Tag: Weeknotes (page 1 of 5)

Weeknote 46/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #324 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. It was entitled ‘Two steps forward, one hour back’ and was, as ever, made possible via those who support me on Patreon.
  • Working on the MoodleNet project (Mon-Thurs):
    • Participating in a Moodle branding workshop.
    • Getting ready for our workweek in Barcelona next week (logistics, booking, etc.)
    • Creating ‘job landscapes’ for a couple of potential additions to our team.
    • Finalising our approach to user testing of the sign-up process with Outlandish.
    • Reviewing the stats for the existing moodle.net with Gavin Henrick and Mary Cooch.
    • Adding a bit more detail to the plan about integrating with Moodle Core.
    • Working with Mayel on our approach to bounties for privacy and security testing.
  • Creating videos for CET Israel as part of the Digital Literacy MOOC they’re creating for teachers in Beer Sheva. It involved me buying a green screen and lights, a bit of a learning curve, and lots of editing. While it was intense work to get finished in time, it was enjoyable!
  • Accepting an invitation from Ilona Buchem to an Open Badges workshop in Brussels next month.
  • Recording two microcasts, which are available only to Patreon supporters:
  • Coming second in a pub quiz in aid of Tearfund. I think that I was the youngest there, so had to lean on the other members of my team…

Next week I’m in Barcelona from Sunday evening to Friday night with the rest of the MoodleNet team and, towards the end of the week, Outlandish.

Weeknote 43/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’m in Denver, CO, USA for MoodleMoot US. I get back home on Thursday, when I’ll be working on stuff for CET Israel.


Photo looking up the Thames towards London taken by me during a family trip on the Emirates Air Line on Friday.

Weeknote 36/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week, I’m working from home on Monday, then in Manchester for the ALT conference from Tuesday to Thursday.


Image from p.118 of the excellent Life in Code by Ellen Ullman

Weeknote 35/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Working on the MoodleNet project (Mon-Weds):
    • Screening more applicants for the MoodleNet backend developer (Elixir) position.
    • Checking in with Outlandish about UX and front end development.
    • Meeting with Kaye Cheung about branding and the @moodlenet Twitter account.
    • Planning and booking travel/accommodation for an upcoming mini-sprint around front end development with Outlandish in London.
    • Defining sprints up to MVP release.
    • Configuring our GitLab to work as we want it to. We had initially set up sprints as milestones, but are reconfiguring to make it more legible to the community.
    • Creating the first draft of a quarterly team review report which I’ll be finishing off next week.
    • Publicising the first ‘office hours’ for MoodleNet next Thursday. Further details on the blog.
  • Collaborating with my We Are Open colleagues on some upcoming work (Thurs).
  • Joining my family in Devon at the in-laws.
  • Deleting my account on social.coop and reverting to an old account elsewhere on Mastodon.

Next week I’m back working from home working on MoodleNet and participating remotely in a thinkathon for London CLC.

Weeknote 30/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #313 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Mootivation’. Thanks to those who back me via Patreon plus those who continue their support via Gumroad!
  • Hot. This week, it’s been around 30°C at times in the North East of England where I live. That’s pretty much unheard of, and given our bedroom is in the loft conversion, I haven’t been sleeping that well. I also got a bit sunburned watching my son at a football tournament all day last Sunday.
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Finishing off a sprint which was mainly focused on figuring out MoodleNet integration with Moodle Core. There’s still work to be done, but you can see Mayel’s working document here.
    • Collaborating with Outlandish on UX Milestone 2. This has taken up most of my time this week, with daily stand-ups and feedback as to how things should flow from the user’s point of view. We’ll be recording a couple of screencasts next week to show the community.
    • Meeting with Pat Lockley who has project called Solvonauts which searches OER repositories.
    • Writing up an idea around emoji triplets for persistent identity in decentralised networks like MoodleNet.
    • Reflecting on what the MountainMoot organisers do well and what we can learn from them. Also, the notes from the MoodleNet session I ran there are linked from this post.
    • Mocking up what Open Badges in MoodleNet might look like. You can preview them here.
    • Meeting with our Data Protection Officer to discuss what seems like, on the surface, a simple thing to do: add an email address to our draft Code of Conduct. However, there are layers of complexity in decentralised networks — which I think we’ve resolved!
    • Reviewed our use of Changemap (private beta) for community suggestions.
    • Deciding to move from Trello to GitLab issues for planning within the MoodleNet team starting with the sprint that begins on 7th August (i.e. Mayel’s figuring it out while I’m on holiday!)
  • Recording, editing and releasing Episode 105 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host Dai Barnes. We entitled this episode ‘I dunno… Idaho?’ and discussed emoji triplets, Don Norman’s call for more human-centred technologies, Microsoft OneNote integration with Google Classroom, living in public, and more!
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
  • Continuing my streak learning Spanish on on Duolingo. I’m now up to 27 days!
  • Writing posts on my Discours.es blog about things that, for one reason or another, didn’t seem to fit elsewhere:
  • Putting together an introductory guide to Open Badges for a client with other members of our co-op. I’m looking forward to sharing it once complete!

