A poem from Greg to gRegor

#IndieWeb
as someone
trying to try
to build my
mental model of markup
for
meaning
nuanced nitpicking
and not knots of wiki knowledge
often lead to
gains
growth

but
given the groans of organizers
groking and
gabbing
since
gen 1 goals
sirens of
shushes for silence
sounded alarms of
tired tales
as tick tocks
of clocks
drew demo time closer
to destiny

#smallpoems

/en/indiewebpoetry.

My Goals For #IndieWebCamp NYC: #OpenBadges Endorsement at the DNS Level

Over  last few months I have worked to create the learning tools teachers need for #OpenPedagogy on the amazing tool Glitch, a collaborative coding community.

As teachers we  all teach the same courses. Yet we each exist in the silos of different LMS and allow our labor, especially adjunct and contingent faculty, to get exploited. Our content can’t be shared and remixed. Learning disappears at the end of the semester. Labor Lost.

The #IndieWeb is a better way forward for professors and educators. It is time to control what we create.

To make this easy, while also teaching the bit of HTML (though you can use my templates without touching any tags, classes, or elements….meaning change text not HTML), I have started to use @Glitch.

This weekend I hope to add one more component to the template. The ability to award badges using webmention technology.

This will require figuring out how to send and receive. For now I may use existing third party software like webmention.io and telegraph and connect those into @Glitch. Long term I want to build, or fork these tools into Glitch and then connect with the existing tutorials for storage.

It may sound quite technical, and it maybe for a bit, but the long term goal is to take my #IndieWeb course template and make it a one button install for educators.

Looking forward to seeing what others build at #IndieWebCamp NYC.

 

Searching for my #IndieWeb WordPress Exit Plan

I spend time with each of my children tracing the exit routes in our house. We draw diagrams and review the procedures. They each need to know how to handle an emergency such as a house fire.

Everyone needs an exit plan. Including me.

No not running from a burning building but from my website. The smoke I smell rises from the ashes of my WordPress install.

A bit of history

I have blogged since 2003. Wow fifteen years, but still pretty late to the game. By 2003 the apex of blogging had past and soon social media silos would start sucking the life out of the web. From 2003-2007 I blogged on a class website, posts lost for ever.

In 2007 I switched over to blogger. Once I left the classroom I lost all my content and I wanted to make sure I would own what I wrote. I began to use blogs in all of my middle schools and higher education classes. I started to research and present at major conferences about blogging with students. I hung on blogger until 2013 when I moved to WordPress. I have lived there since.

In 2014 I heard Erin Jo, Kevin Marks, and Ben Werdmuller talking about IndieWeb and Known. I had tried some of the early IndieWeb stuff on WordPress but it wasn’t ready. So I set up a Known instance to handle my social stream. I then proceeded to spin up a ton of Known instances for open classes such as Connected Learning MOOC or Rhizo15

I loved Known and none of the IndieWeb stuff really worked on WordPress yet, at least not with my theme, and how my content looks is just as important to how well it connects with others. So I settled keeping WordPress for longform writing and doing all my social stream on Known.

I still did a majority of my interactions on social medi. I hadn’t quit facebook yet and I was a prolific Tweeter. Then on April 17, 2018 when I was hosting a conference on digital literacies and equity I decided if I would interact with social media it would be from my own domain. Since that date any content on social media has originated from my own domain and syndicated to silos.

The summer of 2018 I began a series of 14 day #IndieWeb challenges. In my first challenge I took two weeks to dive deep into microformats, the markup that powers the IndieWeb. I then spent 14 days trying to learn enough CSS Grid that I would never have to touch bootstrap again. My next 14 day challenge would be to try and go all in on IndieWeb WordPress.

Three months later I am ready to throw in the towel.


Credit Reuters

Why I Want to Leave WordPress

My 14 day challenge became a three month sojourn as I felt obligated to use WordPress. I onboard peiple tot ehweb first through wordpress.com and then wordpress.org. Feels wrong as a teacher to make students do something you are not doing. Even at the loss of pedagogy I need to move on.

No Webmentions

IndieWeb WordPress simply doesn’t work, at least not for me. I have never sent a webmention from my website unless I do it manually. This requires me to post the url of a blog entry to someone’s webmention endpoint. The only webmentiosn I can send are those that run through Bridgy and Twitter or micro.blog. Any native webmention from my site fails. I have never once past a test on webmentions.rocks.

