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. Love it.
  • We made some great progress in selecting sessions for the 2015 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching. Now, to work up the schedule, and start ramping up for May. Which is coming up really quickly.
  • The new Faculty Design Studio is shaping up really nicely – almost everything has arrived, and now we need to figure out how to set it all up and use it before we can unleash instructors on it. Soon.
  • Nancy Chick started this week, as Academic Director for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. So good.
  • A new member of our Learning and Instructional Design team started this week, too. This will really help the LID team to continue to shift and provide great programming and support to instructors.
  • Had a demo from Crestron, on the Air Media and Capture HD lines. Both look interesting – I like that Capture HD doesn't come with its own media hosting cloud service baked in, and that people can just stuff their own USB drive into the thing to record their media. We'll need some time to actually play with the things, but from what I've seen they look pretty much ideal for our needs.
  • Starting to plan our upgrade from D2L 10.3 to 10.4. Hopefully, that will be a reasonably transparent process for users. If it will require a big communication and training push, we won't be able to do it responsibly until next year.
  • Forcing myself to use a Surface Pro 3. Again. I think this is the third time. I need to push myself out of platform lock in, and need to be familiar with windows. Looking at the thing as a laptop rather than a tablet helps. It sucks as a tablet. But as a OneNote appliance, it's pretty good – the pen is awesome. Also, using Windows Live Writer to write this blog post – should be interesting to see how much the markup gets munged.
  • I've been using an iPhone 6+ for over a month now, and am absolutely loving it. Best piece of tech I've ever used. Can't imagine going back to a phone-sized phone again. I find I'm hardly using my iPad anymore (which is what made the third attempt at using a Surface more viable).
  • We're about to go through a pretty major upgrade to our campus wifi networks – the backbones etc have been seriously upgraded over the last couple years, and now it's time to beef up the wifi access points. This is the number 1 request from everybody who uses anything that touches a network. Looking forward to it.

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Other

We got out for one last ski day. I'd written Nakiska off for the year, but they got some snow the other day, and had posted some photos that showed good coverage. Forecast looked good for today, so we took a shot. Lots of ice, but also still lots of good snow left. It's amazing how much has already melted though. I wiped out on the ice at the end of the third run, and messed up my hand. Awesome. Typing with a hand brace on is fun.

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