Resource: The Power of Random

For this post, I wanted to say a little something about the power of random! I really love randomenss. It's a way to make things unpredictable, new, lively - even when there is not a live human being there to provide that dynamic quality. Here are some places where you can find randomness at work in these online courses:
  • The sidebar of this blog has all kinds of random widgets that show random images, random books, etc. These widgets are all built with, a tool created by an OU student, Randy Hoyt, years ago. (Find out more about what Randy is up to at his website!)
  • The Myth-Folklore readings each week have a small javascript widget: "Let the Fates decide!" That is just a simple javascript that I wrote by hand, and I promise: I was scrupulous about making the odds exactly 50-50 for which reading option would come up. Here's an example: Indian or Japan.
  • Sometimes I use random assignments for the Storybook; this is also done with the tool. You can see the random assignment at work in the Spin the Wheel Storybook assignment from Week 8. There are other assignments that work in this same way, like the "Extra Famous Last Words" assignment, etc.
  • I also randomize the responding groups every three weeks. The tool I use to randomize that is this simple web-based alphabetizer which also has a randomizer option: Alphabetizer. That is also the tool I used to randomize the Storybooks for the Week 10 Internet assignment, for example.
And here is a cartoon; I would not mind being known as Dr. Random, ha ha. :-)

(Cartoon by Sumanta Baruah)