On the Benefits of Online Learning

first_imgTruth be told, I was slow warming up to online instruction. Ten years ago, in early 2004, BuildingGreen was approached by Boston Architectural College (then Boston Architectural Center — but with the same acronym, BAC) about collaborating on sustainable design curriculum. There is so much value in face-to-face instruction and student interaction, I thought, how could online instruction take its place?But we did collaborate, helping BAC develop its Sustainable Design curriculum. And I created and for a number of years taught one of the foundation online courses for the program: “Sustainable Design as a Way of Thinking,” which is now being taught by my friend David Foley.This assemblage of courses, now housed in BAC’s Sustainable Design Institute, offers the most comprehensive, accredited online instruction in sustainable design anywhere. There are nearly three dozen courses offered that can be taken as continuing education courses by anyone, taken as part of graduate degree programs, or taken as electives as part of a relatively new MDS (Masters in Design Studies) program in Sustainable Design that is now in its third year. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. RELATED ARTICLES Location Efficiency Trumps Home Energy EfficiencyGetting Around Without Fossil FuelsGetting Off Fossil FuelsLocation EfficiencyReduce the Need for DrivingTransportation Energy Intensity of BuildingsHouses Versus CarsDriving Less Pros and cons of online instructionI’m teaching a brand new course in the BAC Sustainable Design Institute, Resilient Design, that starts this week, so I’ve been focusing actively on online instruction and its various advantages and disadvantages. There still is the disadvantage of not being able to engage students in the classroom — responding in person to questions and perspectives that come up, having eye-contact with students, etc.But the online discussions can be dynamic, as I learned years ago with my first online teaching. And there are ways to encourage active participation by students that BAC has become very good at.Beyond the pedagogy of instruction, however, online education has some significant environmental advantages.The big benefit is less driving. I can teach from my home in Dummerston, Vermont, and students can participate from all over. In my Resilient Design course, I have students from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Washington State, and Alberta, Canada. In other courses I’ve taught, students have enrolled from as far away as Iraq and Japan.Even when students and faculty live close-by, commuting energy can be huge. In 2009, I participated in an exercise of figuring out how Antioch New England in Keene, New Hampshire, could become a carbon-neutral university, and I was astounded at what a huge percentage of the university’s total carbon emissions resulted from student and staff commuting — over two-thirds as I recall.center_img Better online teaching tools make learning from afar betterUntil I started this new Resilient Design course it had been five or six years since I had taught an online BAC course (though I’ve been participating for several years in BAC’s onsite intensive weeks with their new MDS program). Back in 2006-2008 we were using different online learning software (Blackboard); BAC is now using Moodle.I used to simply post lectures as static PowerPoint presentations, but now I’m using a package called VoiceThread to add audio commentary and even highlight items in the slides that I’m talking about. So far at least, I’m very excited about the capability VoiceThread offers.As with Blackboard, Moodle has extensive online discussion capabilities, including the “Coffeehouse” forum. I’m looking forward to dynamic conversations there — which I can take part in with my feet up and a cup of tea (I’m not a coffee drinker) on the windowsill of my new house. BAC course offeringsUnfortunately, my Resilient Design course is now filled up, but it should be possible to still sign up for most of the other 13 eight-week courses that started on Tuesday of this week. Included are courses in residential energy modeling, green roofs, materials and indoor air quality, sustainable design and preservation, sustainable transportation, the economics of green building, and zero-energy homes.And I’m sure we’ll be repeating the Resilient Design course, so keep an eye out for future offerings of that.last_img read more

Syeda Anowara Taimur, Assam’s lone woman Chief Minister, fails to find place in NRC final draft

first_imgThe name of Assam’s lone woman Chief Minister Syeda Anowara Taimur, who is residing in Australia, is missing from the National Register of Citizens, and she plans to return home to initiate the process of enlisting herself and her family in the register of citizens of the State.“It is sad that my name is not there in the list. I will return to Assam in the last week of August and then initiate the process to get mine and my family’s name enlisted in the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” the octogenarian told a television channel. Ms. Taimur headed the State government from December 6, 1980 to June 30, 1981. She has been ailing for some years and is living with her son in Australia.The former Assam Chief Minister said she had “requested a relative to submit the application for the family’s inclusion in the NRC, but maybe it could not be done due to some reasons”.The NRC authorities in Guwahati, however, said there was no legacy data of the former Chief Minister available with them and as such it was not possible for them to ascertain whether she and her family members had applied for inclusion of their names in the draft NRC.Ms. Taimur had served as a Rajya Sabha member in 1988. She was elected as a member of the State Assembly in 1972, 1978, 1983 and 1991. She left the Congress to join the AIUDF in 2011.AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam on told PTI on August 3 that they, too, had heard from media reports about her name not being in the list. “We have come to know from media reports that our party member and Assam’s first woman Chief Minister’s name does not figure in the list. There are others like former President Fakhruddin Ali’s nephew whose names do not figure in the NRC. This is a serious matter,” he said.“The NRC is full of errors and we will soon meet NRC State coordinator Prateek Hajela and then chalk out our future course of action,” he said.Meanwhile, Ms. Taimur’s Guwahati residence near the Rajdhani Masjid in Dispur is lying vacant. The complete draft of the NRC released on July 30 included the names of 2.89 crore people, out of the 3.29 applicants, with the names of over 40 lakh people excluded.last_img read more

