Over the last few years, we’ve spilled a fair amount of digital ink on the importance of keeping good records. We’ve talked about what to keep, since good documentation is important whether you’re writing an annual review or going through the “tenure box” in preparation for a bid for tenure and/or promotion.
We’ve also noted the importance of keeping records up to date.
What I’m learning is that I’m likely to be able to update my records more accurately — and without it feeling like a huge task — if I’m regularly documenting the work I’m doing. And by “regularly” I mean at least weekly.
Such regular documentation isn’t something I’ve been at all good at this past year (though fortunately I have concrete examples of course work I can point to, as well as a transcript). One of my goals for the coming academic year is to document my work regularly.
Recently, I witnessed a Twitter conversation that pretty clearly demonstrated that the participants weren’t understanding one another very well on a key point. They worked things out, and the discussion ended with no hard feelings, but for a while the atmosphere seemed pretty tense, at least to those of us watching the conversation unfold.
Who the participants were in this particular instance really doesn’t matter, but the incident got me thinking about both the importance of effective communication and some of the difficulties involved in achieving it. Both the attitude we bring to a conversation and the means by which it takes place are vitally important.
In the Twitter conversation mentioned above, the two principal participants were able to work things out in part because there’s already a relationship—one involving mutual liking and respect—between them. They were…
During the last few weeks of April, I was working on a couple of end-of-semester projects for class. To help clarify my thinking, I really needed to sketch out how the various pieces of the project fit together, just so I could visualize it.
I suppose I could have gone to the local office supply store and purchased several large sheets of newsprint, but the later part of April happened to be when the team at Literature and Latte released Scapple.
Scapple is a completely free-form editor that lets you get ideas down quickly, move them around (or not), and make connections between them (or not). In short, you can place any item anywhere on the page that you like, and connect it to any other item—or just leave it to stand by itself.
It’s a great tool for mindmapping, though it’s not limited to that. It was certainly ideal for my purposes. I downloaded the trial version, installed it, a…
A powerful lecture from one of the best religion journalists around. It’s a long video (about an hour and 20 minutes), but it’s well worth the time it takes to view it. Though I think it’s of general interest to all concerned with religious freedom throughout the world, Christians will find it particularly compelling (and perhaps surprising).
We’ve all had those days. Nothing goes right. A project we’re working on takes far longer than we thought it would — in large part because nothing’s going right. The code we thought would work doesn’t. We thought we knew how to proceed with the project, but we don’t. We feel like we’re in over our heads, and we’re ready to pull our hair out.
It’s enormously frustrating. Yet, two experiences this year with course assignments suggest (at least to me) that frustration isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first assignment involved hand-coding the beginnings (just a few basic pages) of a web site using HTML and CSS. I pretty quickly found out that I didn’t have quite as good a grasp of HTML and CSS as I thought I did. I spent a lot of time looking things up, trying to figure out how to get the site to do what I wanted it to do.
The second assignment involved setting up a site that was…