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Master of Education…degree #15

I received an email today saying that “You have been approved for the conferment of a Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota,” that the degree will be posted to my transcript with the following conferment date of 05/31/16, and that I should receive the diploma in the mail in 6-8 weeks! Awesome!


A few years ago, I completed a Online Distance Learning Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate from the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Learning Technologies Department so that I could have some methods and theory in online teaching (as I have been teaching online for years and years) and over the years I slowly worked towards the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning Technologies with a LT Focus Area: Online Distance Learning and for my final project I created a educational video game called “Harvey the Husky.”

So now the official degree count is… 15 degrees!!! Sweet 15! I know, I know, just a bit strange, but you must admit very cool. My motto besides the one I “borrowed” from Bill Holm’s: “She ran out of shelf space, again…” is “Some girls collect shoes or husbands, I collect degrees.”

When I got my MLIS, way back in 2001, my Grandma Kay gave me a graduation card and some money and said to me in front of my cousins “See, every time you get a degree you get money!” Haha. Grandam was very funny. Other times when she would give out birthday money she would say “Now don’t buy any booze or cigarettes with it!”


[Update: A friend said that I needed to comment on how I worked full-time while I was pursuing these degrees otherwise people will think that all I did was go to school. I wish! I have worked part-time since high school and then a few part-time jobs, then part-time jobs and unpaid internships, and eventually the part-time library jobs gave way to full-time library jobs. Starting in 2004 and going for the next ten years I worked full-time and part-time (2 jobs) while going to school part-time. Also for 4 years during that ten year time span I worked a second part-time job (so 3 jobs while taking classes). I was also very fortunate that many of my employers were colleges and universities that offered employees classes at reduced prices (for example the University of Minnesota through the Regents Scholarship pays for 75% of employee classes, but they also tax you for it). I am a life long learner and I love to learn, however I also need to work to support myself, pay my bills and student loans (yes I do have some of those), and have a full life. I know (and I am sure you do to) many people that spend lots of money on cars, fishing and hunting gear/trips, boats and things like that. They have their hobbies, I have mine.]


15. M.Ed. 2016 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Learning Technologies) (Focus Area: Online Distance Learning)
14. Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate 2012 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Online Distance Learning Postbaccalaureate Graduate Certificate)
13. Certificate 2010 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Applied Business Certificate Undergraduate)
12. M.A. 2009 University of St. Thomas (Art History)
11. B.S. 2008 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administration)
10. A.S. 2005 Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Cartography)
9. A.A.S. 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administration)
8. Certificate 2005 Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Cartography)
7. Diploma 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Business Administrative Assistant)
6. Diploma 2005 Minnesota School of Business (Office Assistant)
5. M.L.I.S. 2001 Dominican University (Library and Information Science)
4. B.A. 1999 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Art History)
3. M.S. 1998 University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (Anthropology)
2. B.A. 1994 St. Cloud State University (Anthropology and History)
1. A.A. 1992 Anoka-Ramsey Community College

I’m a trading card!

I’m a trading card! A few years ago I backed a Kickstarter campaign to be turned into a trading card and I received it today!

EQS 2016

Today was the EQS (Enhancing Quality Staff) Symposium for the U’s library staff. Yes, the let us out of the libraries once a year. They have all sorts of different talks and activities you can attend and I always signup for fun activities vs. dull ones that relate to work. So this year I attended: “How to Get the Book Published” by Phuoc Tran who autographed her book for me! Next up was “What makes an award winning picture book? What makes a book a Caldecott Winner?” by Lisa Von Drasek, which was hysterically funny. Then after lunch (the same exact foods they fed us last year) I attended “Automotive Wellness Training” by Dan Nelson. Next I was suppose to attend “Bees, Bugs and Other Beasts: Gems of the Natural Resources Library’s Rare Book Collection,” but while waiting to go and visit the library learned that it was about a 15 minute walk, uphill, and there were stairs and that would have been really, really bad as sitting all day on bad chairs has messed up my back, so it was off to a talk on “A Primer for Law Enforcement and Government Officials” which was interesting and scary and the last talk of the day was on “Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century” by Tim Johnson & Cheryll Fong, which was really good, as the UMN has one of the largest Sherlock Holmes collections in the world. So a fun day.


