Category Archives: Projects


MIIS happened. Did you miss it?

It’s true. MIIS happened. And it was awesome!

If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, you might feel like you missed something important, which you did, but that’s ok for two reasons: 1) I’m going to recap the highlights in this blogpost, and 2) MIIS is likely to happen again next semester or next year sometime. So, let’s go over it…

The first ever MIIS Happening event was a Pecha-Kucha-inspired happening. All that was provided was a time, place, and style in which the event was to take place. (Of course, beyond that there was a “countdown” template provided and practice sessions leading up to the happening, but that was all just to support the learning curve of the inaugural event) Basically, the word got out that anybody from the MIIS community could present on anything they wanted as long as they presented it in the very short, concise format that Pecha-Kucha supports… and the outcome was truly engaging and inspiring. For instance…

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Jessica Yoo – talked about how limited our understanding of Korea as a whole can be, and recounted a short timeline of how she was able to reconnect with her heritage over time by connecting family history with national narratives of the United States, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia!



Alfredo Ortiz – walked us through his life as a multidimensional individual in a professionally demanding environment. The audience relished in being able to get to know Alfredo better, as well as learn how to better address their own identities.

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Amanda Liles – talked about what it has been like to be othered by common language, specifically by deconstructing the word disabled in the context of living a very full and spirited life both at home and abroad!

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Evelyn Helminen – talked about what it’s like to participate in Nation Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) every year, and how its creative constraints have helped her to discover herself in the process, ultimately encouraging others to engage in NaNoWriMo as well!

Lauren Scanlan – talked about another way of thinking about self-discovery and cultivating motivation. She used a wonderful metaphor of role playing games and used her own life as an example of how to achieve personal success. I laughed myself to tears… in a good way.

Peter Shaw – shared a recorded Pecha-Kucha project about a teaching-field trip his students took to Bay View Academy in Seaside to teach 8 different languages to middle school students. In a way it was the most elaborate project because it involved 20 different students’ voices on 20 different slides.

Moyara Ruehsen – shared how to change the composition of one’s family to support one’s vision and goals. For those who were able to keep an open mind, it seemed to have had a particularly humbling moral to the story, which was to not feel guilty outsourcing help. Why? Because we all need help, and by employing help, you’re in turn helping someone else.

Not everyone who presented was mentioned in this blog post, but in summary, MIIS Happened, and it was awesome! The applications of what we did are numerous and already trickling into your programs and projects, so keep an eye out! That was us.

Blame us or thank us, but be sure to stay tuned into the next MIIS Happening


You helped us help you

This past Tuesday from 12-2 the DLC had a table set up on Samson Patio, accompanied by a mobile white board. We were staging an event to assess the needs of the student body in the final weeks of the Spring Semester. We wrote on the board:

Come have your needs assessed!

How can the DLC help you succeed in the last 4 weeks of the semester?

I need to be able to:

Use   |    Make   |   Manage

And at least 25 of you all gave us your detailed opinions about how we could help you to succeed in the last 4 weeks of class. This is what we learned:

  1. Some students demanded that we offer training on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Staff Management software, like Salesforce, Asana, and Basecamp.
  2. Some students are tired of playing the role of technical support to teachers who struggle to use the iLearn platform, and GA positions are springing up to address those needs, but the DLC is assumed to be at fault for that.
  3. Excel training in workshop format will remain in high demand every semester.
  4. Making websites (in e-portfolio/blog format especially), infographics, and digital storytelling methods are coming in increasingly high demand.
  5. Some students love being supported by the DLC in full-class format because they want to be able to learn beside their classmates in DLC workshops.
  6. TLM students continue to request that we teach them how to build apps.
  7. Many of you don’t feel comfortable navigating Apple computers
  8. Some students are under the impression that we in the DLC assume going to Lynda solves problems, but many of you find it intimidating to teach yourselves in that way.

