’t understand how a problem works all I need to do is just mull it over in the back of my mind, without really thinking about it.  It’s odd, because in ways it literally feels like there’s a little something rolling around in the dryer in the back of my head.  Up to the top, then it falls down, up to the top, then it falls down…And if I let those thoughts just kind of do what they want and I worry about something else, I generally have a light bulb moment – thank you little quiet girl!

Happy reading!