Watching the Chippendale dance tonight with the ladies tonight! Not as sleazy as I thought it was going to be, but the “B” team must have been performing in Minnesota as their choreography seemed a bit lacking.


Learning Technologies Master of Education Student Showcase

Today was the my Learning Technologies Master of Education Student Showcase and I presented my Final Project “Harvey the Husky: an Adventure Learning Game”!

In 2012 I completed the Online Distance Learning Postbaccalaureate Certificate from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities because I was looking for some theory and methodology for online teaching, then in 2013 I learned that those classes can be used towards their Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning Technologies, and in 2014 I started the program, part-time. Part-time, part-time. With a class here and a class there. I finally finished! Yes, April/May was the prefect storm of important academic events happening all at the same time.

Originally I wanted to write a paper on Adventure Learning or MOOCs (massive open online courses) for my Final Project, but I was told no. I needed to do something that involves technology and education, so I asked if I could create a game and was told YES! Have I ever created a game before? No. Do I know anything about coding? Nope. I am not much of a gamer since the Atari went out of style back in the 1980s, but I wanted to create a gaming app that would also include Adventure Learning. My original idea was to create a game for adults that involved the humanities and in the end I ended up with a game for children on the environment and global warming. I was inspired by Dr. Aaron Doering’s Arctic Transect 2004 and Timber Tales, which was a four-legged husky update (aka blog) from the trail, and which then inspired some kids to create a sign that said: “Timber for President!” when the expedition came home.

For my game I purchased and used a great game development software called Construct 2 which involves no coding and while it was occasionally tricky to use, its pretty user friendly. I hired a friend to create some wonderful 8-bit graphics (and drove her crazy with all the changes), I also purchased a basic template to have a place to start from, and I also purchased sounds for the objects and music to play in the background. People told me that it would take time to do and to scale back and I thought I did, but wow, it took a lot of time to do. One day I spent 3 hours “non-coding” in the music and getting the program to have the music pause and then play again. There were also a few things that I could not figure out and I don’t know if they are “Melissa technology issue” or a “template issues.” I also started to create a webpage on Google Sites and hated that software and then I decided to create a blog on WordPress and hated that, so right now I will house the Harvey the Husky game instructions and information on this site. The next step is to clean it up the game and release it as an iTunes App for $0.99.

Here is the Harvey the Husky storyline: Harvey the Husky is part of a scientific expedition in the Arctic studying global warming and has lost his way. Harvey needs to survive by collecting as many items as he can to take back to the scientists and expedition. Can Harvey avoid the negative effects of global warming? Can Harvey get back to the scientists in time? Only you can help Harvey!

For a while you can play the game here:

Here is Harvey:


Here are a few images from the game:



So tonight was the student showcase where all the students that were graduating (there were 8 of us) presented our Final Projects. The first part of the night was the presentation where we had 5 slides and 4 minutes to talk. I noticed that some people spoke longer than 4 minutes, while I think I talked really fast and might have ended early. All the students had these amazing projects and they are all projects that they will continue to work on and some I believe are hoping to turn theirs into businesses and sell them. Next we went into the LT Media Lab and had some great food (the LT Dept always has fantastic food at their events) and then we did the showcase part of the night, where you stood next to a computer and people came around to talk to you about your project. It was like a poster event at a conference, but without the poster. I was able to get “Harvey the Husky” to upload and had a link that I brought up on the computer so that the game could be played. It was really fun watching people play the game.

So there is just a reflection paper to turn in next week and then in a few weeks I will have my MEd in Learning Technologies.

Here is the official blurb: “Please join us May 6th from 5:00 – 7:30pm for the 6th annual Learning Technologies Master of Education Student Showcase. During this event, LT M.Ed. students who will be graduating this Spring or Summer will showcase their final projects. Refreshments provided.

