Within higher education, requests to build websites for individual faculty members sit at the absolute bottom of the work queue for most marketing/communications teams. If this type of product is offered at all, it typically uses a self-service model; the institution will provide the platform while the faculty member will provide the content. And while this is the most sustainable model for most small and mid-sized web teams, it tends to produce multiple websites that are ineffective at communicating even simple messages. Worse, they have a high tendency to become the poorest reflections of the institution with a high rate of abandonment or misuse.
Let's fix that tendency together. With a careful examination of what really matters to faculty members who are looking to create and maintain their own websites, we can begin to build better sites. With better sites (and a little luck), you can start to derive value from the project at the bottom of your work pile.
Together we'll talk about:
A simple analysis of the types of content that you'll typically find within a faculty website.
A "wish list" for the types of content that you (as a marketer) would really like to see from these types of sites.
A working example of a theme that delivers on these key concepts and adds some "quick wins" which makes for a better experience.
How to leverage the capabilities of WordPress multisite to produce more value from collections of these type of sites.
This is an awesome little session at WPCampus 2020 Online. (Video for it available shortly.) It reminds me a lot of the Drupal project Open Scholar that does something similar. I can see it being useful for folks in the Domain of One’s Own space.
Listened toAlan Levine by Terry Greene from Gettin' Air The Open Pedagogy Podcast | voicEd
Terry Greene (@greeneterry) speaks with Alan Levine (@cogdog) about the endlessly amazing work Alan has done in the open over the years, including his involvement in the Ontario Extend project and where that work is headed.
I’m starting to see a pattern in these episodes. 😉
Terry puts a hard out at about 30 minutes and teases the audience by saying to the guest something like “I want to have you back again, our time was too short.” Some of the older episodes are old enough, he’d surely have had guests back by now. What he’s doing is great, but I have to inure myself against the disappointment of great guests coming back (any time real soon.)
Are we continuting with various tools and sharing them on this site?
Should we focus more on building out our own domains and share that process?
Where shall we go?
Todd, I’ve randomly come across this post today and thought I’d toss out some additional ideas to consider if you haven’t already made up your minds.
If you’re thinking about doing something like WithKnown (aka Known, the CMS your post is on), and interested in the WordPress portion, you might consider doing a full/partial Domain of One’s Own program through Reclaim Hosting or even rolling your own. Even if you go small with just a few classes, you might consider adapting the Homebrew Website Club model at your site where you invite students to tinker around, help each other out, and then show off or demonstrate their work. The related IndieWeb wiki and online chat are free to join and can provide a wealth of information and help for students (and educators!) working at owning their own domains.
Incidentally, if you’re unaware, WordPress now has a suite of plugins that will allow it to have a lot of the site-to-site communication capabilities that Known does. I’ve not done it before, but I’m fairly certain you could run it on a multiuser installation of WordPress much the same way you’re using http://janevangalen.com/cms/.
Another interesting option would be to have students try out accounts on micro.blog which are relatively inexpensive, though I suspect if you touched base with Manton Reece and explained what you were doing, he might offer free or significantly reduced hosting for a reasonable period of time. I know he’s given away a year of free hosting to attendees of IndieWebCamps who are starting out with their own domains. If he did then you might be able to use some institutional funds to purchase domains for students to get them started.
I’m happy to spitball ideas in these areas if you’re interested. I’m glad to see others experimenting around with the ideas around DoOO and IndieWeb for Education!
By the way, good on you for opening up your planning process for teaching and learning on the open web. It certainly sets a useful example for others who are exploring and following in your footsteps.
The internet is an amazing place for learning. But recent high-profile forays into online learning for higher education seem to replicate a traditional lecture-based, course-based model of campus instruction, instead of embracing the peer-to-peer connected nature of the web. The networked and digital world offers an unprecedented wealth of resources for engaged, interest-driven, lifelong learning. Reclaim Open Learning intervenes in this debate by supporting and showcasing innovation that brings together the best of truly open, online and networked learning in the wilds of the Internet, with the expertise represented by institutions of higher education.
Connected Courses is a collaborative network of faculty in higher education developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.
