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March 30th, 2005

The lesson plan that wasn't...

I attended a two-hour mandatory education session on the TPDM's IaD process today. Rick R., from Austin, taught it, and he was a pretty good teacher. The class was fairly engaged most of the time, which is good. It turned into the slightest bit of a bitch session at the end, but overall, not bad. I ended the class with an announcement, "Bitter, party of seven, your table is ready."

I ended up leaving work at about 5:20, which is just a little too late to comfortably make it to class for 6:00. The traffic was horrendous, and I ended up in front of Cameron Village at around 5:55. On the way, while stuck in I-40 traffic, I pondered the parking conundrum of arriving to campus that close to the 6:00 classes. The later you get there, the farther away from the building you're going to you have to park, which makes you even later as you have to walk so far to get to class.

Arriving so late, I had decided to park in the parking deck near Reynolds to not waste precious time looking in the closer lots, where there was really very little chance of finding a spot, but if I did, might get me to class on time. However, by the time I got to Cameron Village, I had decided to park there instead. I could park on the corner where Cafe Carolina & Bakery are, walk up Daniels, and then down Enterprise to Tompkins pretty much right there at the corner of Enterprise and Hillsborough.

As I walked, I passed Dr. Croom's office on Enterprise, and was shocked to see his sign for business still out. I would have thought he'd be long retired by now. Dead, to be honest. He was my eye doctor, let's see, it has to have been at least 15 or 20 years ago now, and I thought, at that time, that he should be retiring. I remember thinking, "This man is not keeping up with the times," and this was so long ago. Perhaps the business has just kept his name, or maybe a son or daughter has taken over.

Class was incredibly tedious and went by excruciatingly slow tonight. I 'bout bit through my pencil several times during the class, just to abate my increasing frustration. I hate unplanned "lesson plans." Hello! They have the word plan in them for a reason!

We first listed "purposes" of a commercial Web site, then the "affordances" that facilitate those purposes, and finally, tasks that we could create that would test as many of the affordances for a purpose as possible. This was incredibly tedious, as there continues to be confusion over what an affordance is, and it's not black and white which makes even the instructor have to think about it, and the criteria he uses to come to his final conclusion on whether one is or isn't isn't clear. This is what we came up with:

Purposes

Affordances

Test Tasks

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Use specific details, ask for a specific item type, price range, features, etc.
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We are going to do this same type exercise over the next couple of classes, only on different types (other than commercial) Web sites, such as nonprofit, educational, government, and non-instructional sites. God help me. Self talk: "John, you are getting graduate level credit for sitting through this. Every class is one class closer to having a Master's degree. Keep the end in mind. Quit whining."

The most interesting thing about class tonight was the note that Amelia passed to me about spending the night with her boyfriend, and mine back with something about my plans to watch her leaving class to see how she was walking. She did rather seem to be glowing tonight.

At home after class, I had three cocktails and a most delicious dinner: BBQ Chicken Breast fillet on two pieces of bread and a killer, killer salad.

It was hotter than fuck tonight at dancing -- and not in a good way. I sure hope they use the AC a little more as summer approaches. It was most unpleasant at times. I wore the t-shirt I had made with the picture on it that Van made for me back on my birthday in October:

John in shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes, and cowboy hat.


That's not what I really looked like as a little boy. Here are some pictures of that time.

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