Month: March 2015

My Fulbright Experience at Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego

    I was very pleased and honored to receive the prestigious research grant as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2014. It represents a wonderful opportunity to obtain new knowledge in the field of child protection in the United States. My research grant will let me help children in need in Taiwan after I finish my research project. This paper contains reflections on my stay in the US as a Fulbright Senior Scholar over the past 6 months.   Research Experiences      I am very grateful that Professor Richard Madisen, the acting provost of the Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego, hosted me during my grant.  Professor Madisen actually graduated from my home institution, National Taiwan University (NTU), as well. He can speak fluent Chinese and has translated several books from Chinese to English. I was surprised and pleased to know that he has close connections with Taiwan. He is also the Director of the UC Fudan Center, which has hosted a variety of seminars featuring speakers from top universities/institutes from all over the world, and I have been very fortunate to attend some of these seminars. It was a great learning experience for me.  

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Reflections on Illiteracy

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.” ―M. Angelou One challenge that I didn’t understand in its entirety when I accepted my grant to come to Taiwan was what it is like to be illiterate.  There are many things in life that we take for granted, and sometimes, it takes the absence of something to really understand that concept. For example, when you are sick with a cold and you are so congested that you can’t breathe normally, it is not until that moment that you realize what a privilege it is to breathe properly. This has been the case for me during my service in Taiwan. I had no idea how incredibly fortunate I am to be literate–able to read and write in the primary language of each country in which I had previously resided. I took for granted the automatic ease of functioning in a society that literacy gives an individual. My current illiterate state in the Mandarin language allows me to more fully appreciate the power and importance of literacy on a variety

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My Fulbright Experiences at University of Minnesota

       As a Fulbright Taiwan grantee, I always feel honored to introduce my country and discuss culturaldifferences whenever I meet people. When I attended a three-week Fulbright pre-academic program, which was sponsored by Fulbright IIE at Virginia Tech, I met Fulbright grantees from 26 countries. We not only shared our diverse cultures, but also learned about American culture and academic preparation together. It was a time to effacestereotypes and rethink questions of culture and mutual respect; most importantly, it was the time to try to understand other voices. From religiousto political issues, from culinary habits to the educational system, the topics wecovered ranged widely every day that I spent time with Fulbrighters. In a way,this experience was a challenge because it was necessary to expand my international knowledge so quickly, while being prepared to answer questions about my own country. Overall, it was worthwhile to share my perspectives that could present Taiwanese perspectives or speak for Taiwan in an international context.        After the pre-academic program, I started my PhD coursework at the University of Minnesota where I’m currently studying learning technologies in the fields of curriculum and instruction studies. In my first semester, it’s been

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Hierarchical Image Segmentation based on Sequential Partitioning and Merging

1. Background      In computer vision, image segmentation is the process that decomposes an image into multiple segments. The goal of this process is to partition an image into something more meaningful and easier for subsequent analyses. For example, for the image shown in Figure 1, human eyes can easily recognize that there are two persons walking on a beach. Apparently, they have just finished snorkeling. To computers, however, this image is nothing but an array of pixel data, with each image pixel (picture element) containing three different kinds of color values (Red, Green, and Blue). If we can decompose the image into several smaller regions with each region containing similar colors or textures, it becomes easier for the computer to recognize the possible objects in the image (like humans, diving boots, and beach) and understand the image content.        Over the past few decades, hundreds or even thousands of segmentation algorithms have been proposed, trying to produce segmentation results that are close to what human eyes perceive. Among these segmentation approaches, graph-based methods and clustering-based methods have proven to be quite successful and have been widely used. However, for the beach image in Figure 1, graph-based

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A Midyear Reflection on the State of my Research

     I do a lot of reading; it’s part of my job description as a graduate student. I read all types of works: newspaper articles, opinion pieces, scientific data, political diatribe, etc. I also read quite a bit of Chinese literature and modern scholarship on such works. Recently, it occurred to me that I have lost, to some degree at least, my love of reading for pleasure, especially reading works of fiction. I tend to get lost in critical works, the argumentative polemics and rhetorical strategies of academic work published in scholarly periodicals, but I realized that I rarely, if ever, spend significant time reading fiction anymore. This is disconcerting, disturbing even, because not all reading is the same; different genres can produce wildly different effects.      For example, exploring the universes of the future plotted out by science fiction writers or contemplating the power of language in historical settings recreated by dramatists shows the infinite possible worlds existing when authors indulge in fictive landscapes. Fictional works simultaneously reflect a multiplicity of voices and viewpoints in a way that other artistic mediums seem hard-pressed to duplicate. The way authors choose to arrange their plots, create characters, and manipulate

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傅爾布萊特 第一學期交流計畫心得

一、引言        於第一學期的交流過程中,本人在暑假參與了傅爾布萊特相關單位舉辦的「暑期先修研習營」(Orientation)以及在寒假「青年充實課程」(Youth Enrichment Seminar)。另外,在學校裡面除了正規課程外,主要參加臺灣同學會的活動,包括中秋節烤肉、感恩節火鍋等等以假日為主軸的盛宴。下文將以文化體悟、學業成長、人脈經營等各方面為經,上述各活動為緯,闡述這學期之心得感想。

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Notes from a Sufi Shrine in Sindh, Pakistan

  The heat of the day had receded as we walked into the shrine after ‘isha, the final evening prayers. The marble ground felt cool to our bare feet when we took off our sandals and went in. There was no guard at the gate, no shoe-keeping stand, and people sat on the ground in small groups, chatting, eating, and sleeping. Children and even dogs ran around in the informal and mildly festive atmosphere of the beautifully-lit shrine courtyard. This place, the shrine of Shāh Abdul Latīf in Bhit Shāh, Sindh, was beyond doubt one of the most open and welcoming Sufi shrines I had ever been to in Pakistan. Adding our own footwear to a pile of countless dusty black sandals in the corner, we headed straight towards the inner courtyard where the saint is buried. My heart leapt as, from a distance, we saw the silhouette of a group of men sitting in a semi-circle on the ground in front of the tomb door, wielding huge pumpkin-bodied long-necked string instruments. The Shāh Jo Rāg fakirs were already there, ready to sing.        I first read about the Shāh Jo Rāg fakirs in a program note for

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