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

Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-09-10

I Can’t Get Google – YouTube think about this sometime you assume people have some shared understanding of the Internet Is there any value in people who cannot write JavaScript? The worst part about pushing the “know everything” mentality is that we end up creating an industry full of professionals suffering from burnout and mental illness. We have people speaking at conferences about wellbeing, imposter syndrome and full stack anxiety, yet despite that, we perpetuate this idea that people have to know everything and be amazing at it. Corrupted Blood incident – Wikipedia The spell, intended to last only seconds and function only within the new area of Zul’Gurub, soon spread across the virtual world by way of an oversight that allowed pets and minions to take the affliction out of its intended confines. By both accidental and purposeful intent, a pandemic ensued that quickly killed lower-level characters and drastically changed normal gameplay, as players did what they could do to avoid infection. Despite measures such as programmer-imposed quarantines, and the players’ abandoning of densely populated cities (or even just not playing the game), it lasted until a combination of patches and resets of the virtual world finally controlled the epidemic. h/t https://twitter.com/lindseybieda idyll-lang.github Idyll is a tool that makes it easier to author interactive narratives for the web. The […]

Working on Accessibility

Bean with Tools on the Ocean of Storms flickr photo by NASA on The Commons shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) We’re taking a much deeper dive into accessibility lately. It is a fruitful and good thing to do but also one of those deceptively deep topics with lots of complications. As a result I’m learning a good bit so I better write it down before it’s all forgotten. Two Handy Tools Thanks to both Matt and Jeff, I ended up using a few different tools.1 Google’s Vox Plugin helps you get a better idea what the experience was going to be like for someone with issues seeing the website. Using this will enable you to understand exactly how some of your decisions play out. I found it very handy. As a minor warning, there appears to be no way to turn it off/on short of disabling the extension. Despite that, I really think it’s a good idea to spend some time using this tool. It really helps. The other useful tool so far has been the Siteimprove Chrome extension. It’s pretty handy to see what warnings/failures are in play in each page. It’s led me to realize that there are so many problems. Bits of Useful Code One of VCU’s requirements is a text only view for the […]

Correct Names in Comments

We had some trouble with the selected display name not showing up correctly in comments. It worked fine in themes which displayed post and page authors but comments was often incorrect. That wasn’t good from a user experience perspective and also concerned me a bit in terms of what students might expect to be showing vs what actually was showing. A bit of Google-ing prior to trying to write it from scratch led me to this post which I was able to add to a network activated plugin and be done with the issue. I tend to link in the source of stuff I used to solve the problem1 in the plugin. That gives me an embedded reference/footnote in case I ever need to revisit it and it provides a kind of credit as well. Good for me. Possibly even good for the author of the fix. Having a plugin network activated for fixes of this type is also handy. It keeps the plugin numbers down and ends up being a single place for adding/removing/troubleshooting random custom functions like this. 1 Harvard may not agree.

Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-09-03

Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World In 2015, HP pushed a fake security update to millions of Officejet owners, which showed up as a routine, ‘‘You must update your soft­ware’’ notification on their printers’ screens. Running that update installed a new, secret feature in your printer, with a long fuse. After six months’ wait, the infected printers all checked to see whether their ink cartridges had been refilled, or manufactured by third parties, and to refuse to print with any ink that HP hadn’t given its corporate blessing to. CS50 Updates Course Policies, Asks Students To Go To Class | News | The Harvard Crimson Students are now “encouraged” to physically attend the course’s taped weekly lectures, according to the two-page document. Malan had previously tweaked the course policies in fall 2016 to make lecture attendance optional. Attendance is now also expected at every discussion section until the first mid-semester exam. Malan wrote Thursday that previous CS50 students had reported the online presentations lacked the energy of in-person lectures. Meet Me in the Google Doc For, Uh… a Performance? | KQED Arts took part in a previous incarnation of the Google Doc as shared canvas. “We had no idea how it would develop,” she says. “Over three hours, the doc took on a life of its own. It […]

The Events Calendar Venue Issue

I’m a big fan of Events Calendar Pro. It makes all sorts of date related things in WordPress very pleasant. The free plugin also does a great job. I did run into a bit of an issue this afternoon as I tried to take events I created in one site and get them into another. Since the events are a custom post type you use the normal WordPress Tools>Export to get them out. That worked fine and I was able to import the events into the new site. The issue came with venues. I’d defined some Venues so I wouldn’t have to keep entering the same addresses again and again. I was able to export/import them in the same way I’d exported the events and they showed up fine as content. Unfortunately, it seems like plugin references the venues via post1 IDs. My imported venues ended up with different IDs and the IDs reference by the events ended up being random WordPress posts (in the traditional sense). This led to venues with names like ‘untitled 4’ or ‘a moment of calm in online teaching.’ Trying to change them on the backend to the venues I’d imported led to weird duplications and the prior information displayed no matter what I did. I didn’t have a huge number of events, maybe 13. […]

 woodwardtw@vcu.edu

 http://bionicteaching.com/

 @twoodwar

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Last updated: April 27, 2016

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