Fire Away – Collections IV

Is there a certain percent of profits, or percent of employee pay that would make an accommodation too much of an expense and would qualify it as an undue hardship?


During my online research, it was mentioned that an example of a reasonable accommodation would be using talk to text devices for individuals that can’t type. Well, if qualifying for the job involved a typing test, unimpaired individuals would have to manually be able to type so many words per minute in order to qualify. The impaired person would be able to use talk to text, something that would improve their words per minute (as it would most unimpaired individuals). In that situation, would it be fair to the unimpaired individuals because in that case you’re not leveling the playing field; in this case, the unimpaired individual may have the upper hand. Of course, this is a very specific question, but I could think of similar situations.


During my online research, it was mentioned that changing scheduling is a common reasonable accommodation. However, it was also mentioned that a case might be found to be an undue hardship when other employees would have to bear the burden of the accommodated employee. If an accommodated employee could not work the graveyard shift (which can carry with it certain health burdens or even crime risk burdens depending on the nature of the job), wouldn’t it put that burden on other employees? If looked at that way, couldn’t scheduling changes be considered undue hardship?

Weave It – Collections III

For this assignment, I looked over the following Fair(ish) Use submissions:

Kevin K.
Carolyn S.
Chris F.
And Mine for comparison

Some of the individuals used media in a similar way that I did, and other’s used it differently. In my Fair(ish) Use assignment, I used images, like Carolyn and Kevin. I thought it was interesting that Fliss decided to use a video as his fair use.

After reviewing everyone’s submissions, I read your (Chris Lott’s) input on the submissions and reflected on my submission and my understanding of fair use.

One thing that I really liked about Carolyn’s post is her brief descriptions of why it counted as fair use. It really showed understanding of the topic and allowed you to focus on the material (chilies) rather than the purpose of the assignment (fair use). I love the checklist that Kevin included—so much so that I saved it for later personal use. I also liked how Chris broke his explanations up into the four factors of fair use.

Ultimately, I think it was the layout of their submissions that I really liked. Mine kind of seemed scatter brained when I compared it to theirs—possibly because I’m still trying to wrap my head around the subject. Additionally, looking at the way that they practiced fair use allowed me to see some of the ways images and media could be used.

I’m know the assignment description says to answer questions that they have and to provide helpful links, but they actually answered some questions and helped me understand the material. For example, learning that you can take a video, edit it down, talk about aspects of those parts, and post it online was one questions that I had—well part of a question. I was wondering to what degree you could use broadcasts online. It was really surprising that you could use it as much as Chris did.

Work Together – Collections III

For the Work Together assignment, I paired up with Jessica T., Carolyn S., and Colton A.

We decided to make a video that depicted people’s current understanding of what digital citizenship is, and touched on digital literacy. I had joined the group just a little later than everyone else (due to me leaving the field and having a bit of confusion about my next collection). When I joined, the idea was already in place that it would be a video about people’s understanding of digital citizenship, but luckily I joined before work started.

We decided to mainly chat/plan via Slack. Carolyn was able to start a group chat for all of us. We exchanged emails, but Slack seemed to shine through as the main method of communication. We decided to share our video clips on a shared Google Drive. That way, we could all download and view each other’s clips.

In hindsight, I think it may have been better to communicate in a different way—perhaps texting so quicker responses could occur. I think slow response time was the main issue that we faced. I know all of us had so many things happening outside of this class as well, and that sometimes makes group work difficult. I think one of the best ideas was to create a shared Google Drive, even though it can take a while for the videos to upload.

If students in the future decide to make a video together, I would recommend they set up some sharing system to share videos. I think it would be good to maybe find an ‘example video’ on Youtube so everyone can set up their interview similarly (we had a variety of directing styles 🙂 ). And lastly, I would recommend finding a communication system where everyone could reach each other fairly quickly, and establishing that system from the beginning.


Get Productive – Collections III

For this assignment, I briefly checked out all the links you included in the description. None really stood out to be until I came across Bullet Journal.

As a little bit of a background, I am a HUGE list maker, probably verging on the compulsive side of things. However, all my lists are on these little scraps of paper that I usually end up loosing. I’ve managed my lists in a variety of ways, including the document below being the most successful. I call them To-Do Blocks—an example can be located here (To Do Block Example). Basically, I put a title at the top for a group of items I need to do (say Digital Citizenship Course). Then, I list stuff and cross it off as I go. It’s nice because it is easy to create/customize because I can just make a table in Word, print it out, and go. It could be done solely on the computer as well, but I’m more of a hands-on type of person. Which is one reason Bullet Journal appealed to me. I also have this monster that I use religiously. I couldn’t find a dry-erase calendar that I liked. So, I made my own. I really like dry-erase because once I erase it, that task is gone and done with—no more stress.

