Black-UserHere goes.  I’m going to do something unusual for me.
I’m going to tell a private story to the public.

When I was 16-years-old, I became very sick.
I lost 40 pounds without trying.
I experienced pain every night.
I lived with lots of embarrassing personal events.
I graduated high school, went to college, graduated with a BS then a Masters, and I still was sick without any real explanation.

About 10 years ago, I got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Finally, an answer.  Unfortunately, it was only a beginning.  My health became much worse.  I spent the last decade attempting to manage how bad things were, and I spent a lot of time trying to ignore how sick I was.  It’s just not something I talked about.

Scars & Stripes Team logoAbout 2.5 years ago, things changed.  My disease became so bad, I had to have surgery.  The surgery lasted about 2.5 times longer than the great surgeon planned.  Recovery was long.  It was hard to be home, be a teacher to my student, be a husband, and be a dad to my daughters.  How do you tell your little ones you can’t pick them up and they can’t sit in your lap?

Remarkably, since that time, I have been 100% disease free.  However, Crohn’s is a chronic disease, so I will never be cured.  I’m over the 20 year mark now for living with Crohn’s.   My current prognosis is truly a new lease on life for me and my family, but the lack of a cure reminds me that things can change quickly.  I’m told that there’s about an 80% chance that my disease will return.  So, I’m waiting.  I have a long scar on my abdomen to remind me physically of what I’ve gone through and that it’s not over for me.

What’s worse though?  What’s worse is knowing that these digestive diseases have a genetic link.  So, now I not only worry about me. Now I worry about my three daughters. That is why I believe it is critical to raise money to find a cure for Crohn’s, colitis, IBD, and all of the digestive diseases to help prevent my daughters from going through what I’ve gone through.

Take Steps PosterOn the evening of May 23rd, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America will host the “Take Steps. Be Heard.” walk in Overton Park at Levitt Shell. This is the 3rd year for my family to raise money and “do the walk.”  We are passionate about this, and this year our team name is “Scars & Stripes.”  It’s a great experience, and it reminds me of how much bigger my role is in helping others. I need your help.  I would like to invite you to make a donation to help cure the digestive diseases, including Crohn’s disease, colitis and ulcerative colitis, and IBS, that plague children and adults alike. Together, we can make a significant difference. Here’s the link to donate online:

I know that many people feel that they cannot make a substantial donation.  I’m hear to say, “Every donation is substantial in my eyes.”  So, if you can contribute $5.00, that’s substantial.  Please don’t let the amount prevent you from helping.  I would rather see 500 friends and family members contribute $5.00 each than just a couple folks contribute larger amounts.  (Don’t get me wrong.  If you want to blow my mind with a crazy-large amount, I’m all for it.) But I want everyone who has been affected by these diseases to feel the meaning that I do by contributing.

Finally, please don’t think that this is an exclusive club.  Oh, no.  If you have friends, family, or other colleagues that share our passion, I encourage you to forward them the information and invite them to donate as well.  That link again is

Blessings and health to you and your family.

University of Memphis
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IDT 7095/8095 Project Showcase
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM,  April 22, 2009
Location: 301 Ball Hall

Dear friends,
I would like for you to add April 22 at 6:00 pm in 301 Ball Hall on the University of Memphis campus to your calendars.  Within our Instructional Design & Technology 7095/8095, project teams will be presenting synopses of their projects for this semester in a Project Showcase of live clients.  Their work represents approximately $15,000 – 20,000 worth of instructional development.  In the showcase, each team of students will present a 15-minute overview of their project and product. This is a professional presentation, and the content of this presentation will represent an executive summary of their projects.  I particularly encourage current students in our programs to attend in order to have a stronger vision of the requirements of the course and how your coursework prepares you for this course.

This semester there are four strong teams.

Design Domicile created a Web-based course to teach written and audio medical terms in Spanish used in a clinical setting. Their client is Dr. William Brescia, the Director of Instructional Technology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – College of Medicine.  Design Domicile’s primaries are Carmen Weaver, Stacy Clayton, and Joey Weaver.

