Thursday, June 15, 2017

Combination Learning

Learning through the flexible combination of two or more components. Source

The key idea here seems to be flexibility, both in the source and the extent of the learning content. A change of focus is also important, from the teacher to the student.
The final defining concept, is that there is no longer a container. Learning is open ended, and the extent and direction is now dictated, and governed by student choice.

"A River Runs Through It: Art, Geology and Life on the Upper Mississippi",
Journal for Learning through the Arts, 11(1)
Henderson, Lynette K, California State University, Northridge, 2015 Permalink: 

A New Comparison of Active Learning Strategies to Traditional Lectures for Teaching College Astronomy

LoPresto, Michael C.; Slater, Timothy F.
Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education, v3 n1 p59-76 Jun 2016

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Its Day five of no broadband from Digiweb.

Dear Sirs/Madam
As detailed below, my broadband service is still not working, and I have not heard back from your customer support rep. I have not cancelled my account, and I would appreciate it if my service could be restored as soon as possible.  Your customer service representative sent the email at the bottom of this correspondence, but has not replied since.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Laurence Cuffe.

Ref DigiwebDEC15/Letter2

Dear XXXX,
Further to our conversation at approximately 15:45, on Tuesday 15th Dec I wish to make it clear that I did not cancel our contract. You indicated that the contract had been cancelled, and said that you would endeavour to find out how this had happened. You then suggested that I contact your sales team, and set up a new account, I indicated that this was not a satisfactory outcome for me as
1, I had not cancelled the account, and
2 I felt that I had lost service which I felt I was due.    In thinking further on this, I think there is also the matter of the remaining balance on the account, as I note the latest invoice is for the period from late december 2015 through January 2016, which implies that the service is paid for up to that time.
You reverted to me and said that you are escalating my problem to a tier 2 team, and would revert with the results.
I await that outcome.
Yours Sincerely,
Dr Laurence Cuffe

Ref DigiwebDec15/Letter1

Thanks XXXX.
I have dialed the number you gave me, and got no response. I have contacted eir (as was eircom) and they say that they do not have a broadband account in my name and did not cancel the broadband.  Neither myself, the account holder, nor my wife have changed provider, so I would appreciate it if you could restore service, as we have a contract in place with you.
Yours Sincerely,
Dr Laurence P Cuffe
Sent from QCloud

On Dec 14, 2015, at 09:18 AM, XXXXX
> wrote:

Hi Laurence,

Account has been cancelled and moved to another provider. Could you possibly have been talking to a sales person from another provider who then took over the account.  If you dial 199000 on your land line phone it should tell you who your provider is and you will have to call them to see what happened.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

The right thing, done right. New York Times

-----Original Message-----

Sent: 10/20/2012 12:45:43 PM
To: emediacs
Subject: HELP Subscriptions

Comments:When I choose to subscribe to your online newsleter, I chose text over HTML, because I did not want the overhead of downloading images, or the risk of aquiring viruses. If I had wished for HTML, I would have chosen that option.

You now notify me that you have switched my subscription. Why do you think you know my mind better than I do? I am intrigued.
Yours Sincerely, Dr Laurence Cuffe
More Specifically:E-Mail Notifications

Thank you for contacting NY Times.

We apologize for any inconvenience you are experiencing. We re-applied your preference for TXT.

If there is anything else we can do to help you, please e-mail us at or call us at 1-800-NYTIMES (1-800-698-4637) from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday and 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday (ET).

Your satisfaction is very important to us and we thank you for your feedback.


John Banner
Online Customer Care
The New York Times
Dear John,
Gold star time for New York times customer support. Your response is very much appreciated. My original complaint was testy and grumpy. your response was prompt, magnanimous, and to the point.
Thanks again
Dr Laurence Cuffe

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

google course on searching.

I join a number of online courses during the year, and will generally have about three on the go at the one time. I'm not looking for certification, just knowledge and will at any one time only be concentrating on one of them. So why three?  well often the blurb for a course will be very enticing, but when you come to the course it doesn't live up to the description, or the material may be more demanding than I expected. Sometimes I find a course which on the face of it did not promise much turned out to be excellent. Two online places which carry good courses are udacity and coursera, both of which have good provenances, and I find the quality of material from them generally excellent.
This month I also signed up with a new to me course provider, google at this web site Power Searching With Google and while I found the initial sections of the course a bit slow, it was just getting interesting. I was in the middle of watching a lesson this morning and when I clicked next, I was jumped to a page saying:

Thank you for your interest in the Power Searching with Google class! The class is now closed. Although you will no longer be able to earn a certificate, you'll still be able to view the videos and do the online activities on your own starting July 25, 2012.

Arghh I don't mind no cert, but the class was just getting interesting and I've got a little spare time today to do some more of it. 
Still by the time you read this, the course is probably back up in a non certification mode and its well worth dipping into.Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Updating this once more.

