Week 8: Wrapping Up

8.1 Video project reviews


This team did a great job covering an extensive amount of information and adding in related imagery. The presentation is very well researched. The quality of the video production was acceptable given that it was  collaborative effort done remotely. My only qualm is the variation in audio quality due to the different equipment being used. The third reader did an especially great job using expression in his voice, which helped maintain my attention. Because all group members participated in the narration of the video, team work is evident. Overall, the presentation is appropriate to an audience of technology professionals.

While the visual style of this video is different and the presentation is much shorter, the explanations seem to be the same and not focused towards a different, more general audience. I would have liked to have seen a change in tone and diction as evidence that this team was aware of their audience as a more general crowd.

blockchain and cryptocurrency

This team produced a professional looking video with great vocal expression. The ideas conveyed were detailed and the diction was appropriate for an audience of technology professionals. The example scenarios with accompanying visuals made the presentation engaging and easy-to-follow. However, if I were to judge the evidence of team work on narration alone, I would say that it seemed unbalanced since the first narrator explained the most and the last narrator had the shortest part.

This team’s second video seems to just be a shorter version of their first. There is no indication that it is meant for a different, more general audience. Not only are the diction and tone of the video the same, but the visual style is the same as well. Changing these three aspects would make the video much more engaging for a general audience.


As a person who has been in the teaching profession for the past four years, this video seemed pretty well targeted towards people, such as superintendents and policymakers, who could do something about bringing computer science into public schools. They provide convincing evidence to fund such programs. The only thing that could be improved is more graphical support and more practice with narration to make it more fluent and expressive.

This video is super engaging because of the visuals. I would definitely show this to an administrator or teacher to convince them why students should have the opportunity to learn to code in a public school. This is especially important since CS is not a core subject in California and is not viewed with priority when budgets go into deficit.


Our team has done an amazing job communicating and collaborating remotely. In the beginning, we decided to create weekly agendas and to ensure we stuck to them out of respect for everyone’s time. We held conference calls via Google Hangouts consistently on Saturdays at 11am, and if anyone had a meeting conflict, we communicated and reached a resolution (this only happened once because I had a work training and we resolved to meet on Sunday instead). Every week, a different team member kept meeting minutes, which are all saved on our Team Drive for our reflection and reference.

Teamwork has always been divided fairly, with each team member contributing their fair share. I feel like, if we keep the good work up, we will be successful all the way through our capstone project!

Here are the two videos we produced for our final presentations on Quantum computing:

Week 7

7.1 Collaborative Video Production

This is perhaps the busiest week in CST 300 since we have two major projects to worry about–the final draft of our ethics paper and two videos on a selected topic for two different audiences. Our group met on Google Hangouts after Monday’s meeting with the professors to discuss our plan of action. Each group member is supposed to research our topic–quantum computing–and to compile a list of resources and ideas for both videos. We have been sharing some resources over Slack since our next meeting will not be until Sunday. We are also investigating an online collaborative tool like theplot.io to storyboard our videos before we start production. We also discussed how we would approach production and editing. For voice overs and other content, we plan on uploading content to a shared folder on Google Drive. Since Cody has access to great video editing software, he will likely be in charge of editing content together.


This week focused on presentations since we will soon be submitting two video presentations on a topic of our choice.

Life After Death BY PowerPoint

In this comical video, “corporate comedian” Don MacMillan gives a whimsical account of some of the top mistakes people make when putting together a PowerPoint presentation. It is important to make your slides visually appealing–the font size and color should be legible and too many distracting animations should be avoided. When it comes to text on a slide, less in more. A presenter should not put everything he or she plans to say–the slides should support the speech with visual aids and important key terms, avoiding jargon that may be unfamiliar to the audience.

toastmasters international public speaking tips

Toastmasters provides tips for a variety of public speaking contexts and purposes. Many of their tips are similar to those shared by MacMillan. Of using visual aids, Toastmasters implores the presenter to keep text to a minimum and to rely on supportive visual aids that are relevant to what is being said. PowerPoint slides should never be read verbatim and the presenter should always face the audience. Successful speeches arise from preparation, and preparation comes with practice and patience. Even if a presenter makes a mistake in speech during the actual presentation, he or she should not pause to apologize, but should simply move on. It is also important to speak clearly and with passion to engage the audience.

