Avoiding some common mistakes to help you get over the anxiety of teaching online

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Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

“We can’t hear you, sir!”

Those were the first few words I heard from little speaker sitting right beside my computer screen when I started my online class. I immediately panicked. I checked my settings on the computer. I unplugged my earphones and plugged them back. Then I asked back, “Can you hear me now?” Nothing. Few seconds, and a voice came booming from my speaker.

“Sir, I think you’re on mute!”

That was when I realized I made the first mistake in doing online classes. Always check if you’re audio is good.

For seven weeks now, I’ve been holding online classes through Google Meet, and building my content on a separate learning management system called Canvas. All my lessons are digital. And the delivery is via the Internet. So, having a stable Internet, a decent computer, a mic, and some lighting are just some of the basic equipment needed. …

Reliving the days when journalism and much of the news that we know comes from traditional sources

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Photo by Umberto Cofini on Unsplash

At the end of week two of my blended learning class on publishing, I asked my class to recall times when newspapers, magazines, and other printed sources of news were still around. They were required to tell a story, as if they’re narrating it to their 10-year-old sister or brother.

The idea of reading a newspaper or a magazine sounds mundane for twenty-something College students today. And if you ask how they got their news back then, the common refrain was: my dad, grandad or another relative reads a newspaper in the morning. So, reading a newspaper was more of an afterthought, and the intent of reading the news — coincidental. One student admitted that her only memory of newspapers was for “arts and crafts” and for “wrapping.” …

Celebrating my birthday from home or while on quarantine: A rumination

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Back then when we still can go out and visit historical spots like this famous monument in Bataan.

I’m celebrating my birthday from home. This is now a common refrain from anyone growing older under today’s circumstances: a pandemic hanging over our heads while your government wants you back in the office because the economy is suffering. The last bit is a serious matter that deserves a separate post.

I blog every time I turn a new page in life. As writing is triggered by inspiration, my writing is inspired by life-changes or milestones — and birthdays are milestones.

If there’s one big lesson I learned this year, it’s this: we’re taking life for granted every waking time. We’re often lost in the fast-paced and blurry moments of work and life. The economy is practically dictating our pace; we consider breaks or moments of ruminations outside of work as an afterthought. …

Recounting life in quarantine and counting the days before they lift lockdown

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Photo by CDC on Unsplash

This is the new catch phrase for everything that follows life after the quarantine: the new normal. While this is not necessarily the end of the pandemic (because we still don’t know when), it is life after a lock down, where social distancing is normal and remote work is as common as your morning latte at Starbucks. It’s going to be the new way of life, where the threat of getting covid-19 still persists.

The manifestations of the new normal are increasingly seen and felt. More people are buying online — or at least using online means to get what they need: groceries, medicine, supplies, and other “essential” things. E-commerce has seen a surge in transactions and activities — and companies that were designed to handle online transactions, such as fintech, are reaping the benefits. Online banking — and mobile banking — are becoming the default destination. Meanwhile, remote conferencing services, such as the infamous Zoom, have become more popular. …

A running personal account of my experience of this pandemic due to Covid-19

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Photo by Luca Bucken on Unsplash

March 26, 2020 (7:53 PM, Manila Time) — I woke up at 7:30 AM to prepare for breakfast. I tried not to look at my mobile phone to see what’s happening since our government forced everyone in Metro Manila to stay home more than two weeks ago — 16 days to be exact.

But I can’t. I wanted to see the latest news on Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, and other online groups, which I’m a member. Ever since this contagion started, more than 170 countries in the world are now reporting cases of COVID-19, a new coronavirus that has infected more than 600,000 people and killed more than 20,000 (number may have increased after I wrote this). …

(Journalism’s) first loyalty is to citizens — The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel

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Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

Philippine media faces yet another test.

With news of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN’s uphill battle to renew its Congressional franchise set to expire in March 2020, and the more recent quo warranto case filed against it by the Solicitor General, it is hard NOT to ignore this development, especially from someone who has been part of this industry for so long.

In filing the quo warranto case at the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General argued that “[m]ass media companies operating in the Philippines must be 100 percent Filipino-owned because they play an integral role in a nation’s economic, political, and socio-cultural landscape.” …

From Pexels.com
From Pexels.com
Blogging for fun

Finally, this blog is alive!

I’ve had this little space for years since I bought this domain name. The content has been refreshed so many times. But I was only able to update this with new content lately because “work gets in the way.”

However, I have been posting my personal thoughts and musings on Medium. Do check me out in that other space. For now, I’m using this personal blog to post some short thoughts about anything, starting with some links to articles, videos or even podcasts that I have come across. Think of this as my public notes.

Things I’ve read that are interesting:

Tool to Help Journalists Spot Doctored Images Is Unveiled by Jigsaw: There is so much fake content on the Internet. It has become harder to identify the real from those that are meant to manipulate you. This tool, however, can help you detect “doctored images.” …

The world is not the same as it was in 2002 when SARS emerged. Social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, have allowed the rapid exchange of information — and sometimes misinformation. — From an article on The Conversation

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Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Last week, I decided to skip my introduction to my communications subject Publishing and focus on the more important topic for the past weeks: the global outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

With news of increasing number of cases (and deaths) worldwide and its spread from Wuhan, China to other countries, including the Philippines where at least one death was reported, I was more concerned with the misinformation that was also spreading like a virus. …

Looking back at the year that was — my yearly personal review of life lived

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Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all…Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing… — Oliver Sacks quoting Luis Bunuel in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, p. 25

It was but apt for me to stumble upon this quote from the first book I’ve picked in 2020, as I wrote this piece.

Writing about the year that was proved challenging. I could barely remember what happened (because I just woke up probably) or nothing worth remembering happened. So as my first act of 2020 — and by instinct — I jogged my memory using the most convenient platform available to anyone — the Internet. …

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The yacht club in Manila Bay (Photo by the author).

A snapshot of a Filipino’s life in one the busiest cities in the world

A faint Saturday breeze blows over my face while I sit beside a Starbucks coffee shop a spit away from Manila Bay harbor. Expensive yachts appropriated by the country’s rich are docked on the bay. One of these yachts is owned by Manny Pacquiao, I was told. For those who don’t know, Pacquiao is a world-class Filipino boxer who has turned politician. But he has not really abandoned his boxing career, winning matches in his 40s. His attendance at the Senate, however, is suffering, as he collected the most absences in 2019.

While I sipped my double Espresso with a whiff of milk, local tourists would interrupt my nice view. As expected, they would stroll their way to this picture-perfect section of the bay and take selfies with the grey and washed-out blue harbor as their background. These photos would soon go up on Instagram with captions like “Good morning Philippines” or “Manila Bay” and hashtag #blessed. …


Erwin Lemuel Oliva

An ex-journalist. Teacher. Dad. Loves Guitar & Books. Writes when inspiration hits him.

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