Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remote teaching during the lockdown

Since the University closed we've been forced to teach remotely. Fortunately, we were already using a great online course delivery system, Canvas. We can reuse lecture recordings from previous semesters or make new ones using PowerPoint's audio recording feature. Most importantly Zoom, a video conferencing system, is proving invaluable. It enables us to host group meetings and webinars. We're also using Zoom for school management and research meetings. Various member of staff are experimenting with other online collaborative tools and will report on their pros and cons in due course. It's not entirely business as usual but we're coping.
On a personal note, my friends and I are also using Zoom socially. Sunday afternoon we got together virtually over a few a drinks and had a great catch-up and last evening we held a pub quiz that went very well. You may be in isolation but there's no need to feel isolated.

Friday, March 13, 2020

The best, and the worst, of the coronavirus dashboards

This is a topical subject, coronavirus (or Covid-19) dashboards that visualise the outbreak in your city, country, continent or the globe. Neel V. Patel. writing for the MIT Technology Review has collated a list of the best, and the worst, of the coronavirus dashboards. Take a look.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism

My colleague Cris Calude brought the Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism to my attention. It states that: “The system is failing – stated by the founder of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee – emphasizes that while digitalization opens unprecedented opportunities, it also raises serious concerns: the monopolization of the Web, the rise of extremist opinions and behaviour orchestrated by social media, the formation of filter bubbles and echo chambers as islands of disjoint truths, the loss of privacy, and the spread of digital surveillance. Digital technologies are disrupting societies and questioning our understanding of what it means to be human. The stakes are high and the challenge of building a just and democratic society with humans at the centre of technological progress needs to be addressed with determination as well as scientific ingenuity. Technological innovation demands social innovation, and social innovation requires broad societal engagement."
Go to their website where you can read their manifesto and sign to support it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A memorable CS graduate

Computer Science graduate Nodira Khoussainova is the co-founder and CEO of Focused, a Silicon Valley startup that helps people accomplish undistracted work for a couple of hours in a study hall-type setting. This isn't that unusual, many of our graduates start companies. I remember her because she graduated in CS, with Honours, when she was just 16 years old! She then went to study for a PhD is in Computer Science at the University of Washington. She was recently interviewed on Radio New Zealand and you can listen to her interview here.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Augmented reality contact lenses

Happy New Year and decade! I'm back after a holiday break (it's summer in New Zealand). What better way to start the new decade than the news that a company called Mojo Vision has unveiled it's augmented reality contact lenses: "Mojo Lens, a smart contact lens with a built-in display that gives you timely information without interrupting your focus. By understanding your real-world context, Mojo Lens provides relevant, eyes-up notifications and answers. Designed by optometrists, technologists, and medical experts, Mojo Lens gives you the knowledge you need—exactly when it’s needed."
The lenses are still some time away from public use but you can read more about it here.