From Above The Clouds Look Like Islands In The Sea – Flying Back To What I Thought Of Being My Home

Howdy folks,

Photo taken out of the plane's window before the plane was ready to take off - I was not

Photo taken out of the plane’s window before the plane was ready to take off – I was not

today I am a bit sad because I had to fly back from Russia yesterday and there is at least one reason I would have liked to stay there for – guess I will tell you more before Christmas. Now I am listening to “Macklemore – And we danced” on my playlist (click play below if you want to) and am trying to get my mood up to tell you about these wonderful last days in Kasan, Russia.

Bloom's Taxonomy is surely inhibited by the Instruction Paradigm - I want to purify it in my next publication

Bloom’s Taxonomy is surely inhibited by the Instruction Paradigm – I want to purify it in my next publication

Well, Friday I spent listening to some very inspiring presentations which I am very grateful for. Already planning the next publication which could take me to Barcelona, Spain. And planning a publication to get me to New York next Spring. You see, there’s plenty of work so thank you very much for your understanding that I am a bit behind answering all your very appreciated and lovely comments and visiting your blogs right now. As soon as things get a bit calmer again, I will get back to you, my very important persons and friends.

The sushi bar in Korston Hotel, Kasan

The sushi bar in Korston Hotel, Kasan

Friday in the evening, I had dinner at the sushi bar again, this time with two glühwein and a lot of additional glow in my stomache. At midnight, I went upstairs and prepared myself for the trip home. Feeling already a bit sad.

A plane at the Moscow SVO airport - they have cool panorama windows there

A plane at the Moscow SVO airport – they have cool panorama windows there

Then I had a nap for about 50 minutes, took a shower and was transported to Kasan Airport. The trip went well and I arrived at what I thought of being home before this trip at about 2pm. I had another nap for three hours and began to work on my publication.

Yesterday in the evening, there was a glowing in my stomache thanks to the internet again. Looking forward to my glowing stomache today, already got a first one listening to “Brazzaville – Girl from Vladivostock” (click below to listen to it).

Take care, my very appreciated friends, I am grateful for all of you being here.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend, even if your love is far away at the moment.

Chris

P.S.: You can read all my posts about my trip to Kasan, Russia, here.

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Presenting The Young Scientist Award Winner To You

Howdy folks,

yesterday I finally gave my talk at the ICL in Kasan, Russia.

Some statue in Kasan

Lenin statue in Kasan

I was introduced as a very talented, hope-promissing young man by the executive commitee member of IGIP, Axel Zafoschnig and I really felt very much honored, also by receiving the Young Scientist Award (which payed for one flight, the conference participation and the hotel accomodation by the way). After my talk (you can look at the slideshow below to see my slides, I will upload the paper soon and probably my talk as soon as I get the recorded video), lots of people told me they liked it and one colleague even told me it was one of the best talks he had seen on this conference. Trying hard not to burst of pride…

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Well, have to speed up, breakfast is awaiting me and Conference is starting in 20 minutes…

Yesterday, I attended to two amazing presentations, too. One by my young colleague Steffen from Hamburg and another one by my walking colleague Herwig from Graz (whose blog you can find here).

Then my room card sucked and didn’t work any more but the receptionist was very kind making it work again very fast.

Well I almost forgot to tell you but really I felt like singing and dancing when I took my shower with my very own shower gel and shampoo *shivers of luck* yesterday after I have finally got my luggage back again.

Thank you very much for reading, comments and likes appreciated, my friends.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend.

Chris

P.S.: For those of you who like sushi some pictures of my visit to a sushi bar in Korston Mall, Kasan, yesterday below.

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Vasili, Vodka And V-Necks (Yes, Sir! I’ve Got My Luggage Back!)

Howdy folks,

It rained yesterday in the morning in Kasan

It rained yesterday in the morning in Kasan

well yesterday was quite a long day so please don’t mind that my post is a bit longer than the last updates. What was the schedule for yesterday?

