Technology Deep Dive

It’s not that often these days that I really have to throw myself into the deep end of the technology pool. Most of my work is focused on managing what the library is doing. Big picture stuff, along with some smattering of teaching classes, providing reference, and tons and tons of meetings, of course. Mustn’t forget the meetings.

However, there are still times when something comes up that I end up pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’ll have some sort of crazy idea, and then I really want to make that crazy idea a reality. For example, back when I wanted to make a video nomination for the New Commons Project, I wanted to do something that was really good. I wanted clips, a soundtrack, memes, and more. The vision was clear in my head, but it took a fair bit of on-the-cuff experimentation and googling for me to figure out exactly how to make it happen. In the end, I was very pleased with the result, but it was a lot of work to get it there.

Probably due to how well that video came off, I was asked by the New Commons folks to give a lecture on D&D as part of the series, since D&D was selected as a finalist. (Yay!) And in classic present-Bryce mode, I assumed that future-Bryce would have plenty of time and desire to do that, so I heartily agreed.

But as the date grew closer, I began to have a fair number of second thoughts, especially when I found out I’d be speaking for 40 minutes. That’s . . . a lot of lecture. (I should have expected this. I’ve been to a number of those New Commons lectures as an audience member.) What in the world was I going to speak about for that long? How could I make it all interesting? And just as importantly, could I do something that would translate well to a socially distanced audience?

(At the time, I wasn’t sure at all if the presentation would be in person, and I didn’t want to spend hours and hours on a presentation that all of 10 people ended up being able to listen to.)

After much thought, I came up with a plan: what if I designed a presentation to be given Choose Your Own Adventure style? It could be a series of branching videos, with the audience in control of what happened in the talk. I really liked that idea, and so I’ve spent the last long while ironing out just how to make that happen. I’m not saying this is cutting edge technology or anything. I’m just using YouTube’s interface to set up the branching pathways. But you’d be surprised about the amount of work it takes to figure all that out as a novice. And then I still had to write the talk, record it all (and all the various possibilities), map out how they’d be handled, edit the videos, upload the videos, link the videos . . .

It’s been a hefty bit of work, and I wasn’t sure I’d finish in time. I’m still not done, technically, but the end is in sight, and I’m quite confident I’ll be able to share the final result with you all here online tomorrow.

Stay tuned . . .


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