Irwin

Irwin1 passed away recently. We knew it was coming, but it still came as a shock - he seemed to be doing so well. He’d beaten it once before, but it came back years later. Fuck. Fuck everything about cancer. Every. Thing. I made a donation to his memorial scholarship fund at TRU2. I wish I’d had the chance / made the effort to get to know him better. I only had the chance to hang out with him (in person) a handful of times, but he was obviously an amazing, generous, funny, creative, open, playful, and gracious human and I can only aspire to be a fraction of what he was. Read More

Images used in this post:

Irwin and Brian at NMC poster image for video

Playing Around With DALL-E to Create Images of Future Learning Spaces

Inspired by Benj Edwards’ post on Ars Technica this morning, I wanted to try out the latest version of DALL-E that’s integrated into ChatGPT 4 Turbo™, to see what it could create to visualize potential future learning spaces. I started off with a basic “Create an image of a video game depicting students exploring classrooms and informal learning spaces. Cinematic, 8K, studio lighting.” 🤖 - AI-Generated Content via DALL-E Interesting. Chalkboards, but sure. Read More

Images used in this post:

an image of a video game depicting students exploring classrooms an image of a video game depicting students exploring classrooms, as rendered by an Amiga 1000 an image of a video game depicting students exploring classrooms in the year 2123, as rendered by an Amiga 1000 an image of an active learning classroom in the year 2123 an image of what the University of Calgary might look like in the year 2123 an image of what the Taylor Institute might look like in the year 2123 an image of what the a large lecture theatre might look like in the year 2123 an image of what D’Arcy Norman might look like in the year 2123 another image of what D’Arcy Norman might look like in the year 2123

Rethinking About Generative AI

This post was originally going to be part of a series exploring the topic, but if I take that approach I’ll probably never actually make time to write each post in the series, so here’s an omnibus “I need to think about this stuff and writing a blog post is the best way to formalize my thinking.” We’ve all been trying to figure out generative AI since ChatGPT was launched almost 1 year ago. Read More

Images used in this post:

chat-gpt-created image combining 2001 and The Shining jersey version 4

A Graduate Architecture Critical Practice Studio on Learning Spaces

Back in March, an article was published in our UCalgary News describing a collaboration between one of our librarians and an instructor in SAPL (UCalgary’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape). The project involved students designing possible future library spaces, and they came up with some really interesting ideas. I immediately thought “hey - that’d be cool to try with a focus on learning spaces!” I reached out to folks in SAPL to see if they were interested, and got connected with Matthew Parker. Read More

Images used in this post:

Figure 8.8 from my dissertation. A framework for integrating HCI and SoTL concepts to describe course designs. In this case, replace HCI with 'video games' and 'SOTL' with 'understanding teaching and learning' (Norman, 2023). Some of my own initial modelling work in video game engines - top left was a mockup of interacting with 360˚ video in Unity, the others are mockups of learning spaces built in Unreal Engine 5.
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On Online Teaching as a Text-based Adventure Game

My dissertation explored the connections between the design and analysis of video games and our design and understanding of teaching & learning. Much of that work was shaped by a conversation I had with one of my supervisors: Figure 1.2: One of the conversations that shaped the direction of this dissertation. AI-generated character portrayal provided by Stable Diffusion. I’d written a bit to explore the comparison between video games and online teaching, to see what it might look like if it was experienced as a Zork-like text-based adventure game. Read More

Images used in this post:

A comic, portraying a conversation between myself and a supervisor, about the nature of online learning becoming like a video game - and wondering if the video game was any good…

Building a Mastodon Chatbot With ChatGPT

I had a random thought, triggered perhaps by the tinnitus that is constantly eeeeeeee-ing in the background of everything. What if there was a Mastodon bot that just replied to every toot that mentioned it, with a string of eeeeeee’s of the same length as the message? The second semi-random thought was that I had no idea how to even start to build such a thing. The third obvious-in-2023 thought was that I’d bet ChatGPT could help with this somehow. Read More

Images used in this post:

screenshot of a prompt fed to ChatGPT: Build a Mastodon bot that replies to every message by converting the message into “eeeeee” of corresponding message length" screenshot of 2 toots, one asking @tinnitus “hey, tinnitus but. is this thing on?” and the other responding “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” screenshot of the Mastodon profile for Tinnutus Bot

Presenting to the Association of University Architects

I’d intended to quickly write this post to reflect on the session, but it’s stayed in my drafts pile for a couple of weeks now so I’m going to share what I can remember. I’ll likely be misremembering some of the details of the session, but this should hit the highlights at least. Recently, I had the absolute pleasure to be invited to co-present at the 67th Annual Association of University Architects Conference, conveniently hosted this year in Calgary, and even more conveniently having one day’s sessions housed within the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Read More

Images used in this post:

https://darcynorman.net/photos/2023/2023-06-20-presenting-at-AUA2023.jpg poster image for video Taken during the 2022 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching, hosted by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. https://darcynorman.net/photos/2023/2023-02-16-new-artworking.jpg https://darcynorman.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/img_2564-960x720.jpg poster image for video https://darcynorman.net/images/2023/2023-06-20-AUA-presentation-whiteboard.webp
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Easing Back Into This Thing We Used to Call the World Wide Web

I’ve been seeing a lot of energy online about bringing the old web back, or bringing the humanity back to the web, or just trying to make some art, dammit. So, here’s my part. This blog is my corner of the World Wide Web. Of the non-corporate, non-monetized, non-advertised, non-user-tracked, human-scale online experience. I haven’t been blogging, partially because I’ve been holding back due to Not Having Anything Profound to Share™. Read More

Displaying Hierarchical Lists of Files With Obsidian and Dataview

In Obsidian, I use a folder of notes called “Collections”. Inside Collections are various folders that act as buckets of info, in a quasi-Zettelkasten notes-as-personal-wikipedia kind of thing. My Collections currently include (in alphabetical order): Articles Committees Ideas Institutions Organizations People Profiles Topics Vendors Some of these have subfolders to organize notes into smaller buckets. For example, Topics is organized by folders for: General Tech Higher Education Information Technologies Learning Spaces Learning Technologies Misc Pedagogy Processes TI Projects UCalgary The folders change and I add to them and reorganize as needed. Read More

Images used in this post:

https://darcynorman.net/images/2023/2023-05-03-obsidian-graph-view.webp https://darcynorman.net/images/2023/ObsidianCanvasScreenshot.webp https://darcynorman.net/images/2023/obsidian-canvas-institutions-and-topics-screenshot.webp

How I use Obsidian to Manage My Note-taking Workflow

Rambling blog post alert: there isn’t a simple, straightforward way to tell the story of how I use Obsidian. This is going to be a bit of a winding post as I start to describe my setup and workflow. And there will be gaps because a) I don’t have time to write an omnibus description of this and b) you don’t want to read that anyway. I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile, but kept getting stuck by the scale of what was needed. Read More

Images used in this post:

my Obsidian folder structure Obsidian “map” canvas, with blocks for all of the types of information I need to keep handy obsidian graph view, showing nodes and connections to notes in my vault