I bought a little journal that had graph paper (my favorite type of paper). I set up a Bullet Journal according to the tutorial on the website. I’m testing it out now, and I’m liking it so far. In the past, I’ve noticed my little scraps of paper getting filled up really fast because I’m explaining everything on my list—making them very long. Bullet Journal offers a key system so you know what’s a task and and what’s event. This has helped make the lists shorter and more concise. After I get a little more familiar with it, I hope to use the same key system on my calendar. Then, I’ll have a color coded, key system 😀 Oh, and I like that the bullet journal has a future planning portion. I’m sure it will help me remember things and could serve as a replacement/supplement to the “Notes” section of my calendar.



Think About Your Thinking – Collections III

For me, the Fair(ish) Use assignment was the most difficult. I really struggled with what does and does not constitute fair use when displaying work on the internet. I have a better grasp of it when it’s being displayed in a ‘closed’ setting, such as a classroom. However, displaying the work where the whole world can see it causes more confusion.

I know the requirements for fair use were written vaguely so they could be used and interpreted in a wide variety of ways, and the reasons for writing them that way totally make sense to me. However, it does make it difficult to interpret. Oddly, another thing that made this assignment difficult was finding something to include into the assignment that was someone else’s. I chose a topic that I felt pretty familiar with and had the resources to provide needed images myself. So, I didn’t really feel like I needed to include anyone else’s work. It probably would have been a better choice to teach about a cellular process (or something like that) because then I would have to borrow images, and images are an easy way to learn about cellular processes.

Honestly, I still am a bit confused about what is considered okay and not okay to post online. Looking through other people’s Fair(ish) Use assignments is giving me a better idea, but I still don’t feel like I completely get it. Like most things, it will probably just take repeated exposure until it finally clicks.

I think you required this assignment so we could learn about and practice fair use. As educators, we will inevitably be using other’s work in our classroom (unless you like prepping for 15+ hours), and as more and more classroom work is involving posting things online it would be important to understand fair use. I also think you wanted us educated on the subject so we weren’t being blindly controlled by the fear that we might get sued or something. By posting our work online, we can share what we did and exchange thoughts, which aids in our understanding of the ‘limits’ of fair use.

If I were to give a future student advise, I would say that if they are having a hard time understanding the assignment to not be one of the first to post their assignment to the announcements section. After being able to look at other peoples’ assignments, I would have structured my assignment differently. I like how others did a short explanation each time they used someone’s work—instead of having it summarized at the end like I did.


Previous Your Choice Assignment – Collections III

I decided to do Music Shuffle Creative Writing Exercise (by Sarah Carstensen) from Collections II (10 pt). I chose this because I wanted to try something I’ve never done before. The song that popped un didn’t have any lyrics. So, I decided to write about what the music made me think of. The song that popped up was Petersburg Interlude by The Bee Eaters. The song made me think of summer time and the seasons. The first part of the Youtube video below shows the song that inspired me.

I decided to try a poem. The thing is, I don’t know anything about poetry. So, I looked online for various poem structures (most of which I could not understand). I came across this one called a name poem where you use the first letter of names to start the line. I remember doing something like this in high school, but I wanted to beef it up a little. So, I decided to make it longer and more complex than what the examples online typically were. My poem is below:

Many of the plants are out now
Iridescent insects shine in the sun
Slowly the berries start to ripen
Thinking of their sweet taste makes me hunger
Yet, I will not have their sweet taste for another month

Mechanically, the bees visit each flower
Assembling pollen to pass it on to the next
Retrospectively, I would have not taken these moments for granted
I would have soaked these moments in
Establishing these images as memories that would last far longer than the event

Major changes will happen soon
Colors will change from vibrant greens to rich reds and yellows
Nothing will escape the touch of the cool winds that will come
Encroaching snow sprinkles the mountain tops
Letting us all know just how close winter is
Little longer, and the warm breezes will turn to frost
Ice will replace waves and leaves will blanket the ground
Soon things will change, but for now, I will enjoy these summer moments while they are here

The (Creative) Commons – Collections III

Red Wigglers in Apple” by Misty McNellis can be reused under the CC BY license
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

*I wasn’t sure which mark I needed to put since the Creative Commons website used both on two different pages. So, I put them both. If you guys have feedback on which one is more appropriate to put, please let me know. The Creative Commons website suggested not putting a mark on the image so the image can be reused/transformed easier. 

