Prototyping a website on zoonotic diseases

(#3 in a series) One aspect that I personally value in web development is creativity. A site that takes an uncommon approach stands out. Of course, a lot depends upon what your client wants and what your users expect. For this type of site, though, we can be a bit experimental. Consider the limitations of […]

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Brainstorming structure & content

After developing your motivation for learning to code, you want to brainstorm about the structure and content of your site. Core concept A website that examines zoonotic diseases, particularly from bats to humans, for a general audience. Thoughts on paper My first approach is simply to jot down ideas on paper. Write down any random […]

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What’s your motivation in learning to code?

Programming is normally taught in a very abstract way. Teachers and books all tell you the proper syntax of variables, loops, expressions, conditionals, etc. but without context. The examples in teaching code are very simplified but it’s often difficult for students to put that into practice. The best way to learn to code is by […]

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Storytelling with Data

My first-year composition students are each studying an aspect of the opioid crisis. Their research papers cover topics that benefit from exploring data. Today’s class started with students dividing in pairs to brainstorm what types of data would be useful for their topics. Then we went around the room: each student introduced her chosen topic […]

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Publishing a static site with GitHub Pages

Web sites with only a few pages that rarely need updating are prime candidates for publishing as static sites with GitHub Pages. (This post was specifically written for my DCI 110: Web Programming for Non-programmers class.) Definitions Static site: The contents of a site are stored in HTML files on a server. Static site generator: […]

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Take up one idea

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life—think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.” —Swami Vivekananda

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Remember to breathe, you always have a choice

Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine, who also meditates and listens to dharma talks. She described how workplace drama still takes up so much space in her head. I reminded her that meditation trains us to push those thoughts away. She replied, “I know… the thing is: when you are in the […]

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Writing about one’s own thinking

I tend to feel an allergic reaction coming on whenever I hear the terms metacognition or metacognitive. Somewhere there’s a drinking game where one takes a chug of brew whenever a grad student says metacognitive. Take two drinks when a grad student uses foreground as a verb. Drunkenness ensues quickly. The words are jargon. But […]

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Compositional elements in a multimedia story

It has been more than 7 years since the New York Times published its landmark multimedia story Snow Fall: Avalanche at Tunnel Creek and we’re still talking about it in our Journalism 341: Multimedia Storytelling Design class. We’re stressing to the students that understanding the structure of the compositional elements in a multimedia story is […]

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GitHub as a Tool for Teams

Notes for DCI 190: Shenandoah, a studio course on online literary magazine design. GitHub, based on the open source tool git, most often functions as a version control system. (There are several other similar tools based on git, such as GitLab and Bitbucket.) I tend to prefer GitHub, though the others are also very good […]

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