Digital Survival Skills

This was a presentation the other day on basic skills to survive in today’s digital jungle. The summary description is below but it feels kind of pompous when I read it now. I will likely revise it in some way in the near future. I do like the core idea that there’s a lot of change and lot of distraction in a digital environment and you might have to think in particular ways and do particular things if you’re going to do well in that world. 1 I feel I’ve got a decent idea what those key concepts/tips are after working with a large number of people across a number of organizations and disciplines over nearly 20 years. The confluence of distraction and rapid change in today’s digital environment can result in confusion and frustration. We’ll focus on limiting distraction and choosing tools and workflows that will help you do more with less effort. The foundation will be a quick overview of digital productivity patterns (pomodoro, GTD, etc.). From there, we’ll move into successful patterns for getting work done in key workplace applications. For my own amusement, I opted to use actual survival manual advice with a specific focus on the US Army’s Survival Manual to frame the conversation. The idea that you can’t control everything and there’s no use […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2018-11-11

OrcasoundCentered within the summertime habitat of the endangered southern resident killer whales, Orcasound Lab is also a good place to listen for ships passing through Haro Strait and boats traveling along the west side of San Juan Island. In the fall you can hear humpbacks, and in the summer male harbor seals vocalize nearby. Brooklyn students hold walkout in protest of Facebook-designed online programWeird to see these complaints from a variety of angles and in light of early “innovation zone” work done in NYC . . . (also same old, same old in terms of bad wifi etc.) “It’s annoying to just sit there staring at one screen for so long,” said freshman Mitchel Storman, 14, who spends close to five hours a day on Summit classes in algebra, biology, English, world history, and physics. “You have to teach yourself.” Summit stresses “personalized learning” and “self-direction.” Students work at their own pace. Teachers “facilitate.” Each kid is supposed to get 10 to 15 minutes of one-on-one “mentoring” each week.

A lonely tree in front of the ICA museum construction site.

ePortfolios: Competing Concepts

I talked to some VCU people about ePortofolios1. It’s a conversation I’ve had any number of times over the years. I think that experience is leading to a better understanding of what’s going on structurally and the space we have to navigate competing interests. I’m also in a better position to show how certain technologies might help people find a middle way. However, I’m still trying to be honest about the complexities involved in an environment with shrinking resources and expanding expectations. That’s a rough line to sell when vendors have no compunction about pitching simple answers that aren’t exposed until after contracts are signed. For the record, I didn’t start with this peppy intro when I spoke. Portfolio Strategy There seem to be two major philosophies when thinking through portfolio content. Trophy Case The “trophy case” is showing the best of what the student has done. This is the pattern in many traditional portfolios. The student puts up assignment A. It’s as good as it’s going to get and it represents learning outcomes 1, 3, and 7. The alignment between the assignment and the evidence it presents of skills/knowledge is preordained and there’s little evidence of how or what led to that result. There is little or no consideration whether the display of this evidence plays to the strengths […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2018-11-04

Why you should never ever eat a garden slug | TreeHuggerAccording to news reports, 19-year-old Sam Ballard caved into a dare to swallow a slug. Tragically for Ballard, the slug came with the roundworm parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis, AKA the punk-rock-sounding rat lungworm. While when mature these parasites take residence in rats, in their youth they sometimes call slugs and snails home, creating a potential menace for anyone consuming raw or undercooked creatures harboring the parasite. As Mindy Weisberger writes for LiveSceince , “In Ballard’s case, the parasite caused a serious brain infection. He fell into a coma for 420 days and was paralyzed from the neck down when he was released from the hospital three years later….” Ballard remains paralyzed and requires full-time care


Weekly Work Log – 11/02

Lots of face-to-face workshops this week. The stupid thing that ate a lot of time this week was a strict setting on Maria DB which we thought was fixed but for some reason didn’t stick (evaporating fixes are the worst because you think that thing is done and not something to look at again). That would have been fine if we were looking at the original error but it turns out that same core issue is expressed in different ways in different plugins. If you’re looking for some of the details that ended up allowing us to chase down the issue check out Invalid überName.   Outreach Hillary – OER remix and Wikipedia edit-a-thon Cody – CAS Authentication for WordPress Workshops Two in class MASC WordPress workshops 10/29 10/30 Halloween-themed workshops 10/31 – 10:30 10/31 – 12:00 Business faculty workshop 11/2 New workshop added to catalog on digital survival skills Meetings KJM – FERPA, Region 1, student privacy conversation Podcast recorded Project Goodbeer – assistance with family tree formatting for print book in Adobe Illustrator Enhancement Created plugin to segment Rampages users into faculty/student groups for better analysis and proactive communication Major issues resolved Database strict setting was causing problems with H5P library installation – discovered and fixed after significant troubleshooting Software Versioning Updates Theme updates rampages Plugin updates rampages Installed […]


Weekly Work Log – 10/26

It didn’t take me long to forget to do this but I’m catching up as it was already written. For clarity this is the combined efforts of Matt, Jeff, and myself. It’s not a particularly exciting week. Lots of maintenance of things. Lots of meetings. This Week Workshops Qatar virtual workshop canceled due to flooding on campus – reschedule pending Sites Developing social work podcast site with faculty person – currently behind a password Outreach Godbeer – Directory of the Humanities Research Center Powers – Chair of the History Dept. Planning for VCU Library Archival Remix begun with Hillary Software Versioning Updates Rampages upgraded to WP 4.9.8 after some permissions challenges Themes updated Augmenting.me Server updated Plugins updated Rampages staging Plugins updated Themes updated Technical Issues TICN DNS redirection issue H5P plugin library issue (Russian OER) *** ongoing Meetings IEDT meeting on 10/22 – notes TICN meeting on 10/22 – went over script with Molly and stakeholders on the TICN team Discussed next steps: Video building, website adjustments, and curriculum material creation. VCU-wide eLearning Best Practices Group Top Hat Strategy meeting – requested group training more information on marketplace concept information on faculty that they are targeting for contact Adobe Licensing meeting with Alice and Andrew Podcast Episode one recorded, edited, and uploaded Site created Feed registered with Apple – […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2018-10-28

GENERATION OF GREATNESS Our young people, for the most part — unless they are geniuses — after a very short time in college give up any hope of being individually great. They plan, instead, to be good. They plan to be effective, They plan to do their job. They plan to take their healthy place in the community. We might say that today it takes a genius to come out great, and a great man, a merely great man, cannot survive. It has become our habit, therefore, to think that the age of greatness has passed, that the age of the great man is gone, that this is the day of group research, that this is the day of community progress. Yet the very essence of democracy is the absolute faith that while people must cooperate, the first function of democracy, its peculiar gift, is to develop each individual into everything that he might be. But I submit to you that when in each man the dream of personal greatness dies, democracy loses the real source of its future strength. –1957 . . . Category:Wikipedia requested photographs – Wikipedia Meet the Existentialist Bodybuilder – Power Trip – MediumGoing to the gym, I regret to inform you, is pointless. But so is not. Which leaves you with a choice. And that […]