Reply to Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use by Tannis Morgan

Replied to Don’t let your online strategy become a conversation about which LMS to use by Tannis MorganTannis Morgan (Explorations in the EdTech World)
Here’s the short of it. LMS’s do some things really well and are not going to go away. We still use an LMS at our institution, and while I would really like the vendor to invest some of our hard earned license fees into making it a more user friendly tool, we still need an LMS. However, I’ve tried really hard to make sure our online strategy does not start and finish with the LMS, and yes, it is an ongoing battle.

This article presents an excellent point. I also see a lot of what I would call IndieWeb philosophy bubbling up within this argument, and perhaps the edtech space could benefit from some of their ideas, set up, and design?  If you like, we could take the analogy IndieWeb:Social Silos::Educational Technology:Learning Management Systems and extend it.

Much like the demise of the innovation on the web and within the blogosphere as the result of the commodification of social media by silo corporations like Facebook, Twitter, and others around 2006, the technology space in education has become too addicted to corporate products and services. Many of these services cover some broad functionality, but they have generally either slowed down or quit innovating, quit competing with each other, are often charging exorbitant prices, and frequently doing unethical things with the data they receive from their users. The major difference between the two spaces is that Big Social Media is doing it on a much bigger scale and making a lot more money and creating greater damage as a result.

Instead, let me make some recommendations to thought leaders in the space for more humanistic and holistic remedy. Follow the general philosophies and principles of the IndieWeb movement. Dump (or at least gradually move away from) your corporately built LMS and start building one of your own. Ideally, open source what you build so that others can improve it and build upon it. In the end, you, your classes, your departments, and your institutions will be all the stronger for it. You can have more direct control over your own data (and that of your students, which deserves to be treated more ethically). You can build smaller independent pieces that are interchangeable and inter-operable. The small pieces may also allow new unpredictable functionalities when put together. You can build to make better user interfaces, better functionality, and get what you’d like to have instead of just what you’re given.

Sure, doing this may be somewhat uncomfortable in the near term, but many hands over many institutions, building and crafting a variety of solutions will result in a much better and more robust product–and one that we all can “own” and benefit from. By open sourcing, many hands will make light work. Imagine what the state of online learning, Open Educational Resources (OER), and open pedagogy would look like if the hundreds of institutions had put all of their LMS related funding over the past decade into even a handful of open source programmers instead of corporately controlled interests?

Already within the article, there is a short list of potential solutions one could look to as LMS replacements. Those that are open source are literally crying out to not only be used, but to be improved upon so that everyone can benefit from those improvements. Other related options might include

For solid examples of what can be accomplished, we can also look toward individual developers like Stephen Downes and projects like gRSShopper or Alan Levine and his many open source repositories. There are also individuals like Greg McVerry, who is using free and opensource content management systems like WordPress and WithKnown to push the envelope of what is possible with classroom interactions using simple internet protocols like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and bleeding edge readers using MicroSub, and Robin DeRosa, who is creating her own OER materials. These are just a few of thousands of individuals hacking away at small, but discrete problems and then helping out others.

At the higher end we can see broad movements like A Domain of One’s Own (DoOO), which empowers students students and faculty by giving them their own domain names and hosting as well as web-based tools to leverage these benefits. (I often look at the DoOO movement as IndieWeb for Education, but without as much emphasis on building for oneself.)

There are even ethical companies like Reclaim Hosting who are doing some excellent and tremendous work in the DoOO space. The benefit of the way these systems are built and maintained however, is that should Reclaim cease offering their excellent support, benefits, and add-ons, individuals or institutions could relatively easily take all of their data and applications and move them to another provider. This provides a massive incentive for service companies to continue iterating and improving on their work as well as the services they offer. Sadly, some of these mechanisms don’t exist this way within much of the corporate LMS space. But they certainly could and should.

For those who are interested, feel free to do some research into some of these areas and tools. Join the DoOO or IndieWeb.org communities. Build your own tools, give feedback to developers of opensource projects to help them improve. Give them some of your time and resources to make these communities and spaces better and stronger over time. Feel free to join the IndieWeb chat to meet folks virtually and discuss these ideas, or use the IndieWeb wiki (the IndieWeb for Education page is an excellent place to start) to not only read, but to contribute back ideas, tools, links, and resources for others. (The wiki has a CC0 license.)

I’m always happy to help people begin to find their way in some of these resources if they need it to get started.

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Reply to Greg McVerry about academic samizdat pre-print server

Replied to a post by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry (quickthoughts.jgregorymcverry.com)
Then we also make a 12/31/2019 to have published first issue of a academic samizdat POSSE Journal about blogging research from any discipline. I wanna bring back some lightning talks like BlogCon 2003-2006., but first we do the journal.