So what are we going to do about it? Some of you will receive a direct email in response to our assessment. Some of you will be best addressed in group format, so keep a look out for a group email. And other needs may take a few more days of prep to be addressed appropriately. We may organize a workshop or two, but we need to have another team meeting on Wednesday first.

More updates coming soon

Death by powerpoint

Do ya Pecha Kucha?

Pe-cha-ku-cha? Hold up, before you think I’m insulting you, let’s talk about it.

Pecha Kucha literally means “chit-chat” in Japanese, but in this context, it’s a style and method of presenting. So when I ask, “Do ya Pecha Kucha?” what I mean to ask you is, do you know how to rapidly present an idea in 6 minutes and 40 seconds? Better yet, can you devote a mere 20 seconds to 20 different slides? Let me tell you, if Peter Shaw and Bob Cole can do it, I’m sure you can!

Just before spring break I lead an open-ended workshop with Peter Shaw that helped 20 GSTILE students contribute 20 seconds each to 20 pecha kucha slides for the TESOL department…

And this past Friday I watched Bob Cole freestyle a pecha kucha presentation using truly random assortment of slides. Needless to say it was AWESOME and it even included some audience participation, which caught us all off guard.


Bob Cole’s 20×20 about MIIS Happening and Pecha Kucha


Both the process and finished products of the presentations were quite amazing, so in the spirit of MIIS Happening and the upcoming Pecha Kucha Clinic on Friday, April 10th, let me share with you some key takeaways…

  1. Pecha Kucha is direct
    • 20 slides may seem like an overwhelming amount of space for content, but 20 seconds is a very short amount of time to present anything meaningful. There’s no room for slides full of text or complex diagrams. Every slide is a short, powerful chapter in a story. Peter used 20 still images from his class field trip to Bay View Academy, where his graduate students taught foreign languages to middle school students. The voice overs for those 20 slides came from 20 students in the session, so each student had to be very succinct in the soundbytes they provided. Each one used an average of only 50 words!
  2. Pecha Kucha is engaging
    • Styles vary even within Pecha Kucha, but the idea is to convey a meaningful message or story in a short amount of time. In a way, it’s a direct response to death by powerpoint. Pecha Kucha tends to bring a presenter’s points to life by giving them a relief point. After 20 seconds, the slide shifts whether they’re ready or not, so when presented live it tends to keep the attention of the audience, who deep down inside know that they only get 20 seconds to hear and see each point. It’s like a power point that’s adapted to our short attention spans! Bob was riffing, but great at keeping our attention. He even had a timer built into his slides, which you can find the template for on the MIIS Happening page.
  3. Pecha Kucha is fun
    • Unlike all the text above, Pecha Kucha is enjoyable to be a part of. On the back end I got to help Peter Shaw put together a fast-paced multimedia project using PowerPoint, Garageband, and Camtasia, and on the front end it’s fun to watch! Get a group of Pecha Kucha presenters together and you’ve got yourself a party… of sorts, which is exactly what MIIS Happening is!

I don’t want to spoil the details of the MIIS Happening event, so just take my word for it that Pecha Kucha is what’s happenin’ – so follow the link to get schooled and I’ll see you on Friday in the DLC from 10-11am!

Smile for your mind map

Mind Mapping 101

Mind mapping sounds like something diabolical scientists do… but in actuality, it’s a simple tool to process the scope of work and direction for any project or idea. Like your average brainstorm, it usually starts with a circle in the center of a blank page, and expands with arrows out from the center connecting other free floating ideas, eventually leading to a page full of words, doodles, and color…

Once the concept has been thoroughly mapped however, people usually don’t understand that a mind map can and should be simple, easy to read, and easy to understand.

How do we do that?

