Saturday, February 20, 2021

Experiences in remote learning

Last semester was my first experience in remote teaching. Class preparation was quite different compared to when there was no COVID-19. I described the technical aspects of my preparation in a previous post

The semester started well and everyone is excited and hopeful. The course staff was able to release the revised course guide, videos, and other materials early in the semester. Communication with students was done using Slack and Zoom. Exercise submission was accomplished using GitHub and Google Classroom. Video materials were uploaded to YouTube. (You can check out my playlists).

Things got problematic in the middle of the semester. Typhoons started coming, internet connectivity became unstable, and personal problems arise. It was hard for us and the students to focus and hold synchronous sessions. 

We originally planned to give synchronous exams via Google Forms. Unfortunately, some students were badly affected by the typhoons so we decided to remove the lecture exam requirement. We gave the weight to the laboratory exercises which became the basis of the grades. We also relaxed the due dates of the submission of laboratory exercises so that students will still be able to submit at a later date. Interestingly, the administration released a "no fail" policy.

I am happy that most of the students were able to submit their exercises and get high grades. However, it is quite hard to assess whether they really learned from the courses and they did their tasks with integrity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

How I backup my files

Backups are important. You never know when you will lose your files! A good backup tool and a good backup procedure are essential in today's digital world.

I've been using Unison as my 'backup' solution for a while now,  though it is more of a file synchronization tool. It allows me to efficiently replicate my Documents folder (which is about 20GB) across my Linux devices. Fortunately, Linux is my main OS.

I use a desktop in the office, a laptop at home, and a laptop I carry with me. I also have an external drive at home as extra backup storage which contains a VeryCrypt volume. My Documents folder contains essential files only.  It does not contain media files like photos, mp3s, and videos.

Recently, I purchased a storage volume from Digital Ocean to use as extra backup storage in the cloud,  which I also sync using Unison. This will allow me to access my files anywhere and in Windows. I don't want Google to see my files in the meantime.

I make sure to sync my office desktop, my cloud backup, and my laptop before I leave the office. When I arrive home, I sync my laptop with my home laptop. I only sync my external storage on weekends.

All I can say is Unison made my life easier and you should give it a try.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Virtual international conferences

A lot of major conferences in computing are being held online these days. The conferences and workshops I was able to attend so far include the following:

These conferences waived the registration fees this year. I hope to add more to this list.

If you are interested, here is a list of upcoming conferences from various professional organizations:

Friday, October 2, 2020

On remote learning/teaching

Remote learning poses some new challenges to students and instructors. As an instructor, the question that I always ask is "How can I effectively and efficiently deliver my courses to students?" I've been using technologies in teaching already   so it is a little bit easier for me to transition to remote learning. The challenge I think is in the assessment and enforcing academic honesty. 

Coming up with the course guide was the first step.  It contains the "outline" for the semester with topics, learning outcomes, and laboratory activities specified per week. Materials such as video lectures will be prerecorded or delivered live and uploaded. Exams will be delivered online, multiple choice type. Additional materials such as slides and handouts will be made available for download also. Communications will be done through email and messaging tools.

Thus, this semester the following tools occupy my screen most of the time:

  • Google Classroom - general class housekeeping
  • Github/Github Classroom - lab/programming activities
  • OBS Studio - recording/streaming lectures
  • Youtube - storage and streaming of lectures
  • Zoom - video conferencing
  • Shotcut - video editing
  • Veikk A30 Tablet - for use in whiteboard app
  • Openboard - whiteboard app
  • Kahoot - quiz engine
  • G Suite - documents, presentations, spreadsheets, storage, calendar
  • Slack - messaging/collaboration
  • Gmail - email



Green screen setup


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

ROOTCON's Easter Egg Hunt Event 2020: Power

Since we are in ECQ, I tried some of the problems. I decided to focus on the Power problem which is a crypto problem.

The flag is: rc_easter{p0w3r_1s_n07h1n6_w17h0u7_c0ntr0L}

You can read the full writeup here.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Count the number of downloads of publications

I make my publications public. I was curious about the download count of the papers so I wrote a bash script. My site is using Nginx as the web server software thus I can process the access logs which contain the HTTP requests. So as of writing this post and from Feb 23, 2020, the following are the download counts.

     21 /publications/pabico-pitj2008-perceived.pdf
     14 /publications/tolentino-iwcfu2012-disaster.pdf
     13 /publications/raquel-iwcfu2012-parallel.pdf
     12 /publications/hermocilla-ncite2016-osv-mpi.pdf
     11 /publications/escamos-acrs2015-comparison.pdf
     10 /publications/aluning-ncite2010-terra.pdf
      9 /publications/silapan-iwcfu2012-using.pdf
      8 /publications/lara-ncite2017-exploring.pdf
      8 /publications/duldulao-ncite2011-an.pdf
      7 /publications/lactuan-pitj2011-a.pdf
      7 /publications/hermocilla-pitj2009-ics-os.pdf
      7 /publications/cabigting-iwcfu2012-eucalyptus.pdf
      7 /publications/borja-iwcfu2012-squigis.pdf
      7 /publications/aguila-ncite2015-sustainable.pdf
      5 /publications/lactuan-ncite2011-a.pdf
      5 /publications/hermocilla-ncite2014-p2c.pdf
      5 /publications/carpio-pcsc2017-skylab.pdf
      4 /publications/hermocilla-model2009-a.pdf
      4 /publications/escamos-acrs2016-bertud.pdf
      3 /publications/manzano-sfrc2013-squidler.pdf
      3 /publications/macasaet-iwcfu2012-a.pdf
      3 /publications/eclarin-ncite2014-dgrav.pdf
      3 /publications/bulalacao-sfrc2015-is.pdf
      3 /publications/aguinaldo-iwcfu2012-automatic.pdf

The one-liner below does the trick.
Loading or something, this is just text to display while the browser pulls the gist....