Sunday, March 31, 2013

Is there a role for "anonymous" in a classroom?

Teaching a MOOC with Coursera has made me aware of all the anonymous posts in the system.  Coursera allows students to post anonymously on a per post basis. There is a checkbox that allows a forum post to be anonymous. I wonder about the value of this. I can't imagine an anonymous student in one of my physical classrooms.

I think, within a classroom, you should be responsible for what you say. This is a place that can teach you to be serious and considerate. All classes, beyond teaching the syllabus should teach you to be considerate, empathetic, and respectful. A class should teach you to consider what you say before you say it. Posting anonymously allows you to be inconsiderate, un-empathetic and even rude.

Allowing anonymous posts allows students to make "off the record" comments, which in a large way defeat the usefulness of a permanent record of a student's involvement in a class.

Is there a place where anonymous is valuable in a classroom?

Anonymous posts are great for critiquing the teacher in a traditional school. In that role they work beautifully. A student, when critiquing a professor, needs to know that they will not be punished for their comments about the teacher. I have received some of the best student to teacher critique in the anonymous surveys in my traditional and online classes. I thank my students for taking the time to let me and the administration know how my teaching has been.

Behave, or it will go on your permanent record!

It is a kind of cliche now: "Behave in school, it will go on your permanent record!"

As I teach and think about the MOOC I realize how important a permanent record is.

A permanent record contributes to (creates?) an atmosphere of civility.

In general people are more courteous and civil in a classroom. There are many reasons for this, but the permanent record is a major one. If a student in high school is getting into fights and being rude in class that activity travels with them. An awareness of a permanent record forces students to consider their actions before acting.

The permanent record in an american public school is quite vague. It lists the exceptional moments, both good and bad. The permanent record serves to identify the extremes, but leaves the subtleties of everyday achievements and rudenesses unaccounted for. In this role it supports the exceptional achievers and punishes the exceptional misbehaviors. On both extremes it is providing a great service, but with the data provided in an online classroom this permanent record could reveal much more.

Educational institutions provide employers with information about prospective employees. It is one of the major functions of a college degree. It is an important role, which right now is based largely on reputation. Online schools could provide a permanent record that is based less on reputation and more on the actual achievements and personality of the person.

Employers are becoming more nuanced in their hiring. They are using psychology and personality to determine who is the right kind of person for their jobs. They don't blindly trust a candidate because of a degree from an ivy league school. Instead, they think about the needs of the job and what type of person is necessary to do it best.

In a traditional school the grades from each class are largely what goes on a college's "permanent record." The student's time and participation at a college is reduced down to a single number, the GPA. Then it is the student's responsibility to record any achievement beyond what is represented in the GPA. Negative activities that don't impact the GPA are not permanent and they are never made known to the prospective employers.

Students know that their activities in college are not really permanent. Largely they are not held accountable for their actions at college, beyond their time at college. What atmosphere does this engender? Out of control parties and the reputation of the "college years" as the "party years." Is this necessary? Does this really train us to be respectful and capable members of society?

Honestly, it is quite difficult to have a more detailed permanent record in a traditional school. Teachers would need to record more of the student activities and that information would need to be logged and made searchable. Teachers are burdened enough, as are administrators.

Online colleges could provide employers with the information the employers really need. Online schools are largely communication structures. They provide a framework for a community to communicate within. Permanently track the activities of students and teachers. Make it known that every activity is logged, recorded, and analyzed. For those(both teachers and students) that are honest, caring, and helpful this will be a major plus. It would record cooperation and track involvement. There could be quantifiable incentives for community involvement (a "helpfulness quotient" calculated from "thanks flags" on comments or something like this).

Often people have great success in fields they did not directly study in. What we learn in college goes well beyond the syllabi of the classes we take. We learn to be studious and supportive community members, we learn to respect authority and we learn how to communicate professionally. These skills are often more important then the topics themselves, but these skills are currently not quantified or recorded by the school. That is how online schools, with a permanent record of all communication, can provide a new service to society. Employers know that who you are is more important than what you know, so schools should provide that information. An accurate and detailed permanent record could supply information based less on reputation of the school and more on who the student is.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Considering the world's time...

Time is a major factor in a mooc.
There are people in every timezone.
How can we be considerate?
How can we be fair?

