Hubs usage example The Ecampus multimedia team researches emerging tools, and works with our sibling team of Instructional Designers to help support instructors. So lets take a moment to peek at tools we all might be using in the coming years for communicating with teammates from a distance.

Multimedia developers primarily use a paid tier of Slack (for instant messaging), Outlook (for email), and Zoom (for meetings with live video or audio). While we play around with many other emerging tools, I believe we’re using the same basic trio as most everyone else. Just wanted to be clear that I don’t have a revolutionary new secret tool in my back pocket which you must start using today. We’re all in the same basic boat at the moment.

CDT shares files through a variety of different online services. Documents are usually shared through Box, with Google Drive as a backup. Videos usually end up on Kaltura through OSU’s MediaSpace, but works in progress start out on to leverage some handy features for time stamped feedback. We manage our team’s projects through Asana, and store final deliverable files with a wrap-up note in a private internal database tool (that our team created and maintains). So those are handful of tools that might be mentioned when working with us. You may have already been sent a Box folder to upload files into, or a link to comment on a video.

As we all settled into home office work back in March, there was an interest in new tools for social interaction. I was particularly interested in applications that were connecting Virtual Reality users with phone and desktop users. Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox browser, are quietly building up Hubs, which strikes me as the most promising tool in this space. It’s free, easy to learn, and offers a ton of excellent functionality. Click this link to stop by the experimental space I set up for my team. It features a 3D model imported from our sketchfab account, and a video from our YouTube account.

One of the developers of Hubs recently laid out the secret plan for this tool: to build up a persistent global 3D network to rival the world wide web. Exciting stuff for all you fans of the scifi metaverse, and the freedom of early web pages.

There are other interesting tools bubbling around at the moment in the VR space. Facebook is letting anyone sign up for the beta of a shared social universe for Oculus VR users called “horizon.” Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR, which mixes VR users with desktop users and has already hosted multiple conferences during the quarantine. If you’ve invested in a VR headset, it might be worth checking out the bustling communities in VR chat or Rec Room. The makers of Second Life tried out 2 approaches to VR (Sansar and High Fidelity), but recently changed course. My team is currently trying to schedule a time to try out Sketchbox in different VR headsets. I stumbled across “Somnium Space” while writing this blog post. It’s kind of crazy how many things are being developed, but… aren’t quite ready for mass consumption just yet.

There is a cognitive load problem with all the new tools bubbling up in these cauldrons around the world and begging for attention. While Mozilla Hubs is my favorite, it does take a few minutes to go through it’s tutorial and learn what all you can do. These days that’s a lot to ask of people who just seek the simplicity of walking into a room to meaningfully interact with other humans in a natural way. More and more I’m nervous about suggesting new tools to colleagues, because I know they’re already dealing with a lot. And I see a lot of folks casually making a notable pile of work for others without seeming to notice the strain. As a designer, I enjoy walking through a new tool, and once I determine it’ll be useful for others it is hard to appreciate how exhausting it might also be for them. I think the key mistake is to require others learn a tool before they can get back to whatever task they set out to do in the first place. Hopefully we can find ways to design simpler tools, and to help people enjoy learning useful new third party tools. Wait until you’re ready to jump into the ones I’m mentioning here, and take it easy on your coworkers.

Suggestions? Want to meet up and talk about this further, perhaps inside one of the tools mentioned above? Please just leave a comment, or send us an email – we’d love to hang out with you and explore what the world is cooking up!

Imagine you’re in class, but can snap your fingers at any moment to bring your family or friends in next to you. (and snap again to send them away).

Apparently just talking to someone in meatspace about what you’re doing on the computer : is this magic sauce for metacognitive learning. (for figuring out and reinforcing what you have actually learned so far).
Continue reading

quick project overview:
Virtual reality walking tour for distance students, prospective students, any students, and anyone else. Lets you control time of day/year and access rare and restricted areas.
We used Ricoh Theta S camera, Google Cardboard(s), Unity 3D, and Agisoft PhotoScan software.
Team: Warren Blyth, Ben Brewster, Dorothy Loftin, R. John Robertson, Tianhong Shi, and Victor Villegas
Team name that nobody approved: Pied Pipesters

(Quick notes for Presentation)


“Teleport to Oregon State”
Continue reading

* I’d originally thought I’d use this blog as a list of interesting tech and software for coworkers (and random strangers). But most of my coworkers friended me on Facebook, so this purpose dried up.

* I also hoped to talk about multimedia tools and games I’ve made for certain classes. But there is some concern (sometimes) about exposing content that distance students are paying to access.

* Chris LaBelle and crew over at EESC have maintained a neat blog “Electonic Papyrus” on teaching and tech, and I don’t see any good reason to compete. Plus it’s intimidating to risk comparisons.

I think it would be best to start using this blog to list ActionScript 3 questions and discoveries. like, what’s the difference between “math.abs and math.ceil ? When would you use either?” Maybe I could also talk about parts of certain projects, in gory code detail, rather than expose the whole thing.

The dramatic flair fires in my brain, and i want to rename the blog to “Code Closure” or “Gory Ruminations” or “Questions and Random Shots in the Dark” or “Spitballing Strange Programming Practices.” … Which all seem a little dramatic. I’m not a great programmer. … Maybe stick with “How Doth Code: AS3 (Flash ActionScript 3)” for now. or something.

I noted that Chris LaBelle was maintaining an official sort of blog about instructional design, over here:

And it made me feel rather silly for babbling here about techie weirdness. I was reminded that i’m just some wacko ranting about 2.0 poops. He is classically trained, preparing articles about 2.0 poops. but. whatever! woo hoo! Met with the new Social Media Manager, Josh, today, and was reminded that i should check in and update these h’yar rants.

I met Josh through the local “Covallis Area Video Gaming Special Interest Group, Sponsered by the Software Association of Oregon,” which i’m currently managing. casually. this group is also known by the easy to remember acronym : CAVGSIGSSAO.

ho ho ho. I kid. A better name would be nice, and we’re certainly open for suggestions. if you’re interested in taking part,
join the email list here:
read slightly more here:

Once I sat around wondering what the benefits of SAO sponsorship were, really … so I randomly purchased figuring it would be a nice test bed for ideas on uniting the local community. This  all ties nicely into today’s theme of dropping the ball on big ideas. wee!


I recently created a flash tool to help students learn kanji, both writing and remembering. Also put together a Jeopardy flavored Quiz show game for an upcoming non-credit course. not sure that i can just post these things publicly… but will look into it. currently planning to create a new tool around the idea of geography (map topography measuring). Snooping around to see what is already available. Ran across this random tutorial for a mess of dots and lines! wee! i couldn’t even tell you why i link to this. except that my mind is melty. and hungry for links. wee!

Victor just asked me if my monitor was IPS or TN. and I was all like “wut?”
add another layer to the insanity of modern display variations.

Basically, your LCD monitor is probably TN (crappy). Most of the “good deal” monitors use TN tech (“Twisted Nematic”).

Here’s an informal definition of IPS, stolen from the webssss:

  • IPS – in-plane switching…. the liquid crystals are aligned horizontally instead of on an angle. This procress greatly increases vertical viewing angles. When coupled with the high brightness and contrast of the glaretype displays, color reproduction is almost perfect. Basically it becomes a 1/4″ professional graphics flat CRT monitor…. which is why the display is primarily for those in professional graphics.

  • And of course, here is the usual STUPIDLY VERBOSE explanation from wikipedia.