Weekly reflections to document key events and progress in my work and studies. These are included in the main RSS feed, but there’s a separate feed available:

📡 Section RSS feed for Reflections


  • 2024 Week 21:
    I joined the Tuesday morning Bow Cycle Club ride - my first BCC ride of the 2024. I’m firmly at the back of the “C” group, but I made it, didn’t die, and will be joining more rides over the summer. This was a shorter ride, but with lots of climbing. Wow, is my cardio garbage. I can work on that. ⚙️ Work I took (most of) the week off. Except for coming in on Thursday for… co-facilitating part of the TI Programming Retreat and a couple of meetings.
  • 2024 Week 20:
    ⚙️ Work We planned the evaluation process for the videoconferencing RFP. Some strategic planning stuff. Slowly chipping away at my annual performance review self reflection, which is taking much longer than usual this year. Meetings. Moose Hide campaign day, including a lunch ’n learn, smudging, and a walk around part of campus. Met with some colleagues from Curtin University to discuss possible collaboration opportunities as part of a global alliance initiative.
  • 2024 Week 19:
    ⚙️ Work Students set up a protest on campus, expressing concerns about genocide and apartheid in Palestine. I walked around the protest area Thursday afternoon, and everyone seemed to be respectful, orderly, and engaged in activism.1 DISRUPT SOMETHING. NOT LIKE THAT! YOU’RE DISRUPTING IN AN UNAUTHORIZED MANNER! A few hours after I took that photo, the protestors were forcibly removed by police. They came back the next day, without tents. I note that our Premier said: “I’m glad the University of Calgary made the decision that they did.
  • 2024 Week 18:
    I finally, after almost a month off the bike, got back on the fancy indoor bike for an easy-ish ride. I’m hoping my excuses to not ride get less valid, and I’ll be able to get outside on my real bike soon. My cardio is about the worst it’s ever been. I’m in horrible physical shape, and it’s affecting my general wellness. ⚙️ Work Our D2L reps came to campus for a visit with our team, to help plan ways to improve the experience for instructors and students.
  • 2024 Week 17:
    ⚙️ Work Still sick. Not wanting to be “that guy that keeps coughing and blowing his nose in the office”, I took some sick time and worked from home. I’m not contagious anymore, and need to be in the office next week. Hopefully my respiratory system cooperates. While preparing for our conference presentation, we collected some links to a couple of videos to support the description of the course. Jana (one of the students in the course) had published one of her video game demos as a video on YouTube - it’s a remarkable example of using video games to foster reflection on architecture, experience, and teaching & learning.
  • 2024 Week 16:
    ⚙️ Work Meetings. Finance. GFC TLC. Learning Technologies & Design Team meeting - the focus was a “listening tour” by Natasha and Sue to visit with the team to learn about what we’re working on, what’s working, what could be improved, etc. It was a really good discussion, and I’m honoured to be part of such a passionate, engaged, and creative team. The April Learning Technology Advisory Committee went pretty well.
  • 2024 Week 15:
    I (finally) got outside on an actual bike ride, just straight out to Cochrane and back on 1A. That felt great, but sssssslllllooooowwwww. And an hour in zone 5 is probably not ideal. My VO2Max is still “below average” so I’m aspiring to make it up to average this year. ⚙️ Work Tyson led a great discussion in the Learning Technology Forum, gathering questions from instructors and staff about their use of edtech.
  • 2024 Week 14:
    ⚙️ Work A vendor came to campus to offer sessions for instructors and staff on how to use their product. The product has changed pretty significantly from when we adopted it several years ago, and we’ll need to figure out if those changes are things that we as a community care about. Otherwise, they’ll become the de facto platform for that other stuff, short-circuiting a lot of strategic planning that’s already in progress.
  • 2024 Week 13:
    My theme song this week: ⚙️ Work Completed annual performance review discussions with all Learning Technologies Group staff. What an absolutely incredible team - and what an honour to have the opportunity to work with them all. Planning a potential on-site visit with our D2L representatives. Preparing a conference presentation about the architecture course from F2023. 📚 Reading Kurt Vonnegut: Harrison Bergeron (newly typset by John Gruber). “The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal.
  • 2024 Week 12:
    ⚙️ Work In the D2L Steering Committee, we planned a transition of authentication systems from the deprecated CAS to the new standard Entra ID for this summer. It should work better and more reliably, but we’ll lose the ability to allow prospective students (who login using eIDs, which are not supported in Entra ID) into D2L courses. I decided to stop tracking license renewals for campus platforms. I’m not responsible for them, don’t own the contracts, don’t have signing authority, and haven’t been successful in helping to nudge people to get renewals done before it becomes a last-minute panic.
  • 2024 Week 11:
    ⚙️ Work From the “do stuff until someone says no” school, I took a shot at rewriting big chunks of the draft genAI operating standard document, including renaming it. I think it’s better, and will be more useful to our community. I wonder how many of my edits will survive to the final version of the document… I mean… If I get edit privileges on a document, I should contribute as fully as possible1.
  • 2024 Week 10:
    ⚙️ Work I renewed my SCUP membership for another year. I don’t think I’ll make it to the annual conference (unless my session proposal makes it off the contingency list). Although, Philadelphia in July could be interesting. Next year’s in Honolulu??? That might be a stretch… Our Vice Provost Teaching & Learning just launched their new website, including this page on Generative AI in Teaching and Learning. We’re working on an institutional “Natural Language Generators Operating Standard” policy document, covering academic, research, and operational uses of generative AI.
  • 2024 Week 9:
    ⚙️ Work The Celebration of Teaching awards ceremony for the 2023 University of Calgary Teaching Awards winners was on Wednesday evening. Amazing. This is the highlight of the year, and it’s inspiring to hear the stories from award recipients. Elders Reg and Rose Crowshoe did the ceremonial opening/closing blessings, and Elder Rod Hunter performed the UCalgary Honour Song. Reg’s comments about how the university has changed since his days as a student long ago, and how much our progress toward reconciliation means.
  • 2024 Week 8:
    When I restarted these weekly things, I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to write about each week. It feels like “the usual”, with nothing of note. But, writing it all out. Holy. There’s a lot going on. And there’s a lot that I can’t document here, too. ⚙️ Work Thanks to a lucky combination of Family Day long weekend and my taking Fridays off to burn off my vacation balance, it was a 3 day work week.
  • 2024 Week 7:
    ⚙️ Work We put the finishing touches on the survey we’ll be using to gather feedback from UCalgary community members about their experiences with our programming, and what they’re looking for from us. The first Learning Technologies Advisory Committee with a new Vice Provost co-chair. What a great discussion! We’re rebooting the committee by rethinking what’s needed, given that the TOR was written like 5 years ago and there have been at least a couple of changes over that time…
  • 2024 Week 6:
    We’re continuing to hear from instructors and students that the Brightspace Discussions tool sucks. It’s sucked since 2013 when we adopted Brightspace (but, at the time, it was better than Blackboard 8’s discussion board), and it hasn’t been improved since. We had a Learning Technology Forum community session this week, with a focus on discussing community platforms used in courses. A dozen people were at the session, and they listed 14 different platforms that they use in addition to Brightspace because the built-in discussion tool sucks.
  • 2024 Week 5:
    AKA “Restarting these weekly things after a 2 and a half year hiatus to see if it a) sticks and/or b) is worth doing”. I’ve been pretty inactive here on the old blogstead, aside from keeping up with daily photos12. One of the things I keep trying to get into is a meaningful reflective practice. That butts up against what I want to reflect on, if/where it might be appropriate to store/share it, and does it even matter.


  • 2021 Week 42:
    I’m going to pause these weekly things for awhile. I need to focus on writing the dissertation, and I’m finding these posts keep me kind of stuck in retrospective mode. Time to let go of that and power through actually writing the dissertation. 🤔 PhD I’ve scheduled the last of the interviews for my design study project for next week. Then, to switch gears into analysis and writing. And eventually, eventually, some day, finishing this damned dissertation.
  • 2021 Week 41:
    ⚙️ Work We kicked off the first meeting of the Learning Technologies Advisory Committee. Lots of great discussions with the amazing interdisciplinary group of people from across the university. I’ve got pages of notes to go through to pull out themes for this year’s meetings. I’ve been invited to be on a panel at EDUCAUSE at the end of the month. It’s an industry-led session, so, yeah, but I’m curious to see where the panel discussion goes.
