Serendipity would have no magic if it did not sneak up on you and lovingly whack you on the side of your normality.

On a beautiful Saturday when I ought to be outside playing in the fresh snow, I am instead pounding away at this #%$*@ keyboard working on web sites. Finally, after getting a little bit done, I peek into the twitter screen, and get maybe the best possible message a teacher can get.

Watch her video first.

Karissa was a student in the last DS106 course I taught at University of Mary Washington – an online section I taught in the Spring of 2013. She was a memorable student; studying to be a math teacher she came in with a lot of talent and energy.

Her blog (now retired, but because of Feed WordPress we have an archive of her work) had a clever title and theme (and URL) Confessions of a Future Disney Princess

Internet Archive Capture of Karissa's DS106 nblog

Internet Archive Capture of Karissa’s DS106 nblog

She wove her love of math with the unlikely pairing of her love of Disney Princesses, naming herself Princess Karissa. I recall even then her audio and video work showed her talents that have gone even farther as shown in the video she shared today.

There was a Calculus song she did for the Audio unit, and like the great students she was, a full writeup on the production.

In someways I’ve felt the worst time to assess what a student learned is right at the end of the course- what you get is a short term memory / experience dump. To me, the most important assessment is something teachers cannot do; it falls on students. And that is to find out later in life what they are doing with their education.

So it’s 3 years now since Karissa started as a student in my ds106 class, and she felt motivated to (a) remember by twitter name and (b) share the creative work she is doing now in her role as a teacher herself.

There’s only a bit I can take as a credit. Karissa was a great student, motivated, creative, and she took what I gave, but that’s as much, or more, credit to her than me (as if we can ever figure out that complex function).

Has y=mx+b been so clearly explained?

Has y=mx+b been so clearly explained?

Thanks Karissa, for reaching out, and for using your talent and energy for your math students. This is totally +memorable and the best gift I could have gotten.

Top / Featured Image Credit : Screen capture of former ds106 student Karissa from her new video Slope “Hello” Parody found on YouTube

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. well expressed for all of us who have been in the teacher role – having this kind of affirmation is ultimately rewarding, but never an expectation. Speaks of two very unique and outstanding individuals.

  2. I adore this woman! I have absolutely no idea what she was singing about, but the video was so passionately and creatively conceived. I love the whole genre of teacher parodies, such as this anti-plagiarism video “Think Before He Cheats”:

    It really is great to hear from students down through the ages–it’s a kind of wonderful time travel.
    Thanks for sharing, Professor Levine!

  3. Wonderful Alan, this is indeed why we teach. It is interesting how some days when I’m struggling I get one of these messages. Is it chance or is it me looking into the ether to find that nugget of inspiration and motivation?

    You truly are inspirational and I appreciate you.

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