CBL Designs repurposed text-based instructional job aids for shortening maintenance currently in use at most Long John Silver’s restaurant locations. This redesign incorporated the use of multimedia to attract and motivate learners from 16-25 years old. Their client is Maredith Adsit, Training Developer for Long John Silver’s Restaurant, based in Louisville, Kentucky.  CBL Designs combines the expertises of Kristy Conger, Amanda Bevis, and Jeremy Larson.

Innovative Design Taskforce developed Web-based, self-paced, and on-demand training that equips subject matter experts at International Paper to write adequate and well-structured assessment items.  Deborah Adams, Manager for Enterprise Learning Services, is their client.  Innovative Design Taskforce employs Terica Butler, Federico Gomez, and Dot Hale.

Top Stone created a refresher course for Leadership Values for managers to review instructional material and modeling videos through AutoZone‘s learning management system.  Their client is Kevin Thorn, the LMS administrator at AutoZone.  Top Stone’s team includes Linda Sadler, Luther Bradfute, and Suha Tamim.

Along with the IDT faculty and the project clients, I hope you can make it.

Una webcam
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Big Brother is watching … only it’s your vice principal.  If you thought that getting technology into schools was the primary issue or even getting teachers to integrate was bigger.  This might change your mind.  By way of Mashable, I heard about this story:

BoingBoing reports that a recent case filing in Robbins vs. Lower Merion School District, a Pennsylvania school, is a class action suit on behalf of students with school-issued laptops whose webcams have been used to watch the students and their families at home.

It was discovered that the laptops issued by the high school contained software allowing administrators to covertly activate the on-board webcam. The plaintiff, Blake J. Robbins, was disciplined by the school for “improper behavior in his home.” The evidence of said impropriety was brought forth by the school vice principal, who displayed a photo of Robbins taken by the laptop’s webcam.

This was also reported on HLN this morning as well.  The level of weird and creepy in this is enough to require a shower.  This is oddly reminiscent of an episode of Criminal Minds minus the serial killer, FBI, and quirky characters.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll see the quirky characters unfold in this story?  But I don’t believe we’ll like them as much as Garcia, Hotch, and Reid.

I received the following information about an open session with James Paul Gee, who is one of the leading experts on using video games to support learning.  This is courtesy of Steve Hargadon at the Infinite Thinking Machine

James Paul Gee on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy
: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 1am GMT (next day)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page (here).

You can read more about Dr. Gee at the Infinite Thinking Machine’s original announcement.

Project toolI just sent out my invitation for potential clients for IDT 7095-8095.  In the spring 2008 semester, the Instructional Design & Technology program launched a new course aimed at providing students project management and design team experiences.  In IDT 7095/8095, we are attempting to give students “real world” experiences with “live” clients. We will be offering this course again this spring 2010 semester.

Proposed projects must be a learning problem that can be addressed through an e-learning (i.e., computer-based or Web-based instruction) solution. Projects this spring should focus on instruction and learning. This project must be small enough to be completed in one semester. The teams will analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate the project.  You can even see some images of our previous Showcase in my photostream to the the right.

To find out more about the course and previous project, I encourage you to peruse these pages.

I hope you will consider proposing a project by completing the **brief** form available at

If you have questions or would like talk about a potential project’s scope, then feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

It’s getting to the time of the semester where I’m starting to get quite a few questions about what forms need to be completed, etc. for doctoral students in IDT.  (As an aside here, I’m going to point out that the word is doctoral not doctorial.  So that’s three syllables—not four.  Don’t add in the i.)  On my resource wiki, I have created a page that has a listing of all of the doctoral forms for IDT students.

If you are a student still taking courses, then you will only need the first two forms completed.  These are preferred to be completed within the first year of coursework.  However, they can be changed later to reflect actual courses taken.  Please note that there used to be three forms, but a new Program of Studies form has subsumed the Research Residency form.  So, now there is only two forms to complete.

Quick link: Forms for IDT Doctoral Students

Also, if you haven’t already, then I encourage you to poke around my resource wiki, where I have a number of resources for graduate students.

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