Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

Month: October 2012 (page 2 of 2)

Joining the CFHE12 MOOC

I’ve decided to participate a MOOC on the future of higher education. The MOOC is being faciliated by George Siemens and Rory McGreal, and seems like it will be a vastly different experience than the MOOC on Mathematical Thinking I’m currently exploring being run by Keith Devlin. My primary objective will be to explore the difference in format between these two MOOCs and see which of them I think is a more productive learning environment, specifically focused on the needs of my students.

Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to meet some people who are involved in coordinating these types of learning experiences for their universities.

Testing new Captcha system

So I have quite a bit of spam which is posted to my site, probably between 50 and 100 comments a day at least. I’ve been using some heavy handed spam filters to try and curb it, but these filters have probably blocked legitimate comments, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog. One solution is to use a Captcha instead of a spam filter, but these are generally easy to circumvent with a bit of programming to defeat the Captcha. What I’ve done is created my own unique Captcha system, which is probably not worth the effort for anyone to crack (given that I have only 1 site using the Captcha so the reward for solving it is minimal). This should block spam computer programs from posting comments to my blog, and so I’ve (at least temporarily) disabled the anti-spam filters.

The solution is unfortunately not accessible. I will look into a way of providing an audio file replacement in case anyone who is visually impaired is reading my blog and wants to comment. For now, if that is the case, please feel free to use the contact link above.

Could you please test that this Captcha works for me? I want to verify that I have not accidentally made it impossible for anyone to comment.


It seems that my Captcha works. I’ve received only 3 spam since I implemented it, all of which could have easily been entered by a human being. Comparing this to the hundreds and hundreds of spam I used to receive in the same time period makes me happy. Hopefully this mean that it will be also easier for actual human beings to comment on my blog.

Here’s 3 minutes of my website log. Almost all of the rest of my log is filled with similar mesages, so I’m encouraged by the success of my Captcha module. Some spam has gotten through, but so far it seems that it is either infrequent, or I can block the spammer by IP address.

Captcha log

Leadership 2.0 chat

George Couros has set up a series of speakers on the general topic of leadership in schools in the 21st century. Starting today, and for each of the following nine weeks, George will be facilitating presentations from exceptional leaders from across North Ameria. You can read more about his initative on his blog.

To help extend this conversation, George asked me to moderate a Twitter discussion on the same or related topics on the Thursday following the webinars. The first discussion is happening this Thursday at 7pm PST and our first discussion topic is, "What does leadership 2.0 mean?" The hashtag for the discussion is #leadership20 if you want to follow along.

Please share this discussion series with any educational administrators you know (or any aspiring educational leaders). Anyone who has an interest in educational leadership is welcome to attend the discussion.