I like that idea. Perhaps between the models for news.IndieWeb.org and Kicks Condor’s indiweb.xyz, we could create a syndicatable (pre-print) academic journal that allows sorting by top level academic disciplines.

I don’t recall though, are either of them open source, or do we need to re-build by hand?

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Reply to Taylor Jadin about planet functionality for education

Replied to a tweet by Taylor JadinTaylor Jadin (Twitter)
It was a pretty productive Open Domains Lab for me. Got my sort "funnel" site set somewhat set up using FeedWordpress. http://taylor.jadin.me/

I’m curious to hear your thoughts after using it. It sounds like it has a lot of functionality overlap with Press Forward (for WordPress). Planet-like functionality is commonly requested in the education and technology space. Are there others? Stephen DownesgRSShopper perhaps?

 

 

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🔖 Approaching E-Learning 3.0 | Stephen Downes

Bookmarked Approaching E-Learning 3.0 by Stephen DownesStephen Downes (downes.ca)

The course is titled 'E-Learning 3.0' and could be subtitled 'Distributed Learning Technology'. This is a course about the next generation of learning technology. It's a broad and challenging domain that I've broken down into the following topics: data, cloud, graph, community, identity, resources, recognition, experience, agency.

I'm designing the course so that each week is one of these self-contained topics. This topic can then be approached from different directions, at different levels. The content is a starting point. I will provide a series of reflections. But I will be learning about each of these topics along with everyone else.

An online course I should take part in…

🔖 academicpages is a ready-to-fork GitHub Pages template for academic personal websites

Bookmarked academicpages is a ready-to-fork GitHub Pages template for academic personal websites (academicpages.github.io)
This is the front page of a website that is powered by the academicpages template and hosted on GitHub pages. GitHub pages is a free service in which websites are built and hosted from code and data stored in a GitHub repository, automatically updating when a new commit is made to the respository. This template was forked from the Minimal Mistakes Jekyll Themecreated by Michael Rose, and then extended to support the kinds of content that academics have: publications, talks, teaching, a portfolio, blog posts, and a dynamically-generated CV. You can fork this repository right now, modify the configuration and markdown files, add your own PDFs and other content, and have your own site for free, with no ads! An older version of this template powers my own personal website at stuartgeiger.com, which uses this Github repository.
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👓 Some IndieWeb WordPress tuning | EdTech Factotum

Replied to Some IndieWeb WordPress tuning by Clint LalondeClint Lalonde (EdTech Factotum)
Been spending a bit of time in the past 2 days adding some new functionality to the blog. I am making more of an effort to write more, thanks in no small part to the 9x9x25 blog challenge I am doin…

Right now, I just want to write.  

You might find that the micropub plugin is a worthwhile piece for this. It will give your site an endpoint you can use to post to your site with a variety of third party applications including Quill or Micropublish.net.
October 14, 2018 at 01:01AM

My hope is that it will somehow bring comments on Facebook back to the blog and display them as comments here.  

Sadly, Aaron Davis is right that Facebook turned off their API access for this on August 1st, so there currently aren’t any services, including Brid.gy, anywhere that allow this. Even WordPress and JetPack got cut off from posting from WordPress to Facebook, much less the larger challenge of pulling responses back.
October 14, 2018 at 01:03AM

Grant Potter  

Seeing the commentary from Greg McVerry and Aaron Davis, it’s probably worthwhile to point you to the IndieWeb for Education wiki page which has some useful resources, pointers, and references. As you have time, feel free to add yourself to the list along with any brainstorming ideas you might have for using some of this technology within your work realm. Many hands make light work. Welcome to the new revolution!
October 14, 2018 at 01:08AM

the autoposts from Twitter to Facebook were  

a hanging thought? I feel like I do this on my site all too often…
October 14, 2018 at 01:09AM

I am giving this one a go as it seems to be the most widely used.  

It is widely used, and I had it for a while myself. I will note that the developer said he was going to deprecate it in favor of some work he’d been doing with another Mastodon/WordPress developer though.
October 14, 2018 at 01:19AM

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Reply to Dogfood by Rick Wysocki

Replied to Dogfood by Rick WysockiRick Wysocki (Rick Wysocki)

[...] I’ve been reading a bit about the IndieWeb movement, and am becoming increasingly interested in the possibility of a more decentralized model for distributing web content.

[...]