I chose the CC BY license because I wanted the public to have as much freedom as I could give them while still being able to write an ‘improper use’ scenario to fulfill this assignment—if I put this into the public domain like I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to have an improper use. I’m really not trying to protect this image from any kind of use. With the CC BY license, users would only need to give appropriate credit and would have the freedom to use and change the image however they wanted, even for commercial use.

The Scenarios

Proper Use:
Person A happens upon They are looking through my blog posts and find this image of an apple covered with worms. They decide they want to use one of the worms in the image. So, they crop it out and make a little video of a worm crawling around and post it on Youtube. They give credit for the use of the worm image, provide a link to the license, and let people know that it was taken from an image (or some kind of reasonable explanation for how they used it). Person A took advantage of the creative commons license by adapting the material that I distributed.

Improper Use:
Person B finds their way to, just like Person A did. They see the image of an apple full of worms and decide it would be funny to make a GIF of the image with all the worms moving. They make the GIF and post it on Reddit, but they don’t give any credit. By not giving credit, they are not adhering to the only terms of the license—attribution.

What if I found out about Person B’s Misdeeds? 
If I were to discover Person B’s work (an improper use of my intellectual property), I would not do anything except share the url on my Facebook because I would think it was cool that someone did something with an image I produced. Now, I COULD let them know that they are not following the terms of the creative commons license and ask them to properly attribute me/, but in reality, I wouldn’t.


Fair(ish) Use

Vermicomposting. Have you heard of it before? If not, you’re not alone. Vermicomposting involves composting with worms, but not just any worms. Common earth worms have the tendency to dive down deep, which means they won’t be reaching the nutrients that are on the top layer of soil. Therefore, vermicomposting requires worms that tend to dwell towards the surface. This is where Red Wigglers come in. They tend to stay near the surface of the soil. This means that they can get to all the nice juices that come from the plants that you add to the compost. They’re not the only worm you can use in vermicomposting, but they are one of the most common species people use.

Juices? Where do the juices come from? Well, when you put in your fruit and veggie scraps (let’s say an apple core), microbes that are in the soil start releasing enzymes that break down the cells of the apple, causing the cells to rupture. The worms come along and feed on this slurry of stuff (microbes, soil, fungi, apple cells, etc.). As it passes through the worm’s gut, all of those microbes and apple cell innards are digested, leaving nice, disease free black gold!

Vermicomposting has some really cool benefits when compared to traditional composting (in my opinion). One of the biggest ones is that it can easily be done indoors and has virtually no smell (as long as you don’t put any onions, garlic, meat, or dairy in there). In this blog post, I’ll show you how I set up my composting bins and talk a little bit about how other people did it. Another really good thing about vermicomposting is that it is really (and I mean REALLY) hard to mess it up. Let me tell ya, there’s been a few times I was expecting all my worms to be dead, but some still managed to survive (thank you genetic diversity!).

Step 1: Deciding you want to start vermicomposting. First thing’s first, you need to decide you want to do it. There’s many reasons to want to compost. Maybe you’re a gardener, maybe you want to cut down on your trash production, maybe you want to make a little money on the side by selling worm compost tea and black gold, or maybe you just want some pet worms. No matter the reason, deciding you want to do it is the first step, and the reasons behind why you do it will influence how you set up and run your compost.

Step 2: Getting your materials. I decided to start composting because I wanted a lab that I could do with my students throughout the semester, and I wanted to produce less trash. I also wanted to be able to use it in my plants. Because I tend to be a bit of a granola, I also wanted my process to be as toxin free as possible. All these aspects influenced by design.

My Materials List (depending on why you’re doing this, your list may be different):

– Three (3) totes
– One (1) tote lid
– Organic Hessian (burlap)
– Drill and bits
– A spout set up of some kind (including gaskets) that can open and close
– Caulking
– Something waterproof to set a tote on (I used two small plastic totes that I had laying around)
– Coco Brick
– Food scraps
– Red Wigglers with starter dirt (DUH!)

Of course, you could skip the whole ‘do it yourself’ thing and order pre-made worm farms and even buy the worms online. There’s a variety of online sites, but one that I’ve seen that seems to have a large variety is Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. They have large and small composting units and a variety of bedding options. Your local garden store might have some supplies as well. I was lucky enough to have worms and some starter compost (rich with all the needed microbes) given to me by a colleague.