Some of the most common problems I have seen in the forums regard deadlines.

The Coursera site does "know" what timezone you are in and automatically adjusts the official deadlines to the student's local time.

We need to put deadlines in more obvious locations than the "official" locations. Also, we must announce deadlines in e-mail announcements. So, these automatic localizations will not always function.

Students are often unhappy with deadline times which happen at awkward times of the day or on awkward days for their part of the world. It seems there is no way to make everybody happy.

When we can't make everybody happy we must look for what is fair, logical, and simple.

My first reaction is to make it easy for myself by writing all times in Eastern time and scheduling releases and deadlines on my schedule. This does have benefits. The most important is that it is easier to respond to problems in the delivery of the lesson. Say I release a week at 8:00 PM EDT, if there are problems with the lesson they may not be addressed till the next morning when I wake up and have a look.

There are numerous issues with Eastern time. The first is complicated math. Students must figure out the equation to translate from Eastern time to their local time. While that sounds trivial it can actually be quite complicated. I know that I have trouble with "time zone math" even though I pride myself on my mathematical abilities. The second issue is daylight savings time, which we just entered, and which just caused numerous people to miss an important deadline. The third issue is the 12 hour clock, by using a twelve hour clock and AM/PM the math becomes even more difficult.

How are we to be fair? The only way I can imagine to be fair is to use our worldwide time standard(UTC), and always use a 24 hour clock.. With this decided, I must reformulate all deadlines.

This actually brings up two questions:

1. If I say the week's lessons releases on Friday, what time on Friday, and in what time zone?
  • My preference would be to have my local Friday to release the content, 12:00 noon would be nice.
  • To be fair I will release it at 00:00 UTC Saturday which ends up being 8:00 PM on Friday Eastern Daylight Time.
2. If an assignment is due on Monday, what does that mean? Do they have the whole day on Monday to submit, or is it due before Monday? If we say it is the whole day, then when does the day end?
  • My preference would be to say 6:00 PM EDT, nice and clean for me.
  • To be fair, I will set any Monday due date to be due on Tuesday 00:00 UTC.
The next issue is the number of deadlines. I would like to make the policy clear and simple. So, I have attempted to combine deadlines whenever possible. I will make assignments and quizzes due on the same day, and assessments and new material come out at the same time. This has led to a simplified schedule:

  • The week's video lectures will be released at 00:00 UTC on Saturdays.
  • Peer review assessments deadline is 00:00 UTC on Saturdays.
  • Assignment deadline is 00:00 UTC on Tuesday.
  • Quiz deadline is 00:00 UTC on Tuesday.
  • Quizzes will be accepted up to one day late: 00:00 UTC on Wednesday.

To facilitate easy coordination of calendars, I have also created a Google calendar that will be embedded in the schedule page and I will include XML HTML and iCal links in the class schedule announcement.

Honestly, I have not been clear enough or made it easy enough for the community to know the deadlines. Mainly this is because I had not given it enough thought(a major mistake in my preparation). To be effective, a mooc teacher must have a habit of global thinking. This has become a major challenge for me and I am delighted to take on this kind of thinking. As the planet's population becomes more connected we will have to become sensitive to timezones and how we schedule. This is a benefit for me as a teacher of a mooc, but also a lesson that we can transfer on to our students.

In considering my solution I do find it euro-centric, and I hate to continue that tradition, but the benefits of easy math for all and a clean time/date policy are enough to convince me that it is the correct solution.

The next challenge is announcing this to the class in an "unmisunderstandable" way.

Finally, I have decided to include the students in this blog itself. I want to be open and clear and if students want to see my justification for setting the schedule this way they can view this post. So, I will include a link to this post in the class scheduling announcement.

A MOOC teacher must communicate in an unmisunderstandable way

"unmisunderstandable" it is a joke word, a double negative within a single word.
But, a double negative is not necessarily the same as the original positive.

I have always tried to communicate in an understandable way.
I am usually understood by others.
In a mooc, "usually" is not enough.
"Usually" leaves "some" behind.
In a mooc, "some" is hundreds.
In a mooc, if there is a way to be misunderstood it will be misunderstood.
So, for a mooc teacher "understandable" is not enough.
Instead, we must strive to not be misunderstood.
We must strive to communicate in an "unmisunderstandable" way.

