Back to the Floor In the late 90s, there was a reality TV show on BBC2 called Back to the Floor. In the show, a senior manager would spend a few days working in a more regular role in their company. A typical episode might feature the boss of Sainsbury's stacking shelves, working on a… Continue reading What can user researchers learn from reality TV?
The UPenn / Coursera / Al Fireis MOOC ModPo opens for another session next week. ModPo = Modern and Contemporary America Poetry. The 10-week course starts out with proto-modernists Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, then moves on through William Carlos Williams, the Imagists, Gertrude Stein, the Beats, and much more. Picasso and Marcel Duchamp get… Continue reading ModPo
This is an essay I wrote for the course Understanding learning in the online environment, which is part of Edinburgh's MSc Digital Education. Video has long been used to support classroom teaching. However, it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that educators have been able to easily produce and distribute their own videos.… Continue reading Using storytelling in Philosophy teaching videos
I just finished doing a PGCert in Digital Education, and I thought I'd post a few of things I wrote for it here. This essay was written in April 2016 for the course Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning. A teacher in a secondary school classroom raises her voice above the chatter. “Ok everyone, settling down… Continue reading How should MOOC designers respond to student silence?
Standardisation Standardisation makes many administrative processes better. If people are submitting forms, it's easier to process those forms when they follow a standard design. If students want to find out the time and place of their lectures, they want that information in a standard way. Technology has a bias towards the pursuit of standardisation, partly… Continue reading Standards: sometimes good, sometimes bad
Part of my job involves making videos of people talking about philosophy. These largely fall into two types: videos of live talks and MOOC videos. Live talks in front of an audience Filming the live talks is fairly straightforward. We turn up with a camera and a mic, set everything up and hit record. For… Continue reading Philosophy videos
Sometimes I write instructions for software; generally this is just a series of steps with screenshots showing where to click. I'm a big fan of screenshots for this sort of thing. Way better to show an image of a red button than just describe it in words. Here's how I do my screenshots these days: All of the… Continue reading Dimmed screenshots
The Divine Comedy released two versions of Your Daddy's Car: one on 1993's Liberation, the other a Mark Radcliffe session recording that was released as a B-side. The album version is a pleasant, dainty number with harpsichord, pizzicato strings, and Neil Hannon singing in a ho-hum kind of way. It's ok. Not a bad way… Continue reading Your Daddy’s Car
Back in my days as an English teacher, there were a couple of songs I used to use when I was teaching grammar. One was Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega, which features a series of "I am doing" sentences. The other was The Day Before You Came, which uses repeated instances of "must have". Tom's… Continue reading The Day Before You Came
This blog's practically dead. Look at the date of that last post. October 2015. (hums chorus of Atlantic City to self) I keep reading things that put me off writing. First: "Only write when you've got something to say". Sounds good, except often we figure out what we want to say through the process of writing.… Continue reading Blogging about blogging (again)