  • Opening and plenary sessions in the morning (mostly waste of time)
  • Some presentations in the afternoon (two nice ones even if the speakers were really poor at English language skill level so there was almost no possibility to ask questions and give feedback they understood)
  • A big dinner in the evening in the “Ballroom Hall”

So what do I’ve got for you, my friends?

  • Status update on lost luggage
  • Pictures from my short walk out after almost 48h under air-conditioning
  • Pictures from the dinner
  • My first Russian exam (and my first video, maybe you want to watch it but don’t worry, you can continue reading now and will come to the embedded Youtube video later)
  • I think that’s it, we’ll see…

For my luggage, I went to the reception yesterday in the early afternoon but the airport had not called yet. I was quite unhappy but then, two colleagues offered me to borrow me their clothing for today which made me quite happy to know such nice colleagues. Before the dinner, I went to the reception again and they told me that the airport has called and found my luggage but was too busy to deliver it at the hotel. The receptionist offered me to get my luggage into my room for 1400 rubles (about 30 €) and as I did not know how long the airport would take and buying new stuff was even more expensive, I changed some bucks into rubles and went for it. Now I am reunited with my luggage – I will never call you black heavy stupid thing again, sweetheart, you are so kind to open your mind and show me these beautiful cosmetics and clothing you carry in it – wow and woooooooooohoooooooooooo!).

Afterwards, as the dinner was postponed for a hour, I took a walk out with a colleague. Just let the images speak, I tried to write in the captions the things I know or do believe – no guarantee. But at least I can tell you that the roads in Kasan are in a far better state than the ones in Germany – shame on you Germania!

Some statue in Kasan

Some statue in Kasan

Could be the opera of Kasan

Could be the opera of Kasan

Could be the town hall of Kasan

Could be the town hall of Kasan

The Dream Café - whatever this is it sounds like a cool place

The Dream Café – whatever this is it sounds like a cool place

On my way back to the Korston hotel in Kasan

On my way back to the Korston hotel in Kasan

I passed a door I think it could have been nice to be able to read the sign

I passed a door I think it could have been nice to be able to read the sign

Well, this was like I imagined Russia before my trip - shame on me and shame on Western education for brainwash us not to look at beautiful Russia

Well, this was like I imagined Russia before my trip – shame on me and shame on Western education for brainwash us not to look at beautiful Russia

The dinner table between the parts of the meal

The dinner table between the parts of the meal

We arrived just before the dinner and there was quite a lot of live music (I included one short video below but turn down the volume before please, it is quite loud) of different genres, from Jazz over traditional to classic (Four seasons by Vivaldi). There was a huge amount to eat (the image only shows the table between two parts of the meal!).

Vasili's thumb and his vodka

Vasili’s thumb and his vodka

And there were some Russians with almost no English language skills to make friends with us (I guess they found us quite funny). And how do you do this here in Russia? I think with some nice vodka… A russian man called Vasili collected many bottles and began to talk to me using some german words (I’ll translate them right now) like “Good good, drink” or “My german friend, drink” and so on and well…

That's the Russian sign for bathroom for men - running or dancing?

That’s the Russian sign for bathroom for men – running or dancing?

I didn’t vomit even if I could have been an option after advancing too much with the two glass of water for one glass of vodka thing – drinking six glasses of water without any vodka is a bad idea – I felt so sick for a few minutes. But after I felt better, I was invited to join the dance and I did (or I tried) without earning any remarks but a frequent “To my german friend, drink”.

After this cheerful evening, I decided to learn some Russian and attached my first Russian (self made) exam below.

Thank you very much for reading, comments and likes are appreciated as always. Na zdorove!

Yours sincerely,

Chris

When Will I Feel Bad Enough To Change All My Money Into Rubels To Buy Me New Clothing And A Toothbrush?

Howdy folks,

The Ballroom of Korston Hotel, Kasan just before the opening of ICL

The Ballroom of Korston Hotel, Kasan just before the opening of ICL

Today it is the first day of ICL conference in Kasan, Russia. The opening in the morning was quite boring and right now, I am feeling quite deceived. No inspiration, no enlightenings, nothing but lost luggage so far. Am I asking for too much?

