Troubleshooting Patterns

I got an email from a professor who was using Gravity Forms to allow students to create blog posts. The problem was that when they submitted posts via the form the category ended up being the default category no matter what was selected. Here’s a few of the things I did trying to figure out what was going on. It’s just a matter of isolating variables but occasionally it’s helpful to see how people work through this sort of thing. First, I googled it but that well was dry.1 I made sure the Gravity Forms category selection worked on other sites on the same installation. It did. That let me know it was at least blog dependent. There were only two other plugins active. They were both turned on and off with no change. That meant no plugin conflicts. On the input side, I tried selecting multiple categories. No dice. I tried changing the default category. It change the default category but didn’t fix the issue. I couldn’t think of any more input based variables to mess with so I moved a bit deeper into things. On the form side, I tried changing the category selection options. I tried using checkboxes, multiple select, all categories, select categories etc. None of that made any difference. I copied the form to see […]

Power to the People

This makes a better story if you know a few things about me. I hate to be late. I am extremely uncomfortable with strangers and I know very little about cars. I despise feeling helpless. The Start1 Scene: Flowery Branch GA– a town that feels recently birthed from farmland an hour or so outside the sprawling mass that is Atlanta I need to be at the school roughly three miles away by 8:30AM. I am at a hotel. It’s is 7:30AM. I figure I might as well leave early. I turn the key in my car. Nothing. Not a click. Not a twitch. I open the hood and see the scene below. Blue powdery stuff2 and the metal thing that attaches the wires to the batteryx3 had been completely eaten in half. I tried a few things. I tried to wedge the terminal against the battery post with a box . I tried using the jumper cables like a giant clothes pin to hold the terminal in place.4 Time was passing and I was displeased. Very displeased. Hitchhiking I opted to return to the hotel and see about getting a cab. The response was not comforting. Something was said about another county and a wait of an hour or so. I canceled the cab call. The helpful lady at the […]

Hollywood Cemetery – Preliminary Thoughts

I’m pretty excited about a new project we’ll be working on this year. We’re going to look at a local historically significant, but still active, cemetery through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Hollywood Cemetery is the permanent home of two presidents of the USA (James Monroe and John Tyler) and one president of the CSA as well as a variety of other interesting local people. Dr. Ryan Smith from VCU’s history department has already had students doing quite a bit of work with local cemeteries. Back Story also recently republished a podcast (Grave Matters) which mentions Hollywood cemetery quite a bit and is all kinds of good. Even the Girl Scouts have some great information on Hollywood Cemetery1. So that brings up the question- What can we do that hasn’t been done and how can we make this something really valuable to the community- both locally and at large? The Players and Their Lenses Looking through the lens of sociology, Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren will be helping us think through work around mortality, social status etc. by analyzing the data from gravestones.2 Dr. Bernard Means will be bringing an archaeological3 and 3D imaging background4 that he has honed in VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab. Dr. Ryan Smith will round out our professorial group with his focus on history. I will be playing […]

Catching Baby Turtles

When I was in 4th or 5th grade we lived in Columbia, South Carolina not too far from one of those man-made subdivision lakes.1 Despite that, it had enough fish and reptiles to keep me very entertained. One of the memories that stuck in my mind from the couple of years we lived there was seeing, and eventually catching, baby turtles. I spent several hours lying on my stomach watching the turtles, inching forward, scaring them away, and then waiting again hoping they’d bob up somewhere within arms reach. If you’ve ever tried to spot a tiny turtle’s head in the midst of duckweed, green algae, and assorted pond flotsam (no jetsam)2 I felt pretty proud when I finally caught a few. I let them go and I washed my hands thoroughly when I got home. This was the second year (non-consecutive) I remembered to do this with my kids. It’s one of those things that’s easy to forget but I love seeing my kids enjoying what I once did. Plus, it’s still fun for me as well. We end up looking a bit odd I’m sure as, once again, we’re using a subdivision pond not far from our house and we tend to go barefoot. This year we caught two older and larger turtles. Both seemed to have heavy […]

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What Teachers Make?