To make a greater effort to create or at least have some hand in designing digital tools for my own work work. To this end, I’ve begun developing a (very small scale) Jekyll template for creating and disseminating oral history archives (called Oryll Hystory). With my scholarly background in both new media and archival theory, I’m hoping to use this as a prototype for thinking through questions regarding digital archives, circulation, and public humanities work. If that doesn’t work out, it will at least be practice for a bigger and better project. Feel free to follow the Github repository for the project if you’re interested. But don’t judge me–I’m at the early stages of the project and its currently extremely basic (and doesn’t look particularly good yet either).

Welcome to the IndieWeb Rick!

I particularly love your idea of using some of your digital knowledge and tools for research and education related work. In case you haven’t found it yet there are a growing number of educators, researchers, and practitioners applying IndieWeb philosophies and principles to the education space not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of our students and others. I hope you’ll take a moment to add yourself and some of your work to the list. If there’s anything any of us can do to help out, please don’t hesitate to touch base with us via our websites or in chat.

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👓 Dogfood | Rick Wysocki

Read Dogfood by Rick Wysocki (Rick Wysocki)
This past week, I finally pulled the plug and deleted my Facebook account. Or, rather, I scheduled my Facebook to be deleted in two weeks since, apparently, the company doesn’t allow users to delete accounts without giving itself a grace period. A lot of friends have pointed out real things I might miss by not being on the platform, but I feel so much lighter without the Facebook echo chamber in my head. I don’t judge people who stay on the platform–I’m not an evangelist–but it just wasn’t working for me.
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👓 The role of the faculty in the post-LMS world (opinion) | Inside Higher Ed

Read The role of the faculty in the post-LMS world (opinion) (Inside Higher Ed)
If it isn’t already, the learning management system will soon be obsolete, Jonathan Rees argues. Let’s replace it in ways that treat professors like the professionals they are.

This article has the flavor of IndieWeb about it…

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The real internet is structured by myriad people with different aesthetics and different needs. Online course design decisions should reflect the instructor’s individuality in the same way that everyone else’s webpages do.  

September 26, 2018 at 05:22PM

Third, the post-LMS world should protect the pedagogical prerogatives and intellectual property rights of faculty members at all levels of employment. This means, for example, that contingent faculty should be free to take the online courses they develop wherever they happen to be teaching. Similarly, professors who choose to tape their own lectures should retain exclusive rights to those tapes. After all, it’s not as if you have to turn over your lecture notes to your old university whenever you change jobs.  

Own your pedagogy. Send just like anything else out there…
September 26, 2018 at 05:27PM

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🔖 PlumX Metrics | Plum Analytics

Bookmarked PlumX Metrics (plumanalytics.com)

PlumX Metrics provide insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more) in the online environment. Examples include, when research is mentioned in the news or is tweeted about. Collectively known as PlumX Metrics, these metrics are divided into five categories to help make sense of the huge amounts of data involved and to enable analysis by comparing like with like.

PlumX gathers and brings together appropriate research metrics for all types of scholarly research output.

We categorize metrics into 5 separate categories: Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations.

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👓 Google Sheets Blogging CMS, part 1 | John A. Stewart

Replied to Google Sheets Blogging CMS, part 1 by John StewartJohn Stewart (John Stewart)
This is the first post in a three part series on using Google Sheets as the database for a blogging CMS. In this post, I’ll explain the motivations for building the system. In the second post, I’ll walk you through the Google Sheet itself and the Google scripts (their version of js) that drive it. In the third post, I’ll share the website that displays the blog, and the code behind it. My guess is that interest in the three pieces will vary for different audiences, so I wanted to encapsulate the descriptions.

I generally like where John is taking this idea and the fact that he’s actively experimenting and documenting what he’s coming up with as potential solutions. While I do like some of the low-tech angle that he’s taking, I’m not sure, based on what he’s written, how some of it will come out within the broader spectrum of DoOO or IndieWeb-related technologies.

For example:

  • How easy/hard will it be for students to own/export their data after the class?
  • How might they interact if they’re already within the DoOO cohort or already self-hosting  their own space?
  • What are the implications for students of maintaining multiple spaces with a variety of technologies and therefor overhead?
  • I’ve never had a lot of luck with Disqus, which I find to be heavy and often has problems with auto-marking all of my content as spam. I’ve definitely found it to be an issue with using for POSSE workflows. Worse, with the introduction of specifications like Webmention to the DoOO space, students could be writing their responses to classmates and teachers on their own sites and thereby owning all of that content too, but with Disqus, this just isn’t possible.

I’ll reserve judgement for once I’ve seen some of the code and further ideas in parts II and III as I suspect he’s likely taken some of these issues into account.

