Friday, October 2, 2009

Push the Button

I've been scratching my head about recent faux pas I've made. You know about one of them. Before class on Monday, I brought my laptop, connected it to the audio port on the side of the cabinet, set the microphone level down to 5 (very low, for the last class it was around 10 which is also low but still too loud), launched the program Audacity which is what is used to record the audio, made a test recording and played it back to see that the recording was working well, and erased the test recording so we'd be ready to record for real when the session started. All the preparation was correct. I missed just one thing. I didn't push the record button for the actual session.

It's easy enough to understand why. There were multiple things going on - making the guests comfortable, worrying about whether Beth would arrive, hoping the team doing the interview was on its game, general antsy-ness. The fact remains that the recording didn't start because of my omission.

Yesterday, as part of my regular job, my team and I were doing a noon-time seminar about how to make micro-lectures online. My task was to demonstrate a particular application called Jing, which makes good fidelity short screen movies. It also has one click publishing, either to a site called, which is run by the company that makes Jing, or to YouTube. As part of my presentation I wanted to contrast the plusses and minuses in publishing to either of these sites. I tried this out in my office ahead of time, to be prepared. Yet during the presentation itself, when I got to the YouTube site, something appeared on the screen that wasn't what I had practiced, so I looked quickly to get my bearings but didn't find what I was looking for and thus flubbed that bit.

In case you guys haven't figure this out about me yet, my habit is to take experience that jumps out at me and turn it into a metaphor for other experiences I may not have considered this way before. I know I didn't feel very good about those experiences and I wondered a lot whether they realistically could have been prevented. (The answer to the latter in this case is yes.) So I've been wondering when I see missteps with the class what I could have done to avoid those - suggestions in advance that if adhered to would have prevented the problem. I've also been wondering how to grade a situation that has such a misstep, a high grade for all the preparation or a low grade because the transaction wasn't completed. That one, I still don't have an answer for.

But I do have a simple enough suggestion for in advance that I hope will improve the reflections. It is this. Worry for a bit about your title. Then choose a title that is descriptive of your post. For the last couple of weeks I've been wondering why this hasn't occurred to you on your own, but mostly it hasn't. Instead, many of you have been counting the weeks. If you read that misc. post about school being a prison, that's a thing you do when you're in prison. If as social commentary you mean to do that for real, keep at it. But if there is no intent with the action, just no prior thinking on it one way or the other, the try out this title choice. It will impact your writing by now encouraging it to connect to the title. And it will create a loop of sorts because you'll have to ask, is there a simple idea that unifies what I want to write about.


  1. I have been titling my relfections "Reflection x" just to avoid confusion with anything else I may post. I try to add a title as the first line of the post. Is this system okay? Would you prefer a normal title for the post and "reflection x" as a tag, maybe?

  2. You have been titling your posts, which is good, but as you said you haven't been using the title bar for that purpose. The switch to using the title bar and the tag is indeed what I'd prefer, but then the tag need only say reflection. The number doesn't add value, at least not for me.