A long, open road set against a blue sky on the horizon.

What in the world is net neutrality, anyway?

What was going on yesterday? You may have noticed that several websites around the Internet were acting strangely earlier this week . Some of the most popular sites – Amazon, Facebook, and Google, to name a few – were promoting something called net neutrality. It’s not a very user-friendly term, and you wouldn’t be crazy to think it had more to…

Revisiting the Distracted Mind

As both an online student and an instructional designer, I find myself thinking about attention spans often. Last year, I wrote a post here about harnessing the distracted mind, in which I offered tools and methods for staying focused, even when hilarious YouTube videos or brilliant longreads are just one browser tab away. What I’ve come to realize over the past…

Looking at Student Privacy in 2017

For more reasons than I can count, the 2016 presidential election has amplified our country’s ongoing debate on web privacy. The topic can grow tiresome, but if we stop to consider that the issue goes far beyond someone’s email server, it becomes a little more interesting. Take student privacy, for example. We expect faculty and…

How to stop your computer from ruining your sleep

As phones and computers become more integrated into our daily lives, we’re spending more time staring into the harsh light of our screens. A while back, my colleague Corey Butler wrote for this blog about computer vision syndrome , a kind of eye strain that often accompanies frequent computer use. Well, it turns out that there’s another eye-related…

a squirrel – focus

Harnessing the Distracted Mind

We use the web for so many different things. We shop, read the news, watch movies, listen to music, talk with friends — often all at the same time. Some people call this multi-tasking. Others don’t call it anything — it’s just second nature that when we sit down with our computers or pull out…

Where the hard drive ends: Why you need to back up your computer

I’d wager that most people reading this blog have some important documents and files stored on their computers and phones. I’d also be willing to bet that less than half of those people have backed up their devices. I don’t blame them – backups are really, really boring. But, in this case, the opposite of boring…

mac and paper

Think pen and paper are obsolete? Think again.

In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M.…