Zoom Features Wishlist

We’ve been using Zoom at scale since March, and have learned how to use it well for everything from 1:1 meetings up to classes of 500+ students. Since we launched in March 2020, to prepare for the COVID Rapid Pivot to Remote Teachingâ„¢, we’ve hosted 304,776 meetings in our campus Zoom environment. We’ve held 379 webinars. We’ve created over 4 TB of recordings. In that time, we’ve realized there are a few features that would make life simpler for instructors, especially in these large-enrolment classes. Read More

Interview: UCalgary's What the Tech Podcast

The UCalgary Department of Computer Science has been publishing a great podcast series called What the Tech? It’s intended as a way to share some of the work being done by faculty members and grad students, and covers a pretty wide range of topics. I was asked to be on the show to talk about learning technologies, innovation, and some of the things I’m going to be working on for my PhD research. Read More

Territorial Acknowledgement in Online Learning Spaces

The University of Calgary has been developing a strategy, ii' taa’poh’to’p, to help guide the university toward reconciliation. This is incredibly important and we are all working to understand and to learn. One of the first steps involves acknowledging that indigenous peoples have been living on this land long before european settlers arrived. We make the territorial acknowledgement in ceremonies and large gatherings - but now that we are all participating from our own homes it has become more important for us all to acknowledge the First Nations, and the treaty that we are all part of. Read More


On Friday, I finished my PhD candidacy exams with an oral exam of my thesis proposal. It was an incredible discussion, with a group of people who I admire as much for their approach to their work as for the work itself. Each committee member was recruited because they are the best person at our university in their respective field. I mean, to the point that if I blew it, I’d been half-joking about having to quit my day job because I work regularly with many of them in other committees and projects. Read More

Resources for Podcasting in Courses in 2020

I’d explored podcasting several years ago - looking at educational uses of podcasts and making my first attempt back in 2004 when the term was first coined - but, everything about “podcasting” has changed since then, and the term has become a genericized label for “I want to share some media”. We’ve been getting requests from instructors who are interested in using podcasts (or “podcasts”) in their courses - whether as part of the instructional materials, or for students to produce media as part of their learning. Read More

The Case for Video Games

I’ve been working on my thesis proposal, preparing for candidacy this summer. This explains why I’ve been pretty much silent here on the blog, and why I’ve been trying to reduce my social media time1. Much of my research will be on using the lens of video games as a way of describing classroom teaching - in fancy-talk, developing a model that adapts research methods developed for the formal analysis of video games to the description and analysis of teaching and classroom activities. Read More

Self Hosted Searching in Hugo

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo’s site-specific search as a way to make this site searchable, after moving from WordPress to Hugo. Since static websites don’t have a database, searching is more difficult so I’d let that go and had just used an embedded search form that fired off a DuckDuckGo query. Which worked. Mostly. But it also got results from other subdomains at *.darcynorman.net, and didn’t sort them too well. So it was not as useful as the WordPress Relevanssi search plugin had been. Read More
hugo  search 

Cheating and Online Exam Proctoring

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and learning about online exam proctoring, to prepare to act as the “business lead” for an online exam proctoring project that ramps up this week, aiming to have a pilot in the summer and a tool available for use (as a last resort) in the fall. It’s a complicated solution to a complicated problem. Not all courses are able to adjust assessment away from high stakes exams, and those don’t translate online in all contexts without some form of proctoring. Read More

Automating Creating New Content in Hugo

I’ve been using Hugo for about 6 months now, and it’s been working really really well for me. But the one thing that’s been bugging me is how clumsy it is to create new posts. For example, here’s the command line stuff that would have created this post: cd ~/Documents/Blog/blog hugo new posts/2020/2020-05-05-Automating-Creating-New-Content-in-Hugo.md All posts are plaintext markdown files, organized in folders within a content directory. The Hugo application has a command line tool to create content - but, almost every single time, I need to look up the syntax so I don’t goof it up. Read More

Projects and Squiggles

When we talk about processes, there’s a balance between traditional Projectâ„¢ “waterfall” approaches - dependencies, critical paths, charters, etc. and what happens in practice - rapid prototypes, DIY experimentation, communities and networks, and emergent designs to support practice. LMS Upgrade Plan Gantt a traditional project management overview of the steps involved in implementing a learning management system compared with Damian Newman: The Design Squiggle The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle. Read More