Our goal is to build an inclusive and expansive network of teachers, students, and educational offerings that makes high quality, meaningful, and socially connected learning available to everyone.
Our Course on Connected Courses
For Fall 2014 (from September 2 to December 12, 2014), our major focus is on running a course for developing and teaching connected courses. The course is designed and taught by faculty from diverse institutions, some of whom are the folks behind successful connected courses such as FemTechNet, ds106, phonar, and the National Writing Project CLMOOC. You can find the syllabus here, and the people involved here.
A cool concept here and also an example of a course built on WordPress with a planet-like syndication model that allows people to post on their own websites and syndicate their content into the course via RSS. I suspect that Alan Levine built the site and that it’s based on FeedWordPress.
It’s not quite as open as or as “simple” as the IndieWeb News model which allows individual syndication by means of webmention, but it certainly gets the job done and is an excellent example of how this model works.
It’s a crossover episode! Ken Bauer is the host of the Ask The Flipped Learning Network podcast (@askthefln) and an associate professor of #CompSci @TecDeMonterrey in Guadalajara. We chat about our respective podcasts, Virtually Connecting, Open Education, hockey, tacos and a wide variety of things in between.
On shared, cross-over podcasts the running time should run as a function of the number of co-hosts raised to the second power, not as 2x.
I am the Assistant Director for Instructional Technology at the Louisiana State University Law Center. I also teach courses in the College of Human Sciences and Education at Louisiana State University. And I earned a doctorate in educational leadership and research with a concentration in educational technology from Louisiana State University.
My community, university, and professional service keeps me busy. I serve on the Board of Directors at the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families. I also serve as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the School of Library and Information Science and as a peer reviewer for Codex, the Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. I am involved in a variety of campus committees including the LSU Learning and Teaching Collaborative and Academic Technologies Advisory Committee. I have presented at national and international conferences.
I love teaching! I designed and continue to teach Introduction to Classroom Technology (ELRC 2507). In this course, we create professional websites, use Creative Commons licenses to share content, and use digital storytelling for educational purposes. I also designed and teach Information Literacy Instruction (LIS 7807). In this course, online graduate students in the Library and Information Science program use systematic instructional design to help library patrons with information needs. During the Fall 2019 Semester, I will be facilitating a course the focuses on the development of multimedia for learning scenarios. I have also taught Program Evaluation (CIED 7355) in the College of Education at Sam Houston State University.
My family and I live in Baton Rouge, LA. We love to travel together and are always making plans to do so. But I also enjoy watching films when I can and swimming as much as possible.
Sadik Shahadu is an open advocate and a professional project manager with over 4 years of experience in managing community projects.
He is a certified professional at NTEN and currently volunteer in coordinating Wikipedia related projects in Ghana.
He is the co-founder and Director of Communication and partnerships for GOI Foundation.
She was a presenter and wrote a couple of nice follow up pieces about her experiences on her website. I bookmarked one of them to read later, and then two days later I came across this tweet by Terry Green, who had also apparently noticed her post:
I really hope this new post of the Open Learner Patchbook comes across the feed of lots of learners who haven’t experienced a Domain of One’s Own program before.
While I didn’t see a Creative Commons notice on Cassie’s original or any mention of permissions or even a link to the source of the original on the copy on the Open Patchbook, I don’t doubt that Terry asked Cassie for permission to post a copy of her work on his site. I’ll also suspect that it may have been the case that Cassie might not have wanted any attention drawn to herself or her post on her site and may have eschewed a link to it. I will note that the Open Patchbook did have a link to her Twitter presence as a means of credit. (I’ll still maintain that people should be preferring links to their own domain over Twitter for credits like these–take back your power!)
Even with these crediting caveats aside, there’s a subtle technical piece hiding here relating to search engines and search engine optimization that many in the Domain of One’s Own space may not realize exists, or if they do they may not be sure how to fix. This technical subtlety is that search engines attempt to assign proper credit too. As a result there’s a very high chance that Open Patchbook could rank higher in search for Cassie’s own post than Cassie’s original. As researchers and educators we’d obviously vastly prefer the original to get the credit. So what’s going on here?
