2020 media log

Trying to track major media consumption throughout the year. I’ve done this for a few years now, but it’s kind of a chore.

Anyway. Here’s most of the media I consumed in 2020.1

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movies  tv  books  media 

A Letter From Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, as Read by Benedict Cumberbatch

This amazing letter written by Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Hesse was frustrated by a creative block and self-doubt1. LeWitt would have none of it. I’ve had it on playing on loop. Get out of your head. Just DOOOOOOO. you are not responsible for the world. you’re only responsible for your work, so just. do. it. (via BoingBoing) which is me, in a nutshell, with my dissertation. Read More

What's the ROI on a SLAPP Lawsuit Against Your Users?

Awhile back, Ian Linkletter shared links to videos that Proctorio published to their corporate YouTube account. Proctorio apparently wasn’t aware of how the internet works, nor about what YouTube is for, nor how to manage confidential resources (which may be an interesting tell regarding internet security awareness and infosec practices in the company?). It’s a platform for sharing videos. If you have confidential videos, don’t publish them to YouTube. Anyway. Proctorio could have said “oops. Read More

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 Teaching™, 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

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