  • 2021 Week 40:
    I was fortunate to attend a virtual screening and panel discussion of The Unforgotten, as part of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Dr. Reg Crowshoe, sharing his history and the importance of building relatives together: ⚙️ Work Meetings, including a great LTDT meeting (I thought so, anyway), where I shared my background and sketched out some of the strategic things the team will be working on this year.
  • 2021 Week 39:
    ⚙️ Work We had a bit of a hiccup with UCalgaryBlogs, where it looked like Akismet wouldn’t be available due to licensing costs. I briefly turned it off for a bit to test out an alternative approach, and got emails from users complaining about the flood of spam. Thankfully, Akismet granted us access as a non-profit edu institution, and we’re protected from spammers again. It’s apparently blocking about 150,000 spam comments per month.
  • 2021 Week 38:
    ⚙️ Work The Learning Technologies & Design Team was awarded a 2021 University of Calgary U Make a Difference Award for their work supporting instructors through the COVID Pivot™ This was the first full week in the new role, and it was pretty great. What an honour, working with this team. 🤔 PhD 2 interviews down, 3 to go. 2 of those on Monday. Progress! 📚 Reading Natasha Kenny: Decision-Making through the Lens of Conscious Leadership
  • 2021 Week 37:
    ⚙️ Work Students who are taking some courses on campus and some online will need a place on campus to connect to their online classes. At least 2 large classrooms have been designated for this (ICT 102 and Craigie Hall C 119), and there’s a map of other available spaces across campus. Hopefully, the campus WIFI networks will hold up to the load… Oh. And I’m starting a new role at the TI as Associate Director, Learning Technologies & Design.
  • 2021 Week 36:
    ⚙️ Work Alan shared a link1 to a tweet by Robin DeRosa, about our Teaching Squares Guide: Embedded tweet broken due to Twitter's arbitrary changes to how embedded tweets work. Thanks, Elon. And, note to self: don't rely on embeds from third party sites for archival purposes because they will all eventually break. Kevin’s last day was Friday. He’s leaving some huuuuge shoes to fill. I’ll be posting for an edtech developer/designer position as soon as possible…
  • 2021 Week 35:
    ⚙️ Work Jessica put together a new Recordings in Learning Environments web page as part of the Provost’s website, with info about recording in learning environments. It includes samples of what to put in the course syllabus to let students know ahead of time, and has links to policy documents and consent forms. USask has a handy resource on developing contingency plans for potential in-person course interruptions due to COVID.
  • 2021 Week 34:
    ⚙️ Work A joint statement from the 3 research-intensive universities in the province was published, with new guidelines for COVID protocols. Rapid testing and masks are required for people who are coming to campus. Vaccines are strongly encouraged, and fully vaccinated people won’t need to have ongoing COVID testing throughout the semester. Anna developed a great resource - 5 things you can do in Top Hat - to show some of the things that Top Hat can be used for, beyond just a simple student response system.
  • 2021 Week 33:
    ⚙️ Work Another return-to-campus planning week. The pilots for Hypothesis and Kritik are ready to go. We did a soft launch of the new “tools” mini-site on elearn, for feedback from a working group next week. Planning for an increased focus on using Top Hat in online, blended, and on-campus classes. Planning for making MS Teams more generally available for use by instructors and students. Refining the Brightspace LTI integration request process.
  • 2021 Week 32:
    ⚙️ Work Finally sent out the invitations for the Kritik and Hypothesis pilots. Looks like Kritik may have hit a snag with their Brightspace integration. Hoping they can work that out before the kickoff orientation session in a couple weeks… 🤔 PhD The ethics board certified my application! Moving on to preparing for data collection… 📚 Reading Heather Clitheroe and Eric Donovan (editors): Getting to Proxima b (an ebook of student writing, exploring ideas about newly discovered planets around a neighbouring star)
  • 2021 Week 31:
    The province announced that COVID restrictions are ending in a couple of weeks. Have COVID? Don’t need to stay home anymore. Testing is ending. So numbers will go down. Kenney is saying we’re the best in the world and that he’s leading canada out of the pandemic, but our vaccination rate is one of the lowest in canada and new infections are rising. And the province is forbidding post-secondary institutions from requiring vaccines before coming to campus.
  • 2021 Week 30:
    ⚙️ Work More return-to-campus planning, and setting up the Kritik and Hypothesis pilot projects for the fall semester. Team members made some great progress on our new “tools” section of elearn. Phase 1 of that will launch by the end of summer. This is an important first step, making information about all online learning technologies available in one place. We have support info up already, but not “wikipedia-style” info about core and third-party software used at UCalgary.
  • 2021 Week 29:
    I got my lab results this week, ahead of the final maintenance infusion next week, wrapping up 29 months of treatment. Looks like my immune system is still kind of janky. I’m hoping it will improve after having a chance to recover post-Rituxan. Not a fun time to have an unreliable immune system… 📚 Reading King, S. E., & Cerrone Arnold, K. (2012). Blended learning environments in higher education: A case study of how professors make it happen.
  • 2021 Week 28:
    ⚙️ Work We had a “zoom-TI-meeting-free” week, to help reduce the “wow do we spend a lot of time staring at each other in tiny boxes” thing. Which was a bit challenging, as we had a new team member start this week. Working remotely for now because of the pandemic, but without a team meeting to meet the rest of the team. It’s an interesting experience, I’m sure. Team meeting on Monday to help with that…
  • 2021 Week 27:
    ⚙️ Work Nope. Week 2 of dissercation. 🤔 PhD Having varying levels of success at focussing on writing. But I have the design study pretty well planned out, and ethics application review in progress… 📚 Reading Portillo, A. L., Hogg, R., Poznanski, S. M., Rojas, E. A., Cashell, N. J., Hammill, J. A., … & Ashkar, A. A. (2021). Expanded human NK cells armed with CAR uncouple potent anti-tumor activity from off-tumor toxicity against solid tumors.
  • 2021 Week 26:
    Week 26. Half way through 2021 already. Somebody slow this ride down a little… And new cases of COVID are at the lowest level in just over a year. Wow. ⚙️ Work Natasha, Patrick and I worked on a chapter for a nursing textbook last year (wait. it was in late 2019…), and just got word that it’s going to be available shortly. Chapter 7, Updating Traditional Classrooms, builds on much of what we learned after opening the Taylor Institute.
  • 2021 Week 25:
    ⚙️ Work I’ve been kind of struggling to keep on top of all of the things I need to do, and am trying a jump into using the Reminders app. A week in, and holy moly is it making a huge difference. I’m feeling more productive, even if it’s only seeing how things fit together. With the added bonus of being able to click “done” every now and then. One of the challenges of my role is that things kind of continue in an apparently-ongoing basis, and everything kind of smushes together in my head into one all-encompassing metaproject.
  • 2021 Week 24:
    ⚙️ Work The Taylor Institute’s 2020 Report to Community was released (PDF version, for when the URL gets recycled for the 2021 report…). It’s one for the ages, including information about our work to help support The Big COVID Pivot™. Incredible work. I mean. Wow. What an amazing team! TI 2020 Report to Community: Responding to a global health emergency TI 2020 Report to Community: Learning Technologies Advisory Committee and Pedagogical Innovation
  • 2021 Week 23:
    215 unmarked graves of children found at a residential school in Kamloops. 51 were documented in the official reports from the school. That means 164 children died without even being recorded. For someone to be buried without acknowledgement in a hidden and unmarked grave just reeks of contempt for human life. TRC estimates over 4,000 children died at residential schools. I hope the horrific truth of what happened comes to light.
  • 2021 Week 22:
    ⚙️ Work This year’s University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants were announced. What an amazing list of projects! I finished a mockup for a new tools mini-site for elearn.ucalgary.ca - I’ll be presenting it to a group next week for feedback, and then will hopefully start implementing it this summer. 🤔 PhD Made some progress on chapter 6, and started planning the “design study” component that will make up chapter 7.
  • 2021 Week 21:
    ⚙️ Work We’re planning some tech upgrades in the TI classrooms, to support both lecture capture and inclusion of remote participants. Something like this auto-tracking camera from 1 Beyond1 should help with better lecture capture. We have one of these installed in Studio F and plan to add them to the downstairs studios this summer (as upgrades to replace the Vaddio cameras that were originally installed). We’re also looking at picking up the Zoom/neat Board as a prototype to try bringing remote students into class via Zoom.
  • 2021 Week 20:
    ⚙️ Work This is cool. Mohammad Moshirpour (from the Schulich School of Engineering) was just awarded a 2021 D2L Innovation Award, by STLHE. President McCauley published the latest draft of UCalgary’s Growth Through Focus strategy. A good chunk of it relates directory to the work of the TI. 🤔 PhD Had a great discussion with Ehud about my plans for chapters 6 and 7. Time to step away from playing with the transcripts and just write and write and write.