  1. Start with a firecracker
    • Consider how you frame the context of your map and you’ll find that a good starting point can lead to all kinds of interesting connections and discoveries. For example, if you put the words “Users ignore our product” in the center of your mind map, you’re going to have a much different outcome than if you put “Users are buying from the competition!”
  2. Speed map
    • A wise man once told me to read every book twice – once for feeling, once for meaning. Sadly, I don’t have time to read most books once, but most of us have time to draw two mind maps, so try not to get bogged down in the details during the mind mapping process the first time. First time around, just write what you feel!
  3. Keep it brief
    • As you speed map, try to limit yourself to 3 connections per node (the bubble or box containing the concept). Beyond 3 and you might be reaching for connections that don’t exist. Less than 3 and you’re just not thinking. By limiting yourself to 3 connections the first time around, you’ll find that you spend less time thinking, and more time mapping.
  4. Value the connections
    • Simple lines and arrows suffice for most mind maps, but mind mapping possibilities are endless if you consider the value of the connection. Label your connections, use colors, and draw unique symbols to represent connections. Your connections are as valuable as your nodes. As an example, the words “Fruit” and “Dried Cranberries” might connect well together, but “Fruit” and “Salad” might not connect well without an arrow labeled “Dried Cranberries”.
  5. Mind mapping should move at the speed of authenticity
    • I know I just told you to speed map, but if this is your second time around slow it down! By the time you get your first (and most pressing) concepts on the page, try only adding and taking away from the map when you can justify the action. Because it’s an iterative process, don’t expect it to be finished in just a few minutes. Return to it after a day or a week if time will allow and you might see a new node or connection you hadn’t before.

In the end, mind mapping is a tool best exercised with patience. I’ve been promoting mind mapping for a while now, and I’ve found that most people’s reservations about it stem from thinking it’s a waste of time. However, if you ever learned to make an outline before writing a paper, consider it the parallel process for project development. Take it one step at a time, and maybe your map will be as beautiful as the one above. For some good mind mapping tools try using Mind42 or CmapTools!


Design Thinking 101

Design thinking is key to maximizing both brainstorming potential and project direction. Thanks to the D-School at Stanford, the picture above highlights 5 simple steps to designing a better project or product. This blog post however is not to reiterate how to design think, but rather what design thinking can offer you. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider design thinking for your next project:

  1. Perspective
    • Gaining or even changing perspective is difficult. We’re often so close to our own biases that we don’t even need to articulate them. Deliberately empathizing with the target audience is an invaluable exercise in changing perspective. Your dedication may be unshakable, but your approach may be askew. Try mapping out the life of, and needs of, your target audience, and defining what is most important to them before proceeding with innovation.
  2. Fresh voices
    • People who both lead and dominate discussion don’t have to be in charge of either of those roles in design thinking. Encourage your quietest team members to contribute by deliberately silencing the leaders, choose a random facilitator for each session, or ask your team to bring inspiring youtube clips or artifacts to the meeting. The opening stages to design thinking should be wild and unpredictable.
  3. Planned brainstorming
    • The only thing worse than a long-winded office meeting is a long-winded brainstorm session. Planned brainstorming has a limit, and design thinking will allow you and your team to close the door on brainstorming in a collective and convenient way. Try having your teammates bring ideas to the meeting before it starts, have them share their ideas with another, then present on each other’s ideas. Feel comfortable closing the door on a brainstorm session when it’s time to prototype.
  4. Distillation of ideas
    • Ideas are always good until they’re shared, then we may realize most of them are flimsy. There’s no better way to distill ideas into useful prototyping directions than to bounce them off other team members. Keep in mind that by empathizing wholeheartedly with the target audience, your ideas should resonate well with your team.
  5. Rewarding experimentation
    • By the time you move on to prototyping and testing your ideas, you should feel good about how radical your brainstorming process became. It’s equally as valuable to cull bad ideas from the table as it is to find the right idea to proceed with. And as the process becomes increasingly refined, feel free to return to the brainstorming process for something a bit more specific.