Next week is the last before our family holiday: a European adventure around Europe via plane, train, and automobile! I’m going to be at home working on MoodleNet and some consultancy stuff.


Image by Henry Be released under the Unsplash license

Weeknote 29/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #312 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Thanks to those who back me via Patreon plus those who continue their support via Gumroad!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Travelling – I’ve been in Helena, Montana (USA) at the MountainMoot. There’s lots to learn from this ‘unofficial’ moot in terms of engagement and creating a great vibe. The photo accompanying this post is of Carroll College which is where the moot was held with the Montana mounts in the distance.
    • Running a session at the MountainMoot. The attendance wasn’t high, as you’d expect from an early-stage innovation project up against sessions with more tangible outcomes, but there were some great discussions.
    • Working with Outlandish on the second UX milestone. This one is a bit more tricky as we didn’t discuss many of the features from this milestone at the Design Sprint. Check out our meeting notes from this week’s call. We also came up with the user flow for the screencast demo we’ll produce at the end of this sprint.
    • Updating the MoodleNet white paper to v0.25. This was mainly small tweaks to reflect changes in scope and focus to the project over the last few months.
    • Drafting a proposal for the Mozilla Festival on the theme of ‘decentralisation’. You can see that here.
    • Thinking through an idea around emoji triplets for visually communicating identity when users can change both their username and avatar on a decentralised platform.
    • Reviewing Mayel’s draft document explaining how MoodleNet will integrate with Moodle Core.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
  • Writing posts on my Discours.es blog about things that, for one reason or another, didn’t seem to fit elsewhere:

Next week, I’m going to be at home working on MoodleNet, and in particular UX milestone 2.

Weeknote 25/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #308 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘World Cup(cake)’. Thanks to the 39 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who continue their support via Gumroad!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
  • Accompanying my son to hospital a couple of times for a total of around seven hours. He was messing around with his friends after school and a stray rugby tackle knocked him out cold. He’s had some double-vision, but should be OK!
  • Catching up with Cliff Manning about some upcoming work with the Carnegie UK Trust’s #NotWithoutMe digital accelerator project. I also put together an agenda for a workshop I’m running next month for the National STEM Learning Centre.
  • Spending much less time reading and reading due to my son’s injury. That’s meant only one post on the Thought Shrapnel blog: Crawling before you walk.
  • Watching as many World Cup football matches as I can.
  • Opting-out of NHS data gathering (for the second time) on behalf of my family. Given recent revelations about data-sharing with Google, I don’t see why I should give anyone more information about my family’s health than is strictly necessary.
  • Re-elected as Secretary of our local Scout group at the AGM.
  • Testing out Nextcloud again using a free account at disroot.org. I’d quite like to know that important data such as photos, bookmarks, and files are safe and in a place that isn’t being data-mined. I’ve started supporting Disroot on Patreon at $2/month while I test it out, and will up my backing to the $15/month level for the complete list of services if I continue using them.

Next week I’m doing five days for Moodle. I’ll be at home on Monday until my flight to Barcelona in the evening for the MoodleMoot. I’m very much looking forward to visiting the new Moodle office in Barcelona, which opens just before the Moot! I get back home on Friday night.