  • 2021 Week 19:
    So… nobody reads blogs anymore. RSS is dead. There are maybe 3 people that I know who read this, in addition to myself. Why do I keep posting these? Because it helps me to document what I’m working on, and to think out loud a little. I refer to these weekly things pretty often, mining them for links or articles etc. And this format is much more useful to me than 250 characters of noise on social media.
  • 2021 Week 18:
    ⚙️ Work It hasn’t been officially announced on campus yet, but the Students Union is providing $500K to support a bunch of Open Education Resources development grants over the next 5 years. This builds on what we learned in the OER Pilot that my team led a couple of years ago. 🤔 PhD I attended a virtual screening of the excellent documentary film Coded Bias, by Shalini Kantayya. UCalgary’s TALON Teaching and Learning Online Network hosted a panel discussion, which was a great (but waaaay too brief) discussion of algorithmic bias and surveillance.
  • 2021 Week 17:
    ⚙️ Work We’re getting ready for our annual conference, only a couple of weeks away. I’ll be moderating a couple of sessions, which should be fun. I’m hiring! We’re looking to add a Learning Technologies Specialist to the team, with a focus on program innovation. 🤔 PhD The iLab hosted a seminar by Nicolai Marquadt on designing interfaces for cross-device interaction, and sketching, for the iLab. It was the first iLab meeting I’ve been able to attend in over a year…
  • 2021 Week 16:
    I’d always intended for these posts to be part of some kind of reflective practice, but they’re basically just “holy crap we have a lot of stuff going on” snapshots. Maybe that’s part of it. Anyway. ⚙️ Work I was interviewed by Katie Deighton, for an article on online exam proctoring in the Wall Street Journal’s Experience Report. I’ve been very-occasionally interviewed by journalists, mostly for technology-related topics. 🤔 PhD This week, I’ve been focussing on playing with transcript data.
  • 2021 Week 15:
    ⚙️ Work Lots of work going on to prepare for scenarios for F2021. Lots of work with the hiring committee, filling an opening for a new position on the team. Lots of committee work, with a focus on how to better handle 3rd party tools and integration with existing learning technologies… 🤔 PhD I’m doing a PhD on experiencing teaching and learning as a game. I was about to do some qualitative coding of transcripts using spreadsheets, as I did for the transcript analysis for my MSc thesis.
  • 2021 Week 14:
    ⚙️ Work We’ve got a bunch of learning technologies workshops scheduled for April. (Destiny1 apparently doesn’t like direct linking to months…) And the next round of workshops in the Blended and Online Workshop Series is coming up. Register early, register often. I was interviewed (via email) by Katie Deighton for The Experience Report at the WSJ, for an article on online exam proctoring. Wherein your humble protagonist tries to a) say the important things that need to be said out loud about online exam proctoring software and b) not get fired in the process.
  • 2021 Week 13:
    ⚙️ Work I think I may need to stop having a “work” section for these. So much of the work recently has been fundamentally unbloggable and would cause some pretty big issues if I even hinted obliquely at stuff. Which is an oblique hint to say that there’s a lot of stuff going on, but that I won’t talk about it on the internet for a number of reasons. I’m still, a year into remote work, trying to figure out the best microphone setup for Zoom calls.
  • 2021 Week 12:
    March 18, 2020. It’s now been a year since shifting to work remotely due to the pandemic. It’s been 2 years since I started chemo on March 19, 2019. So, in the last 24 months, I’ve spent 17 of them in isolation at home. It was also 3 years ago, March 19, 2018, that I took a trip to Arizona to hang out with amigos after getting the diagnosis. I guess this has historically been a big week for me over the last few years…
  • 2021 Week 11:
    ⚙️ Work We’re looking for a new CIO again. I think that’s 7 CIOs I’ve worked with so far. 🤔 PhD I spent some time refactoring the whole dissertation. Collapsing chapters. Scrapping chapters. Expanding chapters. The new outline feels good. I need to let it steep for a bit more, but it feels like progress. 📚 Reading Scholz, K. W., Komornicka, J. N., & Moore, A. (2021). Gamifying History: Designing and Implementing a Game-Based Learning Course Design Framework.
  • 2021 Week 10:
    ⚙️ Work Brightspace quizzes and “no backsies” Lots of work over the last week to put together resources about setting up quizzes in Brightspace. Turns out, instructors were trying to prevent cheating by turning off the ability to “go back” in quizzes. Some students had been doing speed-runs of quizzes, sharing the questions in Discord, and then going back to take the quiz. And other hijinks. So some instructors disabled “go back” in quizzes.
  • 2021 Week 9:
    ⚙️ Work Queering Zoom, and preferred names and pronouns Paul Pival has a great post on the need for being able to modify displayed names and pronouns in Zoom. This goes beyond Zoom, of course, but is especially noticeable in the virtual classroom videoconferencing platform that displays a name card over each person’s video or avatar image, and in the Participants list. We’d initially set it so that anyone could change their names in Zoom at any time.
  • 2021 Week 8:
    ⚙️ Work Hiring We moved to the next stage of hiring a new team member. The posting for the Learning Technologies Specialist - Program Innovation position in my team went live on Friday. This posting will recruit a team member who is able to work on course- and program-level projects to consult on the design and integration of learning technologies in order to support the Provost’s Program Innovation Hub initiative. The posting is up for 2 weeks, and closes on March 5.
  • 2021 Week 7:
    ⚙️ Work Participating in the campus “congress” engagement sessions. Interesting… I’m still trying to track down the cause of Zoom screensharing sometimes just being black boxes on my macbook pro. Zoom support thinks it might have to do with UDP vs. TCP connections, so I’ve switched to the TCP screensharing for now. The problem has been intermittent, so maybe it worked? Who knows. I’d bet that the issue isn’t related to TCP/UDP, but has something to do with the dual GPUs in this laptop and automatic switching freaking Zoom out somehow.
  • 2021 Week 6:
    ⚙️ Work Getting ready to enable “live transcripts” in our campus zoom environment, going live during reading week later this month. The profile for our new Learning Technologies Specialist - Program Innovation position is under final review by HR. I’ll get to post that ASAP, likely early next week. Looking forward to the hiring process and growing the team. Some details of the new Program Innovation Hub initiative are outlined in the president’s Congress website.
  • 2021 Week 5:
    ⚙️ Work Revising a profile for Learning Technologies Specialist, with a focus on program innovation, to be posted asap… Preparing for the LTAC meeting next week. Some analysis of D2L data, to figure out how often the “no backsies” setting in quizzes is being set. Turns out, about 7% of quizzes are configured to not allow students to review previous questions… Planning classroom AV prototyping and evaluation in the TI, and how to design technology to keep it mobile and available for use across campus.
  • 2021 Week 4:
    ⚙️ Work When we eventually, some day, transition back to working on campus, I’m going to miss 1) having an office, and 2) having an office with this view: 🤔 PhD Still working on the COVID chapter(s) restructuring, and coding transcripts. 📚 Reading Alex Usher: MEMO TO MINISTER NICOLAIDES - a great description of the province’s current stance against higher education. It didn’t need to be adversarial. The UCP (and their lapdogs McKinsey) has caused so much damage in this province.
  • 2021 Week 3:
    ⚙️ Work This week, I mixed up the days/times for 2 meetings. One, I showed up 5 minutes late (after a HOLY CRAP THAT’S NOW moment). The other, I completely missed because I thought the meeting wasn’t until tomorrow, despite it being in my calendar, and my calendar clearly displayed on my screen. I don’t know what’s going on. My sense of time is shot to hell. A result of reliving Groundhog Day for 10 months and counting?
  • 2021 Week 2:
    Well, week 1 of 2021 was tacked onto the end of week 53 of 2020. ⚙️ Work onboarding a new team member, and looking forward to helping him get settled into the role and working with the rest of the team I tried setting up a MacGuyver Standup Desk in my home officespare bedroom, using the box from a bread maker with a laptop on top. It kinda sorta works, but doesn’t have enough room to take notes etc.


  • 2020 Week 53:
    I’m not going to do a big “2020 Retrospective Extravaganza” post, but it might be useful to capture what the end of 2020 was like. In general, 2020 fucking sucked. I’m not going to dwell on that. Everyone knows it, and everyone knows why. I’m pretty tired of the pandemic, and look forward to things starting to return to normal sometime in 2021. But, 2020 had some high points as well.