I don’t know, maybe I do. But well, I still have hope left for some great talks in the paper sessions starting in one hour. And I will ask for my lost luggage again at the reception tonight. Maybe dinner will bring some cool people and nice talks?

So far I’ve learned that I am impolite when I am talking to a Japanese older man (at least that’s what he thought but he was too polite to tell me, he might just have thought “Thanks to god that I teach in Japan”). And that my Russian isn’t good enough (I’ve only learned three words so far: “Da – yes. Njet – no. Spaziba – thank you”. The writing might differ…) to enjoy having a coffee break at a table where only one of six people can speak some English. But luckily, there was Vladimir who remembered some German sentences from school and made a bit of small talk with me answering most of my questions in Russian so I don’t know that much about him now. But Spaziba anyway, Vladimir!

After deciding that the second plenary session was wasted time, too, I went for some shopping (after the receptionist told me she hadn’t seen my luggage so far) but I rather took some pictures of the building than to buy something. Still hoping for my luggage to arrive soon. So far for now, will leave for the paper sessions soon. Enjoy the few images of the shopping mall attached to the hotel and stay tuned, my friends.

The upper level of Korston Shopping Mall attached to the hotel, Kasan

The upper level of Korston Shopping Mall attached to the hotel, Kasan

The basement of Korston Shopping Mall attached to the hotel, Kasan

The basement of Korston Shopping Mall attached to the hotel, Kasan

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend, even if you don’t know what to wear tomorrow without feeling skunkish.

Yours sincerely,

Chris

What A Sight For Breakfast – First Breakfast In Kasan, Russia

Howdy folks,
Just a quick update to let you know that I enjoyed having breakfast at the 25th floor of the Korston hotel very much and am now looking forward to ICL conference opening. Enjoy with me the sight from the 25th.

image

Have a great day,
Chris
PS got to take photos of the breakfast and some better ones from the 25th tomorrow.

Finally Arrived In Kasan – Only My Luggage Got Lost Somehow

Howdy folks,

Finally I’m arrived in Kasan, Russia after my flight from Frankfurt to Moscow was delayed. But my flight from Moscow to

Night sight from my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

Night sight from my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

Kasan waited and at Kasan Airport there was a very nice woman waiting for us to take us to the hotel.

Me against the window of my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

Me against the window of my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

Because of me or rather because of my luggage, we all needed to wait a bit longer before taking the bus to the hotel. You see, I made it to change the flights at Moscow but my luggage didn’t manage to, somehow. So we asked at Kasan Airport and they told us that my luggage should arrive about tomorrow in the hotel. Looking forward to have my cosmetics and clothing back because after tomorrow, my current clothes (which I of course put off as soon as I’ve entered my room to save them for tomorrow) will begin to smell badly the day after tomorrow.

My Shower Cabin At Kasan Korston Hotel

My Shower Cabin At Kasan Korston Hotel

But looking forward to having a nice shower tomorrow morning in this shower cabin with the free hotel cosmetics.

Sorry for the selfie in my room in Kasan Korston Hotel

Sorry for the selfie in my room in Kasan Korston Hotel

The hotel looks quite nice I think (see the images below) and now I am tired enough to go to bed and get up very early tomorrow to work a bit on my presentation. Looking forward to breakfast and the first day of the ICL conference, guess I will tell you more about it tomorrow night.

Bed in my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

Bed in my room at Kasan Korston Hotel

My room at Kasan Korston Hotel

My room at Kasan Korston Hotel

TV in my room at Kasan Korston Hotel - not going to have much time to spend on using it though

TV in my room at Kasan Korston Hotel – not going to have much time to spend on using it though

I wish all of you a very great day and hope you had a great day. Stay tuned, I am looking forward to your comments and likes my friends.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend.

Chris

Russia – Here We Come

English: All Religions Temple. A building and ...

