All posts by Jason B. Jones

by

New Keywords on Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

Manifesto for Teaching Online

I’ve made note before (in December 2015 and last June) about the open review process for the Modern Language Association’s project, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, “a curated collection of reusable and remixable pedagogical artifacts for humanities scholars.”

There’s a new batch of keywords open for review, and they’re pretty great:

by

Weekend Reading: All the Data, So Many Problems

Starwars video game cassette

I was struck over the holiday week by two posts that both seem to illustrate the unfortunate triumph of (a version of) data over judgment. The first is the story of “Chuck Finley,” in which staff at the East Lake County Library invented a fake patron who seemed to check out thousands of books in order to fake out automated book weeding software. That story directly pits the judgment of librarians against a budget-enforced short-termism of administrators, and pointed to real risks that accrue fr…

by

Build a Habit Streak With Productive

graffiti of habit

Jerry Seinfeld has a well-known piece of productivity advice known as “don’t break the chain.” The idea is simple: you visibly mark on a calendar every day you perform some task–write a good joke, work on squats, write toward an article, learn TEI, whatever–and make sure you do it for several consecutive days. Then, you rely on the power of momentum: just don’t break the chain of days. Keep the streak going, and you will build a habit of prioritizing what’s really important–such as your academi…

by

Weekend Reading: Almost Home Edition

a dog playing in water

If you’re teaching on the semester system, there’s a pretty good chance you’re in its dying embers, so I will get out of your way and usher you directly on to this weekend’s links!

  • Preventing cheating in multiplayer video games turns out to be around as challenging as preventing plagiarism: Given that cheating is surprisingly widespread, and to many, perfectly acceptable, an entire culture of self-entitled habitual video game cheaters has sprung up. In these social circles, cheating at video g…
by

Securing Your Data

locked door

William Gibson has a lovely meditation on privacy, encryption, and history in the New York Times, as he considers the necessary difficulty of linking these terms:

In the short term, the span of a lifetime, many of us would argue for privacy, and therefore against transparency. But history, the long term, is transparency; it is the absence of secrets. So we are quite merciless, as historians, when it comes to the secrets of the past, the secrets of the dead. We come to know them with an intimac…

by

Alphabetizing Books Quickly: QuickSort, Insertion Sort, and Bubble Sort

piles of books

Sometimes, the video that would’ve been helpful for you arrives right after you’ve completed a task. Over the past few months, I’ve been gradually relocating my books from my basement at home to my office at work, thus symbolically completing a move that’s now 3+ years old. Once I got them all to work, they were piled on my shelves, and so I needed to quickly sort them.

Shortly after finally getting them all organized, I discovered that Chand John and Anton Trofimov have a video (via Open Cul…

by

Getting More Done with Emoji

worried raccoon

One of the great paradoxes of the communication tools that are designed to help folks work together is how poorly they scale: what seems like a convenient way to share information quickly turns into an avalanche of messages that one feels compelled to keep up-to-date with.

Over the past year or so, Lee, Maha, and I have written several times about the various ways we use or teach with Slack, a modern platform for communications that can often feel more or less like a modern ICQ chat environment…

by

Help Defray Scott Eric Kaufman’s Medical Bills

batman coffee
For almost as long as there have been widely-read academic blogs, Scott Eric Kaufman’s has been a vital, funny, brilliant voice on it. For those of us who have been blogging for 10 years or more, it’s almost certain that you’ve run across him online, and probably come away better for it. And even though he’s long since left higher ed, he will always be an important part of our community.

As some of you may know, Scott is currently facing a profound health crisis, with multiple organ failures, a…

by

Resisting Surveillance

graffiti of a surveillance camera

There are many reasons to start paying increased attention to security and privacy, especially in light of the election. Heck, just today Russian hackers launched a phishing attack at NGOs and policy think tanks, using “purpose-built Gmail accounts and what may be a compromised e-mail account from Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Science.” In addition to NGOs and think tanks, “another wave of similar e-mails targeted universities” last month. So protecting yourself online is probably a …

by

Yeah, Maybe Not Today

The whiteboard in George's office

It’s a pretty weird day in most of American higher ed, I think, and no amount of “heyyyyyy . . . look at this new web service / app / grading strategy!” is likely to make it better. I don’t think there’s any great advice for situations where at least some students fear for their lives, others are stunned and grieving, and others are pretty happy. (Maybe support the first two, especially? Seems decent.)

It’s ok to take care of those who need it today, including perhaps yourself. And if you are d…