Turning point in England vs West Indies tie

first_imgAn edge-of-the seat match saw England beat West Indies by 18 runs to keep their World Cup quarter-final hopes alive.Chasing 244, West Indies got off to a flying start with Chris Gayle slamming Chris Tremlett for four boundaries in an over in his short-lived 43-run innings. It looked all easy for the West Indies as they got their first 50 in just 5 overs. But spinners James Tredwell and Graeme Swann brought England back into the game, leaving the West Indies aflutter at 150-6.A last-gasp partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan and Andre Russell got the West Indies ticking ahead. The two shared a 72-run stand before Russell got out to a superb off-break from Tredwell at 49 which was also the turning point of the game.Man-of-the-MatchJames Tredwell was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his brilliant figures of 10-2-48-4.last_img read more

London Games Village waits to pamper athletes

first_imgAs Indian athletes prepare to go to London, the Olympic Village at Stratford is ready to make them feel at home by bringing in chefs from India and locally to prepare the food of their choice.”The Indian athletes can eat any food of their choice made by Indian chefs, whether it’s low carb, low fat or high carb, high energy or special diets. And of course they can choose from 1,300 other types of dishes that would be available in the Village,” said Charles Allen, Mayor of the Olympic Village, who has spent the last 10 years to ensure that for over three weeks the visitors can focus on their job or achieving greater heights.The Village will also offer them a recreation centre, free international calls anywhere, free makeovers and even free haircuts.”Every legal form of service will be available for the athletes to make them focus on their main job – to compete,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson, who opened the Village on Thursday and took a nail job from a Proctor and Gamble makeover staff, although refusing to get his mop shortened.The Village adjacent to the Olympic Park covers an area of 36 hectares and will house up to 16,000 athletes and team officials beginning from Monday. The Village is among the most compact in recent Olympic history, but a large central park has been thrown in to given a feeling of expanse. The athletes will be housed in 2,818 apartments spread across 11 residential plots.”We will accommodate the visitors in space ranging from apartment of one bedroom to townhouses of five bedrooms. Each chef de mission will decide who will stay where. But we are all ready, as planned, to offer the best environment to the athletes,” said Allen in an interview.advertisementEach country will be allocated a certain number of accommodation blocks in a single identifiable space, allowing their team management to manage their affairs in one central location.Several services have been offered by various companies who have set up the infrastructure for it within the Village. Thus Coca-Cola is sponsoring the recreation centre where athletes can relax by playing snooker or fussball or video games.”We know from other games that people come here with one major thing on their minds, to compete, but they also end up making friends, mixing socially with members of other teams. Some of them end up as lifelong friends, and that’s what we want,” says Nigel Garfitt, director of Villages and Games Services. He says that there’s always a sense of accommodation among the athletes and very little friction.GE has arranged for the health facilities at the Park with polyclinics for athletes and media and visitors in various parts of the park. Samsung is offering phone facilities, UPS is offering courier services and P&G the makeover hall.Holiday Inn will provide hotel services at the Village and BT the telecom and fibre optic services. Several food brands are there, including McDonald’s.last_img read more

ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight Releases Playoff Odds After Rivalry Weekend

first_imgESPN's FiveThirtyEight playoff odds for College Football teams after rivalry week.fivethirtyeight playoff oddsThe regular season, at least for most college football teams, has ended. Which means that after next Saturday’s slate of contests (many of which are conference championship games), the playoff selection committee will have all of the info it needs to make its decisions. Will their be chaos on the final Saturday? Or will it all hold?At this point, according to ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight, a few things are clear. Oklahoma, after winning the Big 12, is in the playoff field. Alabama, with a win over Florida in the SEC title game, will also have a spot. Clemson, with a win over UNC, is in. And the winner of the Big Ten title game between Iowa and Michigan State will qualify as well. The question marks? Does UNC, with a win over Clemson, get in? And if Alabama loses to Florida, does Ohio State sneak back in? Here are the odds that FiveThirtyEight has at the moment.Oklahoma is in. The next four are locks if they win. Lurking: UNC, Stanford, Ohio State. https://t.co/ZvsQO702Hb pic.twitter.com/djQVtog8wY— Andrew Flowers (@andrewflowers) November 29, 2015In just a week, we’ll have all of the answers. Until then, expect a great deal of debate.last_img read more