The IndieWeb community suspects there is something wrong with my shared host. My shared hosting company says something must be wrong with the plugins. Nobody can help me, many have tried. IndieWeb WordPress just doesn’t work, at least not for me.

Timeouts on Bridgy

Bridgy is an amazing tool. I can post to Twitter and GitHub and get replies back as comments on my website. The problem, you guess it, doesn’t always work for me. It takes forever and a day for me to post soemthing once I hit Publish. Like 10-15 seconds long. This causes timeout errors on Bridgy and I may have to update a post 4-5 times before it successfully publishes to Twitter with Bridgy.Bridgy screenshot
In the above images you can see how many times posting failed using Bridgy. Now this has nothign to do with the service and everythign to do with my blog, but still IndieWeb WordPress just doesn’t work, at least not for me.

Limited Theme Support

When I went all in on IndieWeb WordPress I had to abandon my theme. Only three themes in the entire WordPress universe play nicely with IndieWeb toys. None of these have the modern visual full width layout I want in a WordPress theme. Each has it’s own quirks and broken parts.

None of the three themes (there are four but Independent Publisher is woefully out of date and no longer under active development) look the way I want. I had to add a pagebuilder, which gets you dirty looks from WordPress users, to make my site appealing to me.

It gets better all the time. David Shanske and Mathais Pfefferle are heroes who work tirelessly yet the “scrtch your own” itch model of development doesn’t work for theme development. No one can code well alone. We have made progress with community repos and code reviews for plugins but the model of one person per theme can not be sustainable.

Natural Learning Curve

It might be time to leav WordPress because I am ready to move on. A natural progression in the life of a blogger. I rarely write outside of a text editor, and would often rather just manually add

I just followed <a class="u-follow-of" href=“$url”>$Title</a> by <a class="h-card" href=“$url1">$name</a>

rather than try and hack around in some plugin so it can inject one line of html.

WordPress Too Klunky

So much breaks in WordPress. Each WordPress update and you have to fear what theme or plugin broke. Each plugin update may reek havoc on thirteen other plugins. Then you try to diagnose the problem every forum or customer service rep tells you the same thing, “Disable every single WordPress plugin and then turn them on one by one. When you find the plugin causing the conflict delte that plugin.”

A constant Sophie’s choice of services you want is no way to live.

choice to surf or go to town
Choices, choices flickr photo by aloharakesh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

What I Want

I want control. I want a blank page of HTML and I a style sheet I can control. I like full width websites rather than a 660px container. I want to send webmentions. I did get addicted to the flexibility of post types David Shanske built into the post king plugin. I want all the post types, even the experimental ones.

My Options

It maybe some time before I start th move from WordPress. This is about developing the exit plan. Not jumping from the plane while I try to put on the chute.

I am considering three choices:

  • Building a static homepage and throwing Known on a subdomain like https://jgregorymcverry.com/blog. I know how to use Known and everything IndieWeb just works. I also dig Marcus an Ben. They are good folks and I want to support.
  • Trying Perch. I just cam across this service reading what folks were doing at IndieWebCamp Oxford. You get a CMS with no front-end theme. That is kind of what I like. I just worry if I have time during semester for such a manual approach.
  • Ruby on Rails. We built ReVIEW Talent Feedback System so using FrancsiCMS and Rails also makes sense. Heck I could even think about spinning up users blogs as a form of portfolios so I can kind of double dip by trying Rails solutions

I am open to suggestions from friends and those in the #OpenPedagogy and #IndieWeb community. I love WordPress, it helped me grow immensley. I just think the two of us finally need to say goodbye.

Featured Image: Emergency Exit at the Disco flickr photo by .v1ctor Casale. shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

#IndieWeb Projects on @Glitch

So many building blocks of the IndieWeb exist on @Glitch. Small projects and tutorials that can help folks seize back control of the web.

I have a dream that a young developer, journalist, or my little brother can one day come to @glitch and find all the parts needed to launch a blog with the proper markup and webmention tools to play with the rest of us.

I personally would love to spin up my first CMS by finding and remixing a bunch of different tutorials I find on @glitch.