Design thinking doesn’t have to be the kryptonite of your group focus – and don’t expect it to be the savior of every project. Try it out here and there with intentionality. Tap into the creative potential of your team by pushing them to the edge of their comfort zones and welcoming their ideas as invaluable parts of the process. So next time you hear someone suggest design thinking a solution, give it a chance!


DLC Data Fall 2014

J term is a time for reflection, evaluation and planning in the DLC. As a graduate assistant, I was tasked with compiling the statistics on DLC usage during Fall 2014, collected through three online booking systems. The data focuses on three service areas that the DLC provides: individual consulting sessions, digital recording booths as well as the community Design Sp@ce.


Appointments Statistics

Through the online appointment system, users can select a time/day, a service, and a graduate assistant or staff member to work with. We offer four general service areas: Audio and Video Help, Blogging and Web Tools, Instructional Technology, as well as Presentation and Graphic Design. There is also an “other” category if the topic doesn’t fall under one of the pre-established categories.

The data from the online appointment system shows that during the fall semester, we served a total of 93 unique users, who booked 232 appointments through the online reservation system. We logged a total of 116 hours of consulting sessions.

In terms of the popularity of topics, Blogging and Web Tools was the most popular category as 59% of the consulting sessions were on this topic. Audio and Video Help came in second, with 26% of the total sessions. 8% of the sessions focused on Presentation and Graphic Design. Instructional Technology represented 3% of the documented appointments, however, this statistic does not reflect appointments booked outside of the system. 4% of the sessions were on other topics.

In terms of frequency of appointments throughout the semester, October was our busiest month, with a total of 78 appointments. While we were ramping up in September when the online booking system was first introduced, we logged 33 appointments. In November and December, we logged 64 and 57 appointments respectively.

Recording Booth Statistics

We have two recording booths, which can also be reserved through an online booking system. The data shows that during last semester, 50 unique users booked a total of 176 recording sessions which lasted about 300 hours.

A closer look at the schedule reveals that as the semester progressed, the booking steadily grew, culminating in the most appointments in December, which accounted for 40% of the total sessions. Based on our observation, recording booths were used primarily as a quiet space for Skype and phone calls, Adobe Connect sessions, recording voiceovers for Podcasts, Camtasia screen capture projects, and video editing.

Design Sp@ce Statistics

The Design Sp@ce has proven to be a popular choice for hosting events and classes on campus. During Fall 2014, we hosted a total of 59 unique gatherings which included 8 graduate courses, 27 events, 17 meetings and 4 workshops. Among the 59 gatherings, 18 were recurring. Recurring classes were the norm, as 7 out of 8 classes were scheduled multiple times during the semester. Among the 27 community events, there were receptions, potlucks, movie nights, morning yoga, weekly dance club, blood drives, presentations, guest speaker sessions, etc.

This diversity of events demonstrates that the DLC continued to be a campus event hub while the Holland Center was being renovated . The 17 meetings were mainly class discussions or club meetings. The majority of the 4 workshops were sponsored by the DLC, with a focus on popular topics such as WordPress and screen capture. The space was also used for other purposes such as video filming.


Below is the infographic representation of the statistics, made using Piktochart. Infographic stands for the graphic representation of information or data. Piktochart is a website that allows users to easily create an infographic chart through using the existing templates or creating their own. Piktochart is very user friendly with its drag-and-drop feature. Once the chart has been created, it can be either downloaded as a static image or pdf file or viewed online which shows the interactive features.


“Next Generation” Learning Breakfast Conversation – Deep Learning with Instructional Simulations

What?    Pastries, Coffee & Tea, and Collegial Conversation
Where?  Design Space @ the Digital Learning Commons, 420 Calle Principal / 001 McGowan
When?   9:00-10:30am, Friday, February 21, 2014
Who? MIIS Faculty, interested staff and students
Seating is Limited! Please RSVP online by Wednesday, February 19, 2014. No technical skills or hardware required!