  • 2020 Week 47:
    So. It’s been awhile. I tried taking some time off last week - reading days meant it was a quiet(er) time of the semester. I was hoping to prevent burnout and recover a bit. I realized after the fact that “preventing” burnout isn’t possible. It’s happened. As it has for all of us. Everyone I work with. Everyone I know. So, the question isn’t “how do I prevent it?” but “how do I recover?
  • 2020 Week 25:
    ⚙️ Work Virtual Simulations Working Group - lots of cool online experiential learning work happing across the university. Gearing up to support more of it for fall. Annual performance review. It was a good year, despite being away for 5 months of it. Lots of work to do, and the nature of my role continues to shift. Game Lab. It’s now part of my day job. Awesome! Learning Technologies Advisory Committee - wrapping up the inaugural year of that meeting, as co-chair.
  • 2020 Week 24:
    Janice and I went for a walk this morning, along Twelve Mile Coulee and down to the local golf course, before stopping at the local pub for lunch on the patio. Almost felt normal. Ish. Weird. And, hey! look at this! things are normal enough that I’m using the headings in the reflection post template again… ⚙️ Work Meetings. lots of meetings. and we’re going to be planning a slower/broader engagement process to figure out what to do about online exam proctoring.
  • 2020 Week 23:
    I officially took the week off. Which was weird, since I basically spent it sitting at my desk staring at my computer. My goal was to get through a first draft of my thesis proposal - I didn’t quite get there, but made some serious progress. I’m writing it as a website, not a word .doc, and that’s working well so far. I’ve integrated Hypothes.is for annotation, and Disqus for comments.
  • 2020 Week 22:
    Our team relaunched the elearn.ucalgary.ca support website. This is great work! Projects I’ve been working on since COVID hit: Zoom implementation/launch/adjustment CSM and contract stuff with our various edtech vendors Online exam proctoring selection/planning/implementation Leganto digital library reserve readings launch Consultation/support for instructors now teaching remotely “why can’t d2l have a feature like this other tool that I can’t possibly teach my course without!” consultations In spare time, being a manager of a team.
  • 2020 Week 21:
    I finally, finally went into the office to grab my iMac to use at home. If I’m going to be working from home for weeks/months to come, I need a larger screen. 27" is about right. Why on earth didn’t I do this 2 months ago? It’s a 5 year old computer, but the larger screen has already made my eyes hurt less. Lots of talk about the budget. Lots of anxiety and questions.
  • 2020 Week 20:
    Janice and I got tested for COVID-19, because we had coughs and respiratory symptoms. The process was quick - at the old Children’s Hospital building, using retired the ambulance bays as drive-through testing stations. Stay in the car. In and out in under 5 minutes. Had the results first thing the next morning. Negative. Whew! More online exam proctoring project - demos from vendors, project meetings, preparation for a steering committee meeting next week.
  • 2020 Week 19:
    I realized this week that Zoom Exhaustion isn’t about Zoom (or Skype or Teams) per se, but about having meetings back-to-back-to-back all day every day. In the before-time, even with back-to-back meeting days, the meetings often wrapped up 10 minutes early so people could move to other rooms or buildings or campuses as needed for next meetings. Now, meetings start at 9:00am and run to 9:59:59am, followed by another meeting at 10:00:00am that runs to 10:59:00am etc.
  • 2020 Week 18:
    This week, the steep cuts in provincial funding hit IT hard. Many people I’ve worked closely with for years, gone. The entire IT Partners group, gone. A third of our com/media AV support team, gone. And we’ll be facing another round of deep cuts after the next provincial budget is dropped. We’re all pretty much stunned and shocked and trying to figure out how to keep moving in the aftermath. They are all great people, and were doing great work.
  • 2020 Week 17:
    I keep saying “hey, at least things will be better next week.” And I keep being surprised by just how much worse each week gets. Monday started with announcements of 2 key terminations in IT, restructuring as a result of the deep cuts in our provincial funding. One was my counterpart in managing our online learning environments - and he was absolutely key in our successful rapid adoption of Zoom last month.
  • 2020 Week 16:
    I keep hoping things at work will calm down and I’ll be able to catch my breath. It’s just not happening. Maybe next week, finally? Surely, there won’t be another urgent emergency or string of related urgent emergencies or a completely new urgent emergency that must become the new focus… I’m struggling to get everything done - back-to-back-to-back meetings that I need to be included in, for the entire day. Every day.
  • 2020 Week 15:
    Not sure why I’m bothering to keep doing these reflecty things. I was hoping to get into a more reflective practice, but it’s just not doing it for me. ⚙️ Work More zoom. I sure do enjoy the flurry of thoughtful “hey have you considered this totally legitimate and viable - and most certainly new to you - article on zoom security vulnerabilities? you should definitely get on top of this!
  • 2020 Week 14:
    ⚙️ Work That was probably the most exhausting week of my career. So far. 30 meetings (spread across Zoom, Teams, Skype for Business, phone calls, and Bongo). A few ad hoc unscheduled meetings and calls thrown in as well. 307 emails to respond to. 133 emails sent. The time that wasn’t in meetings was spent preparing for meetings and writing responses to meetings and following up on action items from meetings.
  • 2020 Week 13:
    Hoo boy. Pandemic picking up steam. I’m running out of steam. Good times. Like everyone I talk to, Zoom Fatigue has set in. I sit at my desk in my basement office area for hours at a time, without standing up or moving from in front of my laptop. Camera on for much of it. It’s exhausting. I don’t know if this is just an adjustment period, but I find it difficult to have the kinds of discussions we have in person - there are no informal “hey, got a second?
  • 2020 Week 12:
    ⚙️ Work We implemented Zoom as a campus platform last week. It had been used in pockets across the university before that, but here’s the uptake after the first 3 full days of remote courses: So far, the only real glitches have been with people using emails that aren’t in Peoplesoft (so the connection from D2L gets confused), and with people who had previous Zoom accounts with emails that aren’t in Peoplesoft (which is usually the same people as the first issue).
  • 2020 Week 11:
    ⚙️ Work Whelp. All classes are online for the foreseeable future. 3,500 courses running at the moment, with no F2F classes. I’ve been absolutely blown away by how supportive instructors, students and staff have been. The UofC made the right call to move classes online before there was a known pocket of COVID-19 on campus. I mean, it’s probably already through the community, but by sending every student home, it should hopefully slow things down significantly.
  • 2020 Week 10:
    ⚙️ Work We started preparing resources to support a rapid shift to online teaching, in case the COVID-19 thing spreads to Calgary. I got to meet with a gathering of librarians, to talk about learning technologies that are available - and to talk with them about how we can support instructors in response to a potential COVID-19 thing. UWashington just announced they’re closing doors for a few weeks. On a mostly-unrelated note, I’m involved with trying to make a few online tools available for teaching and learning, and am struck by just how hard and slow that’s become.
  • 2020 Week 09:
    Janice and I went for a walk at Glenbow Ranch, and wound up along the frozen Bow River. ⚙️ Work I had the opportunity to be involved with adjudication for the University of Calgary Teaching Awards. We have some really amazing teachers here. What an honour to be part of that process. Looking into options for online exam proctoring. 🤔 PhD Worked out which candidacy plan to use for my program, and made progress in translating themes/topics into questions to guide me as I develop my thesis proposal.
  • 2020 Week 08:
    ⚙️ Work A hectic week - it’s a challenge, keeping so many plates spinning at the same time. I was involved with some learning space design planning for a new building that will start construction soon. It’s great to see what we’ve learned at the TI being applied to new spaces across campus. 🤔 PhD Some really good discussions with supervisors and other students about revising the plan, and starting prep for candidacy.
  • 2020 Week 07:
    ⚙️ Work Curriculum Links is really starting to take off. 82 curriculum reviews since 2014. 476 courses mapped in 2019! I was interviewed for an article about digital credentials and blockchain, and talked about our work with badges.ucalgary.ca (we aren’t actively building blockchain stuff - there’s no real-world human use for it yet…) (relevant xkcd) We had a really good Learning Technologies Advisory Committee meeting - it really feels like this group will be able to make a difference.
  • 2020 Week 06:
    I’m off Twitter. Again. For now. It’s just not a healthy place to be. The relentless twitter-ness is just not something I need. I get it - the world is on fire and everything is on fire and nothing matters and we’re all doomed all of the time. It’s just exhausting. I’ll still be posting stuff here on the blog, and following the 350 feeds I subscribe to. RSS is where it’s at.
