Greg Walsh


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COSC 315 Example Post

Wednesday February 24, 2021

Hey everyone, this is the post I made in class through Python.

I have really been using C#

Wednesday February 24, 2021

I can’t believe how much I’ve been using c#!

I took my blog engine and refactored it from Python to object oriented c# on my mac. I’ve been really impressed at how C# uses the Xcode Interface Builder to make macos apps that look like actual apps and not 1990’s Window 3.1 gui-like interfaces.

Zoom isn't an Educational Tool

Thursday February 18, 2021

I read this article today and can't help but agree with the premise. However, educators' frustration with Zoom and Google Meet aren't because of any technological failings on the part of those companies, instead the problem is the design of those technologies.

When I first started teaching online in 2005 at UMBC's ISD program, we used a education-focused tool called LiveClassroom within Blackboard. It ran in Java and was visulally lacking but it worked well enough to teach our classes. It had nice break out rooms and students could interact with non-verbal feedback tools. Unfortunately, Blackboard cancelled that tool after aquiring it.

Cut to 2012 when I moved to UB's design programs, we used WebEx which is very much not an educational tool. It's just a meeting tool with minimal feedback tools necessary for the facilitating the inherent power dynamics in a classroom and did not have breakout rooms to facilitate the small-group learning necessary for design work.

We eventually went to Zoom and I've been happy enough with it. But, it's not a learning tool and I've had to do a lot of work to integrate into my co-synchronous classes.

The new wave of startups are slicing and dicing the same market of students and teachers who are fatigued by Zoom University, which — at best — often looks like a gallery view with a chat bar. Four of the companies that are gaining traction include Class, Engageli, Top Hat and InSpace. It signals a shift from startups playing in the supplemental education space and searching to win a spot in the largest chunk of a students day: the classroom.

I'm excited to see how these tools work out (especially Class).

Tired of Zoom University? So is edtech – TechCrunch

Drawing Ellipses

Wednesday February 17, 2021

Ellipses are circles in perspective. I've been needing to draw them a lot lately.

The One Rule to Drawing Ellipses - Brandon Dayton

Ambiguous Constraints

Wednesday February 17, 2021

I have a hunch design as a profession would go a lot farther if more designers embraced ambiguous constraints.

— Raphael Arar (@rarar) February 16, 2021

I saw this tweet yesterday and it has been in my head ever since.

This is a major problem I see in both new and mid-level designers. In new designers, I understand how ambiguous constraints and ambiguous goals could be problematic for them as they don't have the experience to break a problem down or, more difficult, begin to see what the real problem is.

Mid-level designers that have this problem disappoint me. If you've done this for more than three projects, you know that nothing in constraints or requirements is unambiguous. In fact, that is where a good designer is separated from a mediocre one.

I have a few thoughts on why this happens. The most obvious reason is due to that designer's training. Boot-camp style and for-profit groups like General Assembly teach a very specific form of design. They templatize solutions and teach those solutions to their students. More than likely, students in these learning environments don't get enough "messy" design problems to work through and see ambiguity, nor do they get a lot of experience in looking at case studies that might inspire. Instead, they look for a defined list of problems and anything outside of that or any talk of those constraints not being accurate is not discussed.

Good designers are trained not only on tools and techniques but also the history and theory of their specialty. Without turning into an ad for my day job, good designers come from training that takes time and is holistic in both tools and theory. It's only when designers can sift through ambiguous constraints, ask questions, understand their users, iterate through solutions, and execute those findings does success follow.

The 15 Minute City

Friday February 12, 2021

Paris’s 15-Minute City Could Be Coming to an Urban Area Near You - Bloomberg

Building My Own 3D Printer

Thursday February 11, 2021

A Homemade 3D Printer

I have been using a Monoprice MPSelect Mini for four years as my main 3D printer. It is a great printer but has a very small print bed. One of the things I'd like to do is print larger objects to mix fashion design and interaction design, so, I'd like a 1m cube printer. However, those don't exist and I knew I'd have to build it myself. Having no experience with "building" 3d printers, I decided to follow an online tutorial and create one from scratch.

And I mean SCRATCH. Using the MakerMashup Bill of Materials as my guide, I sourced aluminum bars, bolts, gears, hotends, extruders, timing belts, and lots and lots of stepper motors. I also needed to use a 3D printer to construct parts for the machine. The Select Mini did about 80% of what I needed but I did need to borrow a bigger one for a few parts.

There was a lot to learn and I hope to document more of it in the future. I have replaced almost all of the big parts because I kept breaking pieces though shorting wires or just jamming it up.

After three months, I'm now at the point where I'm able to reliably print.

Tool kit for Co-Design with Kids

Wednesday February 10, 2021

Kids designing together

The University of Baltimore's Digital Whimsy Lab is proud to announce the release of our KidsTeam Co-Design Toolkit. This toolkit can aid design teams in the creation of co-design activities that enable children and adults to work together. Even though the original target audience was libaries and librarians, we think the content is a valuable resource for any team that wants to design with kids and aren't sure where to start.

This tool kit is the culmination of five years of my work at UBalt and the most recent version was updated by Zoe Skinner as part of her MS in Interaction Design and Information Architecture.

In this tool kit, you'll find information on:

I hope you find this useful! As I mentioned, it was inspired by my work in Baltimore City's Enoch Pratt Library to create inclusive and equitable co-design opportunites for kids who usually get overlooked. I've published several papers on inclusive design here:

Please let me know if you have any questions about the tool kit or need help in implementing co-design with children: greg [AT] gregwalsh [DOT] com

I Made This: Marker Holder for your Board

Tuesday February 09, 2021

Marker Holder Image

I've been reconfiguring my desk to accomodate my research, design, and teaching work. One of the favorite features of my home office is the

two giant walls with whiteboard "paint". Of course, the big downside to walls of white boards instead of framed white boards is the lack of a tray for the markers. I've

tried to keep them on my desk but I kept losing them. I decided to build a marker holder to help. I plan on sticking it to the wall with command strips.

You can download it here: Marker Board Holder mk1

I Really Like Scripting

Friday February 05, 2021

I don't have a lot to write today, but, I just want to put out there that I LOVE SCRIPTING! AppleScript, Python, doesn't matter. I love it. So much so that I find myself wasting time while trying to script a new way to do something that I already have done.

Can I build a blog engine using AppleScript? Probably. Will I? Probably. Do I have time for that. No.


Last updated Wednesday February 24, 2021. Copyright 2021 Greg Walsh.

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