Best Practices in E-Learning

Someone recently posted a blog entry ranting about the use of the term “best practices” in our industry. I understand the frustration with thoughtless pronouncements about best practices, especially coming from people who may not know any better; it will often sound a lot like how like mom used to say “eat this, it’s good for you” without really knowing whether it’s true. However, there is a big difference between best practices in terms of learning theory — something that’s difficult to quantify and/or prove — and technology.

Eolas is at it again

This week — a year and a half after settling with Microsoft — Eolas has gone on the attack again, filing suit against “Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Argosy Publishing (publisher of The Visible Body), Blockbuster, Citigroup, eBay, Frito-Lay, GoDaddy, J. C. Penney, JPMorgan Chase, ‘transactional’ adult entertainment provider New Frontier Media, Office Depot, Perot Systems, Playboy Enterprises, Rent-a-Center, Staples, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Yahoo, and YouTube.”

Changes to pipwerks.com

Just a quick note: I’m renovating this site to make better use of WordPress’ capabilities. Because of the move to WordPress, many of my static HTML files will be converted to WordPress ‘pages’; this means you may see some odd posts in my RSS feed from time to time. Feel free to ignore them.

The pipwerks forum is dead, long live the new eLearning Technology and Development Google Group!

I’d like to say thank you to all the people who posted in the pipwerks forum, and invite you to join me in the new eLearning Technology and Development group.

I’d also like to ask anyone and everyone who develops e-learning to drop by and sign up for the eLearning Technology and Development group. Ask questions — lots of questions — and let’s see if we can get a good community going!

Image-Free Progress Bar using MooTools and Canvas

As part of my ongoing experiments with <canvas>, I decided to convert an image-based progress bar to an image-free canvas-based system. I just finished whipping up a proof-of-concept; it uses MooTools to generate the canvas and CSS code. No images were harmed in the making of this progress bar. More info later (time permitting)

Hawaiian diacriticals

This brings me to one of my pet peeves and the purpose of this post: misuse of the backtick (`) character. Many of the afore-mentioned well-intentioned folks mistakenly use a backtick to represent an ‘okina, and it drives me absolutely bonkers.

Fixed-width layouts

While working on a recent web project at work, I wondered if I should go for a fixed-width layout or stick with my preference for fluid layouts. Fixed-width layouts are certainly easier to manage, but they just feel so… rigid. With the boom in larger monitors, I also wondered if fluid sites start presenting a problem due to being too wide. I decided to check around the web to see what others are doing.

Importing contacts into Gmail

I recently tried to import contacts into Gmail and encountered the cryptic (and completely useless) error message “Oops. An unknown error occurred while importing your contacts”.

Turns out Gmail chokes if it encounters a duplicate email address during the contact import process. It also appears this error only occurs with the latest version of Gmail. Therefore, a nice and easy workaround is to switch to the “Older version” of Gmail by clicking the “Older version” link (top right corner), import the contacts, then switch back to the newer version of Gmail.

Worked for me.

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