On the 25th of June, my disks still had not arrived, and once more I contacted apple support, this time using the apple call we will call you button.
We got as far as a shipping number for the FedEx shipment and the service rep indicated that there was some problem with the address. He was not able to contact the shipping department himself, but gave me a FedEx tracking number. He said that shipping finished earlier in the day and that if I called back earlier the following night, they might be able to do something about it.
I checked the FedEx site, and the shipment showed that it had arrived in Dublin on may 2nd and had an address problem. They also stated that the address had to be updated by the shipper.
I contacted apple again (on my nickel, via their 1850 number) this morning, and trooped through the numbers. They said I had to contact FedEx about it, I explained that FedEx’s web site said it was the shipper who had to make the changes. We took down my address again, and tied it down to the serial number of the Imac.  The rep said That’s an older 17” Imac isn’t it?  I agreed it was and I was then put on hold while he talked to the shipping department. 
Apparently it was not possible for them to talk to FedEx in Dublin, so once more I gave my address and a new set off disks are on their way and will arrive in five to ten business days.
I asked about how this would affect the move to I cloud, as I couldn’t upgrade my machine in time, and then it got interesting.  He said that there would be an extension of mobile me for a couple of weeks, so long as it was applied for by the 29th, but I should contact mobile me apple help. 
It had been about another 30 minutes on the phone, this morning’s call on my nickel, and I hadn’t the time or the energy to call mobile me support about this.  But I will in the morning, after I’ve got out a good book to read and poured my morning coffee.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

MAC Mail update

Further to my last post a couple of updates may be in order. I talked on Tuesday 27th to another advisor, who agreed to ship a new set of disks, and said to contact support if nothing had arrived by Wednesday of the following week. I waited until Thursday, and then called. After perhaps 5 minutes that chat session ended prematurely when the line dropped, and the following is a transcript of my third support chat, which lasted 53 minutes.

Chat Support
2:55 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, 2012
Duration: 00:53:36
Case Number : 320541432
Representative: Joshua
Advisor [2:55 p.m.]:
Hi, welcome to Apple! My name is Joshua with MobileMe support. Please give me a moment to look over the
information you provided.
Advisor [2:56 p.m.]:
Hello, Laurence. While I look over your pre-chat survey, can you please tell me whether you have chatted in
about this particular issue before?
In the pre chat survey, I listed all support call numbers, and the shipping reference sent on by the Advisor with whom I had made contact on the 27th of May.
Customer [2:56 p.m.]:
Hi Joshua yes I have.
Customer [2:57 p.m.]:
I was chating about 5 minutes ago, but seem to have got cut off
Advisor [2:57 p.m.]:
So just to be sure, I understand that you have recently requested a Snow Leopard Disk so you can take the first
step in upgrading to Mac Os X Lion, however you have not yet received that disk. Is this correct?
Customer [2:58 p.m.]:
yes. I have requested it initialy via the mobile me splash screen prompts, and subsequently via a suport advisor
who told me to contact support if they did not arive by nednesday
Advisor [3:00 p.m.]:
Thanks, I can definitely understand the importance of wanting to get ahold of this free upgrade disk, so i will do
my very best to assist you. Now i will need just 3-5 minutes. Also just to let you know in advance, if I stop typing
for a few minutes while we are chatting, I am still here, It's just that i may have to repeatedly look into your
account and use other tools to help with this.
Customer [3:02 p.m.]:
Thats ok. I felt the other chat had terminated because my comments were no longer being echoed to the screen
Advisor [3:05 p.m.]:
Just to clarify, on which date did you originally fill the Splash page for that Snow Leopard Disk?
Customer [3:07 p.m.]:
I dont know, but I see from my entry on my customer care blog that it was a number of weeks prior to the 27th
on may. I think it was mid to late april, but I am not sure
Customer [3:08 p.m.]:
my bog entry is at

Advisor [3:09 p.m.]:
Just to clarify Laurence, I understand that you Signed up for that Free Copy of Snow Leopard back in Mid April.
Customer [3:09 p.m.]:
Yes. That is correct.
Advisor [3:10 p.m.]:
Thanks! that's all needed for now. I'll be just a few more moments While I continue to look into this for you.
Customer [3:10 p.m.]:
I wonder could it be an issue related to the fact that I lived in the USA from 2006 to 2008, when my mac account
was based there?
Advisor [3:12 p.m.]:
When Signing up for your Copy of Snow Leopard you are prompted to enter your current Address so that
shouldn't be the issue. I'll be just a few more moments.
Customer [3:14 p.m.]:
This is odd. I just got an email from you with a new case number, but when I clicked on the case number to see
details the site responded with We're sorry, but the case number and email address do not match our records.
Verify your information and try again, or use another email address if you have one. might you have database
corruption problem which is messing up this transaction?
Advisor [3:15 p.m.]:
Laurence that is not the problem. I need just a few moments while I look into this. I'll update you as soon as I
know more.
Customer [3:16 p.m.]:
Advisor [3:22 p.m.]:
What do you see when you login to
at the moment?
Customer [3:24 p.m.]:
working on it
Customer [3:24 p.m.]:
it says Leopard is on its way
Customer [3:25 p.m.]:
my suport profile gives the following as my address: I've removed this, but the address quoted is a mixture of my new Irish address appended to my old American address with a US post code
might this be an issue?

