Yes, Blackboard is broken, but with some mental reframing, spit, and bubblegum, anyone can smash it into a different direction. Also, who’s sick of calling this making-do business a “hack”? Let’s go back to jury-rigging or MacGuyvering. Also, your mileage on these so-called hacks may vary depending on your institution’s implementation of Blackboard. The easiest way to get Blackboard working is to give up on it. Stop trying to make it do what you want (like display a leaderboard), and instead embrace the simple principle that Blackboard is JUST A GRADEBOOK. Then, pretend Blackboard is just like an old spiral gradebook, take some sparkle glueRead More →

The Blackboard app sucks more than Blackboard itself. The mobile app is teacher unfriendly. In fact, it’s downright teacher-hostile. Remember, the medium is the message. Since Blackboard has yet to master mobile-responsive design, the mismatch between the website and mobile app causes users to get mixed messages. This is a huge headache for teachers and students alike. Additionally, instructors cannot access the grade center, or grade anything, which renders Blackboard Mobile pointless for teachers.  The app is just an added burden for instructors to address in course design, without much payoff. What the app is useful for 1. Uploading docs at the last minute. 2.Read More →

coffitivity logo

Great productivity tip: Coffitivity.com is a great website designed to boost productivity. The web app streams different versions of coffee shop sounds as a white noise screen. In college, I learned that some form of white noise helps me work better, and coffee shops made the best white noise. Different learning styles, ADHD, autism, all kinds of reasons explain why white noise aids focus, but music with lyrics can be distracting. Coffitivity is a great idea.  Read More →

Scramble with Friends

I play Scramble with Friends, the only phone game for me. My score drops precipitously without regular play, but more significantly, my self esteem drops too. Scramble with Friends is the best life coach and personal cheerleader ever. Although Zynga games don’t deserve free advertising, I highly recommend playing this one because of the audio rewards when you score. A voice shouts: “Excellent!!” “Amazing!!” “Excellent!!” “Amazing!!” “Good!!” The soundtrack is better than the game. In fact, people should say these things to the friends and loved ones in their lives in the course of a conversation throughout the day at random moments. Picture it! ThatRead More →

I’m a bad traveler; I don’t like getting out of my comfort zone. Since I’m a plus-sized, curmudgeonly woman who doesn’t fit easily into boxes, I have to do out-of-the-box thinking to ensure my comfort and prevent meltdowns when I travel. I’m not built physically or emotionally such that I can hop into the corner store and purchase what I forget to pack. Fortunately, my traveling experiences started in the UK, where people speak English and everything is the same as here – almost. Then I moved on to less similar locales: Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico (San Miguel, not the spring break destinations). My firstRead More →

I’m a paper pile person, and although I have an abiding obsession with time management systems, I always felt inspired to let the paper dragon frolic. Now I’m drowning in data and trapped in its undertow. As people around me sign up for various cults of productivity apps, I find myself overwhelmed by choosing which cult to join. The whole thing makes me throw my hands up in the air, which defeats the purpose of organization systems in the first place. After letting the elephant of Evernote, the blue box of Dropbox, and every other eye-candy logo capture my attention, I’ve opted for the simplestRead More →

Smart phones have changed the easy e do business, to putt it mildly. i Swype with my druid and voice text orvoice tore sulk the tinge. Come again? Smart phones have changed the way we do business, to state the obvious. I use the Swype keyboard app or the voice feature on my Droid (not druid, though it is a druidic phone, in my opinion), so I’m forever making gross errors. I typically use the voice feature while driving – friends don’t let friends text and drive – so correcting errors is rarely an option. Worse still, voice texting ignores vocal inflection, so my textsRead More →

We have arrived in Tokyo. The time adjustment is crazy, but the logistics are smoother than predicted. All the little things that you take for granted are up for grabs when traveling in a non-English speaking country, and I was predicting doom and disaster for the most minor needs and requirements.  The greatest concern was getting lost.  Other concerns were bizarre bathrooms and money conversion. So far, due to the Droid’s superpower capabilities, I have been victorious over these challenges. Of course, this is only Day 1. 1. Money – A nifty money conversion app solves switching from Yen to USD and back.  I haveRead More →

Thank God for Akismet keeping my blog clean.  Some of the posts trapped in the Akismet toilet bowl are hysterical. Here are some trends: 1. People who are obviously not native English speakers posting in “Engrish.” The errors are amusing. Yet, some SEO company is probably outsourcing spam comments along the lines of third world WoW gold farmers. This is not about ethnocentric “English-only”-ism. This is about the ridiculousness of the spam comments. 2. The usual “your post is interesting, you’re brilliant, I will come back and read you every day.” These comments are completely random and usually don’t fit the content of the post.Read More →