I know I head further out on the fringe each hour of each day but I’ve always had a problem with the Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make“. I’m sure you’ve seen it on facebook or on some email forward. Essentially, he’s responding to a jackass at a dinner party who’s criticizing teachers and I’m ok with that but the details of the response anger me. It is most of what I dislike about teaching. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A-­? feel like a slap in the face. Grades. I hate grades. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups. No, you may not ask a question. Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom? Because you’re bored. And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you? I make parents tremble in fear when I call home: Such command, such control, such an amazing ability to see another human’s bladder level, all that and instilling fear in parents- how proud we must be of our mastery. I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be. Perhaps the saddest line for parents. You want to know what I make? I make […]

LMS Metaphors

Blackboard/LMS is like a – giant filing cabinet closet filled with attractive, well organized, clothes lifeblood to us, like a Web course in a box shark learning management system eating smaller sharks so it can survive and thrive large thermonuclear device framework that handles all the learning procedures blank canvas tattoo It seems there are whole papers written on metaphors for Blackboard. I saw Jon’s LMS-as-training-wheels metaphor and Britt’s response– both as a result of Jim’s talk. I’ve been thinking about it a bit and I think it ends up giving the LMS the wrong kind of credit. It implies a temporary guide, a training ground to get you used to using the Internet to teach. I don’t think that’s the goal at all. It seems to me that the LMS is a fast-food franchise kitchen. It does exactly what it is meant to do. It is built for people with minimal skills to make cheap food quickly at scale. It isn’t meant to be a training ground so people can move up to gourmet cooking. These skills don’t transfer. You aren’t even meant to graduate to being a line cook at Friday’s. The LMS reaches the minimum quality people will tolerate in exchange for convenience and low cost.1 The LMS focuses on making the very things I find most […]

Visualizing Jackson Ward: From Start to Finish

TL;DR -First, go check out the Historic/Now Jackson Ward gallery. See the code for a Google SS backend on Github or get the jquery plugin. Read on for an attempt to detail the search and construction process. This is an attempt at ridiculous transparency regarding my search path and building process from start to finish. By the end, I’ll provide a working example of a pre/post slider for historical photographs using a Google Spreadsheet to hold the URLs. This post is overkill and will be painful for anyone not suffering from some condition which should be treated medically. The Search Friday, March 14, 10:30 (ish) PM I read Erin White’s1 THAT Camp proposal about capturing modern images to parallel VCU’s Jackson Ward collection. Eric Johnson’s comment about the Washington Post’s then/now slider got me wondering if I could figure out how that worked and set up something decent prior to Saturday’s sessions. cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward The search graphic Search #1 – 10:40 PM – javascript slide between photographs I immediately start finding slide show focused pages. So I realize I’m not searching with the right words after about seven sites and around 60 seconds. Search #2 – 10:41 PM – washington post then and now I figure I’ll go see what […]

Living the Dreams: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds

That’s the semi-official name of the MOOC that Gardner Campbell, Jon Becker, Jason Coats, Jessica Gordon, Bonnie Boaz, and Patty Strong. The official name of the course is UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument. The course hashtag is #thoughtvectors. I’ll quote a portion of Gardner’s email description of the course. All the links were added by me so any weird stuff there is my fault. We’re doing an Alec-Couros-esque cMOOC this summer. The course will be offered for credit for enrolled VCU students and will be open to participation by anyone in the world who a) finds out about it and b) wants to participate. The topic? Well, on the books here the course is a sophomore-level course in research writing: UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument. We’re doing a fully online version that has an official designation as a DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT PILOT and what we hope is the intriguing alternate name of “Living the Dream1: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds.” The “dream” is the one (are the ones) outlined by Vannevar Bush (“As We May Think“), J. C. R. Licklider (“Man-Computer Symbiosis“), Doug Engelbart (“Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework“), Ted Nelson (“Computer Lib / Dream Machines“), and Alan Kay/Adele Goldberg (“Personal Dynamic Media“). Our goal is to awaken students to these powerful dreams, to […]

Provision Me?

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Thomas Hawk I have never been the Devil’s advocate but occasionally I play him on the Internet. This started as a comment on Jim’s post so reading that might make this make some sort of sense. There are no halcyon1 days of yore. I keep thinking the LMS is symptomatic. It helps solve obscure problems like -How can I grade my class of 300+ students? It helps mechanize a process we’ve increasingly commodified, packaged, and scaled. cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Melissa Gruntkosky The institution can, and probably should, focus on providing more than the LMS but there’s a big part of me that says it doesn’t matter. If tilde spaces were given now, they’d be mainly barren. The problem is not the centrally provide space. I don’t need the institution and I don’t buy into the dependency model that seems to be part of that assumption. In fact, I need an institution far less than I would have in the mid 90s. If I want a tilde space, I can go get one and I can do far more on it than HTML. Stack Overflow is a magical fountain of answers. If you want to do something, simply go do it. Be a […]