Step 3: Construction. You’ll need to drill holes in the bottom of two (2) totes. Leave the third one alone for now. Evenly space the holes and make sure to put some in the corners. The holes should be about the width of a pencil. If you only have a smaller bit, I would drill more holes. The point of the holes is to allow water to drain (we’ll talk a little bit more about that later). You’ll also want to drill some holes near the top of the tote. This will allow air to constantly have access to the compost—Remember when I said this type of composting has almost no smell; it’s because this is an aerobic process so fermentation (and all the accompanying smells) doesn’t happen.

Now, take that third, untouched tote. We’re going to drill a hole where we want our spout. The size of the whole will depend on the size of your spout. To measure mine, I found the center of the tote and made it so the bottom of my spout lined up to the bottom of the tote (so I could sit my tote on a flat surface). The spout will allow you to collect the liquid that drains from your compost.  What’s this liquid? It’s compost tea (and you probably won’t see any for about 4-6 months). Its excess moisture that will drain down. The liquid is a mixture of water and a whole lot of nutrients—basically worm poop tea. It’s important to allow this liquid to drain because if it’s not allowed to drain, your worms will eventually drown. After you have the hole drilled for your spout, insert your spout set up. I didn’t want any leaks, so I put a small amount of caulking around the outside of my spout.


Step 4: Assembly. After you have all your holes drilled and your spout installed, you’re ready to start a worm farm. Seriously, construction of the worm farm is that easy. To assemble your worm farm, you need to take your tote with the spout and place it on the bottom. Inside, put your two small blocks (or whatever you scrounged up) on the bottom. This will allow the second tote to sit off the bottom, ensuring liquid drains smoothly and no worms drown. Next, set a tote with holes on the blocks.

Now, you’re probably thinking “what stops the worms from falling though the holes?” Well, that’s where the burlap comes in. Most people use wire mesh, but I couldn’t find any wire mesh that wasn’t coated in chemicals that would leach into my compost. So, I went with burlap, knowing full well that the worms and microbes will eventually eat through it and that I may lose a few worms. (It’s been 7 months now and only a few worms have made it though). Place the burlap on the bottom of the tote. Next, you’ll have to make bedding for your worms. I chose organic coco fiber. Many people use newspaper. Some people use leaves. Some people use a variety of things. It’s really up to you. Like I said, I chose coco fiber. I did this because it was an organic resource that wasn’t going to carry any harmful chemicals in it (if you use newspaper, read up on dyes and inks before you start). Plus, it was January so I didn’t have any leaves laying around. To use coco fiber, you’ll have to soak it in water for about 5 minutes. Next, scoop the fiber out with your hands and really squeeze any excess liquid out. Sprinkle the moistened fiber around the bottom of the tote. After the bedding is in place, you can drop the worms in (at least, that’s what I did). I then sprinkled food around. I put the lid on, and let them do their thing.

*One note about the lid— I never close it tight. In fact, I sometimes flop it on sideways to allow for maximum airflow. I really just used to lid to block out light because the worms are photosensitive. If your worm farm is outside, having a snug lid might be best because it would help keep rain out. If you decide to put a tight lid on, I would suggest drilling a few more holes in the top of the tote to allow more airflow.

Step 5: Keeping it going. Many people say you need to cover the worms to maintain moisture levels. Initially, I used burlap to do this, but I kept having fungi take over the burlap. So, I eventually did away with the cover, and my worms did just fine. If you are in a dry area, I can see where the cover might be advantageous, but my worms are kept in my house, and they have done great without a cover. Another thing that many people do is continuously add bedding. I guess I’m lazy because I don’t add bedding until I’m adding another tote on. My worms are fine, in fact, there’s almost too many of them.

That brings up a good point: adding another tote. Once your worms have a nice layer of dark, rich black gold, you can add another tote. To do this, you just take your other tote with holes drilled in the bottom, set it on top of your tote with the worm castings, and sprinkle some bedding and food. Worms will migrate up to the next layer, leaving a layer of worm castings that you can just lift out. If you’re having a difficult time visualizing this process (I know I struggled with it for a while), a diagram can be found to the left. After you harvested the castings, just continue the process you have been doing. Below, I have my three layers. My bottom layer has some liquid in it. My second layer has some nearly finished worm castings, and I’m starting my third layer by putting some scraps in it (but I still need to add the bedding). I’ll let that third layer sit on top for as long as I need. When I see that all the little left overs are gone from that middle layer, I’ll harvest the castings.