As I mentioned above when filling out the Snow leopard form you are prompted to enter your current Mailing
address so that is not the issue. I will need just a few more moments while I look into this. Thanks for you
Advisor [3:26 p.m.]:
Also, Just to clarify, if you seen the bubble in the lower portion of our chat session, that does mean I am
currently typing.
Advisor [3:32 p.m.]:
Just to clarify, What is the Case ID from the last time you chatted in about this issue?
Customer [3:35 p.m.]: These were all given in the pre chat survey form, but I repeated them
just checking, 320541432, about 45 mins ago, and prior to that 317736822, but I think the most relevant
number is
SRF ID: 2153566 which was the last person who said they were shipping stuff.
Advisor [3:35 p.m.]:
Alright Thanks for waiting Laurence. Alright, Now we have been able to locate that you last advisor did setup
another Mail out. Now this last Mail out was sent on only the 30th. It is on the way and should be received within
the next 6-12 business days. I deeply apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Customer [3:42 p.m.]:
The email I received from that support call indicated that it would take 2-3 business days. I don't feel that just
adding 6-12 business days really resolves my problem. I still think that the fact that your records give a wrong
address for me may explain why for the second time I have not received mail. Remember this issue did not
originate on the 30th, but about three weeks prior to that at least.
Advisor [3:44 p.m.]:
Laurence there is nothing we can do to make that disk ship any fast. It should arrive within business days. that's
the most information we have available. You disk is heading to the right address. Have I addressed all of your
questions today?
Customer [3:48 p.m.]:
I would be happy to accept your word for this, If I could be sure that you have my right address. I'm sorry If I
sound impatient, or skeptical. It would reassure me if you could tell me from your records what address it is
shipping to.
Advisor [3:48 p.m.]:
The chat session has ended. Thanks for using Apple's Chat support

Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Mac Mail Fun

As you may be aware Mac have discontinued their pay email service and are floating everything into the cloud.  Fine.
I started the upgrade process a number of weeks ago by requesting a set of Disks to upgrade my OS from Leopard to Snow leopard, once this is done I can then buy the Lion upgrade, download it and I can use my Mac, to read my email.  (Dont ask why dont I use something simple like Gmail, that would be too easy, and would not satisfy my Mac nerd gene which tells me that the Mac way is the true way.)
O.K. Now when I go online to read my email through the web interface, It now does a nagware flash screen saying are you ready yet?  contact apple support if you are unsure.  As I have not yet received my new OS disks, step one of the upgrade process, I decided to contact them.

Its a bit of a shuffle and you have to enter your details reapeatadly to get to a screen where you have the opting of online or telephone support.  I chose online chat, and had to enter my details again, and got to a screen which said it was computing my wait time.  After about twenty seconds, I get  a message saying that there were no customer support reps available, please try again in 15 mins.
15 mins later:
 Its a bit of a shuffle and you have to enter your details reapeatadly to get to a screen where you have the opting of online or telephone support.  I chose online chat, and had to enter my details again, and got to a screen which said it was computing my wait time.  After about twenty seconds, I get  a message saying that there were no customer support reps available, please try again in 15 mins.
30 mins later
Its a bit of a shuffle and you have to enter your details reapeatadly to get to a screen where you have the opting of online or telephone support.  I chose online chat, and had to enter my details again, and got to a screen which said it was computing my wait time.  After about twenty seconds, I get  a message saying that there were no customer support reps available, please try again in 15 mins.
This time I choose the we will callyou option and the phone rang almost immediately.  Cool. Great.
I pick it up and its Apple! yeah! 
Whats your device number?
I dont know... Its at the far end of the house, the device number is on the bottom of the base, and I've one of those wierd oldstyle phones with a wire which goes into the wall.
O.K. now no wories. Whats the problem?
I explain. 
No You are through to the wrong service department. We support portable devices. you need the mac department, they are only open Monday to Friday.
You must have chosen the wrong support option.
I explained that I had arrived directly from the "contact customer service" link on the email are you ready yet splash page.
Oh. Well I cant do anything for you we cant authorise the dispatch of disks..
I then explained that I was a some what irate apple customer of long standing.
Maybe I could talk to my supervisor, maybe they could authorize the disks, could you please hold?
Shure.  I take out my book.
A couple of pages later.
I'm sorry for the delay, but we cant help.  I could set up a call back on Monday...
I explain that Monday is one of the days I work, and thank the rep.

After the call ends, I check my email.

Shure enough there is a email saying that feedback is important to us.
I click on the feedback link.
Once more I have to give my details, but now its asking me for my website.
What website?  Then I remembered. I do have a website for4 dealing with costomer service departments.

Hence this post.