  • 2020 Week 05:
    Evan and I headed to Sunshine for a ski day while he’s off between semesters. It didn’t work out awesomely - had to head back to town before noon because he wasn’t feeling well. And got a nice speeding ticket en route. Awesome. Still. Sunrise in the rockies ain’t bad. And I got a few runs in to enjoy the whole having-hemoglobin-again thing. ⚙️ Work A busy week, with 2 big meetings to get/keep my major projects for 2020 moving.
  • 2020 Week 04:
    I’m normal! And I’ve got the data to prove it! After 4 years of low hemoglobin, dropping into the holy crap you should probably fix this range, I’m now 6 months post-treatment and it’s finally climbed back to the normal range. Awesome. I’m hopeful that it’ll keep on creeping up as I continue maintenance for the next year and a half… The last few years of hemoglobin (moving left-to-right), with the bottom just before treatment started.
  • 2020 Week 03:
    We got hit with the longest cold snap in over 40 years, with the temp on Thursday approaching a record set back in 1896. Embedded tweet broken due to Twitter's arbitrary changes to how embedded tweets work. Thanks, Elon. And, note to self: don't rely on embeds from third party sites for archival purposes because they will all eventually break. Embedded tweet broken due to Twitter's arbitrary changes to how embedded tweets work.
  • 2020 Week 02:
    I got back into skating at the Oval over lunch, after missing almost a month. I need to get more active and am really feeling the lack of cardio since I stopped riding my bike every day. Now that we’re heading into a week of forecasts approaching -30˚C, I need to keep doing this so I have some level of physical activity. Skating at the Olympic Oval over lunch ⚙️ Work Met with IT Partners to discuss the status of Pearson / Willo Labs textbook integration into D2L.
  • 2020 Week 01:
    Work A quiet week on campus, after the university was closed over the christmas break. I did some D2L support. I did some work on UCalgaryBlogs and filed a ticket to get the server back online (it had somehow been knocked offline overnight), then updated some plugins/themes. I worked on a document to describe the vulnerabilities for the various learning technologies that we build/support in the TI. ██ █████ ██████████ ███████████ ███ ██████████ ██ ███ █████████ ████████ ███ ██████ ██ ███ ██████ █████.


  • 2019 Week 52:

    I’ve been wanting to restart these week-in-review reflective posts - and wanting to get back to more reflective practice in general. There are things I won’t be able to document here, but there’s a lot that I can, and I need to get back into this practice.

    One thing that made me stop doing week-in-review the last time, was the weekly cadence of posts quickly overwhelmed any other blog posts. My blog turned into a diary, and I didn’t like that. This time, I’m using a separate content type reflections for this, with posts in their own section, with their own feed. This way, I can post weekly reflections without messing up the main page or feed.


  • 2017 week 9 in review:
    Work We moved our team meeting into the TFDL VR Suite to explore some applications on the HTC Vive. We wound up only having time for Tilt Brush and Slingshot in Valve's VR demo The Lab. We'll definitely be going back to spend some time with a few other applications… Saw a demo of a new product from Sony that would have been super-handy 2 years ago. It basically combines two of the complicated-and-therefore-fragile bits of tech we use in our Collaboration Carts in the TI.
  • 2017 week 8 in review:
    Work We figured out a good solution to provide students with a "terms and conditions" reminder at the beginning of the semester. I wish this kind of thing wasn't necessary, but the only policy documents available are long, dense and unread. We need to provide a clear, useful, brief overview of what students and instructors have agreed to when activating their accounts. Better to do that with an education campaign than with a hammer.
  • 2017 week 7 in review:
    Work I was in Houston for the EDUCAUSE ELI annual meeting 1. It was my first time ever attending ELI (or any EDUCAUSE event in person). It’s a really good community, with a nice mix of teaching-types and tech-types. I presented a poster about our model for communities of practice at the Taylor Institute - I was given a 45 minute poster session, but talked for an hour and a half straight, as people stayed after the session to ask questions.
  • 2017 week 6 in review:
    Work The team met with Nancy to talk about what we do, and how that supports the scholarship of teaching and learning mandate of the TI. It turned into a really deep discussion, with lots of good questions. And, we had a mini retreat with the Learning and Instructional Design group and Learning Technologies Group, to work though how we collaborate and communicate, and to start working on our shared roadmap for the year.
  • 2017 week 5 in review:
    Work Met with a bunch of folks in IT to start planning how we will turn UCalgaryBlogs into an Official Serviceâ„¢, with all that entails. It's going to take some time, but it's a good move. Everyone is on board, so now we just need to figure out what that looks like. Back in HQ, we had a really good team discussion, trying to start figuring out how to shift from emergency/reaction mode to more R&D projects.
  • 2017 week 4 in review:
    Work UCalgaryBlogs was knocked offline for almost 24 hours because IT's new security stuff suspected it was compromised - it saw me uploading a .zip file via the admin interface, while the server was also under the constant vulnerability probing by Russian script kiddies. It did the math and freaked out. Hilarity ensued. Sigh. Nothing was compromised, and the server was behaving normally. We hired a second Learning Technologies Coach within the Taylor Institute - the coaches work as informal consultants for instructors, to help brainstorm and plan integration of technologies (from stuff-on-wheels up to wireless collaboration).
  • 2017 week 3 in review:
    Work I did the second orientation to ePortfolios for our new UNIV201 Global Challenges course. First-year students, making connections in an interdisciplinary context. They've been asked to document their learning, and to showcase their projects for each other, and our ePortfolio platform is pretty much perfect for that. I was surprised, again, that none of the students had edited a web page outside of Facebook. A handful had heard of wordpress, but nobody had every used it.
  • 2017 week 2 in review:
    Work The first week of the W2017 semester went off without any major crises. MUCH smoother than the F2016 semester start (which is fair, since that was the first full-scale semester we’ve hosted in the TI). I’m constantly amazed at the diversity of courses (and instructors and students) who are working in the TI - every course is different, from almost every faculty on campus. Every class session is different - with instructors and students moving furniture into different layouts regularly, and using the tech in new ways.
  • 2017 week 1 in review:
    Work The first week back after Christmas break - simultaneously slow and quiet, and intensely busy and productive. TI Learning Spaces We’re working on improving the tech in the active learning studios in the TI - the biggest visible change is the addition of power bars (3 AC plugs and 3 USB plugs) on each station, so students don’t have to engage in creative engineering to access the plugs in the floor boxes.


  • 2016 week 52 in review:
    Work Nothing. The university was closed for the break. IT even thoughtfully shut down campus websites for a network upgrade. PhD I poked around with some Python tutorials to prep for the course I'm taking next semester - I'll spend 4 months programming robots to do interesting things, while hopefully obeying at least 1 of Asimov's 3 Laws… Read Some of the python code I cobbled together automatically pulls "starred" items from NewsBlur, links saved to my Scuttle server, and stories I've recommended on Medium.
  • 2016 week 51 in review:
    Work It was a quiet week, but maybe that gave burnout a chance to catch up to me. I don't know how to explain it - I've worked much harder before, but there's something about my current role that seems to keep me constantly close to the edge of burning out. I need to figure this out. I'm not going to speculate publicly, but there are some things I'm going to tweak in the next few weeks, and throughout the coming year.
  • 2016 week 50 in review:
    Now I remembered why I stopped doing these week-in-review posts. My blog became nothing but these things. Dear Diary… Work The EDU had another EDUPortfolio Extravaganza - a morning where the whole team got together to plan and write/update articles in the department eportfolio. We'll be editing and publishing those in the next few weeks. Tom Carey visited the Taylor Institute. I wasn't able to participate in his workshop, but had some interesting lunch conversation with him about innovation in higher ed.
  • 2016 week 49 in review:
    Work We hosted some visitors from MRU, to give a tour of the TI and talk about active learning and pedagogy and eat some pie. MRU is doing some really interesting things, and we need to work more closely with them… I did some testing with a prof and TA, trying out connecting Raspberry Pi dev kits to the fancy 50" displays in the learning studios. Worked like a charm. Her course next semester is going to be kind of awesome, with students hacking hardware and software to build sensors and convert input into music and visualizations.
