One Backward Step for Humans….


This post is in response to James Clay and his brief but pertinent blog post of a few days ago: …but it should work!

Being a Learning Technologist means being very aware of the old adage: ‘two steps forward, one step back’,  or in a lot of cases, ‘two steps forward, two steps back’.  Hell – sometimes we even go in reverse.  You need the patience of a saint to do this job – something that I have had to forcibly learn over the years, as I am NOT a patient person by nature.

There’s a lot of frustration involved in wanting to do something that, for 1001 reasons just won’t work.  Often this is because the institution’s firewall or its list of approved websites / applications just won’t allow you to do what you want.  Sometimes it’s because every time you start to get somewhere the telephone rings, or an email with a shiny red exclamation mark appears in your inbox demanding immediate attention.  Quite often, if sharing an office, there’s constant background chatter to contend with, though or even when working in isolation, staff and students dropping in can make you lose where you are – which is infuriating if you’re looking for that rogue parenthesis that needs to be deleted in a wodge of coding.

Last week I spent three hours trying to figure out why tables in a Campuspack wiki wouldn’t accept wraparound text and instead stretched (seemingly) for ever when inputting text into cells.  I went into the coding, added wraptext and float commands with no success, drank inordinate amounts of coffee and willed myself not to throw a tantrum…then discovered that this fault is a known issue and there is (seemingly) no solution.  Gah….(seemingly)…

…and take this very instant – my colleague and I both have identical iPads set up to use the university’s wifi in identical ways.  As soon as I get into work my iPad is hooked seamlessly to the internet and works like a dream.  My colleague’s iPad simply will not work – despite her device’s settings being absolutely identical to mine.  How can that be?  Surely ’tis witchcraft?!

It’s like James says – it should work…and yet, on a regular basis, peripherals that have worked hundreds of times before just won’t play anymore.  Not because they are irreparably damaged or broken, but because they ‘are having a bad day’.  Try 24 hours later and they are fine again.  You haven’t done anything differently…yet computers, gadgets, cameras, mobile phones, tablets…all seem to be sentient, and all seem, like other sentient beings, to have ‘off days’.

Tomorrow I shall be trying to get Adobe Captivate SCORMs uploaded to a local server to report results using Adobe Captivate Quiz Results Analyzer.  This will go one of two ways:

  1. It will work first time and I shall praise the heavens, kiss my monitors and do the Xander Harris patented Snoopy Dance
  2. I’ll still be here at 7.00 in the evening, with no hair left, mascara running down my face and my computer in 1000 pieces at my feet.

…what’s the bet it’s number 2?

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