Merry Christmas & Happy 2017

The year is coming to its end. Today is Christmas eve so I’m taking this opportunity to wish everyone who read (or stumble upon) this blog, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the year 2017 brings you more happiness, better health, and greatness in your academic works.

As I continue to explore the academic world, year 2016 has brought me great many academic adventures and I hope I would do proper reflection after the holiday. Sadly, 2016 has also forced me away from the blog as times were never enough in academia. I hope I would master better time management and see you again in 2017. 

ScienceDirect – Import to Mendeley

I attended a workshop on optimizing the use of ScienceDirect some times ago because our university has subscribed to many journals from ScienceDirect. Being a teaching oriented institution for so many years, moving toward research oriented will take some times, especially for us, the academics who have heavy teaching loads each semester. During the workshop, I was very impressed with the ScienceDirect website which has a great deal of useful functions that I may not have encountered them myself such as the advanced search function and how to find out if we have full access to certain articles and journals. I might have forgotten some of the things I learned that day but today what I want to share is the awesome function to import article to Mendeley from ScienceDirect and some useful functions we can find on the web version while previewing the article.

Here is one of the recent article that I found from a potential supervisor that I wish to explore PhD opportunity with (that will be another story for another post). I’m amazed with the just one-click of a button to import that article to Mendeley.

Once I click Save to Mendeley and log-in to my account, all the work will be done for me. It’s really very easy.

What I like about ScienceDirect when viewing the article on the web version is the additional useful information available to us when perusing the article.

Article outline section on the left is very useful to see in a glance what the paper is about. A click on Show full outline will give us more details and one click on the sub topic will bring us to the section of the article.

I also like this Figures and Tables feature, just below the article outline, that list all the tables and figures from the article. One click on the figure will bring us to the page and there is a function of Figure options available on the figure itself. We can choose to download full-size image or PowerPoint slide. Simply awesome features!  On the right side, there are some recommended articles related to the article at preview, which I found to be very useful to find out similar papers for reading.

There may be more great functions within ScienceDirect that I do not know yet but all in all, I’m very happy with what I use so far.

Are you user of ScienceDirect? Share with me other great features if you know more. Thanks!

It’s September?

I bet this post title is a bit too familiar. I can’t believe it’s already September and I have totally missed August. Semester has officially ended, hence I’m back to this blog. I’m also trying something new, hence the appearance of this post.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I’m trying out another new wireless keyboard and I would say this is the most awesome one so far. It supports up to 3 devices at a time and switching from one device to another is just a push on the round dial on the far left. It supports almost all OSes from Android to MacOS and Windows, so basically all devices can work with this keyboard as long as it has bluetooth connecton. I’m typing this post using this keyboard and it’s simply awesome.

One semester has ended so it’s good time to catch up with reading before marking workload kicks in soon.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I miss you, Mendeley! I haven’t sync my iPad for some times and recently I have found new interesting articles to read that could shape my near future research direction. I’m also updating my research folders in Mendeley to sort out my articles better. I also found the new version of Mendeley for iPad is much cooler now. I will definitely share another post after I explore more new features soon. 

Until then, hope everyone is doing well. 

Thinking is hard and it is slow

I couldn’t recall how I got to know about this book but I’m so amazed with it that I bought one from the bookstore many years ago. It’s one of my precious possessions. I actually started reading a few chapters quite some times ago and I forgot about it until today when I visited a page to listen to the author, Daniel Kahneman talking about bias in our reasoning. As a researcher and academic, reasoning is so important and we all know we are sometimes bias.

Listening to that interview reignites my interest in behavioural sciences where I always find it amazing how different people think and I sometimes wonder how we come up with certain conclusions that shape our lives. Anyway, I just wish to share with you this wonderful interview by Social Science Bites. I found this particular excerpt interesting when the author was asked why we don’t use System 2 (the slow and effortful thinking) more often.

Daniel Kahneman: Because it’s hard work. A law of least effort applies. People are reluctant, some more than others, by the way, there are large individual differences. But thinking is hard, and it’s also slow. And because automatic thinking is usually so efficient, and usually so successful, we have very little reason to work very hard mentally, and frequently we don’t work hard when if we did we would reach different conclusions.

And we thought we sometimes think too much. I guess we don’t think slow enough to mentally exercise our brain. Let’s start to think hard and slow today!


CISSP: The first impression

It’s finally Friday, which I’m always looking forward to, not because it’s the start of weekend but it’s the least teaching hour for me this semester on Fridays. So it means I have more time sitting in my office to do other work. As promised in my last post, I would like to write more about this Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) as I’m revising on the syllabus. Just like any other course, I thought it’s good to give an overview of this certification and my thoughts about it.

Here’s my summary about the 8 domains of information security topics that are the major focus in this CISSP syllabus:

On my first day of the training that I attended, the instructor was so kind to give us this overview plus the number of questions that are going to come up in the certification examination. He emphasized that the more questions there are in the domain, it means that domain is more important. The total number of questions in this exam is 250 multiple choices questions where 25 questions of the total are not rated questions. It means that these 25 questions do not carry any point for the overall total marks and these questions are the new untested questions. The instructor said we would never know which one would be these untested questions, no matter how much we do the exam practice. Scary at first but as with any other test, as long as we study and understand, no test is too difficult.

