The Case for Video Games

I’ve been working on my thesis proposal, preparing for candidacy this summer. This explains why I’ve been pretty much silent here on the blog, and why I’ve been trying to reduce my social media time1. Much of my research will be on using the lens of video games as a way of describing classroom teaching - in fancy-talk, developing a model that adapts research methods developed for the formal analysis of video games to the description and analysis of teaching and classroom activities. Read More

Self Hosted Searching in Hugo

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo’s site-specific search as a way to make this site searchable, after moving from WordPress to Hugo. Since static websites don’t have a database, searching is more difficult so I’d let that go and had just used an embedded search form that fired off a DuckDuckGo query. Which worked. Mostly. But it also got results from other subdomains at *, and didn’t sort them too well. So it was not as useful as the WordPress Relevanssi search plugin had been. Read More
hugo  search 

Cheating and Online Exam Proctoring

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and learning about online exam proctoring, to prepare to act as the “business lead” for an online exam proctoring project that ramps up this week, aiming to have a pilot in the summer and a tool available for use (as a last resort) in the fall. It’s a complicated solution to a complicated problem. Not all courses are able to adjust assessment away from high stakes exams, and those don’t translate online in all contexts without some form of proctoring. Read More

Automating Creating New Content in Hugo

I’ve been using Hugo for about 6 months now, and it’s been working really really well for me. But the one thing that’s been bugging me is how clumsy it is to create new posts. For example, here’s the command line stuff that would have created this post: cd ~/Documents/Blog/blog hugo new posts/2020/ All posts are plaintext markdown files, organized in folders within a content directory. The Hugo application has a command line tool to create content - but, almost every single time, I need to look up the syntax so I don’t goof it up. Read More

Projects and Squiggles

When we talk about processes, there’s a balance between traditional Project™ “waterfall” approaches - dependencies, critical paths, charters, etc. and what happens in practice - rapid prototypes, DIY experimentation, communities and networks, and emergent designs to support practice. LMS Upgrade Plan Gantt a traditional project management overview of the steps involved in implementing a learning management system compared with Damian Newman: The Design Squiggle The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle. Read More

COVID Online Pivot Learning Technologies Stats

Now that the Winter 2020 semester is wrapping up, I took a look at the stats for our various online learning technologies to see what effects the whole COVID-19 Online Pivot had on our technology stack. Each platform has their own sets of data to describe activity within the software, and they’re not directly comparable. A simple “logins” comparison wouldn’t capture activity in some platforms where only instructors login and students are anonymous (like YuJa). Read More

In the Media: HR Reporter: Companies Partner to Manage Digital Credentials

I was interviewed by John Dujay (from HR Reporter) for an article on digital credentials and blockchain applications in higher education. Micro-credentials indicating courses and competencies that have been successfully completed are also offered by the University of Calgary, in the form of badges. “On our badges platform, [students] log in with their UCalgary email address and it’ll show any of these recognitions that they’ve accumulated over their career as students,” says D’Arcy Norman, manager of technology integration at the institution. Read More


Since we launched Zoom as a campus platform on March 13, 2020, there have been 36,439 meetings conducted by our community. And 3 reports of ZoomBombing (so far). There may have been others, but we have only 3 reported cases at this time1. We have spent much time and effort adjusting the configuration of our campus Zoom account to address security and privacy concerns. Default settings for meetings have been modified, making it more difficult (if not impossible) for intruders to barge into a meeting/class and ZoomBomb it. Read More

Online Exam Proctoring

I drafted this as a briefing doc to help with decision making related to how we handle online exams for courses that are now being conducted remotely as a result COVID-19. It was circulated for feedback, so it may be useful to have a copy for reference here. I wrote it based on information gathered from the various vendors' websites, and from conversations with colleagues. The doc was intended to give a high level overview of online exam proctoring software without delving into technical aspects. Read More

Zoom Online Exam Proctoring Demo

We’ve been getting questions from instructors who would like to use Zoom to conduct online exam proctoring, for up to 800 students. I mean. Golly. That’s just not a great idea. Aside from the philosophical issues involved with using a videoconferencing tool to surveil students during an exam, there are technical issues. How would 800 streams of video be recorded? How would that be viewed? Also. The video feed isn’t necessary trustworthy. Read More
zoom  video