2020 Course Plan Videos

I’ll use this page to post videos related to my use of my course file this Fall. (Context here.) I’m hoping-slash-planning to make a few shorter videos in the coming weeks and then maybe touch base again later when I have a full file up and running. When these new videos go up, I’ll post to the blog and link to this page so the Tinderbox RSS picks them up.

Viewing note: the first two videos don’t leave title cards on the screen long enough. The space bar is going to be your friend if you want to read them.

Overview of my Starter File

This first video is an 18 minute tour of my Tinderbox starter file for planning courses. It’s basically a walk though of how I use a file template to standardize attributes and stamps across semesters in order to make importing material from my college’s LMS easier and cleaner.

It’s the first video like this that I’ve done. So it was rough and takes me a few minutes to get warmed up. I think things smooth out by the midway point though. (Maybe wishful thinking.)

In the final minutes of the video I share help with action code graciously offered on the Tinderbox forum by Marc Anderson, Paul Waters and Mark Bernstein. The linked thread also includes a nice piece of AppleScript provided by Sumner Gerard for doing the same task.

If you are looking for additional information about some of the things I do in the video, the “Actions and Dashboards” and “Tutorial” PDF in TBX’s Help menu are great resources. They are easily overlooked and can be mistaken as beginner guides. They are actually packed with advanced examples and tips.

Some specific info keyed to time-stamps:

4:50—Exploding notes: the final chapter of the “Tutorial” is devoted to exploding notes. The command is found at Notes->Explode. Paul Waters has summarized the process I use with a single image.

12:00—I have a series of posts explaining how I think about export. On a more practical level, I assign the template using the Get Info pop-over accessible at Note->Get Info…, with opt-cmd-I, or by right clicking to pull up the contextual menu.

The context for the template I demonstrate: my colleges LMS imports grades from Exel using a text field. It requires data pasted from two columns: the first of ID numbers, the second of the grade to be imported. I first did this using Exel to see what the pasted text looked like. Then I created the template to match that text.

13:00—Organizing the stamp menu is explained in better details at a TbRef.

2020F Course File: Day Three

This is an 11 minute video that first shows how I used OmniOutliner to prepare some materials for OPML import and then gives a quick tour of how I’m using TBX to keep up with both the online course materials I need to create for this Fall and my regular run-of-the-mill course scheduling. Because I’ve only just started working in the file, it’s spare and I spend a lot of time in outline view. My favorite moment comes when I leap in for a quick look at a very rudimentary map, begin talking and then realize that “I don’t even know why I’m showing this.” I kept it in because it was completely spontaneous and I think it’s funny.

I hope the video gives a sense of how quickly you can build up basic content using a starter file prepped for import. I also think it could offer a useful point of comparison for later videos.

Technically, I had a better idea of what I was doing this time around and the first video had proven that recording my face and voice wouldn’t steal or kill my soul. So I’ve relaxed a bit. (I repeat…a bit.)

Additional info, keyed to time-stamps

1:30—A good starting place to see how data will import is this page in a TbRef. If you have data somewhere else that you want in TBX, it’s worth looking to see if placing it in a specific format prior to import could save you complicated work after import. (It’s easier to label columns with attribute names in Exel before import than it is to create a stamp after import that copies data from dozens of junk attributes into the attributes you actually use.)

5:00—For attributes where I will be using a fixed (or controlled) vocabulary, I set-up drop down menus by making the attribute a set and then adding a list of suggested values in the inspector (cf. TbRef).

9:50—What I call a “grid” is the container table display (cf. TbRef).

Later videos can be found here.