June-July 2017 Recap

I really don’t know what had happened but I have failed in keeping track with so many things. June and July past in a blur to me but I am very sure I did a lot of things in these 2 months. For one, I had been busy since we got the keys to our new home. There are simply too much works to follow up and to purchase for the new home. Of course, there were some excitements and anxieties about this new home. We haven’t even moved yet but the things to do are still piling up. As the semester is still on-going, with a lot of lesson plans and grading in the process, work seems to be never-ending.

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The new home is turning out to be very cosy with scenic view. We bought some new furniture so the new home is already equipped with comfortable sofa, dining table and cabinets. I spend a lot of times here during the weekends to sort out our stuff that we have moved them bit by bit. The process is exhausting but it is kind of cool to have another chance in life to redecorate our home sweet home.

At work, news of a changed management caught all of us off guard. I was quite deeply affected by the news and I felt a bit lost of direction in my way forward. The new boss is truly new in the university so I really have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Sadly, I have no idea how will I progress in the coming years with my old boss gone from management. My old boss had been a great mentor and I truly missed him. With all the changes in the faculty, I have second thought about doing PhD. My original plan for that may be put on hold indefinitely. I don’t see a point in getting PhD now with the current situation in the faculty. I may have different direction (career wise) for myself but nothing is of certain yet. However, my love for teaching and learning has not changed a bit.

By the way, some interested readers have been leaving me messages asking me if I have taken the CISSP exam. I realised my study plan mentioned I should have taken it in July. Sadly, I haven’t. My study plan has been derailed badly with so many on-going things in my life now. I’m actually sad but didn’t do much about it. I have continued to read on and off about CISSP, when my lesson plans called for it but to be actually ready for the exam, I guess not. Anyway, I sincerely thank you to those who have asked. I wish I have more better update about this soon.

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May 2017 Recap

I didn’t mean to write on this blog with just only recap every month. Unfortunately, that’s what happened since last post. I had no time to share anything with so much to be done wrapping up the third semester, which also meant wrapping up one academic year. New academic year just started end of May, so before that a lot of preparations have to be done. Almost every other day in May, I had to attend meeting after meeting. The only happiest thing that happened in May was I went for short weekend getaway with family to nearby resort.

DSC_4717 It’s not a superb beach resort but I appreciated the valuable time spent with family. It’s our annual family trip and as always it’s kind of fun. Missing this twilight weather!

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The resort’s speciality was its water villas. We booked two villas and we had our own small pool for each villa. I love playing in the pool and I spent most of my time relaxing in the pool. The weather was quite good without rain on the first 2 days but it rained a little on the 3rd day. However, it’s actually a good rain because we got to see rainbow. It’s been such long time since I last saw one. Simply beautiful!

Vacation is officially over. I have nothing much to look forward to this year. With two courses in my hand this semester, I have not much time to do anything else. I just wish to manage my time better for more reading and writing.

April 2017 Recap

Whoa! April is gone! April is by far my most favourite month of all because it is my birthday month. That’s when I could have more reasons to indulge and enjoy. Plus we get more discounts on everything on birthday month. More reasons for shopping! Although there’s nothing big on my birthday, I always have these mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy to eat more and to celebrate. On another hand, it’s a reminder that I was getting older. Sigh! Anyway, I had a wonderful time with the husband during my birthday weekend (my birthday fell on Monday which coincidentally was a public holiday). We stayed at a hotel in city centre where I got complimentary stay and we indulged in various food over the weekend.

The husband even bought me some presents while we were supposedly window-shopping. Haha!

Of course, I simply can’t resist such a nice blue coloured bag. I also finally gave in to this music box that I wanted for quite some times. I bought one of Taipei 101 during my trip to Taiwan but I couldn’t find the NY Empire Tower. I knew all along that there’s a local shop that is selling all these music boxes but I couldn’t bring myself to spend too much on this. Since it’s my birthday and the husband was buying, no point to say no, right?