  • 2016 week 48 in review:
    Work The UCalgary Makerspace community met over in the Environmental Design fabrication shops. Lots of awesome stuff going on there, and they’re adding 2 giant 5-axis robot arms for high end custom fabrication. Reps from Top Hat were on campus, doing a series of workshops for instructors and staff. Top Hat is used pretty extensively in some of our largest courses, but also in many smaller ones. The more interesting uses involve anonymous questions and formative feedback from students…
  • 2016 week 47 in review:
    So… after a year-long hiatus from doing this weekly review thing, I'm thinking it's time to start it back up. I'm not sure what the format should be… Work We hosted the (fourth?) TI Learning Spaces lunch session, to help bring together instructors who are teaching in the TI so they can share what they're doing. This month's topic was assessment - how do you assess learning in a flexible space, with active learning and a strong focus on student agency?


  • 2015 week 44 in review:
    Work Our new Online Learning Environment Specialist started on Monday! We're now almost fully-staffed - I'm still looking to hire an AV/media/tech specialist to run the fancy stuff being installed in the shiny new Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning building. I took some HR workshops this week, on "Enhancing a Culture of Respect and Engagement in the Workplace", and "Rewarding and Recognizing Employees". Some really good ideas - the workshops were interesting and I've got some ideas for how to improve as a manager.
  • 2015 week 43 in review:
    Work I was off for most of the week, but went in on Friday to wrap up some stuff. The whole "take a vacation but don't actually go anywhere" thing is actually kind of awesome. No pressure to get my money's worth out of a Big Fancy Vacation. It was the most relaxing 2 week vacation I've had (but I'd still rather have spent it in Kauai…) Looks like I'm going to be presenting at the MIIETL 2015 Research on Teaching and Learning Conference at McMaster in December.
  • 2015 week 42 in review:
    Work Nope. Well, almost nope. Had some HR stuff to finalize before our new Online Learning Environment Specialist starts on the 26th. I'm out of the office until Oct. 23. Joni Miltenberg: University instructors open their classrooms to observers Read Edtechitude Adam Croom and Jim Groom: Indie Music and EdTech (or Indie EdTech) — Medium - transcript of a great talk, with a refinement of the EDUPUNK narrative. "Indie EdTech is many times a personal; a philosophical, decision.
  • 2015 week 41 in review:
    Work We're hiring - Taylor Institute Operations Technician Patrick Finn gave a "Last Lecture" on campus this week. An absolutely amazing, emotional, raw, dangerous and important lecture. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Finn as part of our campus community. Kelsy Norman has been doing a series of interview podcasts with UofC alumni. Lots of great ones, but he got to sit down with Dr. Cannon for some non-official-chat. Nice.
  • 2015 week 40 in review:
    Work Big week on campus: Natasha Kenny: Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement Michael Ullyot: Job Opportunity: Learning Technologies Coach - UofC is hiring a bunch of grad students to act as learning technologies coaches, supporting innovation in integration of learning technologies in courses. University of Calgary - Community Report an impressive update on the transformation of the UofC leading up to the 50th anniversary next year. Drew Scherban: University of Calgary celebrates year of successes on Eyes High journey Drew Scherban: University of Calgary to hire 100 new professors Sean Willett: Assignments should be free for students - UofC student paper, ranting (rightly) about needing to be able to complete assignments without having to buy additional stuff.
  • 2015 week 39 in review:
    Work We kicked off the Learning Technologies Coaches program this week, when our Technology Integration Specialist started on Monday! Already so much progress on that project - can't wait to see how it grows and adapts through the first semester. As usual, had some really great meetings/talks within the Taylor Institute - it's really amazing, how incredible the entire team is. Also, lots of project meetings, and coffee meetings with people across campus.
  • 2015 week 38 in review:
    Work What a great week. Started off by planning my goals for the year. It's going to be an epic year, both personally and for the department, and it's great to see things laid out (and with serious progress made across the board). We had our Educational Development Unit ePortfolio retreat, where we started putting together the content for the department's ePortfolio. We're tying our activities to our EDU Strategic Plan, and making everything visible as a live ePortfolio.
  • 2015 week 37 in review:
    Work We did the interviews for the Technology Integration Specialist position - hoping to be able to make an announcement early next week. Super excited to get this role up and running, so the Learning Technologies Coaches Program can start ramping up. One thing that surprised me - in filling out the paperwork, the form asked me the gender of the applicant. Not a difficult question, but my initial reaction was "
  • 2015 Week 36 in Review:
    Work It was a crazy week. I think the EDU was offering all programming simultaneously - Instructional Skills Workshop, Course Design Workshop, D2L Work Sessions, Curriculum Review orientation, all at the same time. It was great to see so many people coming together in the EDU. Space planning is interesting, and we had to shuffle a few bookings to make room for everyone, but it worked out great. I got to wear a few hats, which is always great - and we had a couple of instructors working in the Faculty Design Studio.
  • 2015 week 35 in review:
    Work It was a week that had the full range of highs and lows as a manager. We finalized the plan for a large project, with funding and timelines, and everything is go. Awesome. The posting for the Technology Integration Specialist, the person who will be largely running that project for the next 2 years, closed Friday, and the interview and hiring process should happen pretty quickly now. Things are moving along extremely quickly on that now.
  • 2015 week 34 in review:
    Work I took a week off, but lots of important stuff happened. Surprisingly, the university doesn't stop when I leave campus. Crazy! The Educational Development Unit's Strategic Plan was published as part of our department website. What a fantastic, inclusive process. The EDU's strategic plan is going to be the foundation of everything we do, and it will be extremely useful to have this as a public and living document. Also, the EDU Portfolio, to document what we do as a department.
  • 2015 Week 33 in review:
    Work Super busy week - got the Learning Technologies Support Program kicked off, to start the process of helping faculties hire grad students to work with instructors to design learning experiences and integrate learning technologies. To support that program, I’m hiring a Technology Integration Specialist! We’re looking for someone to act as the community lead for the 16 Learning Technologies Coaches, and to work with folks in the Educational Development Unit and across the University to integrate technologies.
  • 2015 week 32 in review:
    Work Not much. Took the week off to hang out at home. Spent a bunch of time thinking about work, though. This article by Marc Hedlund was good fodder for thought - I've been struggling with feeling disconnected from "making stuff" rather than just "being a manager". I think I'm starting to find my way. Read George Kroner: Blackboard's Complexity Problems Alan Levine: Hace doce horas en un pasillo del hotel oscuro – Openness with Brian Lamb George Siemens: White House: Innovation in Higher Education Jason Weisberger: SF cyclists protest by obeying the law via Stephen Downes: How will ad-blocking software change the web-content industry?
  • 2015 week 31 in review:
    Work It was a tough week - 7 high-profile layoffs over in IT. One of them was my partner for the Blackboard-D2L migration. The project would have failed miserably without her guidance from the IT side. She'll be missed by many. Four of the layoffs were IT Partners - the team I was in for 3 years back when I did my tour of duty in IT. I know a lot of people, myself included, who were shocked by many of the names on the list.
  • 2015 week 30 in review:
    Work Prepping for the big upgrade of our LMS from Desire2Learn 10.3 to D2L Brightspace 10.5. Lots of testing to do, to make sure stuff we've integrated still works. I think it'll go pretty smoothly, but there are a lot of moving pieces, and without a service owner in IT, we're having to make some decisions on the fly. Good times. On track to be upgraded on August 24, with our test server being updated in the next week so we can begin intensive testing (we've had access to it in our Test2 environment, but have had… issues… with authentication, so haven't been able to do much real testing.
  • 2015 week 29 in review:
    Work We are working on finalizing the RFP for installing the audiovisual and collaboration technology in the new Taylor Institute building. That process is coming along nicely - but during this week’s meeting, IT needed to get on-site to see how the server/equipment racks in the mezzanine area would be arranged. I was able to tag along for a site visit. Wow. The interior isn’t quite finished yet, but it’s going to be an incredible space to work in.
  • 2015 week 28 in review:
    Work Mostly uneventful, but lots of things going on simultaneously. Still working on the Learning Technologies Coaches plan, and am writing job profiles for some new positions. We had an EDU post-conference debrief, to share what we learned at Infocomm/Brightspace Fusion/STLHE, and I’m still thinking about Welby Altidor’s closing keynote at Fusion - some really interesting ideas about collaboration and creativity, and I’m hoping to bake some of that into the formal structure of the EDU and of my group through carefully writing and revising all of our job profiles (including the new ones).
  • 2015 Week 27 in review:
    Work Spent much of the week digging out of the hole caused by being out of the office for 10 days. Emails, voicemails, etc. Mostly caught up now. We're planning the D2L upgrade from 10.3 to 10.4-or-10.5, which will kick in on August 24. It should be a smooth process, with D2L doing the heavy lifting, but we need to build the plan for what we need to test on our end, and to figure out what new features will be switched on.