English: All Religions Temple. A building and cultural center build by the local artist Ildar Xanov. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Howdy folks,

In about seven hours, my flight is leaving Germany for Russia and after changing the flight in Moscow, we will finally arrive at Kasan, Russia. Why? Well, I won the Young Scientist Award for the ICL Conference 2013 with a paper called “Redesign of a gamified Software Engineering Course”. So I get the opportunity to stay four days in Russia and present my paper for 20 minutes plus attending to a lot of presentations. You might want to read a bit more about this here.

I will keep you posted how I am doing and will upload my paper and maybe even a video of my presentation (I think someone will record it, the only question is when I get it) for you as soon as I am home again.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend.

Yours sincerely,

Chris

P.S.: Make sure to join my Remember Happiness Today series – a question per day to think of happy times – here.

P.S.2: Yesterday was my “best day ever” with 72 visits on my blog. I am happy and want to say thank you thank you thank you to you all, I am so glad you are here and am looking forward to our interaction.

P.S.3: If you wondered about the “We” in the title – my lecturer who is also co-author of my paper will come with me which I am very grateful for.

Failure and what I learned from failing – A course re-redesign

Howdy folks,

Today, I want to introduce myself as someone who tried educational gamification and failed. And as someone who read the amazing book “Learning Paradigm College” by John Tagg and was much influenced by Tagg’s thoughts. But let’s begin with the beginning…

English: University of Cooperative Education (...

Duale Hochschule Karlsruhe/University of Cooperative Education Karlsruhe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For my studies (Applied Computer Science), I wrote two 30 page papers (called “Studienarbeit”). Both are about redesigning the 1 year-long (2 semester) Software Engineering (SE) course in the Bachelor program for Applied Computer Science at the Duale Hochschule of Karlsruhe (DH).

The first one is about gamifying this SE course.

Most important ideas were:

  • Using a Map (see image below) where students could choose their way through the material (autonomy).
  • Providing students with a profile with a progress bar (feedback).
  • Giving Experience Points (XP) for completing tasks.
  • A Marketplace for creating and joining projects for the second semester.
Map providing students with autonomy to choose their way through the learning material

Map providing students with autonomy to choose their way through the learning material

Problems with this course design encountered in collected student feedback were:

  • Early release of the prototype had as a consequence that students were likely to find it buggy and feeling like guinea pigs (subjects of experiments).
  • The course design had too little focus on grades for a grade-centered environment like the DH.
  • Games seem to have a connotation as inefficient and not having the same value as work (sounding a bit like “Man, I’m serious and hard working, not just playing around!”).

So feeling quite frustrated, I said to myself “If you want hard work, you get hard work and if I only get you hard working by regular grading, let’s have a try!”.

This led to the second paper about implementing a Flipped Classroom for SE course:

Most important ideas were:

  • Diverse kind of tasks for students to avoid “reproduction-only” tests and increase learning efficiency (see image “student activity over lecture time (minutes)”).
Student activity over lecture time (minutes)

Student activity over lecture time (minutes)

  • Team work from the beginning to facilitate students keeping motivated and moving.
  • Regular grading and feedback for students on almost every task (see image “Possible points (sum) over lecture number”).

    Possible points (sum) over lecture number

    Possible points (sum) over lecture number

This design will be used in the next SE course starting in October 13. I’m already excited about how it will be perceived and rated by the students. I hope that the regular grading will avoid that students do not take the course serious just because it feels less like a lecture they are used to. After reading John Tagg’s amazing book, I thought that if we add enough feedback to every grade so that students can get better and better, it could heat up the learning environment a lot.

Do you have any ideas or comments to share on one of the papers? Or do you have any questions about one of the papers? Waiting for it in the comment section!

By the way, I wrote a shorter paper about the second paper and won a trip to Russia in September 2013 to participate in the IGIP conference. I’m looking forward to that adventure…

Have anyone ever been to Russia? Would be great if you shared your experiences with me!

I will write about the Russia trip and the conference and the Flipped Classroom for SE course after my conference participation. So if you already have questions concerning one of this three topics, let me know! Thanks in advance!