Presents under our actual Christmas tree.

Special Interests no. 3

This year is winding down, and if you read nothing else, happy holidays to you and yours and I hope the end of this year, and especially this new year, treats you kind.

I feel like this year-end is like the actual end of two very full years. Over the pandemic, I thought a bit about how the Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us a timely metaphor for the time we’ve all been burrowing in our homes — “The Blip.” That was the five years in which half of all life in the universe was erased by Thanos’s snap of the Infinity Gauntlet. Several shows and even the movies have been addressing how re-adjusting to life with all those people suddenly re-appearing as if nothing happened, but for so many so much did.

It ‘s kinda what this whole last year’s been like — coming back from a two year blip of being disconnected (atop of many other years of personally feeling more disconnected). All of that is to say: I am so grateful to be reconnecting with friends and family and to be writing, producing again.

Learning Engineering

This week I started the first part of a series for a case study on the analytics potential of a survey; something everyone has taken, something everyone has made. I want to model how I go about my work with something straightforward so y’all can follow along later on all the other things we do with data beyond just designing or architecting it, like feeding an adaptive dashboard.

While I’ve been kinda quiet most of 2022 in terms of blogging and talking broadly about stuff, the IEEE Standards Working Group around xAPI Profiles has been active this last year. The Communications Office, helmed by my good friends Kristen Hayden-Safdie and Craig Wiggins, got involved with the Learning Guild’s xAPI Cohort and we were meeting weekly for a good clip.

The structure of the standards meetings, and the cadence at least for the Communications Office helped me find my voice again over the course of the last year, and I’m grateful to have a good team at IEEE with partners like Will Hoyt and Andy Johnson.

With the release of a couple of different commercial training offerings for xAPI that offer certificates and stuff, through the Communications Office, we’re going to focus on improving a document Megan and I were involved with a few years ago on behalf of Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) as a new IEEE doc: an xAPI Enterprise Body of Knowledge: Standards and Competencies. Note this is super duper early and the language is… well, it was originally for some specific US DoD use cases, but it should give you an idea of how we’re going to approach this challenge.

Since the paper was released through DTIC, and as it was published licensed open-source (Apache 2.0 y’all), it’s free to take and adapt and use. If y’all would like to take a stab at writing competencies, it’s there for y’all to cite. Simple, clean. Just like open source is supposed to be — isn’t it nice that got figured out? 😉

Please let me know if you’re interested in helping shape this really important tool.

Disc Golf

It’s two days before Christmas in Philadelphia and we’re getting ready for a super cold winter storm. Today has been nonstop rain but before that happened, my good friend Michael got me out on Wednesday when it was sunny and kinda lovely for winter solstice disc golf. I had an okay-enough game but I had two amazing putts > 60 feet each, and one was for a birdie.

a gif of a bearded man sinking a putt in disc golf from 40' away.
It’s not me but it was like that.

Also, since I track most of my games (and some of my practices) on UDisc, this year they used all that pandemic cash they earned from disc golf’s insane growth in popularity to start doing all sorts of cool data analytics stuff — some stuff gets us close to metacognitive joy-joy. Check out some of these stats they got on me:


Hot roast beef sandwich @ Fergie's Pub, with tots, horseradish and sour cream for some reason I don't understand but accept.

The vaunted “Hot Roast Beef” sandwich at Fergie’s Pub has been sold out every time I’ve been to the pub, but my countenance was rewarded on Quizzo Night. So basically, it’s what we’d call in Chicago a “French Dip” only it has cheese, this perfectly roasted long-hot and that horseradish sauce was outstanding. I figured this was going to be a mess so I did a lot of dipping but next time, should I be so lucky to get one again, I’ll try doing horseradish in the sandwich, then dip. There’s an order of operations to this, I’m certain.

The burn pattern on tonight’s menorah resembles the blog’s traffic the last four weeks, just sayin.