20 Great Examples of PowerPoint Presentation Design

Carly Stec, Senior Content Strategist on HubSpot’s Content Acquisition team, stresses that although we are presented with a lot of choices when it comes to putting together a PowerPoint presentation, we need to be mindful of our choices so that we do not wind up with a presentation that is illegible, distracting, and ineffective. Stec provides 20 examples of PowerPoint presentations that employ a consistent color scheme, legible text that does not dominate each slide, and supportive use of visual aids. Some unique features that some presentations used were tables of content to manage an information-heavy presentation and subdued graphic backgrounds that still allowed for visible text. Stec reinforces the idea that there are definitely wrong ways to design a presentation, there is no one right way–you can still be creative as long as you make mindful decisions.


This video is an example of a whiteboard animation video, which is typically used to illustrate complex information. The presenter draws out visual aids that support the presenter’s speech. The video speed is adjusted to match the pacing of the recorded speech. In this case, not only great speaking skills are needed, but artistic ability as well.

7.3 TED Talk Presentation Evaluations

Reshma Saujani is the author of the upcoming title, Brave, Not Perfect : Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder (2019), and the founder and CEO of  Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization which aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science. In her February 2016 TED talk, Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, explains how she took a chance and ran for Congress, despite being told how likely she was to fail. She uses this story to introduce the stark difference in how boys and girls are traditionally raised. Boys, she claims, are raised to be risk-takers while girls are raised to be perfect. This difference, she claims, leads girls to avoid challenges, which contributes to the underrepresentation of females in STEM. This is supported by the fact that most females will only apply for STEM positions if they meet 100% of the qualifications, while males will apply even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications. Saujani uses a passionate tone to convey to her audience how important it is to teach girls it is okay to fail in order to develop perseverance and courage. She implores each audience member to tell every young woman they know that they should be comfortable with imperfection and to help them use that imperfection to drive their passions.

Massimo Banzi co-founded Arduino, an open-source programmable microcomputer that has enabled makers to create their own inventions. In his 2012 TED talk, How Arduino is Open-Sourcing Imagination, explains how 3D printers have led to a third industrial revolution. More importantly, he argues, there is another revolution being driven by open-source technologies. He reveals that the 3D printer he was speaking about is actually open-source and powered by an Arduino microprocessor. Because of this, virtually anyone could build this 3D printer or any other innovation a person might dream up. Because Arduino is open-source, this has led to others creating their own boards based on its architecture. Banzi supports his presentation with videos of a diverse array of projects developed by people all over the world, demonstrating how the Arduino has enabled people to find novel solutions to their problems. Banzi injects intermittent humor and humorous project examples into his presentation to keep his audience engaged.

Week 6

6.1 Capstone Ideas

Out of the four members of Team SCSI Logic, three of us mentioned developing a game. Cody would like to create a simple multiplayer game, Nathan is inspired to create a simple game with an inspirational message, and I had the idea of developing a coding game. As we gain more experience and get a better sense of what is feasible for a capstone project, I am sure that we will be able to hone in on a more specific vision.

6.2 CST 300 Final Project

Our team came up with a number of great ideas for our final video presentation project, but we all seem most interested in tackling  quantum computing. We are all extremely excited about learning more about it. Cody also has access to some great video editing software so that we can hopefully make our presentation as professional as it is engaging.

6.3 Career development

The CSUMB Career Development website provides access to a number of resources to connect both current students and alumni to the resources they need to plan their career. Career workshops and job fairs are offered for on-campus students, but any student can take advantage of the online Career Guide–a comprehensive document that covers everything from exploring majors, to nailing an interview. There are also tips on how to network and model resumes and cover letters.

In other news, I successfully finished a project that necessitated 3D printing, electronics, and programming. I used an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express to send PWM signals to four 10mm  LEDs to create a fading effect. The program is written in CircuitPython.