Teaching/Administration

The short semester finally ended, just few days before my birthday. Everything was rushed with the examination started the following week. On that first week of examination, I had to bring some students to participate in a national competition. We had to depart quite early in the morning because the journey to the destination took at least 2 hours. Before the competition day, I had organised practice sessions on almost every Saturday in April. With the examination period in between the competition, I have no idea how they performed. I guess it really doesn’t matter as long as they had try their best.

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At the end of semester, the most dreaded routine is grading. Considering much lesser grading load this round due to lesser courses offered. Another reason I was assigned lesser was due to the high amount I did in last 2 long semesters.

Reading/Writing

Seriously, April passed by in a blink of eye. I don’t feel I have done much reading so I can just forget about writing. I’m still trying to establish a better morning routine since I always arrive at office before 7 a.m. However, there’s always something that got in my way and I simply couldn’t be productive. I hope I will have better progress to report next month. Keep my fingers crossed!

March 2017 Recap

I have wanted to write this kind of post for a long time after being inspired by Dr Ana’s monthly round-up posts but being the procrastinator me, I didn’t get it done any earlier. Since it’s now Week 6 of a 7-week short semester, I guess it’s time I put this in writing and hopefully I get to keep this as my monthly habit.

Teaching

As it’s short semester from March until end of April, I’m teaching 4-hour per week for the Introduction to Computer Security course in Bachelor degree level. I have taught this course before so teaching this semester is rather easy with less preparation. What I noticed I have improved was probably I could paint a better bigger picture about information security now after a few rounds of teaching similar courses and after more reading of CISSP. I shall share more about my last course evaluation by the students soon. From their comments, I think I have made good progress with my teaching.

Administration

Although I only have 4-hour classes, my schedule is as busy as ever due to my additional admin role in scheduling the whole department’s workload for this semester. This means I have extra planning tasks to do and more follow-ups too. Extra works have to be done in preparation for next coming semester where the new academic year begins. I also got busy by organising two invited guest lecturers. One is a professor from Teesside University and he shared interesting stuff about big data in relation to cybersecurity. Another invited guest lecturer is from Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and he shared good stuff about cybersecurity and the threats to Internet of Things (IoT).

Reading/Writing

I wish I can schedule more daily reading time. Sadly, I still haven’t come up with a fix daily schedule that really works for me. For writing, I don’t have any writing goal at the moment, though I wish I can write more, just to get my ideas flowing and improving my writing skill too. I shall try harder.

Research

As part of the final year project supervision, I have discussed some research areas that I’m interested in with my students. I’m particularly intrigued by insider threats and the ways to detect and prevent them. I’m also interested in Security Education, Training, and Awareness (SETA) program, specifically in looking at how to do an effective implementation. These are still at initial proposal stage, so we will see how things go in next few months.

Community Work

This is just to share that I have been a volunteer tutor for the past 12 years and I’m proud to be of service to others. I used to tutor Malay language (Malaysia’s national language) to local students who stayed at the community centre. Since its closure end of last year, I was offered the opportunity to tutor elementary English to refugees. This experience in working with refugees is so different, not because of their backgrounds (I never ask) but I came to realise that learning difficulties are real. It’s sad to see some are trying so hard just to learn and yet some (privileged ones) just don’t even put in any effort. This experience got me to learn to observe more and to revise different strategies to help those in learning better.

I guess that’s all for March. Hopefully, I have more to recap for April. I guess April shall be more exciting because it’s my birthday month. Haha!

Reflections on 2016

I hope I’m not too late in writing my reflections for 2016. Writing anything nowadays is becoming quite hard. My thoughts are rather incoherent and I’m quite distracted with the endless tasks at work. Or is it simply the Internet? I’m stealing some times away now since the semester has ended and I can try to relax a bit before the examinations start and the grading madness begins.

So here are some of the things that happened in 2016 that I would like to reflect on.

Career

It’s my third year working in academia and I have accustomed to the academic environment by now. I have also established my own specialisation in information security and computer networking areas. I’m working hard to become more expert in these areas. It’s just the beginning but I guess it’s a good start. It’s also a good thing that I know what I want to specialise in. I have seen many academics are rather lost in finding their area of specialisation which in the end they are always teaching something that are not in their interests. Anyway, I’m glad I had been given various opportunity to improve myself including a sponsored CISSP training paid by the faculty that literally reinforced my area of interest.