The Digital Learning Commons is pleased to invite MIIS faculty as well as interested staff and students to the next breakfast conversation on effective and emerging ‘next generation’ teaching and learning practices, part of the DLC’s “Next Generation Learning Project”:

Inspired by some of the experiments we see taking place around the globe, and on our own campus, the “Next Generation Learning Project” promotes discussions, activities, and design challenges that help the MIIS community explore the thinking behind educational innovations. From MOOCs, “flipped” classrooms, and various permutations of “online learning,” to more subtle shifts in the way learners and teachers interact, the Next Generation Learning Project seeks to explore how teaching and learning are evolving, in our individual lives, on our campuses, and in the communities with which we intersect through our many immersive learning opportunities.

The topic of focus for this breakfast conversation will be the use of instructional simulations or “sims” to engage students and their potential for enhancing learning experiences that activate deep knowledge formation and critical reflection.

Invited faculty panelists for this session:

Dr. Catherine M. Ashcraft
Visiting Assistant Professor
Middlebury College
Dr. Kent Glenzer
Associate Professor
Monterey Institute, Development Policy & Practice
Dr. Michael McGinnis
Associate Professor
Monterey Institute, International Environmental Policy
Dr. Bill Potter
Professor of Nonproliferation Studies
Founding Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Participants will have opportunities to hear about effective practices from our guest faculty, discuss and reflect upon pedagogical opportunities (and challenges) presented by the use of simulations, and take away some new ideas for future course development.

Make a Narrated Video in PowerPoint

Welcome to today’s workshop on narrating and recording in PowerPoint!

Please sign in!

Make video

  • You can work with one of your own presentations, or you can use this template google presentation.
  • Download the presentation as a powerpoint file (click the image below to see how).

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 2.36.21 PM

Share video

Similar Resources

  • Keynote
  • Quicktime
  • Camtasia
  • iPad Apps: Doceri, Explain Everything, ScreenChomp


Thank you for coming!  Please fill out our feedback form.


TEDx Student Speaker Opportunity


Have you always dreamed of speaking at TEDx?  TEDxMonterey is seeking an inspired student presenter or performer for the April 13, 2013 TEDxMonterey event!

Wednesday, February 27 in Irvine Auditorium from 8:30am – 4:00pm the Institute is hosting the Live Simulcast from the 2013 TED Conference in Long Beach .  Review the day’s exciting program and REGISTER to attend this free community screening.

Lunchtime TEDx Talk Pitch Session
During the lunch break from 1-2:00pm in Irvine Auditorium the MIIS student community is invited to pitch their ‘ideas worth spreading’ to an expert panel who will make the final recommendation to the TEDxMonterey curating team.  Pitch guidelines and sign up below:

Pitch Guidelines

  • 3 minutes or less per pitch
  • No slides
  • Review the TED commandments
  • Story, Talk or Performance welcome
  • Submit a 3 minute video if you are unable to attend in person
  • Come prepared!
  • Make an appointment with the DLC to pre-pitch your idea, practice, and receive feedback on your pitch
  • Sign Up to Pitch your idea worth spreading below!

Need inspiration?
Check out MIIS student presenters from previous TEDxMonterey events:

TEDxMonterey – Aaron Ebner – Sharing Empowerment

TEDxMonterey- Whitney Anderson – What used to be…

3D Map

We’re halfway through our community-driven project to create a 3-D model of campus on Google Earth. Learn how you can help!

Come to the Digital Learning Commons to learn Google SketchUp and help us create a 3-D model of campus on Google Earth. Last semester we launched this project and completed models of some building on campus.

Each project participant or group will have the opportunity to create a model of one of our campus buildings and compete for prizes. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the semester to the top models and their creator(s). These models will be featured throughout campus and submitted to Google Earth.

Whether you would like to compete, help your friends, or simply show off your SketchUp skills, all are welcome – students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends!