Thoughts

“No But We Can Order It Online for You.”

I have a confession to make: when it comes to shopping, I like it a lot more than my wife does. I also really like going to stores and buying stuff…even though with Amazon I can get most things the same day if I order them before 11am. But there’s something about going to a store or a mall, picking out the thing you want, and walking out with it. It bums me out that retail is dying. The news that Toys ‘R’ Us is closing kills me. That store is probably the reason I like shopping so much. But over the last few months, my shopping excursions have been fruitless, and the reason makes it very clear why retail is dying.

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podcast listeners

How Do You Listen to Podcasts? (Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card)

I’ve spent more than one post on this blog talking about podcast sponsorships. Today, I wanted to talk about podcast listeners. There are a lot of stats out there for website users – where they came from, what they do on the site, how long they stay, and a lot more. While there have been strides in the last few months surrounding stats on podcasts, I feel like I still don’t know much about my listeners. I’ve tried surveys in the past, but they didn’t go well. So I’m switching things up a bit.

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How Do We Best Teach Programming to Beginners?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I teach. I tend to take a “learn by doing” approach in my online courses where there are very clear, step-by-step instructions completed via video. However, this format gets pretty tough to execute in other contexts. For example, I teach an online graduate course for the University of Scranton, which is primarily text-based. This course’s goal is to get students with a healthcare background proficient in programming; the assumption is they are at least somewhat technical. After getting feedback, especially this semester, I’m realizing the approach my co-author and I took in creating the course was wrong. This got me thinking: how do we best teach programming to people who have never seen it?

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Favorites of 2017

It’s that time of year again! This has quickly become my favorite post to write, because it lets me reflect on the year and think about all of the good things I’ve enjoyed. Last year I started a new blog over on Medium, mostly to test out the platform. I think I came in shy of a post per month, so I’ll likely move those posts over here. The reason I’m mentioning that is because just like last year, I’ll have a more long-form reflective post for 2017. But for now, onto the favorites!

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Hosted Platform vs. Your Own Platform: How Do You Choose?

When I was in grammar school (or primary school, depending on where you live), we had a fenced-in slab of pavement where the students could play during recess. It was…kinda boring, but it was highly unlikely we’d get hit by a car. We were protected. There was also this HUGE, open field across the street. On good days, our teachers would supervise us as we crossed the street, to the heavenly field where we could run free. Those were the highlights of recess. We could do basically whatever we wanted, from play soccer, to just run around. We had freedom, even if it was at the expense of a little safety.

Now that I’m an adult, recess is a long missed part of the day. But I still have a similar choice when it comes to a lot of things: do I want to be sheltered & safe, or do I want freedom, even if that freedom lets me break things? A hosted platform vs. something self-hosted like WordPress is one of those choices.

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Teaching with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

What Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Taught me About Teaching

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you already know I love Disney. Now that I have a daughter, I’m super excited to introduce her to this world that brought me so much joy as a child, and continues to today. We’ve started watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the morning, and while she’s too young to really understand what’s happening on the show, it’s a fun thing we do together (she does like the colors, and seems to recognize characters now). The other morning, while watching with her, I came to the realization that it wasn’t just teaching her problem-solving skills. It was also teaching me.

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Delivering More for Season 4 of How I Built It

Season 3 isn’t wrapped yet, but I’ve already started thinking of better ways to deliver for Season 4, coming in January. When I started How I Built it, I didn’t think I would see the success the show has had. It’s a formidable part of my income, it’s got over 100,000 downloads, and it’s growing in popularity.

When you first start anything, you are just finding your sea legs. Over a year in (and a fun obsession with this project), and I’ve got my bearings. I’m ready to go to the next level.

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