Transmedia Storytelling

I am finding opportunities and work in a new field of teaching (new, for myself)—Transmedia Storytelling.  I am supposed to teach this subject so it’s a good time to define what transmedia storytelling is, and how students can learn from it.  I found this good article that helps as an introduction.  I am looking forward to integrating digital media, dance, music, spoken words, aromas and other sensory tools into creative and scholarly work!



Malaria Info by Country

I’m planning for upcoming trips to Karachi Pakistan, Shanghai, Bangkok and farming areas in central Thailand, and the Philippines in the southern areas of Siquijor and Bukidnon, at least.  Looks like I’ll be taking CHLOROQUINE in the foreseeable future.  I must avoid malaria (and dengue) at all costs without going paranoid.  I must do more research about chloroquine’s nutritional and biochemical effects, and how it will cooperate with the pile of other meds that I take on a daily basis.  Appreciate any knowledge that can be shared on this topic.  Maybe it’s also a good time to start researching quinine and other more traditional ways of avoiding mosquito bites in the first place.  Perhaps, gin and tonic as an antimalarial?

I guess my old understanding, from the 60s, that Vitamin B11 helps against mosquito bites is a myth or at least questionable.



Rainbow Millet Tabbouleh

In Place of Other Grains: Rainbow Millet TabboulehTABBOULEH-with-BARLEY-Raw-Vegan-1200x774

Millet is capable of doing the job of pretty much any other grain. For example, tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur but a gluten-free version can be made with millet. It’s delicious by itself or served with your favorite Mediterranean dishes. The different colored vegetables give it a rainbow appearance. And you know your food is healthy when it has all the colors of a rainbow. To make Rainbow Millet Tabbouleh: First get the millet cooking. It takes about 20 minutes and during that time, the rest of the ingredients can be prepped and ready to go. Add 1 cup millet into a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of broth or water (or a combination of both). Add a pinch of salt, cover the pot and over a medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes until the millet is fluffy.

While the millet is cooking, get all the veggies and herbs seeded and chopped up. Seed and/or chop 2 cucumbers, 3 plum tomatoes, 1 yellow bell pepper, 5 scallions, 1 cup fresh parsley and ½ cup fresh mint. When it’s ready, transfer the millet to a large bowl and let it cool. To the bowl of fluffy millet, add the cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper and scallions. Add the parsley and mint and toss well. Dress the tabbouleh with 3 Tbs. olive oil, 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. kosher salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper and mix it well. Taste to see if any adjustments are necessary. You should be able to taste the fluffiness of the millet, the crunch of the veggies, the freshness of the mint and the brightness of the lemon.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Some Sagitarian things about me that I should improve

I recently read that Sagitarian folks like me share these characteristics in our relationships:

1. You can’t deal with attention-seeking partners.
2. You are too blunt with your words.
3. You lose interest too easily.
4. You don’t respect other people’s boundaries and personal lines.
5. You make promises that are bigger than you.
6. You like your single status, but you always want some “benefits” of a relationship.
7. You’re a highly impatient person.

Hmmm.  At this point in life I am willing to acknowledge the probability that I am guilty of most or all those characteristics, to some lesser or greater extent.  Time to change myself for the better!  Better late than never as they say.  How?  I go one breath at a time, knowing that patience is a virtue.

What are some of the beautiful natural wonders in Iran?

My bucket list of places to visit in Iran, with this mini-list focusing on the natural environment:

Kaluts, Kerman
Keshit canyon, Kerman
Hormoz colorful landscapes, Persian Gulf
Yalan great dunes, Kerman
Bisheh waterfall, Lorestan
Badabsourt, Mazandaran
Arasbaran forests, Tabriz
Damavand peak, Tehran
Tabas kaleh jenni, Yazd
Alisadr cave, Hamedan

What kind of teacher am I?