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Success! #bowsette #adafruit

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Week 5: Planning Ahead

5.1 Teammate goals

Ryan dorrity

Ryan’s goal is to attain his B.S. in Computer Science and subsequently work as a software developer. However, his true passion is information security. While he did not specify why he did not want to first pursue a career in information security, it seems to be his ultimate goal. I speculate that he would feel more comfortable learning more about infosec before pursuing a career in this domain.

While Ryan’s educational goal mirrors my own, our motivations are different. I am pursuing my B.S. in Computer Science to be able to better mentor my high school students in software development and to prepare them for college and career.

Cody young

Cody recently was hired as a software test analyst. His goal in earning his B.S. in Computer Science is  to help him better understand the software development process in order to become a better debugger and test analyst. He plans on staying with his current career to broaden his expertise.

Cody and I are similar in that we are enrolled in this degree program to become stronger at the careers we already have.

Nathan warren-acord

Nathan’s goals include getting his B.S. in Computer Science and continuing his studies to further hone his programming skills. His ultimate dream is to work in a small video game development studio. I’ll have to admit that this sounds enticing to me as well; however, I will likely work on games on the side while continuing my teaching career.

5.2 Capstone ideas

AP CSA Educational Web Application

Inspired by the BrainiMac project from the CS Online Fall 2017 Capstone Festival, I would be interested in developing a free web application to help AP Computer Science A students master the object oriented programming concepts needed to pass their AP exam. Currently, there is a dearth of teachers qualified to teach this course, so providing this service can assist students to self-study and still take the AP exam even if their school does not offer the course.

coding game

I have always been interested in developing a game. I am a fan of the relatively recent titles such as Double Fine’s Hack ‘n’ Slash and Zachtronics’ Shenzhen IO. In Hack ‘n’ Slash, the player alters Lua code to defeat enemies and progress through the game. Shenzhen IO is another programming game that teaches the player how to program microprocessors in an assembly language. As an AP CSA educator, I am always looking for fun ways for my students to practice Java programming. Therefore, another idea I would love to investigate is to develop a programming game that helps students learn Java. Potential names include Polymorphic or Strange OOP.

school mobile app

A more practical idea is to develop an application for my school site, Sweetwater High. The WordPress-powered template of our school website is currently locked by the district and finding and accessing information on the website can sometimes be a challenge. I have been challenged, as the content manager, in making improvements to our website without having direct access to modifying the template and layout. Designing and implementing a user-friendly mobile application for all stakeholders–students, parents, and staff–would solve this problem. Features could include the school calendar, directory, student planner, and counseling portal.

5.3 Learning log

As a former rhetoric teacher, I enjoyed the review of loaded words and their affect on the pathos of an argument. I also enjoyed seeing the reading on logical fallacies. My favorite way of learning and teaching logical fallacies is through the short story by Max Shulman, “Love Is a Fallacy”.

I enjoyed having to create a website in anticipation of all of the courses that we will have taken by the end of our program. Rereading the titles and descriptions of the courses we will take made me very excited for all of the projects we will do and concepts that we will learn and practice.

Week 4: Goals and Ethics

4.1 Setting My Educational Goals

My education goals are to attain my second degree in Computer Science through CSU Monterey Bay. I plan on maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout the program by staying true to my planned study time and by reaching out to my team and the staff for help when I need clarification. After graduation, I plan on updating my skills periodically by taking courses through open university. I am still on the fence about whether or not I want to pursue an M.S. in Computer Science since I already have an M.A. in Computational Linguistics.

4.2 Setting My Career Goals

Right now, I am satisfied with my career as a high school Computer Science teacher. However, in the future, I would like to help my district develop effective student-focused CS curriculum by becoming the District Computer Science Curriculum Specialist. In two years, I will be eligible to apply for this position because I will have taught for the minimum of 5 years. By then, I will have also attained my B.S. in Computer Science, making me an attractive candidate for the position. No other CS teacher in our district has a degree in CS or a CS-related degree.


4.3 ETS Computer Science Test

Upon reviewing the sample test on ETS, I am confident that I will score around the 180 mark. I am a fairly good test-taker and I am a determined learner. I plan on revisiting the ETS page throughout my time in this program to reflect on the skills I will be tested on.