The human capability to misunderstand is quite astounding.
This has been a unintentional running theme in the few past posts.
In a traditional class the teacher is there to correct these misunderstandings.

In a mooc it needs to be avoided instead of corrected.

Responding to a misunderstanding usually means sending a note out to the entire population.
Sending a note out to 20,000 because 100 misunderstand makes the misunderstanding seem widespread.
Sending a note out to the entire population is a chance for further misunderstanding.

How is striving to be understood different than striving not to be misunderstood?
I see it as a matter of focus.
In striving to not be misunderstood I start looking for ways that the content or form could possibly be misunderstood.

Let me point out the example that this inspired this post.

For projects the students are encouraged to create youtube videos and post a link to them for peers to review.

It is stated in the assignment that youtube videos must be made public or unlisted for their peers to be able to view the assignment.

Many students missed that fact and a thread regarding private youtube videos started, to point out the issue.

The fix is easy, if the student has their video private they just need to go into Youtube and switch it to "unlisted".

I sent out an announcement to the entire class and put it on the front of the class site:

Make sure all impmooc assignment Youtube videos are Public or Unlisted
A private youtube video is viewable only by the creator so it will not be able to be graded. If you do not want your video public I suggest you put it "unlisted" that gives you a link to the video that anyone can use, but the video will not show up in any searches. You are free to take the video down from Youtube after the assessment period is over.
Thank you,

I would think, because the wording of the title says "all ... videos" that it would be obvious that this is a general announcement for everyone in the class.
Unfortunately some students thought I was sending the video directly to them. These students were confused because their videos were already "unlisted".

Why did they think the message was personal? some possibilities:
-They may not read subject lines. People often miss important information when it is placed in subject lines and only focus on the body. Without reading the subject the message does seem much more personal.

-Poor translation. I see now that the only clues that the message is public is a function of small gramatical specifics of the english language. After being run through google translate that subtlety could easily have been lost.

-The use of "you" in my language. I tend to try to make notes personal and write as if I were addressing the reader individually. This may make announcements seem personal instead of general.

How can I avoid this misunderstanding in the future?
-At the end of the announcement state explicitly that the announcement is going out to all students.
-At the beginning of the e-mail add in a salutation like "Dear impmooc students," I had left a salutation out because the Coursera system automatically puts one in when announcements are e-mailed to students. I thought it would be strange to have two salutations.
-Explain the situation more thoroughly.

Here would be a better way to do the announcement:

This is a reminder going out to all students in the introduction to music production class. If you have submitted a youtube video for your first assignment please make sure that it is set to "public" or "unlisted" on the Youtube website. Some reviewers found private Youtube videos that they could not assess. It would be unfortunate to receive a failing grade just because a youtube video was configured incorrectly.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Turning complaints into suggestions

I am finding that often there will be negative posts in the forums. Not aggressive or vulgar, just negative comments toward the forum itself. I love suggestions. I want to improve. These comments are actually helpful as they point out how the system can be made better. I just don't like the tone they set. The solution is to add "suggestion box" forums that are monitored. If we can give the students a place to comment on the structure itself they tend to post there and the negativity is turned into positive critique. I have begone to create a pinned suggestion forum along with every major forum in the course. This has dramatically lowered the negative comments, and it is much easier to track. Many great improvements were made in the forums because of this.

For instance I made a set of DAW forums which is a large collection of forums where students can post information related to the software they are using. I created subforums for each of the major DAW's on the market.

These forums were announced in a weekly announcement and have become very popular. Immediately there were some negative comments:

"why wasn't ____DAW included? it is a great DAW they shouldn't leave it out!"

The honest truth is I didn't even know that that DAW existed! It was totally new to me.
I added that forum quickly.

Then I added a "How can I make the DAW forums better?" thread and pinned it so it stays in a visible location and subscribed to it via e-mail.

It turns out there were a few other DAWs that I didn't include, but the students used the new thread and politely asked for the DAW to be added, which I promptly did.

Mooc teachers need to include the students in the community we are creating. Show the community that you want suggestions and they will help you make them better. Do not take a "I am the authority" stance, it will not work. Instead include the community in the discussion at every point.

By including the community it its own development you turn complaints into suggestions.

