2015 Week 11 in Review


  • Helping to plan the scale-up of the THRIVE Project offered by our Student Success Centre - an incredible pro-active student support system, working to find students who may be in need of support to succeed in their program. Man, I wish this was a thing back when I was an undergrad.
  • More progress on learning spaces projects - I’m learning a lot about designing flexible spaces, and balancing priorities of people who need to use and support activities in these spaces.
  • Curriculum mapping - starting to reflect on our successes and challenges in rolling out a curriculum mapping tool for use across campus. We’ve learned a lot, and need to start planning how to offer that service in a sustainable and effective way.
  • I guest presented in Heather Ross and Ryan Banow’s Introduction to Learning Technologies course. We had a fun discussion/Q+A. Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much. We covered a lot of topics in the hour. Might be useful to revisit some of the topics/themes in depth later. Also, this was, surprisingly, the first actual Google Hangout session I’ve been in (aside from test sessions). It worked really well - kind of makes Adobe Connect feel… antiquated…
  • I shot another instructor-introduction video. We’re hoping to get more done over spring/summer, so online students know a bit about their instructors. Trying to go beyond “hello. welcome to my course.” and more “hey. this is why this course should be interesting. also, I’m a human, and am looking forward to it.”
  • paperwork. yay! year-end reconciliation of stuff. good times. cough
  • IT launches new university-wide initiative to protect data - I have a sinking feeling this is going to trip a lot of people up.
  • Boxes of stuff for the new Faculty Design Studio are starting to arrive. This is going to be great - a place where instructors can play with, use, and make stuff with emerging technologies. For instance:

Oculus J. Nerdalinger


  • Michael Feldstein: Blueprint for a Post-LMS, Part 5
  • Boone Gorges: I miss my camera - Boone got rid of his smart phone last year. The only thing he actually misses from it is always having a decent camera in his pocket.
  • Alan Levine: The You Show Videos - great recap of the You Show project at TRU. Alan and Brian used a fun approach to model creating media - starting with craptacular hand-scrawled logos and crappy video production, evolving to high production quality logos/graphics/editing/video in the final episode. Great way to show how people can progress in skills and ability over time. Bonus points for the awesome guitar cameo.
  • Environmental Design student thinking about space design along transit corridors in Calgary. This is important. Our transit corridors are wastelands of concrete and asphalt, designed to be as hostile to humans as physically possible. How do we balance human-scale development with transportation needs of a growing city of 1.2 million people?
  • Maryellen Weimer: Three Questions to Reframe the Online Learning Conversation
  • Phil Simon: email lets other people schedule your life
  • Alan Levine: The You Show by the Insignificant Numbers - another great recap by Alan - what struck me was how obvious the CoI “teaching presence” is - Alan is absolutely amazing at being an active leader in a community of learners. My gut says that’s a huge part of why these projects succeed - similar projects with less actively engaged teachers/leaders become tumbleweed collectors. Alan doesn’t let that happen. Amazing.
  • Alan Levine: SPLOT By The Numbers - Jeez. Another one by Alan. Hat trick. Trifecta. Recapping the SPLOT (Smallest Possible Learning Online Tool) project he worked on as part of his fellowship at TRU. In a handful of months in residence, he built a bunch of great tools that are being used by TRU to explore online learning. No LMS. No RFP. Just hacking on WordPress and providing a series of sandboxes for people to play and explore.
  • Google to close Google Code. Shocker. Why anyone would rely on anything from Google is beyond me. Serial project killers. Embrace, extend, extinguish. And now people are moving to GitHub - I say we start a pool for when GitHub is sunsetted. I give it 5 years. Which is an extremely long time in online software. But, given the extreme reach it’s getting - is there anything interesting online that doesn’t touch GitHub in some way? - having so many eggs in that one giant basket is a bit troubling.1
  • The Screenshot Spectacular - holy. I’ve been using MacOS since System 6. And MacOSX since the public beta. I had no idea about some of these keyboard commands to control how screenshots are taken.
  • Bob McDonald: 1610 is the year humans started changing the planet - anthropocene era, ftw.
  • Zygote Quarterly - 2015 Issue 12, Volume 1. Gorgeous. This is what science communication and dissemination can be.
  • Christina Hendricks: UBC’s Policy 81 - man, I wish we had a similar policy on my campus.
  • David Banks: Very Serious Populists - on how voting algorithms on socially-curated community sites shapes what becomes visible.
  • Michael Friedman: Beyond the Laptop Debate - on the tension to control distractions vs. supporting learner autonomy with technology in class. I think, in higher ed, it’s simple - the students are adults. We need to treat them as such. Prohibitions to protect them from themselves undermine that. But, we also need to develop conventions about what is acceptable - there’s a social contract involved, and appropriate use of technology is part of that.


  • I’m slowly learning how to set up my guitar. It’s an el cheapo Fender Squier Strat, and has always had horrible fret noise and buzzing. Some simple adjustments made over an hour or so, and it’s already MUCH better. More tweaking, and a new set of strings, and I think it’ll be worth playing. Or at least not so embarrassingly bad in comparison to Evan’s nice Epiphone.
  • Looks like ski season may have already ended. Dangit. The mid-mountain webcam at Nakiska is already showing bare ground, and the base area has constantly been slush soup for the last week.

  1. yes, you can host your own Git repository. Yes, there might be an escape strategy. How many people host their own Git? How many people who are adopting Git as Digital Jesus would be able to host their own when the end of days comes? And it’s coming. ↩︎

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