2021 Week 6

⚙️ Work

Getting ready to enable “live transcripts” in our campus zoom environment, going live during reading week later this month.

live transcripts

The profile for our new Learning Technologies Specialist - Program Innovation position is under final review by HR. I’ll get to post that ASAP, likely early next week. Looking forward to the hiring process and growing the team.

Some details of the new Program Innovation Hub initiative are outlined in the president’s Congress website. I’ve been working on some strategic planning projects, and I’m guessing things are going to change substantially as the president’s campus engagement ramps up and our new provost starts. Probably best to pause some of this planning and refocus on participating in these engagement activities…

🤔 PhD

I have a draft of a paper that I’ll be submitting to an IEEE conference later this month. It grew from “hey - you have a draft of a paper ready, just tweak it and submit it” to “hey, this paper needs to be completely rewritten for the new venue”. Which means pausing work on the dissertation for a bit because I only have so many productive hours to go around. And I should hear back on the CHI-LBW paper in a couple of weeks. Gulp.

📚 Reading

Correia, A. P., Liu, C., & Xu, F. (2020). Evaluating videoconferencing systems for the quality of the educational experience. Distance Education, 41(4), 429-452.1

Gatlin, A., Kuhn, W., Boyd, D., Doukopoulos, L., & McCall, C. (2021). Successful at Scale: 500 Faculty, 39 Classrooms, 6 Years: A Case Study. Journal of Learning Spaces, 10(1). Retrieved from http://libjournal.uncg.edu/jls/article/view/2032

Zhu, M., & Basdogan, M. (2021). Examining Social Learning in an Active Learning Classroom through Pedagogy-Space-Technology Framework. Journal of Learning Spaces, 10(1). Retrieved from http://libjournal.uncg.edu/jls/article/view/2025

Ling, C., Balcı, U., Blackburn, J., & Stringhini, G. (2020). A first look at zoombombing. arXiv preprint arXiv:2009.03822.2

from Ling et al:

Our findings indicate that the vast majority of calls for zoombombing are not made by attackers stumbling upon meeting invitations or bruteforcing their meeting ID, but rather by insiders who have legitimate access to these meetings, particularly students in high school and college classes. This has important security implications, because it makes common protections against zoombombing, such as password protection, ineffective. We also find instances of insiders instructing attackers to adopt the names of legitimate participants in the class to avoid detection, making countermeasures like setting up a waiting room and vetting participants less effective.

Yup. Exactly in line with what we have been seeing as well. Sure, there were a handful of legitimate external Zoombombing incidents (maybe a couple dozen meetings with real zoombombing, out of 743,469 meetings3 hosted in our campus Zoom environment over the last 12 months - and most of those were people invited into the session by students who are in the class), but almost all reported incidents were actually just students being shitty to each other and to their instructors for laughs. And no password would prevent that. We could have locked the platform down so far that it would have been essentially a lecture-only tool, which wouldn’t have been useful for anyone. And by treating people as adults and expecting them to treat each other well, some folks will take advantage of that to salve their boredom or frustration or whatnot.

“But just disable anonymous access!”

We can’t. There are valid reasons for allowing people to join without having to authenticate, so we get to continue this fun little dance.

For kicks, I checked my O365 calendar. In 2020 (well, the online portion… March-December 2020), I was in:

  • 554 Zoom meetings
  • 161 Microsoft Teams meetings
  • 8 WebEx meetings

and probably a bunch of other ad hoc meetings that weren’t set up in the calendar.

That’s a lot of people in little pixellated boxes squished into a screen.

🧺 Other

The Boy™ was accepted to his first choice program at SAIT! He’ll be starting the Information Technologies diploma program in the fall. He’ll be amazing at it.

Season 5 of The Expanse. Wow. Wow. I mean. wow.

World Cancer Day. I’m kind of anti-cancer, myself…

We had some morning visitors - 8 young deer checking out the ravine behind our house.

morning visitors

and… it’s coming4


Jason Kottke linked to Life Lessons From 100-Year Olds. I’ve been thinking a lot about aging this year, after the shitty last few years my parents have had.

🗓️ Focus for next week

  • Hopefully posting for the LTS:PI position. At least, setting up the hiring committee and designing the interview protocol.
  • Working with my team to start planning how we’ll coordinate participating in the president’s campus engagement process.

  1. via Tony Bates ↩︎

  2. via Ars Technica ↩︎

  3. I just checked our Zoom Dashboard for the campus environment. That’s the legit number of meetings hosted within our campus account over the last 12 months. Mind boggling. ↩︎

  4. no weather-tweets, so this is for Alan… ↩︎

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