Tom Woodward

Associate Director, Learning Innovation

My interests run the gamut and are probably best reflected in the sites I save, what I photograph, and what I write.

Recent Blog Posts

WordPress Dev Environment URL Helper

Tim moves our rampages database to our dev server roughly every month. Our database is big and awkward and uses Multi DB to deal with the scale. Because of the multiple databases some of the typical migration patterns to get the URLs right don’t work. We were suffering through that for a while but I’d find myself ported from the dev environment to the live site at times without realizing that’s what happened. That is not a fun way to live. Because Jeff was working on a really smart way to do this in the database I realized I didn’t know more than I thought I didn’t know. As a result I stumbled upon the ability to filter the site url and home options. That means we can make a tiny little network activated plugin that leaves our database alone and just filters things on the fly with a dab of regex.

Social Media Jujutsu

Jujutsu1 is a martial art focused on using your opponent’s momentum against them– clever redirection of force rather than trying to meet it directly. This seems like it might be an option for some of today’s social media woes where people are trying to continue to take advantage of the good aspects of these tools/communities while opposing some of their attempts at manipulation. There are major alternatives like Brontosaurus Mastodon but many people aren’t going to make that jump.2 So consider this post more of a way you might mitigate harm while continuing using tools meant to bend your mind and warp your perceptions. Twitter Numbers One way these interfaces play games with your mind is by showing all kinds of numbers. You’ve got a score card for likes, retweets, followers etc. It becomes a shortcut. Is this tweet funny? 453 people fav’d it. Should I fav it too or is this just a bandwagon thing now? How good was my tweet? Did enough people retweet it? That extends even to following people. How many followers do they have? Are they worth following? It can make you skip really looking at the content. One path out of Twitter’s attempt to manipulate you via numbers is Benjamin Grosser’s Twitter Demetricator. It’s a browser plugin3 that removes all those numbers replacing them […]

Social Media Jujutsu

Jujutsu1 is a martial art focused on using your opponent’s momentum against them– clever redirection of force rather than trying to meet it directly. This seems like it might be an option for some of today’s social media woes where people are trying to continue to take advantage of the good aspects of these tools/communities while opposing some of their attempts at manipulation. There are major alternatives like Brontosaurus Mastodon but many people aren’t going to make that jump.2 So consider this post more of a way you might mitigate harm while continuing using tools meant to bend your mind and warp your perceptions. Twitter Numbers One way these interfaces play games with your mind is by showing all kinds of numbers. You’ve got a score card for likes, retweets, followers etc. It becomes a shortcut. Is this tweet funny? 453 people fav’d it. Should I fav it too or is this just a bandwagon thing now? How good was my tweet? Did enough people retweet it? That extends even to following people. How many followers do they have? Are they worth following? It can make you skip really looking at the content. One path out of Twitter’s attempt to manipulate you via numbers is Benjamin Grosser’s Twitter Demetricator. It’s a browser plugin3 that removes all those numbers replacing them […]

Weekly Web Harvest for 2018-04-08

LOOK: Temple puts Twitter handles of players on football jerseys for spring game – CBSSports.com —I’m still finding it hard to believe this is real Instead of last names on the back of jerseys, the school put the Twitter user names of its players ahead of Saturday’s game. Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo | Life and style | The Guardian time passes very slowly when you’re in a hippo’s mouth. For years, Facebook has been secretly deleting Zuck’s messages from his correspondents’ inboxes / Boing Boing Facebook confirmed that starting in 2014, Facebook began covertly deleting the personal messages Zuckerberg had sent to Facebook users, allegedly in response to the hacking of Sony Pictures. Within hours of Techcrunch’s story, Facebook announced that it would extend this feature to other Facebook users. Even as Facebook was ensuring that its CEO could sanitize his public records, it was deceiving its users by claiming that when they deleted the private videos they’d uploaded, the videos would disappear — instead, Facebook permanently retained these videos. Some datasets for teaching data science · Simply Statistics This dataset includes gun murder data for US states in 2012. I use this dataset to introduce the basics of R program. The Eviction Lab The Eviction Lab at Princeton University has built the first nationwide database of […]

Tweets as Presentation: Reflecting on #pressedconf18

I took the opportunity to participate in the #PressedConf yesterday. Described as “. . . a twitter conference (#pressedconf18) looking into how WordPress is used in teaching, pedagogy and research.” it was a pretty impressive number of people and topics covered on Twitter in roughly 20 minute “Tweet storms.”1 Presenting on Twitter was something new to me and I tried to think through some interesting ways to approach things. Given how limited Twitter was I tried to tackle complexity in a few different ways while taking advantage of the way Twitter treats different content integrations. The Post I ended up deciding to build out a WordPress post with various sections that were associated with a number of the Tweets I’d make. I used good ol’ anchor links in the Tweets to be able to link specifically to those sections without having to resort lots of little posts. For example – brings you to the Custom Composition section directly. Not very visual on the Twitter end and probably cheating in the scheme of things. The Videos I tried to tackle other complexity through videos. I made a number of new videos and took advantage of a few others I’d had to try to show more details. I kind of wonder if this worked well. They appeared in two different ways. Some […]

 woodwardtw@vcu.edu

 http://bionicteaching.com/

 @twoodwar

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Last updated: April 11, 2018

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