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 […]

Catharsis – WP Child Theme Evolution

It is always a wonderful feeling to figure something out, especially after having struggled with it. The following is a continued progression from one idea in 2011 to this idea in February of 2014 and then merged with this tangential idea from February 2014. The new child theme is here. So at this point, I have a workflow that starts with a bookmarklet that adds the page to Diigo (maintains my normal workflow) auto creates the WordPress Snap code then FeedWordPress takes the Diigo posts and adds it to a blog The blog now also generates a sortable visual interface of screenshots To business . . . Bookmarklet Modifications I made an addition here, wrapping the comment field in a div I named “show”. I did this because Diigo puts the tags in the body of what becomes the post. So it looks like below. It was irritating because the tags weren’t in any particular div and there was no other easy way to address the pieces I wanted to vanish. I didn’t like that and since this site was purely set for this workflow I went the other route (a fairly nuclear one). I set .entry-content p to display: none. That vanishes it. Since I’d added the additional div piece for the Diigo comments, that stuff was safe from […]


I have always been rather irritated1 by the quote attributed to Alvin Toeffler. It was used in the start of the History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education MOOC. The participants are all supposed to be life long unlearners. Cute, pithy, tweetable but I fundamentally disagree with what the words mean. First, the quote- The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. I went wandering to find more about Toeffler and the quote. Know thy enemy2 and all that. The book most often associated with the quote is Future Shock. I find only two uses of the word “illiterate” in Future Shock. I also found a full PDF copy online that returned the same information. I won’t link to it here but you could find it without much issue. I’m amazed what I find by adding filetype:pdf to my Google searches. Anyway, the quote below seems to be the relevant one and it turns out I’m not the first to wander down this path. He does quote Gerjuoy who says something close, but better and harder to quote. Psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy of the Human Resources Research Organization phrases it simply: “The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to […]

Chi Alignment Workflow Dump

And by chi, obviously I mean chi. Consider this an attempt to clear my head a bit. Bouncing off Jim’s post . . . I decided to look at smoothing off the rough edges of some new elements of my viewing/reading/sharing workflows. Flickr Addition One chunk I hadn’t been happy with but had never fixed was the images from people I follow on Flickr. I glanced at them when I logged in but that was it. I’ve been following more people lately including Alexander Pini1 so I wanted to set that up better. Given I had the full feed of the Flickr Commons in Feedly I figured I’d add this as well. When I didn’t see any obvious RSS icons I flipped into the source code and saw the image below which made me pretty happy- a nice Flickr Easter egg. In any case, the URL is in there as well and it’d probably get picked up automatically but . . . hey maybe that wouldn’t happen sometime and it’s worth remembering you can flip over to source and do a find (ctrl+F or command+F)2 for RSS. Tumblr Dashboard Irritation cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward I’m looking at ways to pull in my Tumblr dashboard but haven’t been thrilled with my options. RSS […]

Charting a Course & Walking at Work

I figured I’d blend this week’s walking at work photos with a larger reflection as they mesh together pretty well. Partially because my reflections are blurry and distorted. The photos actually hurt my head a bit and so does trying to knit all this interesting stuff together. The following is a reflection on the course design process thus far and my own attempts to document the course design process. Messy. cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward I’m going to try to capture some of the conversations that have been going on the past few days between Jon Becker, Gardner Campbell, and myself as we start to pull this summer’s MOOC together. I’m doing this in part to further refine my own thoughts but also to play around with Englebart’s idea of a dynamic knowledge repository (one possible element of the course). This will, of course, represent my own slightly askew view of the proceedings but I trust neither Jon nor Gardner would be shy about throwing their opinions in the mix. cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward The conversations have been wide ranging in many interesting and occasionally confounding ways. With an initial goal not to overly define the destination- not to create the rubric-based “prophylactic effect” (That’s […]

Reddit Pic Requests

It is always strange to wander about in Internet communities with a fairly established culture. Reddit is not someplace I’ve ever spent any real time and while I still haven’t done much with it, I have been checking in on Pic Requests. It is really wild to see the diversity of requests and the speed and skill with which most of the requests are answered. These requests (and responses) run the gamut from – [Request] My grandma is turning 94 on Christmas day. Can someone help me restore an old photo of her and her late husband from when they first met? to [Request] Can you make my sister into a t-rex chasing Johnny Depp? People offer money, services in return, Reddit Gold, or just the challenge. It is amazing how fast and how well most of these requests are answered, often by multiple people. Were I teaching a Photoshop class, this would be where I would hangout as every level of project is offered by people who actually need/want the product. They range from fairly easy functional/technical requests to wide open conceptual pieces. I have been attempting to help some people with repair work. I find it interesting and I’ve always wanted to be better at Photoshop but have a hard time doing work for no reason.1 It is […]

Snowballs and Networks

I’m trying to do a better job documenting how the Internet1 does things that make me happy. It’s fun to watch different flows and people come together to take things to another level. These interactions make up my personal Internet and I hope seeing them might help someone else build their Internet, this amalgam of humans and technology, to make them happy as well. The Input Somewhere in one of my feeds I came across Selfies at Funerals. I had a really hard time figuring out who would do something like that. The amount of ego really amazed me. Open Reflection So I put this out on Twitter2. and the #ds106 assignment response to #funeralselfies is to create the most inappropriate selfie (historical or otherwise) possible — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) October 30, 2013 I made the following bad example after a few of my original thoughts turned out far too gruesome even for me. Feedback/Amplification William Berry then sent me an email that was something like this later blog post. Essentially, William had done a much better example using Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. With this as inspiration, I put in some after trick or treating time and made four historical examples. It’s also now made its way to a #ds106 assignment which four people have completed at this point- […]