All posts by Alan Levine

Comment on Unabashedly anthemic by Alan Levine

I never tire of Tommy, which was the 2nd Who disc I owned after starting with The Kids are Alright which we should give the proto anthemic nod to “A Quick One”. I am sure I got the album after having seen the sappy movie version and just loved how rich it was in just the listening, that the visual was not needed.

This goes to something about it’s really not about the size of the class in terms of seats, but the size of the experience created. You can have anthemic performances in large venues and yawning bombs. Why do we just ascribe the experience based on the numbers of audience?

“Do you think he’s all right?”

I remain more than impressed you are doing this more classes in the 100s range. I am fairly confident that Garrdnerness scales well.

Comment on O Tempora! O Moira! by Alan Levine

Archiving your web work is soul work, is a good mantra. I am thinking it’s one valid response to the staying on the My side of the web.

My subdomain includes the bones of sites I have reclaimed from elsewhere or ones I have migrated from elsewhere in my sprawl of domains including a fraction of all the stuff I spawner in 14 years of web making at Maricopa.

I’m glad VCU created that Great Bike Race Archive, although the path of going through lists, to a library card, to a PDF version of a web page feels a wee bit dusty and un web-like. But something exceeds nothing. It’s a good thing that many of the parts of that site still live in Rampages, where the institution web zappers have not vacuumed yet, especially the Covering the Coverage (met a meta) that was our effort

You likely know, but I hoisted an archive of the bike jersey front end, including the faculty reflections I’m pretty proud of that site, and it’s all HTML so will never die.

The blog post in my head is about the craft of both those early sites like Stranded, where much was done by hand, and the handwork one needs to do to make these archives. That’s what makes it My, not relying on a service, or a database, or a platform, but the human touch in both assembling the archives. That’s what’s missing in what feels like soulless templating by 3rd party sites.

Keep on archiving! If that voice ever says “nobody cares” I can say it is wrong.

Comment on Further on up the road by Alan Levine

I love hearing this… err reading… err no in your writing I hear you. I always found on these walks I could find answers to things I could not get to staring at the screen or just generating new things. Not every walk has the magic.

When I visited you and Alice all those pre-pandemic eons ago I took strolls too (the Alice kind, my favorite walks are spontaneously making decisions to turn), but I cannot recall the house in your pics.

I get out of it what I see you doing, what happens that feels like magic when you take up the act of noticing stuff you’d normally not (there was a great book “In Walking” where the author made deliberate attempts to notice more in her NYC neighborhood walks). For me the photography angle is a driver, Loki g for something different in places I’ve been before.

I hear also that value too of just letting ideas in the head swirl, connect, disconnect, remix.

Thanks for this reminder as this is an act of that research person in a world of textbook framed and recipe limited others.

Here’s to future walks, together one day

Comment on Thicker Skin and Better Wings by Alan Levine

Thicker skin would just make you sweaty and uncomfortable in moist Virginia summers ???? I am fairly confident we have evolved the ideal skin thickness.

A small bit (that needs to go to Tom’s blog, but hey I am here) about Field Botany is that it totally inspired the ideas that came to become SPLOTS in 2014 that I still work on and people use 7 years hence.

Skin that!

And I hope this lent driven writing does not stop.

Comment on Online Class meeting preshow by Alan Levine

I’m filing this away in “ideas I will steal/borrow” folder. I know we talk about these small rituals as a way of making the class more than a color block in a schedule, that it has an essence of being an event. Not show-personship or being a show, but … a regular occasion?

In reading this I am struck too that there is a regularity, an expectation that you set up for students, but there is also the unknown. What will be the music? The greeting? The daffy message?

And saving the weekly opening covers into a class end show piece is a marvelous way to tie the whole course together. It creates something than can trigger every participants memories and connections.

I believe these small acts matter a lot.

Comment on Substack, RSS, and privacy by Alan Levine

So glad to see a focus on the power of Feed Reading as a habit. I still maintain that the humble, often designated dead Feed REader is the only technology, that is not lying when described as time saving

NetNewsWire was my first reader! Glad it is still around, and as D’Arcy notes, as a desktop app all your habits should stay there.

I’ve been pretty happy with Inoreader, and I don’t use too many of its advanced features, but there’s a lot there you can do. I tend to use Feedly for classes where I want to have some feeds from my students bundled together.

As much as I advocate and still create the syndication blog hubs for connected courses, I have wondered if we served students better showing how they can create their own hubs with a reader and a started pack of OPML

Comment on Reflections on digital learning environments, part one by Alan Levine

I should just say “ditto” to what Cindy just said. It’s a great day when Gardner Writes pops up in the RSS reader with a new post. And if it is “Part One” we can anticipate the sequel.

The term of cognitive psychology “appraisal” is now, though the linked definition seemed more about a response to stress. I’ve always liked the notion of spaces (physical or digital) having the indicators to occupants of “affordance” (one of the last talks I gave Usually associated with functions, I dug back to to psychologist James J. Gibson in his “The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception”

The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill. The verb to afford is found in the dictionary, the noun affordance is not. I have made it up. I mean by it something that refers to both the environment and the animal in a way that no existing term does. It implies the complementarity of the animal and the environment.

I liked that there’s not strictly a good/bad bias to it, and it’s related as much to the space as to the needs, motivations of the people who come there.

It also suggests to be we give way to much power or credit or blame to the space, and less what we do there. What you describe in your approach to phpBB echoes of how I have seen you teach/facilitate in a classroom space, in a seminar, and in online activities.

More dinner party hosting than the design of the dining room.

Part duex, please. Serve it with ketchup!