Renaming My Blog

My blog has changed names twice over the years. Today, after 15 years, it’s changing again.

Before I had a “real” blog, I published random thoughts on whatever personal website my then-current university would give me access to, starting in 1993. Remember tilde accounts? ( / has always (since 1995) been a personal home page, and not a place where I’ve published a lot of writing.)

In the early 2000s, Brian Lamb introduced me to RSS and Moveable Type and I put down some blog roots at That first “real” blog was named Autounfocus, in recognition of the way it bounced back and forth between a pretty wide range of topics:A few years later, when Movable Type announced they were considering changing from open source to a proprietary licensing model, I briefly experimented with Plone as my blogging platform. But I quickly ended up moving to WordPress – and – in February, 2005. At that point I renamed the blog Iterating Toward Openness, and later chose a new byline:Holy smokes! That’s 15 years ago now. How time flies.

I’ve slowly¬† – and sometimes painfully – realized over the last several years that I’m no longer iterating toward openness personally. Open isn’t the goal for me – my real goal is improving student learning. It’s true that “open” is one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox, and I have every intention of continuing to leverage it in the service of improving student learning. But open is only one of several powerful tools we need to leverage if we want to make a significant difference in student learning. Open is a means, not an end. Not a proper end, anyhow. And it’s not what I’m iterating toward. So it seems appropriate to update my blog to reflect this.

I wanted the new name and byline to create an intellectual space large enough for both my primary goal – improving student learning – and the wide range of tools and topics I try to leverage in that pursuit: a broad array of research, theory, and practice in instructional design, pedagogy, openness, data science, social entrepreneurship, continuous improvement, behavioral economics, learning analytics, professional development, self-organizing learning communities, learning engineering, models of peer production, the economics of public goods, &c. I’m sure there are many things I’m forgetting. And I’m sure there will be many more to come in the future.

As you’ve likely seen at the top left of the site by now, the new blog title is “Improving Learning,” and the new byline is “eclectic, pragmatic, enthusiastic.” I like this new name and byline. It feels like they set me up for another decade or so of good, solid work. I’m more committed to improving student learning now than ever, and I’m excited to continue revising and remixing tools and techniques from a diversity of disciplines in order to do so.