April 29, 2009


Category: Uncategorized — Biella @ 8:36 pm

bie!!a, originally uploaded by the biella.

Today I found out that some of my students refer to me as “Enid,” a name which has rarely been used to call my attention but now circulates almost daily to my students whenever I post a message on Blackboard. It was a little mortifying to find out as I don’t identify much with Enid, though it has always tagged quietly along with my other names.

BB, which we use for readings, our discussion forum,and email messages, spits out my legal (tax) name, which bears the full Enid Gabriella Coleman. Although I have tried, somewhat persistently, I have failed to change it to the E. Gabriella Coleman that I would rather use. While I find it hard to embrace Enid as I just don’t feel like an Enid, at least yet (and may break it out when I write fiction or when I turn 65), I have always liked having the name Enid in so far as it pays homage to my Aunt Enid whose life ended far too early, soon before I was born and from all accounts, she was one stellar woman.

My parents chose to tack it on for commemorative purposes, intending to call me Gabriella after some Italian cabaret singer my mother loved. The plan, however, was immediately foiled by my older sister who apparently blurted out something like “Biella” when she saw the scraggly “rat-like baby” (as my mom used to describe me) that was christened her younger sister.

Biella, like Gabriella, also has Italian roots: it is a beautiful town in Italty and a less than beautiful but so-ugly-it-is-kinda-cute Italian Pug.

Perhaps the lesson in all of this is to tell students about my name and finally ditch BB, which is the software equivalent to Soviet style communist housing, and move over to another platform.


  1. Is Moodle a good alternative? Lots of people use it independently hosted… ;-)

    (Though it also works university-wide. I did a lot of work migrating most tertiaries in NZ from BB/WebCT to Moodle.)

    Comment by martin langhoff — April 30, 2009 @ 12:54 am

  2. It indeed might be Martin…. I will have to check it out.

    Are you still in NZ? I met some of your NZ peeps in Amsterdam and am still dying to go there!


    Comment by Biella — April 30, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  3. You should get in on the Sakai pilot – open source alternative to BB. We use it at IU as do dozens of other universities.

    Comment by schultmc — April 30, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  4. I remember being stumped by Enid when sorting out the DebConf 7 accommodation :-)

    How much of your institution relies on BB? I suspect it will be a tough cookie to escape from.

    Comment by Jon — April 30, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  5. NYU has? had? a pilot project for a different platform based on sakai, called Alex. I am going to find out next week whether it still exists and hopefully migrate. May not solve my name woes but it will get me out of soviet style architecture land!

    Comment by Biella — May 2, 2009 @ 6:19 am

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