  • 2015 week 26 in review:
    Work Still on the road - attended and presented at D2L Fusion this week. It was really great to see team members presenting about what we’ve done at UCalgary to finish successfully migrating from Bb to D2L. I’m still going through my notes from the conference, and may post something after I get back into the office. Lots of interesting stuff. Lots of stuff we were able to learn as a result of being able to meet with several people in the company1.
  • 2015 week 25 in review:
    Work A quick post, as I'm holed up in Orlando with the family, currently in between InfoComm 2015 and D2L Fusion 2015 conferences. I'm here for 10 days, rather than commuting back to Calgary and then returning after the weekend. It's apparently a bit of a heat wave. Awesome. 100ËšF and 200% humidity. And crowds. But, this isn't a bad office view: Read Audrey Watters - 'Ed-Tech': Not an Etymology Michael Feldstein - The EDUCAUSE NGDLE and an API of One's Own David Hedley - Highlights of Convocation Week 2015 Mike Caulfield - LEGOs Jon K.
  • 2015 week 24 in review:
    Work We met with some of the folks in Campus Planning, to coordinate our summer research/documentation projects. I think we'll have a really interesting and useful description of how instructors and students use (and would like to use) our learning spaces. Met with our D2L account team, and we decided to stop using the LOR tool within D2L. We've tried to get adoption for the tool for almost 2 years now, and haven't had success.
  • 2015 week 23 in review:
    I’m working on a way to automate a bunch of this weekly review post - pulling in starred items from Fever, bookmarks saved to my Scuttle install, and maybe some faved tweets1. Not quite there yet, though. I’m hoping to use some time this week to work on crafting something that smushes this stuff together and generates Markdown code for the Read section below. Work Lots of miscellaneous stuff - working on the EDU IT Plan, trying to get video hosting as a service on campus, and putting together the skeleton of the new EDU department portfolio website.
  • 2015 week 22 in review:
    Work Another super-busy week, with not much that would be interesting to anyone who isn’t me. But: Worked with my fantastic team to start planning our presentations for D2L Fusion next month in Orlando. Worked with my fantastic (and growing for the summer) team to plan the summer learning technology and spaces research agenda. I think we’ve got a really solid plan, and will be starting focus groups and interviews with instructors and students asap to find out what their needs are Met with folks from the Taylor Institute building project, to find out how we can best fit the new Faculty Design Studio into the new digs.
  • 2015 week 21 in review:
    Work A short week, with Victoria Day and an added vacation day to make an extra-long long weekend. Still, a busy week with lots of little things like working on Pearson integration with D2L in a couple of places, working with D2L to see what options are available for a better mobile experience, and some work on our EDU strategic plan - more on that soon. Read via Bryan Alexander: A powerful donor versus academic freedom - at least this isn't a Queen Sacrifice.
  • 2015 week 20 in review:
    Work We hosted the 3rd annual University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching. It keeps getting bigger and better each year, and I think we’re really starting to get a vibrant community around teaching and learning on our campus(es). Dee Fink was our keynote speaker, talking about how thoughtful course design can meaningfully improve learning (and teaching). Lots of great points, largely in line with what we’ve been doing at the Educational Development (and Teaching and Learning Centre before that) for years.
  • 2015 week 19 in review:
    Another big week. Work We had our third EDU strategic planning repeat, to focus on how to build an assessment plan for the department. As always, what an amazing group of people. Trust the process. Trust the people. The strategic plan document will be published this summer, and we'll be keeping it as a living document with portfolio to support it. Final preparations for our 2015 University of Calgary Post-secondary Conference on Learning and Teaching, which takes place next week (!
  • 2015 week 18 in review:
    Work What a week! I met with a prof who wants to build animations and simulations to help students explore cellular biology in context. Lots of great ideas. I had some flashbacks to 1993, when I was building a Hypercard stack to do this (but, with 1-bit graphics, and tiny non-Retina screens) The app for our 2015 Postsecondary Conference on Learning and Teaching went live - for iOS and Android. It’s the first app built by the EDU to be released, and it’s going to come in really handy for people coming to the conference.
  • 2015 Week 17 in review:
    Work Budget announcements on campus. Hooray for cuts. Our province has squandered billions of dollars in oil revenues, and we’re still cutting education. Updated ucalgaryblogs to WordPress 4.2. One-click updates are nice. I wish we could keep all of our campus elearning kit updated so efficiently… Thanks to a donation from our Students Union, we set up a campus license to Magna Publications for all instructors and grad students (and we could probably set up access for undergrads as well, if they want it).
  • 2015 week 16 in review:
    Work We had a "D2L CA" meeting - these typically draw a dozen or so people from various faculties, who work with administering courses in D2L. We had 38 people turn up. That's the biggest turnout ever for a session like this. We're going to need a bigger boat. Lots of great idea sharing, and we're going to be trying out some new stuff to make people's lives easier. At least wrt D2L.
  • 2015 week 15 in review:
    Work we met to start planning the LEED education program to support the new Taylor Institute Building. Some interesting ideas, and we're hoping to not do "LEED education" as a separate thing, but as a layer of context in the various resources to tell people about the Institute. I was invited to participate in a Dragon's Den style panel, as part of Dr. Reid's ASHA 421 course - what a fantastic experience.
  • 2015 week 14 in review:
    Work Met with a research group who are looking to set up a "what if?" collaborative scenario brainstorming space – we talked about what they wanted to do, and realized there are a lot of parallels with what we're trying to do with active learning classrooms. We'll be trying to blur the lines between teaching and research, and this is one very concrete way to do that – using the same types of tools and practices to help people collaborate.
  • 2015 Week 13 in review:
    Work It was a pretty epic week - we had our 2nd annual University of Calgary Teaching Awards ceremony on Tuesday - lots of really amazing instructors doing interesting things on campus. We’ll be looking for ways to showcase their (and others’) work over the coming year. refining the EDU’s strategic planning document - it’s coming along really nicely, but we need to figure out how to condense some of it without losing the meat.
  • 2015 week 12 in review:
    Work boxes are still arriving for the Faculty Design Studio and Technology Lending Library. We need to get it all sorted, set up, and configured before we can open things up. Need to set up an inventory tracking system for the lending library items, so they don’t walk away without a trace. Once things are ready, both projects will have a home on the about-to-be-relaunched elearn.ucalgary.ca website annual review season. basically, best.
  • 2015 Week 11 in Review:
    Work 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.
  • 2015 week 10 in review:
    Work More focus on learning spaces, both for the new Taylor Institute building, and for a classroom renovation in Haskayne. Lots of interesting options for flexible use of space. We are looking at using hardware as the core platform within a space, with software adding the actual interaction stuff - that model makes it much easier to switch things around, without having to have monolithic devices and appliances that try to do everything.
  • 2015 Week 9 in Review:
    Work This week was largely about committees for adjudicating the University of Calgary Teaching Awards - I sat on 4 committees this year, with 3 of them convening this week. Yikes. Lots of incredible stuff being done on campus. I was especially impressed by how all of the student (undergrad and grad) reps handled the process - complete pros in every sense. Love it.1 Produced another “intro to my course” video, for Ellen Perrault, in Social Work - these are intended to be short, informal videos that put a face to online instructors.
  • 2015 week 8 in review:
    Work helping to refine the technology/space plan for the new building. learning lots about the intersection between space and technology - blog post on that brewing. hopefully, time to write it next week. head down reading nominations for this year’s University of Calgary Teaching Awards - I get to sit on 3 committees, so there’s lots of reading involved. lots of amazing work on campus. piloted the use of Swivl robot camera mounts to record lessons as part of the Instructional Skills Workshop.
  • 2015 week 7 in review:
    Work I’m forcing myself to work from a Surface Pro 3 tablet for awhile because I need to avoid locking myself into a pure monoculture. I’ve used the thing for 3 (non-consecutive) weeks now, and it’s been an eye-opener. I’ll likely write up something separate with some details. I’m writing this blog post on it. And I’m not sure I’ll finish the post without switching to my real laptop. Not much noteworthy at work this week - most of the office was away for the EDC conference in Winnipeg.
  • 2015 week 6 in review:
    Work Lots of meetings and manager stuff. Nancy Chick appointed Taylor Institute's first academic director. Awesome! Can't wait for her to get moved in. Read George Veletsianos: Open practices in the absence of institutional policies Ben Stern: Four Smart Tips for Instructional Tech Specialists Maryellen Weimer: Group Work: What Do Students Want from Their Teammates? Head et al: Lifelong learning in the digital age: A content analysis of recent research on participation Daniel Christian: Will micro-credentialing be an example of the use of big data in education and training?
