Category: Week in Review (Page 1 of 2)

Week in Review: 3/26-4/1


One of my favorite things about my job is that I meet with people from a variety of departments and offices across campus every week to brainstorm and build all sorts of projects. This week, I had meetings every day.

I have been working with Prof. Honorée Jeffers on a couple of websites and some course design throughout this academic year. Meeting with Honorée is always one of the highlights of my week. As much as she’s a gifted storyteller—she was recently recognized with the Harper Lee Award—she’s equally gifted at flattery, and I always walk away from our meetings feeling like I revolutionized the internet and lassoed the moon.

I also had brainstorming meetings for new websites for an upcoming conference and a history database. I love brainstorming meetings, because I get to throw out all sorts of ideas and then sit back while someone else decides what they want to actually implement.

At the end of the week, Keegan and I met with Stacy Jacob from Slippery Rock to discuss research in gamification and gameful learning. Keegan and I need to start writing more, so I’m hoping that we can find some partners like Stacy who will line up prompts for us, give us deadlines, and then hold us accountable for saying something interesting.

New Tech

On Monday, I attended a demo by CodeOcean that Sarah Clayton arranged in the library. Unlike GitHub, which hosts code, CodeOcean allows you to stand up an environment in the cloud to run the code. You can import python or most other open language code sets into your account, tell the system what environment you need and then allow people to run your code for themselves. This improves transparency and reproducibility in code-based research. I really like this concept and have already recommended it to one of the professors who’s looking for ways to share code with and among his students.

I stumbled across this week and have already spent a ton of time playing with it. Basically, it’s a cross-platform service that’s designed to be a personal or team dashboard. It combines the functionalities of Trello, a rich-text note taking app, and a wiki. You can embed files or link out to files. I’m using it for personal organization right now to help me make sense of my files that are spread over my local hard-drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Apple Cloud.

What I’m Reading

I’m trying to read a book every week this year. This week I read The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn at the recommendation of both my sister and dad. The book plays off of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The narrator is a recluse who hasn’t left her house in quite a while and has spent her time watching Hitchcock and other classics. One day she sees something horrible out her window, and the reader is left trying to decide whether to trust the narrator and her view on the world.

I so enjoyed the novel that I read it in one sitting, probably the first time I’ve done that since Harry Potter 7. I’m not a movie buff, so many of the allusions went over my head, but I still found it a gripping and sad story about mental illness and trust. I really recommend this book.

My Top 3 Goals for next week

  • I need to plan out the 3rd Annual OU Creaties for this year. Every year we honor the best students and faculty who created the best new websites and web content in OU Create. I thought last year was a great success, so I’m going to build off of that and add on 3D printed trophies and one or two other new features.
  • Keegan and I need to draft an abstract for an article on our GOBLIN Faculty Learning Community.
  • We are getting closer and closer to OLC Innovate 18. I am running a new online portion of the conference called OLC Live. This week I need to line up the interviews that we will do with keynotes, organizers, and presenters at the conference.

Photo of the week

This photo is actually from last Saturday, but close enough. I got a decent shot of my daughter and my dad walking to the playground together.

2017 Creaties

This past Friday we held the second annual Creaties to recognize some of the best new sites created by OU students, staff, and faculty. The event went great thanks to the University Club here at OU. The venue, food, and drinks made for a great setting for people to show off their work and chat with other makers.

Last year, we were trying to promote OU Create by showcasing sites built on the platform. This year, we expanded the scope a bit to include sites built in SquareSpace, Wix, and the like. The point of Create and similar Domain of One’s Own projects is to make it easier for people at the university to be digital makers. As long as people are out there making great stuff, it doesn’t matter what platform their using.

Keegan Long Wheeler did a great job documenting the event on our twitter account @OU_Create:

For the event we opened up nominations on our website and emailed all of the Create users and digitally inclined folk here at OU to ask for submissions. It was great to see so many students sites nominated:

In addition to the student blogs and portfolios, we also had faculty portfolios, course sites, and an open textbook. Perhaps the most unique site was a scheduling app that can help departments identify conflicts between required parts of their curriculum:

The 2017 Creaties were great, thanks to the wonderful makers on campus. As soon as the event ended, I was thinking about next year and a couple conversations I want to start or continue. Rob Carr pointed out the opportunity to promote accessibility with the event.

I would like to see about either creating a prize or making accessibility part of our rubric for all prizes. This is also a great venue for conversations about OER, multi-modal communication, and privacy. Can’t wait for next year.

My Week in Review, June 6-10

Tweet of the Week

Blog Writing

Monday: Canvas Tip: Messaging Inactive Students

Tuesday: Twine & Serious Gaming

Wednesday: Action Figures in the Classroom, a book review of Play Like a Pirate

Thursday: Open Notes for Deep Maps, a demo of the Situating Chemistry database and a call for open research


– I have been finishing up with the QA review for a 4-week session of the History Channel summer course that starts on Monday. The first weeks worth of material is now available to the students, so hopefully everything is done. We’ll see.

– I have also been trying to wrap my mind around on-boarding strategies for students as we at OU transition to Canvas. I am working on an open class for students that will walk them through some of the basics of the LMS and point out a few differences with our old LMS, D2L. But, I would also like to find a way to do something a bit more creative to attract students into a course that they would want to do and would give them an experiential grounding. I haven’t found anything similar online, so if you know of anything, let me know.

OU Create Maintenance

– We had a batch of registration issues this week for some reason, but as usual, the Reclaim Hosting technical support was awesome. About a dozen students managed to sign up for multiple accounts each. Reclaim helped to consolidate those accounts according to the students’ intentions and got everyone squared away in time for them to build their course projects.

Media Consumption

– I have watched a lot of basketball lately and will be watching more soccer over the next month or two. I also watched Sicario last weekend and am slowly going through the newest season of Peaky Blinders. Both tell stories about the intractability of crime, but I enjoy Peaky Blinders more because its anti-heroes are more human and likeable. I highly recommend /filmcast’s pod on Sicario.

– Zach Lowe’s basketball podcast is always excellent, and his coverage of the finals has been particularly good:

– I also really like the Ringer’s Keeping it 1600 with former Obama White House staffers Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer. This week they interviewed David Plouffe. Plouffe threw out the idea that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin might make Trump’s short list for vice president. That would be a Palin-esque disaster that and might get her out of her gubernatorial office, so win-win.


– We continue to paint our kitchen cabinets. We’re probably up to 60% done, and I’m trying to finish by the time my family comes to visit for father’s day.

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