Search engines use a web standard known as rel=“canonical”, a microformat which is most often found in the HTML <header> of a web page. If we view the current source of the copy on the Open Learner Patchbook, we’ll see the following:
By adding rel=“canonical” to a hyperlink, a page indicates that the destination of that hyperlink should be considered the preferred or definitive version of the current page. This helps search engines avoid duplicate content, and is useful for deciding how to link to a page when citing it.
In the case of our example of Cassie’s post, search engines will treat the two pages as completely separate, but will suspect that one is a duplicate of the other. This could have dramatic consequences for one or the other sites in which search engines will choose one to prefer over the other, and, in some cases, search engines may penalize one site for having duplicate content and not stating that fact (in their metadata). Typically this would have more drastic and averse consequences for Cassie’s original in comparison with an institutional site.
How do we fix the injustice of this metadata?
There are a variety of ways, but I’ll focus on several in the WordPress space.
WordPress core has built-in functionality that should set the permalink for a particular page as the canonical one. This is why the Open Patchbook page displays the incorrect canonical link. Since most people are likely to already have an SEO related plugin installed on their site and almost all of them have this capability, this is likely the quickest and easiest method for being able to change canonical links for pages and posts. Two popular choices for this are Yoast and All in One SEO which have simple settings for inputting and saving alternate canonical URLs. Yoast documents the steps pretty well, so I’ll provide an example using All in One SEO:
If not done already, click the checkbox for canonical URLs in the “General Settings” section for the plugin generally found at /wp-admin/admin.php?page=all-in-one-seo-pack%2Faioseop_class.php.
For the post (or page) in question, within the All in One SEO metabox in the admin interface (pictured) put the full URL of the original posts’ location.
(Re-)publish the post.
If you’re using another SEO plugin, it likely handles canonical URLs similarly, so check their documentation.
For aggregation websites, like the Open Learner Patchbook, there’s also another solid option for not only setting the canonical URL, but for more quickly copying the original post as well. In these cases I love PressForward, a WordPress plugin from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media which was designed with the education space in mind. The plugin allows one to quickly gather, organize, and republish content from other places on the web. It does so in a smart and ethical way and provides ample opportunity for providing appropriate citations as well as, for our purposes, setting the original URL as the canonical one. Because PressForward is such a powerful and diverse tool (as well as a built-in feed reader for your WordPress website), I’ll refer users to their excellent documentations.
Another useful reason I’ll mention for using rel-canonical mark up is that I’ve seen cases in which using it will allow other web standards-based tools like Hypothes.is to match pages for highlights and annotations. I suspect that if the Open Patchwork page did have the canonical link specified that any annotations made on it with Hypothes.is should mirror properly on the original as well (and vice-versa).
I also suspect that there are some valuable uses of this sort of small metadata-based mark up within the Open Educational Resources (OER) space.
In short, when copying and reposting content from an original source online, it’s both courteous and useful to mark the copy as such by putting a tag onto the URL of the original to provide it with the full credit as the canonical source.
This summer marks the one-year anniversary of acquiring my domain through St. Norbert’s “Domain of One’s Own” program Knight Domains. I have learned a few important lessons over the past year about what having your own domain can mean.
Tip: One of the Discover curation guidelines is the Buddy Bench principle. If you want to find someone who shares a particular interest, write a micropost asking “Hey, are there any fans of ___ out there?” We add posts like that to Discover. ❧
Another useful tip on this front is to post a Micro Monday following recommendation aggregating a few people you know are interested in a particular topic. As an example, I posted one about a few educators and researchers I knew on micro.blog in July 2018 and it quickly blew up with lots of additional recommendations from others following me within the community.
Over time I’ve kept up with adding to it, and even within the last month that post is still helping to benefit others on the service:
blair says: “@c this made me very happy, thanks for tagging me, I’ve now got a bunch more interesting folks to follow!” May 30, 2019 at 4:28 pm
Open Apereo 2019 is an international, inclusive event offered by the Apereo Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and sustaining innovative open-source software solutions for education. Learn how higher education is using open-source software to help deliver the academic mission, control costs, and retain the capacity to innovate.