  • 2015 Week 5 in Review:
    Work I was in Kamloops for the week, meeting with folks to talk about planning campus engagements regarding common platforms for learning management systems. TRU has a really fantastic engagement started, documenting everything in a wiki and trying really hard to include anyone who is at all interested in participating. Looking forward to seeing how their process evolves this year. Got to hang out with Brian, Alan cough, Irwin, and so many others.
  • 2015 week 4 in review:
    Work The EDU had the second retreat to work on vision/mission/strategy for the unit. Lots of great ideas on how we can have high impact across campus. Launch of the UofC Badges platform for use in a pilot project for professional development programs in the EDU. (I have a profile on the platform, but haven't hooked up a Mozilla Backpack yet) an update on the pilot/relaunch of the UofC elearning support site Werklund School of Education's IDEAS Conference is coming up, April 30-May 1, 2015.
  • 2015 week 3 in review:
    Work planning what the EDU needs to find out regarding physical learning spaces across campus - formal, informal, f2f, blended, online. We need to build an inventory of what we have, how it’s used, what people would like to do, and where gaps exist. Then, we can smush that together with scholarship of teaching and learning, institutional priorities, funding, etc… to help plan things. starting to plan a campus engagement regarding lecture capture - I hate the phrase lecture capture, so I’ll eventually be calling it something else.
  • 2015 week 2 in review:
    Work Still working with DubLabs to get our updated D2L mobile app working with UofC CAS authentication etc…. This has taken a long time. Hoping the end result is worth it - we have a working mobile app (built with the original D2L-built Campus Life platform), but that product was phased out by D2L1, to be replaced by the DubLabs-powered service. Seriously unimpressed by how this transition has been communicated and handled.
  • 2015 week 1 in review:
    Work This was the first time in a few years where I actually took time off during the christmas break. Last year, it was in the height of LMS implementation and transition. The year before that, writing up the LMS RFP report. The year before that, another Big Important Report™ that I don’t think was actually read. Anyway. Took 2 weeks off over Christmas, and did almost no official work. Wow.


  • 2014 Week 52 in Review:
    Work Kevin did a soft-launch of the UCalgaryBadges platform, using Mozilla Backpack as the badge framework. But, it's down at the moment (keep reading re: campus network overhaul). Not much else - was only in the office on Monday, then off work until January 5. And, with campus networks down for a comprehensive overhaul, I can't even open my calendar to see what I did that day. Also, no support requests, because all campus systems are down (including elearning platforms and email - so, nothing to break, and no way to complain about it.
  • 2014 Week 51 in Review:
    Work had several meetings with instructors and dean-type-people in different faculties this week. Lots of interesting ideas for projects, and more interestingly, lots of interest in building up communities and communities-of-practice around many topics - including learning technologies, development, learning spaces, content creation, etc… Great stuff. Can’t wait to help support those communities (and more)! Met with a prof who has taught herself how to produce screencasts to create videos for use in her courses.
  • 2014 week 50 in review:
    Work learning spaces - my group is going to be focusing on the design of learning spaces starting in the new year - especially on how physical and digital learning spaces overlap, and how design can help to shape engaging learning experiences. paperwork. the absolute worst part of my job is reconciling the damned AMEX statement each month. I'm getting better at it, so it's slightly less painful now. Might be worse, if vendors actually took AMEX… the office non-denominational winter-solstice tree-shaped social artifact is up and decorated.
  • 2014 Week 49 in Review:
    Work I posted the first episode of what will become a series, pulling from the footage recorded during the Open Ed Reclaim hackathon at UMW. More to come, ASAP. plans for the 2015 Design for Learning conference are shaping up nicely. Nearly ready for submissions. This is the key teaching-and-learning event at UCalgary, and it’s going to be another great one. quick chat with Brian at TRU about their initial plans for an LMS migration.
  • 2014 Week 48 In Review:
    Work Final preparation for launching the Curriculum Alignment Tool to support curriculum review on campus. Started logging and working with the interview footage from the Reclaim Hackathon interviews. Lots of work left, but it's started. Had my mid-year review. Huh. I might actually be good at this stuff after all. Having a blast, for sure. Read Patrick Finn appeared in the latest episode of the UofC's Peer Review podcast John Gruber on Paul Ford on why HTML5's official status is important to humans.
  • 2014 Week 47 in Review:
    Work extremely short work week, due to travel for Open Ed etc… Open Education 2014 was pretty amazing. The conference has changed pretty drastically over the years as it's gotten bigger. That's a good thing - but the vibe has definitely shifted from a fringe/evangelist gathering to a full-on Real Conference. Still lots of butts-in-seats, but lots of amazing stories and projects being shared. Reclaim Your Domain: UMW Hackathon - including some early work on a documentary project to capture the current edtech scene and frame it in ways other than the standard Silicon Valley VC Solutioneering narrative.
  • 2014 Week 46 In Review:
    The work-log format wasn't working, and was missing huge chunks of stuff through the week. So, being more fully inspired by Audrey Watters' and Clint Lalonde's week-in-review styles… Work started placing orders for items to add to the fledgeling "technology lending library" that will be managed/provided by my group in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. So far, it's a very small library, but I'll be adding things to it as I'm able, and offering it all out for instructors to explore/experiment/use.
  • 2014 Week 45 in review:
    The EDU folks all met with the director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at our Qatar campus (she was in town for the week, working out of our offices). We figured out lots of ways that we can collaborate. starting to order items to add to the “tech lending library” fleet, as well as stuff we can use to make videos etc… reverted the elearn.ucalgary.ca site to the old broken Drupal version because it was too jarring having some stuff in the awesome new WordPress knowledgebase, and other stuff in the old site.
  • 2014 Week 44 in Review:
    elearn.ucalgary.ca rebuild The elearn.ucalgary.ca elearning support website accreted content over the years. It was long overdue for a major overhaul in order to make it useful to people who are looking for info. While that info was in the previos website, it had grown difficult to find stuff because the site had become a dumping ground of content - to the point that the elearning support folks couldn't find stuff on it, and didn't know what was there.
  • 2014 Week 43 in review:
    Badging We're working on a couple of badging-related projects in the EDU. Kevin's looking into Mozilla's Open Badges platform/framework, and we're exploring what it means for a department/faculty/university to issue (and accept) badges as microcredentials. Lots of really great discussions on this. Looking forward to seeing what we come up with! Committees and Reports and Bears Oh My! Yeah. Making sausage. Mmm. Sausage. Learning Object Repository Seriously. I'm having flashbacks. But, we have faculties who need to be able to share files within the context of their online courses, and public websites aren't appropriate.
  • 2014 Week 42 in Review:
    The Colesâ„¢ Notesâ„¢ version: a super-short week that felt like a super-long one. Thanksgiving. And 45. Thanksgiving on Monday. And I turned 45 on Tuesday, and I took the day off because why not. We had a quiet family extra-long-weekend, and spent some time out in the Elbow Falls area. Wow, did the 2013 flood ever rampage that area. Open Education Picked up the plane ticket. Assuming air travel is still a thing next month, I'll be in DC for Open Ed, and then Fredericksburg for the Reclaim thing on the weekend.
  • 2014 week 41 in review:
    A busy but quiet week. Learning Outcomes in D2L Working with the Schulich School of Engineering to figure out how to map the CEAB Graduate Attributes and supporting outcomes into D2L, so they can report back through the accrediting process about their curriculum and the students’ overall competency at The Attributes. Lots of struggling on my part, trying to work through the D2L documentation to figure out how to model the outcomes hierarchy, and then to figure out what kind of reporting and rollups can be generated.
  • 2014 Week 40 In Review:
    Designing Libraries for the 21st Century I attended the 3rd annual Designing Libraries for the 21st Century conference on campus. Library-design-folks from around North America (and Australia and the UK) came together to talk about what future libraries need to be. It was my first library conference, and I was struck by 3 things: What an amazing, open, inviting group of people. It didn't matter who you were, or where you were from, people actively welcomed everyone in conversation.
  • 2014 Week 39 In Review:
    I'm taking a page from Clint Lalonde's book - he's been writing "week in review" posts for awhile, and it's been really interesting to see what he's up to. And of course there's the weekly recaps by Audrey Watters! I don't think I'll be able to recall that level of detail, but having some kind of record of at least the bigger things each week will be helpful to me. So…