Early in 2016 I had been given an opportunity to conduct a public course on computer networking for working adults. Although I had to work on Saturdays, the pay was pretty good and the experience was the most valuable for me. Teaching working adults was so different from my usual playful adolescent students. These people were paying good money to learn from me and I did my best to share my knowledge and skills.

2016 had been a great year for me in attending conferences. I attended one in Langkawi beginning of the year and I attended another one in Sandakan near to the end of the year. I had also visited branch campuses in different states beginning of the year. I would say working in academia has increased my travelling for work as compared to my many years working in the industry. I guess it’s a good thing to be able to travel and meet new people and learn from the experience.

I also would like to note that I attended a free workshop conducted by my ex-student who is now a talented trainer in that company. The proudest moment as a lecturer to experience first hand how well my student has become after graduation. What a satisfying moment as an educator!

Personal

On this level, I would want to reflect briefly about my father’s passing in March 2016. He had been bedridden for more than 14 years due to stroke attack so honestly I felt his passing was not a bad thing for him or for the family. I was not very close to him but he was a great dad.

In May, I got the longest semester break ever due to readjustment of semester dates. I took the opportunity to travel with the husband to Taipei, Taiwan and we shopped and ate so much. We continue to our island holiday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and we experienced our first steam train ride from North Borneo Railway. It’s not cheap but the experience worth it.

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Gaya Island

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North Borneo Railway

It’s the best longest holiday ever for me and I won’t get another chance at that now because the semesters are back to back with maximum 3 weeks break for the students. For academic staff, we get much lesser due to meeting and other workload.

Writing/Reading

Writing was scarce in 2016 and I feel very bad about it. I have to admit it’s my bad time management and I seriously hope I can improve my writing productivity this year. I actually had a lot of writing ideas but sadly I didn’t get the time to really sit down and put my thoughts to words.

For reading, I actually did some but mostly CISSP books or information security related topics for teaching purposes. The only book I managed to finish reading in 2016 was The Art of Deception by Kevin D. Mitnick (also related to information security area that I teach).

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I started leisure reading other books such as Spam Nation by Brian Krebs, Impossible to Ignore by Carmen Simon (recommended by Scott Adam), and The 5 Choices but I still haven’t finished any yet.

Teaching & Learning Tools

On the tools that I used in my courses, I had explored a bit more in blogging as part of students’ assignments presentation where I also encouraged peer assessment as blog post comments. I had also extensively used Google Form for conducting online quizzes. I really would like to share more on these tools one of these days. I have also started using Microsoft OneNote and I kind of like it. I have customised it to improve my productivity based on the Extraordinary productivity method. OneNote is also a very good tool for ideas collection and creation because you can easily create different notebooks and within them you can create different categories in pages and in tabs, just like you have in physical file. I would like to share about this too soon.

I guess that’s all I have for now. Not bad for a start with more than 800 words today. Haha!

 

2015 in review

Happy 2016 to everyone! I know…I know…I’m rather a bit late but I guess it’s better late than never. I hope everyone has a blast in new year celebration. For me, I actually slept through new year. I was simply too exhausted as the semester has just ended.

Anyway, to start of my first blog post for 2016, let’s take a look for my progress for this blog in 2015. Apparently I have an increase of 2,000 views in 2015, as compared to 2014.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I truly hope you find this blog useful. I’ll try my best to update more often with more useful sharing.

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 in review

Happy New Year!!!

I know I’m rather late but it’s better than never. I don’t have much time updating this blog. I’m in the middle of marking final exam scripts and I just took a break to check on here. Then I remember WP has nice report about my blog each year.

I couldn’t believe it says this blog has 20,000 views in 2014. I’m so guilty for not writing much in 2014, yet people are still reading here. I sincerely thank you for dropping by. I really hope I have more time to share more, especially I have learned so many new things in academia now.

Anyway, here’s the report by WP, just for fun sharing. Until then…

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.