Licenses: Data, Code, Practices

Image of children working on a laptop

Open, but not just about Linux

Licenses can be a dry topic for some but have been key to my teaching. Any of my students and colleagues during the past twenty plus years know me as the teacher who was always pushing the use of Linux, Eclipse, Apache Emacs and other open source tools that use open source licensing. This is an important part of my practice and my tool set and remains so.  Read on to get a view on how my teaching has changed to include more focus on open data and open practices.

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Spring Cleaning

clean flickr photo by the queen of subtle shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Hey, Wait

Yes, the previous post declared that summer is here but I refuse to follow the crowd. End of the January-May semester signals summer but it also signals my spring cleaning of my office space which includes the physical accumulation of papers as well as the digital.

Back to Linux

I have my first non-Mac laptop since 2005.  I truly enjoyed the quality of the Mac hardware and there were are software applications that I will miss but I wanted to push back to Linux as my mobile computing platform. My main workspace at home has always been Linux (currently an install of Kubuntu), I have been promoting Linux for use by students and colleagues since the 90s.

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My Audio Feed

flickr photo by Orange_Beard https://flickr.com/photos/metrojp/85740389 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Podcasts are in my earbuds.

I had a request weeks ago from my colleague Ivan here on campus and I’ve been meaning to write this for months. So here goes my list of podcasts currently on my Android phone. For those interested, I have the paid version of BeyondPod. I honestly don’t remember what benefits the paid version gives but I tend to purchase apps (and services) that I use often to give support for creators.

I list the categories in the order of my playlist algorithm. News comes first since I want to hear those as close to release as feasible. If not, they would be “olds” then anyway. I list the podcasts within each category in alphabetical order as they appear on my device.

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Schoology First Impressions

Image by thejbird@Flickr, click image for source.

19467848_b63feca025_mSurprised by Schoology

As mentioned last week, I’ve moved to Schoology as my LMS (Learning Management System) for my courses this semester. I am teaching a total of four groups across three separate courses which means I put two groups of the same course (Fundamentals of Programming using Python) together.

The biggest win for me so far has been the engagement of my students in discussing the out-of-class assigned videos/readings/activities.  I use a modified WSQ system (Watch/Summarize/Question) but please see Crystal Kirch’s (@crystalkirch on Twitter) explanation on her blog.

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Sign My Syllabus

Blurred image of students "signing" the course syllabus.
Blurred image of students "signing" the course syllabus.
Blurred image of students “signing” the course syllabus.

Did you read the syllabus?

Often the syllabus for courses is an exercise in formality of creating a document that we are required to make and ensure students are aware of its existence.  Very rarely do the students actually read the document until they find a motivation to go back and look at it.

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Save your Files in Dropbox for Revision Control

Don't Panic

Dropbox for Scratch Files

Don't PanicI save my scratch code for showing to students in Dropbox for various reasons but mainly so I can get to the code from any computer I happen to be using (yeah, I have too many computers).

This morning I was showing my students how to solve a particular problem in Python for our programming class. The main teaching goal here was to show them the process of developing code towards a final solution.

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Make Office Hours Attractive to Students

Office Hours

I used to set my office hours and really not be concerned about promoting them beyond the obligatory publishing the available hours in my course syllabus.

The video here (courtesy of PHD Comics which I highly recommend) is something any teacher or teaching assistant can identify with. We’ve all had this experience and we do our best to not have our head explode while in this scenario.

This year I have been working to make my office hours utilized and useful to my students and myself. Here I will share some of the tools and tips I have for this.

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