Photos: Outline Of The Field At Bristol Motor Speedway For Tennessee-Virginia Tech Is Visible On Google Maps

first_imgBristol Motor Speedway on Google Maps shows the lines for the 2016 football game played at the racetrack.Google Maps. The Sept. 10 meeting between Tennessee and Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway is hoping to be the highest-attended college football game in history. Organizers for the event believe the record of 115,109 (Notre Dame at Michigan in 2013) can be broken. There’s certainly enough room at the 150,000-seat track for that to happen. Photos of the field outline are now visible on Google Maps, and it’s pretty clear that there is a ton of space for even more seating. Check these out: Google Maps. Google Maps. Google Maps.Google Maps.It was announced on Wednesday that Tennessee and Virginia Tech will kick off at 8 p.m. E.T. on Sept. 10. The game will be televised on ABC.last_img read more

People have to choose between honest and corrupt govts Modi

first_imgSundargarh (Odisha): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said people have to decide whether they want to choose an honest and principled government committed to development of all, or a corrupt and unprincipled one. “This time lotus will bloom in Odisha. The BJP will taste victory. I can say with certainty that maximum number of lotuses will bloom in the state,” Modi said at a rally in tribal-dominated Sundargarh. Similarly, the BJP will again come to power at the Centre as the country needs a strong and decisive government to ensure national security as well as speedy development, the prime minister said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Hitting out at the BJD government in Odisha, the prime minster said its intentions are not good and the 2019 polls are significant for the future of Odisha as well as country. On the 39th foundation day of the BJP, Modi said, “The party was born out of sweat of its workers, not dynasty or money. It came into being and grew manifold with the sweat and labour of its workers.” Asserting that the BJP all along fought to safeguard democracy, he said lakhs of party workers and leaders were jailed while protesting the Emergency. “Now the BJP has emerged as the world’s largest democratic organisations. It fought to protect democracy during Emergency,” he said. Assembly election in Odisha will be held along with Lok Sabha polls in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.last_img read more

Guardiola Sane far from his best

first_imgManchester City manager has said Leroy Sane his far from his best, according to Sports Mole.Pep believes the Germany international is far from his best despite coming off the bench to score against fellow English side Liverpool in the International Champions Cup pre-season friendly in New York.Sane put Manchester City a goal ahead when he raced past the Liverpool back line to slot the past Loris Karius in goal but Liverpool responded with two goals courtesy of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.The 22-year-old winger who won the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) young player of the year was surprisingly left out of Germany’s 23 man squad to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where the Germans crashed out of the group stages after suffering two defeats.jose mourinhoMourinho knows why City and Liverpool are so far ahead George Patchias – September 13, 2019 Jose Mourinho knows why Manchester City and Liverpool are so far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League.In an interview with the Telegraph,…Sane had a stellar campaign last season with the Citizens with 14 goals and 19 assists but he’s manager is demanding more from him.“Everything depends on him. He needs more minutes and needs to improve when playing without the ball. He has the talent to do that and we’re happy that he scored. But he’s still far away from his best.” Pep said about his young star.City next face Bayern Munich in the ICC on Saturday.last_img read more

Ultras turn on Napolis president

first_imgThe Ultras Curvas A and B have released a statement criticising the Italian club ownerThings in Napoli are not okay.The team lost last week 5-0 against Liverpool, and even after winning all other friendlies the club’s fanatics are not happy.The fans are angry about the lack of any big-name signings during this summer transfer window.And they have found President Aurelio De Laurentiis to be the culprit.Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.“We don’t tolerate his vision of football, which is pro-business and without sentiment. We’re ultras… the past, present, and future,” the ultras wrote on a statement.“We’ve lived and we’ll live them all with sacrifice, passion, and values that are present everywhere, but also beside an idiot.”According to Football Italia, the supporters don’t like the lack of any signings that would send their team to the top of the Serie A.“We no longer accept this stringent lack of style and these provocative offenses against a group of people who, despite him taking us from the abyss, made him go from being a modest film producer to a great and ‘wealthy’ owner of a football club,” they added.last_img read more

Upgrades make La Center treatment plant less noticeable

first_imgIn the past 18 months, the La Center Wastewater Treatment Plant received $13 million in upgrades that made it less noticeable than before. And officials say that’s how they like it.The expansion project’s results include fewer odor and noise complaints, cleaner water released into the Lewis River and more fertilizer for the Lewis River Reforestation Project in Woodland, officials said. In addition, the plant, which once was the largest water consumer in the city, now uses the same amount of water as an average single household per year.The city’s growth in recent years, expected growth in the next two decades and increased regulations made the expansion necessary, officials said. The plant, which is at the entrance to town, receives all of the water and solid waste from La Center homes, plus groundwater and rainwater.La Center officials showcased the plant’s additions to the public Friday during an open house. The plant remained operational during the entire 18-month project.“I don’t think the average citizen will realize much of a tangible difference,” said Sue Lawrence, the treatment plant’s superintendent. “It’s not adversely affecting the quality of life” of area residents in regards to noise and smell coming from the facility, she added.last_img read more