Knowledge in the cloud, a digital learning experiment

Its been a darn long time since I wrote anything here. It might be because of the fact that I fire up most of my emotions on facebook, and that I've had my hands full with all the MBA work hitting me like waves.

But, I never forgot what I like most, tech stuff, and this is one story which combines the MBA with some of it.

Back when I started the course, I had to print all the notes given by lecturers and take them to the lecture. That is the custom at UoM, opposed to other institutions like PIM who give out a huge book at the beginning of the semester for the students to start cramming at the inception of the subject. I guess as engineers, we are supposed to find knowledge, rather than getting it bestowed upon us. (and since we know better, we never go out looking for it, and start reverse-engineering the knowledge when it comes to the exams)

So, after a couple of semesters, I realized that there are difficulties printing these notes. One, is that I dont have a printer, and the only places that I can print them at the time of arrival is either the office, or the Salaka building in front, which is a utterly inefficient place which I despise beyond anything. So semester 2 and 3 ended up having no in class notes or very little of it. I had to recollect what I heard and reverse engineer the papers when it came to the exam.

Then, the gadget showed up. Up until now, I didn't want a 7" form factor android. I didn't have a need for it. The very reason I didn't have a laptop, applied there, what do you want to do with a tab? but when I saw a discounted price for office staff, I jumped in.

picture from gsmarena.com


So I got a Huawei Mediapad. It ran 4.0.3 ICS, and no, I did NOT root it or install JB. This gadget had far more different uses. I used this as my notebook. In Semester 3, I started taking notes with it. I could take the very PDF I got emailed from the lecturer. When others asked "oops, did you get a copy of today's lecture", I already had it when the lecturer emailed it.


dropbox to the rescue to store the files

It wasn't without risk. The worst of them being losing files by saving them here and there. The answer, Dropbox.! So when it came to doing past papers, google came to the rescue. Drive was a absolute wonder this time. And, in addition to editing files online, I shared the resources with my reverse engineer buddies, the loss group. For the first time in my life, I actually used google docs for a real purpose.


drive to store the answers

In Semester 4, all my notes are in digital format. I finished one subject this time and the resultant number of papers for that is 3 A4 sheets, the booklet I wrote answers in, and the spare paper I proved the volume of a cone using integration in my spare time (yes, that habit of finishing early is still there. But, I'm now more humane and I don't leave the hall at 1.5hrs for a 3hrs exam, freaking the dudes out)

Is this method working? i still dont actually know. I could write exams with it. But results are still to come for my all digital work. But I don't think they're going to be that bad.

Is this a green method? Of course not. I do this because I hate to collect papers and throw them out at the end of a course, and I'm a techie by all means, and I can handle an eBook as good as anyone can handle a real book. In contrast, this adds more carbon to the atmosphere than using real paper. The charging of my gadgets was done using either diesel power, coal or hydro power. And the last time I heard, even hydro is not a 100% good method for power because of the methanes emitted by reservoirs.

So why do such a thing? heck, if you read this blog long enough, you would know I do things like this to experiment with the technology. An additional goal was there. I hated management subjects. So I used them as Guinea-pigs for my next tech experiment.

So i invite you to test it out if possible and if you're brave enough to change. If you've actually done this, and doing it, leave a comment, or some tips or tricks for the others.

Cheers.