What about those mistakes I mentioned? Well, in the beginning, I was putting way too much food in there. This caused a fungi bloom. I fixed that by airing out the tote and not feeding them so much. Another mistake that I made was that I accidently put them in the supply room of the school, which happens to be super dry. My worms dried out almost all the way, but some survived. I just sprinkled water around to keep them moist whenever I had to put them in the supply room.

Like I said, there’s many ways of contracting and maintaining your vermicomposting bins. I’ve included some Youtube videos below to show you the variety that’s out there.


Did I exercise fair use?
Well, I hope so. The two photos in question would be the Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm logo and the diagram of worms moving to the next layer. The first Red Wiggler photo was open for public use, and the rest of the photos were mine.

I believe using the Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm logo was justified because it accompanied a brief review of the website and was used for educational purposes. Additionally, I used only a portion of their website’s title design.

For the diagram of worms moving to the next layer, I believe that would justify as fair use because I am using it for educational purposes and it is only a small portion of the webpage and does not fully encapsulate (by any means) the breath of knowledge that the webpage was offering.

I’m not sure if the Youtube videos would even be considered potential fair use because I really just included the url for the videos with a thumbnail link. So, I don’t think those even need mentioning.

To be honest, I am still struggling a big with understanding fair use, but I hope I exercised it correctly in these cases.

References and Resources

Copyright & Fair Use

Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts

Copyright Flowchart: Can I Use It? Yes? No? If This… Then…



Collaborate (a Little!) – Collections III

Small Group Communication Factors
(done all by my lonesome 🙁 )

  • The most important goal for a group in this class would be to complete the stated task(s). The most important goal for a group in this class would be to complete the stated task(s) in a timely manner while contributing proportionately. [I added the timely manner portion because I believe it is important to do things timely so a grade can be received for the group’s effort.]
  • Groups are most productive when a leader steps forward to run meetings and allocate tasks. Group member roles should be decided early on. [I decided to focus on establishing roles instead of explicitly saying group leader because some groups work well with a leader and others do not.]
  • We should have a high degree of tolerance for group members who are late to synchronous meetings or do not attend due to other obligations. Group members that have prior or unexpected obligations should inform the other team members of these obligations as soon as possible in order to make changes if needed. [It’s inevitable, we all have things that pop up. Therefore, I decided to focus on being respectful and courteous to your fellow team members because they are dealing with their own obligations.]
  • Creating friendships and completing the group task are equally important. Working together effectively is almost as important as completing the tasks. [If the primary focus of formal education was to truly educate and create a rich learning environment for their students, grades and time limits would probably not be as strict as they are. However, we do deal with strict timelines and our transcript only tells our grades, not our learning. Therefore, I changed it to almost as important because when it comes down to it, your grade depends on completing the tasks.]
  • Criticizing other group members should be avoided. Give positive input and try to suggest alternatives/solutions to any unfavorable situations that occur. [I decided to rephrase this in a positive light. Keeping things positive helps moral. Also, I think it’s important to offer positive alternatives instead of just dissing someone’s efforts or ideas.]
  • Avoiding smaller conflicts is the best method to reduce conflict escalation. Address concerns promptly and clearly. [In order to avoid smaller conflicts, I think concerns need to be addressed. Keeping your mouth shut just to avoid a conflict isn’t always the best idea.]
  • All group members should have identical goals and reasons for being involved. The group should have a unified vision. [I think it’s important for the whole group to have a unified vision of the final product. It keeps people on tract and the predictability and clarity is comforting to most people.]
  • Majority rule is the best method of group decision making. Groups should agree on a method for decision making early on. [Some groups prefer the majority rule method, others don’t. Do what your group prefers and what works best for your group.]
  • If one group member is not pulling his or her weight, the other group members should confront that person together. If one group member is not completing their agreed upon duties, group members should attempt to converse with the nonparticipant to see if alternative duties are required. [I think a nonparticipant should be addressed. Addressing it in a neutral way, such as seeing if an alternative plan would work better, is a way of keeping spirits positive.]
  • Everyone in the group should receive the same grade for group projects. Understanding of grading policies should be understood prior to the group meeting. [I think it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide grading information, and I think it is the student’s responsibility to be receptive to that information. Going into a group project, all members should know the grading policy. *I don’t usually agree with the ‘everyone same grade’ thing, but I wanted to make the rule general since the focus was on communication factors instead of education philosophies*]