4.4 Weekly Learning Keep Up With Your Learning Journal

Since I previously taught rhetoric, much of what we read this week was not new to me. However, it was a great review before engaging in outlining and writing our ethical argument paper. I am also gaining great perspective in how to teach my CS students about ethics in computing and how technology impacts society. This is something that my AP Computer Science Principles students must write about in their “Explore” performance task. This performance task asks them to present a computational innovation and to discuss, not only how it functions and what its intended use is, but how it impacts society, our economy, and our culture.

Week 3

3.1 time management and study strategies

While time management and study strategies are important, stress management is also critical to success in any endeavor. Time management and prioritization can be helpful; making lists not only helps organize tasks but it can be therapeutic and provide a sense of accomplishment. Depression and anxiety are psychological disorders with symptoms can arise due to prolonged exposure to stress, so being aware of stressors and when to step back and spend some time on self-care is important. Time management may include setting time aside for oneself, friends, and family.


Nick Jenkins promises his readers will be able to deliver a project successfully after finishing “A Project Management Primer.” Two key sections of this primer stood out to me: “Ten Axioms for Success” (pp. 4-5) and “Building a team” (p. 38).

The ten axioms for success highlight the necessity of getting to know the people central to your project–your team and your stakeholders. In addition to this, the iterative cycle of project development is also stressed. Most problems will not be solved in a single sweep and will require testing and refinement.

Expanding on getting to know one’s team, Jenkin explains how team building is essential to a project. This requires building a positive rapport with team members–being honest, fair, loyal, and trusting. The relationship with your team can make or break a project.

Overall, this primer provides a helpful overview of how to manage a project, whether you are a manager of a team or a managing your own solo project. In any case, you must remain positive and organized.

3.3 RE: What Every Computer Science Major Should Know

Matt Might, Professor of Internal Medicine and Computer Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, maintains a living document that attempts to explain “What Every Computer Science Major Should Know.” The skills, to date, include: communication skills, a mastery of physics and math including statistics, multivariate calculus, and discrete mathematics, familiarity with command-line computing and IDE-less programming, the ability to perform basic system administration tasks, mastery of a variety of programming language types including assembly, an understanding common cryptographic protocols and the layers of protocols that underly the Internet, an understanding of how to maximize user experience, knowledge of common data structures and algorithms, and an understanding of the theory of computational complexity, computer architecture, operating systems, software testing, visualization, parallelism, software engineering, formal methods of development, graphics and simulation, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and databases.

While I agree that the skills Might lists are important, not all computer science students enter university with the same opportunities and backgrounds–certainly not the same affluent background as Might himself, whose father was the president and CEO of Cable One. It may be unfeasible to expect all students to master this exhaustive list of skills during four years of education. Many of these skills can be learned or further honed after a Bachelor’s degree is attained. Once a student has earned a degree–learning does not stop. It seems excessive to expect a student to learn and master everything he lists  as prerequisites to getting a good job.

One can only surmise that it is Might’s extraordinarily privileged background that contributes to his arrogant tone when he asserts that “if these students have a fundamental mental barrier to accepting an alien syntactic regime even temporarily, they lack the mental dexterity to survive a career in computer science.” He completely dismisses students who may experience initial difficulty in understanding Lisp as inherently incapable of doing computer science. Lisp is one of the oldest high-level programming languages, and it is notorious for its arcane, parenthetical syntax.

Both Might and prospective computer scientists may want to append one additional, fundamental quality to their repertoire: a growth mindset–a notion that intelligence can be developed through perseverance.

Image credit: thecodingspace.com


Week 2

2.1 Effective Study Skills

When it comes to the study skills outlined by Dr. Bob Klick’s website, the top three that I excel at are:

  1. Sticking to a prioritized schedule
  2. Pre-reading, reading, and post-reading reflection (what Klick refers to as the SQ3R method)
  3. Extracting important details from lecture and reading

However, I do face some challenges. Since I work full-time as a high school teacher, some weeks I put in well over the standard 40 hours. Consequently, some of the practices I tend to engage in, contrary to Klick’s advice include:

  1. Starting assignments right after a meal
  2. Working on assignments within 30 minutes of my bed time
  3. Working in suboptimal environments (e.g. on the way to work on public transit)

2.2 A Day in the Life of Kazemi

This week we were asked to document our day with an Activity Log. Here is everything I did today (9/6/2018), from the time I arrived at work:

2.3 Project Management Videos

We were assigned to watch three videos on project management and to write a summarized reflection.