I will describe a little bit about my most recent classes and describe the process of work, learning and output that are expected.
I find myself as a sort of wandering teacher (21st century Erasmus?) so I teach sometimes in California at Marymount California University (MCU) and other times (1x or 2x per year) in Thailand at the Institute for International Studies, Ramkhamhaeng University.  I also plan to go to Shanghai to teach in the upcoming year.
As you might know the British higher education semester is made of units. Each unit is a few weeks or a month in duration with a semester-long structure.  I find a lot of inspiration and rewards doing what do because I am able work within the US and the UK systems.  In Thailand, the university uses the British system.
In all of my teaching I aim to find ways to build intrinsic motivation in learning, mostly about professional practice, theoretical and contextual aspects of work, and the building and re-application of technical skills and knowledge.  Besides the process of development, writing, production and editing in digital media production I focus a lot of class time on presentation, discussion and reflection (blog, verbal and in writing).
In a recent “History of Multimedia” class at MCU all the students were undergraduate digital media majors, but my class was about critical/historical studies.  Normally the students would research and write a conventional research paper and I would lecture all the time.  I find that approach to be constricting and it limits self-reflection, expression and deep learning, plus it exceeds the attention span of most students.  I try to teach in an experiential and integrated way so it is different than the norm—reluctantly tolerated by old-fashioned thinkers.
At MCU, each student applied individual creative skills in digital media and design to build a web-based timeline of communication history, from about the Gutenberg press forward (using (posted on  Students built new data and knowledge about the history of multimedia, then integrate creative/tech kills (photoshop and other programs and skills) and demonstrate their scholarly knowledge.  Students commented on their deeper learning and retention of the historical themes, persona and events throughout the project.  It was a successful project that integrates scholarly research, writing and creative expression.
In Bangkok, at the Institute for International Studies, Ramkhamhaeng University–most recently I was teaching two courses–Principles of Multimedia Writing and a TV Production.  Each year as I have returned for the past five years, my classes are a different mix of students from around the world.  Many of the students take both units (about 15 total) at the same time—so I have many of the students all day, every day for a specified period of time.  I also try to integrate the two classes to a useful degree but am mindful that each course has its specific focus.
In the writing course, the students did interviews with a person of their choosing.  The focus was to interview someone “who makes the world a better place.”  Students prepared one open question (Grounded theory, Glaser) and recorded the interview with their phones (aiming for best results, although no equipment is made available by the university).  Students produced an interview/response to the open-ended question, transcribed the interview, re-interviewed and expanded the scope of the inquiry, re-transcribed and presented an edited audio podcast that was posted on the WP free website they built for the class.  It was very interesting and well received by students because of their integration of practice, theory and professionalism.  All this is in an ESL context and took about three weeks in total.
In the TV production class—again we have no university equipment—I focused the learning about the visualization/story board/production/editing of entirely visual (silent) process and interaction sequences.
NOTE; I recommended (not compelled) that the interviewee could be the on-camera person for the recorded process and interaction sequences (integration). Most students positively responded to that suggestion and were happy with their results.  Students were using phone cameras to shoot video and laptops to edit silent sequences—they learned to do the whole production process with their imagination, a pencil and paper, their mobile phones and free software on their laptops, all uploaded to their free WP site for that purpose.
Ultimately, students in the TV class would edit and integrate the audio interview (from the other class) and use some or all of that audio as voice over in the visual project/work in the production class (creative and skills integration).
We ended up with very good and inspiring works in both classes in Thailand and at MCU—creative and informed/integrated work.  Students seemed to appreciate this kind of learning and I believe it effectively encourages praxis and reflection.

Teaching an online course

In Bangkok, at the Institute for International Studies at Ramkhamhaeng University, I am trying to integrate online learning in my classroom teaching.  This integration is a challenge on several levels, but is effective and worthwhile.  My ability and success are a work in progress, but my intention is to apply experiential and integrate learning theory in my teaching, whether it is online or in the classroom.

This is a good article about developing and teaching an online course.