Promoting real-time communication in a mooc

As they are now moocs rely entirely on asynchronous communication.
Real-time one on one communication is obviously important for education and the educational experience.
Beyond the material of a mooc, students get to be part of a global community.
Student recognition and acceptance of a global community is an amazing side effect of a mooc.
Real-time audio and video communication within the community would make that even stronger.
In response to this Google and Coursera are teaming up to add Google+ Hangouts inside Coursera classes.
The impmooc was the first class to introduce a simplified scheduling tool in the course.
I tried it out for the first time on Saturday and scheduled a Google Hangout.
Ten people responded immediately. 
In the hangout there were people from South America, Texas, Russia, and Canada. 
The world was immediately represented on my screen. 
It was a wonderful experience.

The challenge is teaching students to use the service and showing them how to use it best.
The first task was simplifying the instructions on how to schedule a hangout.
I rewrote all the scheduling instructions following the IBM globalization style guidelines.
I created a Youtube Video demonstrating how to schedule a Google+ hangout.
The video's view count is rising regularly, so people are watching it, which is good.

Since there are so many uses for this tool and it has such deep capabilities people seem to be intimidated by it. 
I think the best way to encourage them to use it is to propose a single use case to the students.
What should we propose there are so many options
  • Freeform social mingling
  • Language based mingling
  • Software study groups
  • Topical conversations
While all of these are great, I think it is best to focus on why the students are really here, to learn from the videos. 
I will teach them to create a hangout where they watch the class material together as a group. 
We can suggest numerous ways to organize groups, by language, by software, or by location.
The proposal I will give them is to create a hangout and watch the material videos together while taking notes and discussing fine points.

The Markup Markdown Language

The markup markdown language is used throughout Coursera so learning  to use it makes communication throughout Coursera much easier.

The students are not aware of how it works and their communication tends to lack formatting.
I am sure it is difficult for them to get what they want.

To teach the students to communicate through this system I have started to send short tips on how to use the markup language.
The response to these tips has been positive, and I hope the communication within the class becomes better.

The more I use the markup language the more I love it.
Here are some tips on how it is used.

The philosophy of the language is to write in a readable way using additional punctuation to create the advanced formatting features we see in a contemporary word processor.

For example this *italic* text.
would render as:
For example this italic text.

The beauty of this language is that it reads either way.
If I were to see a markup text file I would understand it and recognize the formatting without the pretty italics.

Here are the markup tips I have been sending out in my "Loudon's Latest" forum and on the impmooc facebook page:

Markdown tip: Pretty links! Put the words you want displayed in bracket"[display this]" then the actual link in parenthesis"(http://linkhere)" as in: [display this](http://linkhere) Once you try it a few times you will get really comfortable with the technique.

Markdown tip(for nice formatting in Coursera): for italics put asterisks on either side of a word like *this*.

Coursera Wiki Creation tips

Teaching a mooc requires a different set of skills than teaching a traditional class.
Working with wikis is one of these new skills.

Here are some tips on working with wiki's that I have learned in the process of creating my first wiki, hopefully it will help others.

Wiki creation has one unusual but genius aspect: Links create pages.
To create a page, create a link to the page.
Add a link inside a current page, and there will be a blank page when you click on it.

Wiki-links are unlike typical HTML links here is an explained example:
[[Musicproduction:DAW:cubase | Cubase]]
  • "[[" starts the link
  • "Musicproduction:DAW:cubase" is the link.
  • "Musicproduction" is the parent wiki
  • ":" functions like a "/" in a typical file folder structure allowing one to create nested WIKIs
  • "|" divides the wiki-link from how it will appear in the wiki. Though the link is going to "Musicproduction:DAW:cubase", it will display as "Cubase" in the Wiki.
  • "]]" ends the link.
In the Coursera Wiki headings and navigation is automatically created by using the number sign: "#"
Using a "#" will create a nicely formatted section and also add navigation at the top of the page.

The DAW wiki experiment

In the impmooc I am teaching some broad concepts.
In week 2 I cover the important DAW techniques.
The community must explore the concepts within their own software.
We need a resource that contains all the information in an easily accessible way.
The information changes constantly, so it must be updated regularly.
One person cannot create the entire resource.
A wiki is the perfect solution.

