More Inter-Team Communication Issues

As I , online courses are often riddled with inconsistencies resulting from poor communication between text content teams and others, such as media and programming. I have more examples. The past couple days saw me studying my accounting course intensively, even bringing in a parent to help. Together, we discovered a plethora of errors, all in one section of the unit, and all related to pictures and animations. While the text was always correct, the images and animated examples often contradicted the text or just plain confused you with misplaced signs, misnamed accounts, missing numbers, extra numbers, you-name-it. I took…

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Careless Programmers Make Frustrated Students

If you’re a programmer of JavaScript, and you work for a company that develops online courses, please, please, please make sure you coordinate with your content team. Really. I’ve come across so many errors having to do with badly-programmed little “quizzes” within courses that could have been solved by better communication between the content and interactivity teams. Take an example from this past weekend: A “self-check” quiz (not graded, just helps students learn the material) asks that the user convert a series of measurements from one unit to another. It explicitly specifies that the numbers are not to have commas…

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Busywork, Busywork, Busywork…

Working this past weekend on my Physical Science course, I have seen nothing but busywork for the last two days (and a lot of in the material). The written assignment on the Metric System I started over an hour ago is still keeping me busy, not because it’s hard, but because it repeats the same exercises over and over and over again ad nauseam in a multitude of ways. I can understand the need to drive fundamental concepts like unit conversion into students’ heads, but the difference between ten questions and a hundred is like the difference between nicely handing…

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And I Wondered Why Nobody Knows How the Internet Works

This Web design course I’m taking at school doesn’t have much in the way of accuracy. In this second workshop, for example, there is a “Spotlight On: Default Pages” sidebar that states (my emphasis in italics): Default Page The Default page is the first page of your Web site that visitors see. This page will most likely contain links to other pages in your site. Every Web site has a Default or Index page. When you type a Web site address in a browser, it automatically looks for a file called Default or Index. It is important to make sure…

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More Google Docs Comments

Now that I’ve been using Google Docs for the better part of a week, I must say I’m pretty impressed with its capabilities. I can edit assignments from any computer, have other people review and edit them from anywhere, email directly from the composition window without saving a file to disk, and even edit at the same time as an advanced collaborator. Amazingly, Docs does not support charts, though you can insert them as PNGs exported from Google Spreadsheets, somewhat defeating the convenience. It’s either dummy spreadsheet or Word time for me, because I have an assignment that requires graphs……

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School Email Sucks

Today’s generation of Web servers can do a lot of things: Run a store, provide static information, publish random writings (like mine), host sites anyone can edit (Wikipedia, specifically, and wikis in general), bring news updates instantly (RSS/Atom), and run schools. That’s right, run schools. Built on the Apache Tomcat server base, the Blackboard Learning System has been adopted by many schools, including Augsburg College (which has since switched to Moodle, mentioned below) and the notorious Houston, MN, School District, better known as MCoOL (those are the ones I know). Other platforms like Moodle don’t seem to be as popular,…

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Digital Photography Doesn’t Equal GIMP 101

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Two months. In that time, I have had a lot of things happen. I’d like to focus on one thing, though, for now. That is my Digital Photography course. Er, GIMP 101, as it should be called. There’s really nothing to do with photography in this course, except you take pictures. But the projects all involve some task with the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), not composing a photo or some such. I’m not exactly disgusted with the course — learning to use the GIMP is good and useful — but the course definitely…

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I Call It: Sucksimation:Master

The Animation:Master program from Hash is certainly a powerful animation suite. It has a good layout, OK modeling tools, and lots of shortcuts. What it doesn’t have is decent undo functionality. Every little change like selecting or deselecting a point, changing views, and rotating the display all get entered into the history under that little left-pointing arrow; it makes for some pretty frustrating moments when you make a mistake. And the problem could be much lessened if they’d just put a menu in the button, like Microsoft Word’s undo/redo or the back and forward buttons of just about every major…

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Valentines’ Day… Ho Hum

So, today was Valentines’ Day, huh? A Hallmark holiday if I ever saw one. I did get some entertainment in orchestra today, though. As a result of this holiday, too. A group of kids, apparently going around the school delivering Valentines’ songs, sang one of their songs in our class. “Oh say can you see/That John-John loves you?…” to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner“. The whole class cracked up. That would be worth having Valentines’ Day every day, if only that would happen all the time.I know, I know, this has nothing to do with technology or computing, but…

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AM and Total Power

So, remember my post about that stupid Animation:Master software? I got it installed. My teacher gave me the administrator password to my school computer. Yep, I can have total control now. Not that I’m going to use it. I’m still sticking to the motto of only using programs I can make work under Limited account privileges.

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