We’ve played with this concept of front-end blogging for a while now. Alan Levine has built an open sourced tool called TRU Writer that even provides this type of front end interface on a WordPress site.  

I’m curious if John, Alan Levine, or others have yet come across the concept of Micropub? It generalizes the idea of a posting client and interface so that it could work with almost any CMS-related back end. I could see people building custom micropub clients for the education space, or even using some of the pre-existing ones like Quill, InkStone, or Micropublish.net. Many of them also use JSON or form encoded data that they could also be using with platforms like the one John describes here. The other nice part about them is that they’re flexible and relatively open in more ways than one, so they don’t necessarily need to be rebuilt from scratch for each new CMS out there.

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👓 Putting Stickers On Your Laptop Is Probably a Bad Security Idea | Motherboard / Vice

Read Putting Stickers On Your Laptop Is Probably a Bad Security Idea by Joseph Cox (Motherboard)
From border crossings to hacking conferences, that Bitcoin or political sticker may be worth leaving on a case at home.

I had a very short conversation at the IndieWeb Summit 2018 in Portland with Nate Angell about the stickers on his laptop. Who knew he was such a subject area expert that Motherboard/Vice was using his material?

Of course this also reminds me that if academics, journalists, and publications/outlets were using webmentions when they credited creative commons articles, photos, audio, or other content, then the originator would get a notification that it was being used. This could also tip the originator off that their licensed content is being properly used.

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🎧 2ToPonder Episode One | INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION

Listened to 2ToPonder Episode One by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry from jgregorymcverry.com

My first attempt at a microcast:

Don’t forget that I’m listening to content in the class as well! Perhaps this will be your first listen webmention? 😉

For badges from static sites, you could simply use raw HTML on a page like Aaron Parecki outlines.1 The “sending” site doesn’t need to be able to send webmentions although the receiving site needs to be able to receive them. You can then use a service like http://mention-tech.appspot.com/ or https://telegraph.p3k.io/send-a-webmention to have your static site send the webmention for you!

References

1.
Parecki A. Sending your First Webmention from Scratch. Aaron Parecki. https://aaronparecki.com/2018/06/30/11/your-first-webmention. Published June 30, 2018. Accessed August 6, 2018.
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Think the unthinkable: My Version for the Future of Digital Teaching and Learning for EDU522

I’m still evolving what my version of the future of digital teaching and learning looks like, but I am certainly enamored of the idea of mixing in many ideas of the open internet and IndieWeb ways of approaching it all. Small, open, relatively standardized, and remixable pieces can hopefully help lower barriers to teachers and learners everywhere.

The ability to interact directly with a course website and the materials in a course using my own webspace/digital commonplace book via Webmention seems like a very powerful tool. I’m able to own/archive many or most of the course materials for later use and reflection. I’m also able to own all of my own work for later review or potential interaction with fellow classmates or the teacher. Having an easier ability to search my site for related materials to draw upon for use in synthesizing and creating new content, also owned on my own site, is particularly powerful.

Certainly there are some drawbacks and potential inequalities in a web-based approach, particularly for those who don’t have the immediate resources required to access materials, host their own site, own their own data, or even interact digitally. William Gibson has famously said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Hopefully breaking down some of the barriers to accessibility in education for all will help the distribution.

There’s also questions relating to how open should things really be? How private (or not) should they be? Ideally teachers provide a large swath of openness, particularly when it comes to putting their materials in the commons for others to reuse or remix. Meanwhile allowing students to be a bit more closed if they choose to keep materials just for their own uses, to limit access to their own work/thoughts, or to potentially limit the audience of their work (eg. to teachers and fellow classmates) is a good idea. Recent examples within the social media sphere related to context collapse have provided us with valuable lessons about how long things should last, who should own them, how public should they be in the digital sphere? Students shouldn’t be penalized in the future for ideas they “tried on” while learning. Having the freedom and safety to make mistakes in a smaller arena can be a useful tool within teaching–those mistakes shouldn’t cost them again by being public at a later date. Some within the IndieWeb have already started experimenting with private webmentions and other useful tools like limiting audiences which may help these ideas along despite their not existing in a simple implementation for the masses yet.

Naturally the open web can be a huge place, so having some control and direction is always nice. I’ve always thought students should be given a bit more control over where they’re going and what they want out of a given course as well as the ability to choose their own course materials to some extent. Still having some semblance of outline/syllabus and course guidelines can help direct what that learning will actually be.

Some of what I see in EDU522 is the beginning of the openness and communication I’ve always wanted to see in education and pedagogy. Hopefully it will stand as an example for others who come after us.

Written with Module One: Who Am I? in mind.