Most people can edit a wiki because there is very little code involved.
Most people do not know how to setup a wiki structure.
I created a structure and have requested the students add content to it.
In the student assignments they are asked which DAW they are demonstrating.
I will ask students to post high quality student tutorials into the correct wiki location.
The wiki will be populated with student lessons organized by DAW and technique.
I will post again to report on how the wiki experiment works.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Write in a way that is easy to translate

Fifty three percent of the impmooc community is not english native.

So, we should write and speak in a way that translates easily.

Consider this document: writing for an international audience.

The Simple English wikipedia is a good reference too.

Scanning and understanding are quicker.

Unfortunately emotion is reduced.

I will write and speak this way.

The writing is easy to edit.

And is heavily edited.

Breif even.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The power of a vocal minority and some MOOC teaching lessons learned

So the impmooc has started and we are halfway through the first week. I am getting a crash course in large group management.

The first issue I have come across is the capability of a small misinformed group to have a large presence and spread misinformation(I must say I was warned by the Coursera staff about this). In the peer reviewed assignments within the impmooc students are required to demonstrate a topic to their fellow students. They can do this in any manner they are comfortable with some options have been to make youtube videos, pdf documents, blogs, websites, powerpoint presentations, podcasts, the options are wide open. Already there have been some amazing videos and presentations.

The problem is, a small portion of the population mis-understood the assignment. They thought that the assignment required the use of video and youtube. This led to the biggest forum post that the course has had, nearly a hundred posts and votes. A student posted a very polite note addressed to me asking why I would require video and accusing me of making them spend their time on useless tasks. This immediately started a long chain of replies and complaints. I went in and replied politely, explaining to her that video was not necessary and I gave her some pointers about some other possibilities. I also explained the benefit of the assignment and why it is a good way to structure assignments in a MOOC. This person had already posted similar comments in 3 threads on coursera and in the impmooc facebook group causing this mis-information to spread in many locations.

The next day, after reading my reply she posted apologies in all those threads and on facebook, but the damage was already done. Many people read her post and continued the spread of false information. I have been running around putting out fires, calming people down and trying to right the ship.

What caused this mis-information? I think I located the cause, and it is such a small thing that I am amazed it caused such a fervor.

When laying out the assignment page I put the description of the project first, laying out the concept of teaching as a way to learn. I point out how the lesson will be presented, that it can be text or video etc.. then there was a lengthy set of instructions on how to post video. I believe, though this is hard to prove, that students skimmed the text, saw the lengthy video submission guidelines, assumed that they must make video and went right to the forums to complain. Now, later down the page there was an example of me doing a text submission, but it seems they didn't get that far down the page. In fact, in the woman's apology she stated "I didn't scroll down."

To fix this issue I have placed the video submission guidelines further toward the bottom of the page and I focused more on the lesson format by giving more specific examples of presentation possibilities. Since making those changes, and putting out fires in the forums, the complaints have gone way down. I also started numerous forums with high visibility starting positive conversations about how fun it can be to put together a short presentation. Since then there have been numerous positive examples posted and things are going much smoother.

Lessons learned:

-Consider the possibility student misinterpretation.  If something can be confused it will be confused.

-Recognize the power of a vocal minority.
A small group, even one person, can spread misinformation or ill-will quickly. Try to create forums that put the situation in a positive light. Also, a teacher has the ability to make specific posts most visible, so when posting a clear response to a complaint, pin the post so others will be more likely read the response before posting another complaint.

-Consider the "weight" of text on a page.
When a topic takes up a large amount of space on a page it may be misinterpreted as important even though it is just long. Put the important information in a clear strong location and consider putting long explanatory sections at the end or within other linked pages.

-Search for the source of a misinterpretation and fix it immediately.
I spent some time correcting people in the forums before I went to figure out what the issue was. Honestly, this time was spent thinking "what is wrong with these people, I told them they could use text!" It was an emotional and stubborn approach. This, I now realize, was wasted time and the problem got worse as I was "putting out fires." As a MOOC teacher it doesn't matter if you stated the correct thing in a way you think is clear. If it has been misinterpreted then you have done something wrong. Troubleshoot, reword and clarify immediately.

-When there is a misinterpretation and a complaint, put the correct information in a more visible location than the complaint.
Some students thought they had to make video. So I put a "pinned" discussion that stated: "Lessons can be done in text, screenshot, video, audio, blog and what else? Lets brainstorm about the possibilities" This made the correct information clear and also started positive discussion about fun ways to create lessons. This forum is now very active and positive.

