New and just wading in here I work at Fleming College in our Learning Design and Support team/department
Our medium sized college has always offered our students and faculty a choice in terms of the platform they choose to use: Wordpress, tumblr, weebly, medium, etc., mostly because we didn’t have anything else to offer them other than the LMS that was supported by the institution.
This past September our communication courses for first year have been using wordpress.com (mostly) as they were encouraged by the teaching faculty who were also using wordpress.com sites for their own writing. The redesigned communication courses have the students learning to write, give and receive feedback, and loop through this cycle several times for an authentic audience. First semester focuses on personal writing, the second focuses on professional writing.
(just wanted to provide some context for my reply - they had to go with wordpress.com as there was no plan or budget to do a local install or have it hosted for the college)
Feedback from the faculty teaching team after teaching for almost 8 weeks is how to template and simplify space for students to use, here is a direct quote: “could we create dedicated blog page for students that would be a pre-made, fool-proof template? When a student’s WordPress blog does not work and we can’t fix the problem, it is very frustrating to be helpless beside an exasperated student.”
I am inclined to suggest freeing up the expectation that the student’s use wordpress and that they instead use a platform that they may already be familiar with (like tumblr etc.,) and create a space AND use categories/titles that are consistent so that the faculty can go in and review, comment, provide feedback etc., easily.
Many students may choose to use wordpress either way but…
One thing that we do here that may help the conversation is that our library holds workshops to assist students in creating their online presence, creative commons, attribution etc.,
I’m interested in any thoughts or feedback on how to approach the our communication faculty request… am I heading in the right direction??
There may be a bit of a path forward here that some might consider using that has some fantastic flexibility.
There is a WordPress plugin called Micropub (which needs to be used in conjunction with the IndieAuth plugin for authentication to their CMS account) that will allow students to log into various writing/posting applications.
These are usually slimmed down interfaces that don’t provide the panoply of editing options that the Gutenberg interface or Classic editor metabox interfaces do. Quill is a good example of this and has a Medium.com like interface. iA Writer is a solid markdown editor that has this functionality as well (though I think it only works on iOS presently).
Students can write and then post from these, but still have the option to revisit within the built in editors to add any additional bells and whistles they might like if they’re so inclined.
This system is a bit like SPLOTs, but has a broader surface area and flexibility. I’ll also mention that many of the Micropub clients are open source, so if one were inclined they could build their own custom posting interface specific to their exact needs. Even further, other CMSes like Known, Drupal, etc. either support this web specification out of the box or with plugins, so if you built a custom interface it could work just as well with other platforms that aren’t just WordPress. This means that in a class where different students have chosen a variety of ways to set up their Domains, they can be exposed to a broader variety of editing tools or if the teacher chooses, they could be given a single editing interface that is exactly the same for everyone despite using different platforms.
Create your own! This tool will produce much better results if the images are much larger than the intended size (e.g. 1400 x 800 at least) since it needs to downsize the original to fit the different dimensions.
Alan, I took a swing at trying out the live Comparator SPLOT today. It’s very cool looking! Sadly I kept getting an error in the WP upload interface simply saying “An error occurred in the upload. Please try again later.”
I was uploading a simple .jpg of about the same size and dimensions as those recommended and already in the repository. I tried a few different photo sizes and types with the same result, so I’m not sure what the underlying issue may be. Unless something has changed dramatically, my one guess would be to check the storage limits on the hosting account. I’ve seen that sort of failure before when running out of physical space on a host.
Incidentally, from a security standpoint, I’ll mention that it appears one has the ability within that interface to delete others’ previously uploaded photos. (May want to look at that as a potential future improvement.)
The acronym SPLOT was coined by Brian Lamb (Levine, 2014) when working with Alan Levine to create tools that solved a number of issues seen in the LMS and ad-based web tools. While it’s (intentionally) difficult to pin down an exact definition (Splot.ca, 2019), the focus is on simple tools that protect student privacy while providing powerful opportunities for students to create and share media that directly align with learning objectives.
SPLOTs support and value open education while making it as easy as possible to post media in an appealing and accessible way.
This is an experiment of using the SPLOTbox theme as a podcast collection platform. So record your story and share it with us (be sure to use the category for this episode, that’s how they get in the show).
It will join the others in the collection (and listed below). See as well an example of a Podcast made from audio at external URLs, all were added to the site via the Studio Form.
10 days ago I was sitting in a room in Los Angeles with 12 other folks listening to Marie Selvanadin, Sundi Richard, and Adam Croom talk about work they’re doing with Domains, and it was good! That session was followed by Peter Sentz providing insight on how BYU Domains provides and supports top-level domains and hosting for over 10,000 users on their campus. And first thing that Friday morning Lauren and I kicked the day off by highlighting Tim Clarke’s awesome work with the Berg Builds community directory as well as Coventry Domains‘s full-blown frame for a curriculum around Domains with Coventry Learn. In fact, the first 3 hours of Day 2 were a powerful reminder of just how much amazing work is happening at the various schools that are providing the good old world wide web as platform to their academic communities.
I’m still bummed I couldn’t make it to this event…
One of the questions that came up during the SPLOT workshop is if there’s a SPLOT for podcasting, which reminded me of this post Adam Croom wrote a while back about his podcasting workflow: “My Podcasting Workflow with Amazon S3.” . We’re always on the look-out for new SPLOTs to bring to the Reclaim masses, and it would be cool to have an example that moves beyond WordPress just to make the point a SPLOT is not limited to WordPress (as much as we love it) —so maybe Adam and I can get the band back together.❧
I wonder if this could be used to create a SPLOT that isn’t WordPress based potentially using APIs from the Internet Archive and Huffduffer? WordPress-based infrastructure could be used to create it certainly and aggregation could be done around tags. It looks like the Huffduffer username SPLOT is available.
–annotated December 17, 2019 at 10:46AM
Yeah, we still have some work to do on tightening up that catchy acronym…
SPLOT comes from the conviction that there is great value in learners and educators sharing their work on the open web. All too often, doing so gets derailed by two problems. First, open web tools are perceived by users as difficult to use, and by organizations as complicated to support. This is why most organizations direct or even restrict activity into a consolidated Learning Management System (LMS). Second, online identity and privacy concerns (and laws) scare people off. Not every learner is ready to share their work with the world on a medium that “never forgets”. We know that most free online communication tools capture and exploit the data of their users.
So the tools on this site are designed with two core principles in mind:
make it as easy as possible to post activity to the open web in an appealing and accessible way
allow users to do so without creating accounts, or providing any required personal information
We are mindful of Norman’s Law of eLearning Tool Convergence, that tools will tend to become more complex and LMS-like as they are more widely used. SPLOT tools are deliberately limited in scope. They try to meet a single need, and to do so as simply as possible.
The tools here are built utilizing the WordPress platform, and should be readily sharable to other WP installations. If you would like to use a SPLOT tool in your environment, please let us know.
But there is no reason that the problems that SPLOT tools try to address cannot be addressed in other frameworks. If this approach appeals, we hope others will find better ways to support more accessible, sustainable, and user-friendly ways to get publicly-engaged learning happening on the open web.