Friday, January 17, 2014

Deflooberating the Jujingas

So apparently the new update to the online course software that we use down at Home Campus has a few glitches.

Who knew?

At the moment the glitches appear small from my angle – mostly the fact that things that appear in one order in one place on your course site appear in a very different order in another place on the site despite the fact that the latter place is supposed to dictate the order of things at the former place.  This can be problematic when you are trying to direct students to a specific item.  Or at least it could be if you assume that students actually pay attention to such things.  Most of them do, though not all.  And for that latter group, well, the transition is probably just as seamless as they could have hoped.

All this is for the section I’m teaching on someone else’s course design.  I haven’t even begun to set up the website for my own class, which I will have to do from scratch.

Every year this happens. 

I finally get the hang of whatever changes and improvements were made the previous year – a process that generally involves several weeks, a fair quantity of whiskey, and the full tapestry of profanity that I learned from my grandmother, an artist in the field.  I suppose in that way I am simply passing down the family craft, and for such opportunities the historian in me ought to be grateful.  And with sufficient whiskey, perhaps I could be.

Having gotten the hang of it all, cleaned up my language and put away my whiskey, I spend the next semester or two bludgeoning my way through the system.  I may not be able to do things in the most efficient or effective way, but I can create a course page that satisfies my demands and makes at least some sense to my students – enough that they generally can figure it out after a few classes.  Things are going well.

And then the engineers decide to optimize things.

“Just think!” they crow.  “If we deflooberate the jujingas and kahoomerize the flotwhilers, we can add all these cool new features that nobody has ever asked for but might one day!”

So they do.

Meanwhile all the features that were already being used get scrambled, because once you’ve deflooberated the jujingas you cannot possibly expect the flotwhilers to run as they used to run, especially after they’ve gone through the kahoomerization process.  And don’t even get me started on the zulwoo modules.  Your zulwoo modules, you know, they’re pretty sensitive things, and tweaking the jujingas in any way is enough to make them just give up and collapse into quivering little balls of semi-random code.  If you do it just right, you can turn them into a pizza-ordering app, which is a feature I would definitely use.

So now I have this new system all full of TEH SHINY that doesn’t quite work, and classes start in mere days.

Pass me my whiskey, cover your ears, and step back.


TimBo said...

As someone involved in software development for more than 25 years let me confirm that this is exactly how we do things. The pizza-ordering app is the highest goal of software development.

David said...

I knew it!

Pepperoni and black olives, please.