My Top Tools for Learning in 2022

Stephen Downes just posted his list of top tools for learning. I’m thinking about the tools that I use in my practice, and they’re pretty different from Stephen’s. These are the tools that I use for working and learning. 1. Safari and Edge Web browsers run most of what we do. Safari is my main browser because it’s so nicely connected to sync bookmarks etc. over all of the devices that I use, and does it without draining batteries more quickly than necessary. Read More

Hybrid-enabling Spaces at the Taylor Institute

I’d previously written a bit about shifting to more agile/adaptable/flexible learning technologies, and I’ve been meaning to write something about our work to adapt spaces in the Taylor Institute as we try to enable some kind of remote- or hybrid- or mixed- or whatever modality thing we wind up calling this stuff. So… here goes… When everything shifted online at the beginning of the whole COVID thing, the learning spaces at the Taylor Institute kind of got put on hold for awhile. Read More

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TI 214 with a webcam about half of the loooooonnnggg table Zoom with a webcam on a tripod at one end of a loooooonnnggg table Neat Board Zoom meeting
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20 Years

Holy. 20 years. 2 decades. That’s how long I’ve been blogging, how long this humble website has been around. The first (surviving) post was published on May 2, 2002, shortly after we found out that we were going to be adding a person to our family. That person is now 19 and in post-secondary education. That’s mind-boggling in ways that makes a couple decades of blogging seem a little less impressive. Read More

Trying Out the Fancy Lecture Capture Camera

I just popped into TI 110 (Studio A) in the Taylor Institute, to try out the fancy new auto-tracking camera and to see how it works with YuJa on the podium computer. The auto-tracking thingy uses computer vision to detect the “teacher” or “presenter” in the room, and doesn’t need a tracking device to be worn (like the previous camera did). Which is great, as long as the computer vision stuff can figure out where you are, and as long as it doesn’t get confused by multiple people (or images that look like people) in a room 1. Read More
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On Shifting Toward Agility With Learning Technologies

I’ve been part of several initiatives on campus over the last year, looking at how we provide and support learning technologies as a university. Several themes have consistently emerged across all of these. Instructors need a baseline of common technologies to enable a consistent teaching experience across courses Instructors need flexibility, to be able to use different technologies that enable discipline-specific teaching and learning practices Students need to be able to access technologies, both within and outside of formal course activities Everyone experiences a course differently, depending on their role in the course, their connections to others in the course, and the various technologies that they use (both formally and informally)1 Universities tend to focus on the first point. Read More

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creston switcher collaboration carts in the TI

TI Resource: Connecting Remote and Face to Face Students

The Learning Technologies and Design Team in the TI just produced this outstanding resource (with design by our Comms team), with strategies for engaging remote and face-to-face students. Top tier work by the entire team, and some really great collaboration as well, with instructional designers and learning technologists and graphic designers coming together to create highly compelling and useful resources. Best team ever.

TI Resource screenshot


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TI Resource screenshot
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EDUCAUSE Panel on Competency Based Education

I was part of an online panel session “You get what you assess: Competency-based education in the digital era.” at EDUCAUSE 2021 this morning (or afternoon, depending on where people were). I talked about how we use competencies and learning outcomes at an institutional level, and some of the opportunities and challenges we’ve seen. It wasn’t a scripted presentation bit, but they turned on the Zoom auto-transcribe feature so I grabbed the transcript for my portion. Read More
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The Time I Emailed Steve Jobs and Wound Up Visiting a Fruit Company

This was over 20 years ago, and there’s no trace of any of this left so I figured I should write something before I forget it, too. This was before photos of everything. Before infinite digital archives. Another era. Back in 1999, I was part of a team at an elearning company called Discoverware, building a multimedia platform to train people how to use various software applications. One of the few traces of the company that remain in 2021, is a brief mention on Wikipedia’s History of virtual learning environments in the 1990s: Read More

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discoverware nova

Associate Directing

So this is kind of big news. I’m starting a new role at the Taylor Institute, as Associate Director, Learning Technologies & Design. D’Arcy Norman will be taking on a new role as Associate Director, Learning Technologies and Design, providing strategic and administrative leadership for and helping to advance learning technologies and design within and beyond the TI. I’ll be leading the Learning Technologies and Design Team, with both Learning Technologies Group (where I was manager prior to this) and Learning and Instructional Design Group, as well as our team of grad student Learning Technologies Coaches. Read More
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Not as Advertised

Our team is conducting 2 separate pilot projects this semester, to evaluate software that is used in a few faculties for potential use across the university. I’m not going to mention the products or the vendors. In both cases, the urgent requests for doing a campus pilot project were forms of “we need this in order to do [interesting pedagogy], and we need it to be integrated with our LMS so we don’t have to spend a bunch of time doing admin-y things to use it. Read More

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