Beginning at 5pm, there will be a short presentation from each of the eight students to provide an overview of their work (room 260). This will be followed by an “un-poster” show in which these students will share samples of their work with you on large screen monitors & posters throughout the LT Media Lab space.

Please join us for this celebration and opportunity for community to come together to learn from and with one another!

Showcase: LT M.Ed. Student Final Projects
Date: Fri, May 6, 2016
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: LT Media Lab & Room 260
Learning and Environmental Sciences Building”

The toe

Now that life has settled down a bit and I actually have some free time, I finally got around to seeing the podiatrist again. I am at the 9 month mark since I had toe surgery and it still hurts to walk and my foot still swells up everyday. Good news is that the titanium joint in my toe is working out well, but in regards to the pain it looks like its going to be at least a year and then hopefully the pain will go away, but there are no guarantees. So its back to physical therapy for a few weeks to see if that helps.

Doctor Madeline Messick

My friend Madeline, whom I met the first day of my PhD program (along with J and Issam), successfully defended her dissertation “Natural Disasters In Latin America: The Role of Disaster Type and Productive Sector On The Urban-Rural Income Gap and Rural To Urban Migration” today!

I purchased a Congratulations PhD Graduation card for her 6 years ago. It gets mailed tonight! Well, maybe tomorrow.

Congratulations Doctor Madeline Messick, PhD!!!

(photo courtesy of M. Messick 2016)

Wow, Madeline’s hair has really changed over the past 6 years.

Authority files, behold the power

I learned more about library authority files today. They are a cataloging tool that organizes bibliographic information by using a single, distinct spelling of a name or a numeric identifier for each topic. Basically they try to standardize people, places, and things.

So if you have written a book that was purchased by a library, there is probably a authority file out there and you can find them here: and

Here are the authority files associated with The Machiavellian Librarian and me.

Virtual International Authority File

The little flags in the VIAF files stand for:
Sudoc, France (French Library Consortium)
Library of Congress, USA
National and Univeristy Library in Zagreb
German National Library
ISNI (Internaitonal STandard Number Identifier)
National Library of Israel

Library of Congress

And COPAC, which is a British online library catalogues of major UK research libraries

Happy Star Wars Day!

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You! #MayThe4thBeWithYou

I Passed!!! PhD Comprehensive Oral Exam

Today was my 90 Minutes PhD Comprehensive Oral Exam.

April 28th, 2016
8:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m

It was a crazy day! I got less than 3 hours of sleep (not a good sleeper I was trying for 6 hours, but could not fall asleep), so I was not moving too quickly this morning. The weather was pouring rain, the streets were flooding, there were Flood Warnings like crazy, thunder, lightening, etc. I arrived on campus and was soaked by the time I got inside. There were three professors at the exam and me. I have been joking for years that I would do an interpretive dance routine for my Oral Exam (there was a funny video a few years ago about someone doing an interpretive dance routine for their PhD and it was hysterical) and no, I did not dance (I cannot dance), but I did make a joke about it and one also about the Magna Carta. We started with my major – Political Development and then moved on to my minor – Security Studies. The exam was crazy hard and I could not remember anything. No names or dates or things that I had been studying for the past year. My mind went blank and stayed that way. The whole thing was much harder and much more stressful then I thought it would be. After over an hour we finished and I left the room and they talked. I figured I had failed. I only had to wait about 10 minutes or so, which is a really short time. Too short and that’s never good. I went in and the IDV Challenge Coin (the sign that you have passed) was waiting for me. At first I thought it was a joke, but no, it turns out that I passed!!! I Passed!!!

Afterwards braving the rain I stopped for a celebratory meal at the Waffle House! I have not been there for years, so it was time for another visit.

Then tonight IDV Department hosted a dinner tonight at the Harbor View Cafe Restaurant. It was fun to see and talk with friends and meet some of the new students.

Later the names I totally forgot to mention keep coming back to me…haunting me…taunting me…Inglehart and Wlezel…Modernization…101 things about globalization…Joe Schumpeter…Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson. Its like PTSD for Comps.

Comprehensive Exams now passed. I am now ABD!!! All But Dissertation!!!