-Make the students aware of the big picture
When I explain the difficulties of creating peer reviewed assignments and how my structure works the students generally agree and see the logic. Their initial response is tempered by an understanding of the big picture. I think it is important for MOOC teachers to explain the differences between the massive open class and a traditional classroom setting. Though the differences are obvious to us, the student hasen't thought it through like we have.

-Moderate your e-mail notifications carefully
The issue was amplified in my head because I continued to get e-mails on the "complaint thread." In the large scheme of things a hundred comments isn't that huge, but since I kept getting e-mails after posting in the thread I was constantly aware of the negative. I should have turned off the e-mail subscribe on that thread after correcting the source and responding visibly.

Resources of a Coursera MOOC and their application in the impmooc

Here are the resources of a Coursera MOOC and some notes on how I have decided to use them in my course.

Video Lessons

The student watches a series of short videos that cover the material. These are the primary content delivery method and they are the virtual lectures.

The videos in the impmooc were recorded in a Berkleemusic studio using two cameras and were edited by the berkleemusic staff. Many videos also include screenmovies on particular topics, these were created by be in my home studio.

My goal was to make these professional, personal, and short. In general the videos in my class are under six minutes long, some going on to 15 minutes for the tougher topics. I feel that by making short focused videos the student's can use their time as effectively as possible. Short topic based videos also allow the student to move through the material in a non-linear fashion. Since students have a wide range of skill levels the more advanced students can watch only the topics that they need.


Quizzes are multiple choice questions that are graded automatically by the system. In this MOOC the quizzes make up 40% of the student's final grade. The quizzes can be taken as many times as possible and the number of tries has no impact on the final grade. The role of the quizzes is to reinforce knowledge and for the student to self-check what they learned. Many students take the quizzes first allowing them to pick and choose which of the videos to watch. I like this approach and have even considered putting the quizzes before their related videos.

In the impmooc quizzes are used after a series of related videos. So, each week has about 5 quizzes each with 6 to 20 questions.

The system allows for many different usages and formats of the quizzes, what I have listed here is how they are used in the impmooc.

Peer Review Assignments

For me, this the most interesting and most difficult portion of the MOOC equation. Unlike the videos and quizzes, peer review assignments do not have a direct correlation to a traditional classroom.

Here is how peer review assignments work:

  • A student completes an assignment and uploads their work.
  • The student then reviews some of their classmate's assignments.

Developing a peer review assignment that is effective and engaging has turned out to be quite difficult. Here are some of the challenges in creating a peer reviewed assignment:

  • The assessor is often less knowledgeable than the one being assessed.
  • Assessors have limited free time and must assess multiple assignments.
  • The students have a huge range of skill levels.
  • International community with multiple languages.
  • Wide range of technical skills.
  • Resistance to new modes of learning.

I will let you think about this one yourself for a while, there will be a blog post soon that outlines my solution to the peer review assignments.


Forums provide a place for the students to communicate with each other. On coursera they have up and down voting and a quite robust organizational structure. Managing and organizing the forums becomes the major task of the teacher. In many ways the teacher in a MOOC is a "community organizer" focusing the forums, structuring organized conversations, and spotting common misunderstandings in the material and assignments.


Coursera provides a robust wiki structure. Each class has a dedicated wiki that can be edited by the students so that they can create a common pool of knowledge. Additional wikis can be created by the instructor for a variety of purposes. Creating a resource as a group is a wonderful possibility of a MOOC and one that I hope to explore in the impmooc with regards to examining concepts in multiple types of software.


Faculty can post announcement on the front page of the MOOC and also have them e-mailed to the students. This provides a way for the course to "ping" students, remind them that the course is still running and active. Additionally, it allows the teacher to notify the student of changes in the course that happen in response to the student forum comments.

Social(external resources)

Faculty can introduce social networking to bring the class into the student's common internet life. It becomes an interesting question on how to utilize the social networking aspect. A common critique of MOOCS is that the students don't get any personal connection to the professor, so maybe social networking is a perfect way to show the person behind the course. I also feel much of the student critique and complaint doesn't consider that there is a real person trying their best to create a great learning situation behind the scenes. By exposing more of the teacher's personality and reasoning through social networking I hope that the students will have empathy for the instructor(me).