I’m not sure if I’m considered lucky or not. By the time I enrolled to the training, the CISSP syllabus has just been changed. Originally, it had 10 domains instead of 8. Good thing is I get to study lesser domains but not necessary lesser contents (if you get what I mean). Bad thing is most of the reference books or the best audio lectures out there are all referring to the old syllabus. Although the content does not vary that much, it’s hard to match with the new domains at first. So I went to search for any source that help in matching these domains and I finally made a summary of this:

Now this makes more sense to me and I can read the old syllabus in relevance to the new domains. Some domains do not change much and some just consolidate better in the new domains. I will start revising on Domain 1 which should be my stronger domain of all. I have also started trying out Microsoft OneNote to build my notes. Let’s see how it goes.

Hopefully, for anyone who is interesting to take CISSP, this post will be a good first impression and an overview. For those not interested in information security, sorry I bore you. Haha!

It’s July? 

Where has June gone to? I have no idea a month has passed and I hadn’t visited my blog for that long. Now let me think what have I done in June. Err…Emm…

Okay, the semester started at the end of May so I was pretty busy with lessons preparation the first few weeks of the semester. Then by week 5, I had to submit 4 set of questions papers for 2 different courses that I’m teaching this semester. Other than invigilating duties, my second dreaded task in academia is being the examiner of final exam papers. The amount of work to just prepare exam paper is seriously taking all my times. The worst thing of all is if the course is new and the syllabus is not being familiarized yet. Anyway, I have done my job on time as required, something I’m very proud of myself. 

This is week 6 and we are having public holidays during midweek so I’m taking my rest days to update here while trying to catch up with some revision of Information security certification CISSP. It’s really helpful that I’m teaching 2 information security courses that cover parts of the certification syllabus. I also feel that my understanding and knowledge have grown since I started teaching this semester. Totally agree with Dr Ana that the best way to learn a topic is to teach it.

Attending the certification training before the semester started really helps opening my eyes and giving me great insight into this field. I actually can relate so much more to the important topics when I’m teaching them to my students after the training. I seriously hope I can instill some interest in my students in these courses as I’m increasing my own interest in these courses. 

Talking about my own preparation for the certification, I’m rather ashamed of myself for lack of serious study. Although I did study parts of the topics whenever I need them to teach the students, I haven’t really done any serious revision of my own in order to sit for the exam. I have been spending some times listening to audio lecture from one prominent trainer but I don’t feel I’m good enough if I don’t make proper notes, though I have done some rough unorganized notes. So I have decided to make better notes while doing revision and I’m going to write them on this blog. Hopefully, I’ll do it in a more dedicated manner and maybe some people who are in the same field would benefit from my notes too. 

Okay, I promise I will do this soon and pray that I can get ready real soon for the certification. I truly have great interest in this information security field and I hope I can become a better security professional. 

Bye bye May, Hello new semester!

Good times pass real fast, especially if you are on vacation. My first ever long semester holiday has officially come to an end. I just started my first lecture yesterday but it was a disaster (another story another day, I guess!). Anyway, I came back from my 2-week holiday in the middle of May (it’s really a great holiday and I wish I have more time to share about it), then I spent a lot of times sitting on my desk working on my teaching materials for the new semester. There are simply so much to do every day at work, even though it was still semester break that time. I really felt no end to my work in academia but I’m not complaining. I love my job!

These are the books that I used for reference to prepare my teaching materials for two different security courses this semester. At times, I really opened up all these books on my desk just to double check on certain topics. I truly felt so studious that time. Truly more hardworking than my own students. Haha! It does have its fun but the process is rather tiring. Studying to teach is much harder than studying for my own but it’s still enjoyable because I love to learn new things.

Another reason why my work is never-ending is due to my new role as programme leader for a bachelor programme. I was a programme leader for a diploma programme for 6 months before my boss asked me to take over the bachelor programme. Most of the works are still the same except a bachelor programme has more components to take care of, which I’m still learning the ropes.

With this new role, I had to switch to another new room too. Here’s my desk facing a big white board, all for me. I’m still thinking what to write on it. It’s my first time getting such a big white board to myself and I can write whatever I want. I feel like a small kid with new toy. Haha!

I have also started reading this book to learn interesting way to do presentation to capture the attention of my audience a.k.a. my students. I have finished chapter 1 and it’s really very interesting. I wish I have more time spent on reading more. I have many books pending in my reading list. I also have to revise on CISSP to prepare to take the certification examination. Simply so much to do and I’m running short of time.

Oh, I’m also trying something new this semester to experiment with blogging as part of students’ assignment submissions. I wonder how well this will go. Last two semesters I had already experimented with Google Classroom and I really like it. However, there is no blogging tool in Google Classroom so I have to switch back to Blackboard this semester to try out the blogging tool. I hope I have time to write some review about these teaching and learning platforms to share with more people.

That’s all for now. Saying goodbye to May. This month of May has been great to me! I look forward to this new semester and hopefully things will be much better after my yesterday’s disastrous first lecture. Keeping my fingers crossed!