The first video, by Knolscape, provided a general introduction to project management. The video contrasted projects and operations. Projects are temporary endeavors that produce unique projects and cease after all goals are reached. On the other hand, operations are ongoing and repetitive, with a goal to sustain business. In other words, a project can produce a single new product, but an operation mass-produces the product to produce profits. However, many projects fail before getting to the operations stage. Successful projects have project managers who have skills that include leadership, communication, information technology, accounting, purchasing, and problem solving.

In the second video, Jennifer Witt, director of projectmanager.com, explains that work breakdown structure is a “deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables”.

The third video by the University of Minnesota’s Department of Writing Studies describes how you can use a Gantt Chart to illustrate the work breakdown structure of a project. The chart provides a timeline that includes time estimates for project completion–an optimistic time o, a normal time n, a pessimistic time p, and an expected time that is calculated based on, and p. It also lists whether tasks can be done concurrently or  as a prerequisite to subsequent tasks.


As an educator, I appreciated the team that created a solution for teachers to be able to use the FreeCodeCamp GitHub repository with their students. It was unfortunate that two of their members were unable to make it. I would have appreciated seeing a demonstration of how the end product functioned rather than a high-level overview how it functions.

As a person who enjoys video games, I was delighted to see the CYGNUS project. Overall, it seems like the team worked well together to make the pieces come together. There was a nice balance of technical overview and gameplay demonstration. I would have liked to see more emphasis on what the team thought was a unique element–absorbing elements from the environment.

The team that developed Harvest Dashboard created a product that could be used practically in the real world in the agricultural sector. Presenter Leslie Amezcua used really good vocal expression in her presentation, making her easy to listen to. I noticed many of the other presenters could have improved upon this.

2.5 Summary

This week I had to really balance work and school. The study skills and project management tips really reaffirmed my current approach in maximizing my time and sticking to a schedule. While I do often have to employ less than ideal study practices (e.g. studying before bed), this is beyond my control at the moment. However, I believe I have the perseverance to make it through the program because I am doing what I love. I am also careful to take self-care time over the weekends to achieve a proper work-life balance.


Week 1: Industry Analysis Outline and References

This week, we must outline and complete a reference section for an Industry Analysis paper. The plan is to educate ourselves about our prospective job and to find out what companies expect from potential hires.

While I am happily employed as a CS teacher at the moment, for this assignment I will be investigating what it takes to become a Video Game Developer, with special focus on Amazon Game Studios, who just opened a branch locally in San Diego. I selected this because it is extremely relevant to my high school CS students. I would love to network with people who work at our local branch and potentially have them visit my classroom for Computer Science Education Week in December.

Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning

According to Debbie Morrison (2012), the five strategies that successful students engaged in online learning tend to practice are:

  • Reviewing and becoming familiar with course syllabi
  • Planning and sticking to a study routine
  • Signing in to the course’s LMS at least thrice weekly
  • Reaching out to instructors with questions when needed
  • Fostering and maintaining an online community with classmates

Morrison seems to suggest that, while a student may not have these strategies to begin with, that the strategies can be explicitly taught or individually practice. However, the common thread in successfully applying these five practices is self-direction and responsibility for one’s own learning.

I can say that I already have these five strategies deeply ingrained; but as Morrison suggests, I did not always have these habits. I had to cultivate them. This seems to be a recurring theme, but this article has made me realize that I should be explicitly teaching these habits to my own students. Even though they are in the physical classroom, most teachers in our district utilize an LMS to post the syllabus, slides, and other learning materials. They should be engaging with this material outside of class regularly. Beyond this, a study routine is invaluable for any student–online or in the classroom.


Morrison, D. (2012, September 28). Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning. Online Learning Insights. Retrieved from [link]