Image by clement127 used under a CC BY-NC-ND license

Weeknote 24/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #307 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Home on the range’. Thanks to the 38 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who are supporters via Gumroad!
  • Recording, editing and releasing Episode 104 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host Dai Barnes. We entitled this episode ‘Facebook folly’ and discussed leadership, inequality, anarchy, Facebook’s role in society, drugs use in universities, ‘facilitating’ subjects, and more!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Continuing our first two-week sprint, focused on setting milestones for the project. This took a while as there a lots of different approaches and moving parts. You can check out our Trello board and milestones (which are all linked to Jira epics). We’re taking account of travel and holidays in listing future sprints, which we’ve got mapped up to the end of October.
    • Figuring out how we’re going to run community calls after being advised by Moodle’s DPO and Legal Counsel, Carlo Polizzi (very nicely!) that we weren’t capturing data from community members in a GDPR-compliant way. More in this blog post.
    • Updating our project overview slide deck to v0.6 and presenting to this month’s Moodle Users Association town hall meeting.
    • Meeting with Martin Dougiamas and Mayel de Borniol to discuss the best way for MoodleNet to integrate with Moodle Core. We’re considering launching with only support for MoodleCloud, as this simplifies compatibility with resources and different versions. However, we’ve more thinking to do on that…
    • Helping the rest of the Team Leads figure out which project management software we should use.
    • Mapping out the spectrum between building a fully federated system and a closed SaaS product. Unsurprisingly, we’re attempting to build something that’s as open as possible while being commercially viable. An ‘API-as-a-service’ approach may work well here, but we’ve further work to do.
    • Catching up with Alberto Corado on UX/Design input to the MoodleNet project, and also Gavin Henrick and Tom Murdock about project management.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
    • Higher Education and blockchain
    • On ‘instagrammability’
    • F*** off Google
    • “Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble. There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.”(Og Mandino)
    • Where memes come from
    • “Whenever we get swept up in the self-reinforcing momentum and seductive logic of some new technology, we forget to ask what else it might be doing, how else it might be working, and who ultimately benefits most from its appearance. Why time has been diced into the segments between notifications, why we feel so inadequate to the parade of images that reach us through our devices, just why it is that we feel so often feel hollow and spent. What might connect our choices and the processes that are stripping the planet, filthing the atmosphere, and impoverishing human and nonhuman lives beyond number. Whether and in what way our actions might be laying the groundwork for an oppression that is grimmer yet and still more total. And finally we forget to ask whether, in our aspiration to overcome the human, we are discarding a gift we already have at hand and barely know what to do with.” (Adam Greenfield)
    • Inequality, anarchy, and the course of human history
  • Going on a Fathers Day hike with my son’s Scouts troop.
  • Configuring three reconditioned Amazon Fire 8 HD tablets (+microSD cards) I purchased for my kids and me. My wife already has a Xiaomi Mi Pad 3. I’ve installed the F-Droid marketplace so I can install the Yalp to download apps from the Google Play store. It’s also possible to use LauncherHijack so you can use something like Lawnchair instead of the stock Amazon launcher.
  • Enjoying World Cup 2018, although I missed Spain vs. Portugal as I was, unexpectedly, actually playing football. I was on my way into the gym when someone popped their head out of the leisure centre sports hall saying they were a player short.
  • Taking Friday off and picking our brand-new (second hand) car, a 2013 Volvo V60.
  • Writing:

Next week I’m working from home all week, preparing for the week after when I’ll be in Barcelona at MoodleMoot Spain 2018!

Weeknote 22/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #305 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Sprinting into the distance’. Thanks to the 35 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who are supporters via Gumroad!
  • Camping with Scouts as a parent helper at Pirate Marra. I really enjoyed it, and managed to get some sleep too!
  • Going for a walk up Simonside with my family. It was misty when we started out, but cleared by the time we got to the top.
  • Planning our family summer holiday. We’ll be flying to Spain and back from Germany, and interrailing for two weeks inbetween! I want to show my children how wonderful Europe is before Brexit kicks in.
  • Leading another thinkathon for We Are Open co-op with the Israeli Center for Educational Technology. We’re helping them with a digital literacy MOOC, and I’m looking forward to the next steps!
  • Spending some time by myself while my wife and children flew to Devon for a couple of days to visit the in-laws.
  • Buying and using Xiaomi body composition scales. I’m already using (and loving) my Xiaomi Amazfit Bip smartwatch, and these scales use the same Mi Fit app. Note that I’m blocking trackers these days on my Android phone using Blokada. The scales told me that my BMI is slightly too high and that I’ve got too much visceral fat. On the plus side, my muscle mass is ‘good’ and my bone mass is ‘normal’.
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Working only two days to decompress after last week’s MoodleNet design sprint, and to observe the UK Bank Holiday on Monday.
    • Co-ordinating with Mayel de Borniol, our new MoodleNet Technical Architect. We’re going to be working in two-week sprints, starting Wednesday 6th June. Mayel will be working three days for Moodle over the next six months, I work four days.
    • Setting up Trello boards to work with Mayel.
    • Catching up with a couple of consultants who have been helping us figure out the search and metadata aspects of MoodleNet.
    • Following-up with the randomly-picked winners (thanks Claudia!) of the Amazon and Zazzle vouchers we provided as an incentive to fill in the pre-design sprint MoodleNet survey.
    • Giving feedback to Outlandish, who facilitated last week’s design sprint.
    • Tidying up the wiki page for the design sprint and uploading all of the photos from the week.
    • Reading and adding to the information around the May 2018 product roadmaps forum.
    • Booking flights for the Barcelona Moot in June and the Mountain Moot in July.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:

Next week, and for the next three weeks before the Barcelona MoodleMoot, I’m working from home. So I’m looking forward to getting into a good, healthy routine and shedding some of that body fat!

Weeknote 21/2018

This week I’ve been:

This Bank Holiday weekend I’m helping out with Marra Camp, a huge Scout camp in Northumberland as a parent helper. My son will be there and the weather is forecast to be good, so I’m looking forward to it. Following that, I’m taking some holiday, working on co-op stuff, and then getting back into Moodle stuff next Thursday.

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