So I decided to try and curate all of the available projects to find out what we still need to bring someone who may know a little html and development from @glitch onto their own domain with an #IndieWeb blog:

If you know of any other projects I should include please let me know. I did not include any number of the CMS, build-a-blog, or storage projects on @glitvh but many may become essential.

If you want to help contribute to the Glitch library so we can get more #IndieWeb building blocks just start hacking away and let us all know.

Fixin’ to Bring IndieWebCamp NYC to Oklahoma

Today I am proud to share some wonderful news. Sarah Pugachev @sclayton29  and Logan Coix organized a satellite campus event for @indiewebCamp NYC. The University of Oklahoma’s Digital Scholarship Lab has joined us in sponsoring the event.

The Digital Scholarship Lab supports collaborative, cross-disciplinary research using emerging technologies. Through workshops, consultation, and training, our Digital Scholarship Specialists help faculty and graduate students identify innovative digital tools and resources that build on traditional research and teaching methods.

Sarah and Logan have emerged as wonderful  IndieWeb leaders. As part of their #GoOpen efforts with faculty they launched a series of weekly challenges and organized a Homebrew Website Club.

The Digital will be sponsoring a remote location at 401 W Brooks St. Bizzell Memorial Library, Lower Level 1, Rm. 121, Norman Oklahoma

Video conferencing will be set up with one room in NYC. Streams for other session rooms in NYC will be made available and breakout sessions can also be organized locally by participants and joined by those in NYC.

Streams of the keynote and main room sessions will be available at the lab.

Remote participation at IndieWebCamps works out well. You are not watching a passive stream but are an active participant shaping the agenda.

Whether in NYC or Oklahoma we hope to see you at IndieWebCamp NYC

If you are interested in hosting a satellite event on your campus or in your town reach out to anyone in the #indieweb community.

#CheckOutMyDomain: Let’s Put Libraries at Center of Local Web

Over the last few weeks @budtheteacher and @wiobyrne and I have discussed ways libraries could utilize the #IndieWeb through a Domain’s of One’s Own project.

Last night as I added the final details to a grant application it hit me. We need a #CheckOutMyDomain project.

#CheckOutMyDomain

Local or school libraries would allow patrons or students to use their library cards to checkout a domain (side effect maybe able to do interesting things with verified identity connected to library card), after completing a few classes.

The classes would review the code of conduct for the local network and review the basic set up of some turn key website solutions and some more homebrew solutions.

The patron would then be given a domain and a few gigs of storage each year.

In order to renew their Domain a patron would have to attend a certain number of events each year.

If a domain isn’t renewed the data gets archived on a subdomain on the libraries local or cloud storage. Storage for archiving local pages would be manageable as these personal pages would not get big.

Benefits of #CheckOutMyDomain

We create a local node of an IndieWeb. Libraries have always been arcives of knowledge. It is time we start encouraging citizens to own their data from their own domain.

Libraries have are THE centers of literacy practices. Digital is no different, and many libraries have taken the lead in local educational efforts. CheckOutMyDomain, with the class prerequisites and continuing education requirements will increase skills in local communities.

Towns can escape the digital infrastructure of the sil0s. In many small towns businesses have a facebook page and no website, different groups are the only way to stay up on local news, and other groups are cesspool of town gossip and  political infighting.  We are better than this.

Heck maybe a classified feed can go to the support featured programs and not facebook.

A local web run through the library would allow the development of a code of conduct that reflects local values of diverse communities. If a citizen wanted to publish material outside these agreed upon values they would be allowed…just not on “our servers.” Export and feel free to host the content elsewhere you own it?

Can We Make #CheckOutMyDomain Happen?

Yes, I think so. Some basic napkin math puts the cost per patron at $50 (not including salary and fringe of people supporting project). This would get a domain, a few gigs of storage and leave $15-20 bucks to cover cost of events.

So $2500 would support a program for 40-50 people a year.

This is pennies in comparison to most large grants libraries get. It is also a small fortune to many local charities who raise money in town, but a worthy cause for either group to fund.

At IndieWeb NYC I am going to propose a session and see if anyone else would be interested in trying to get a #CheckOutMyDomain happen at their library.

Maybe not even chase the soft money at scale yet. Just self fund. GoFundMe, bake sales,  great Eagle Scout project, local charities etc.

Let me know what you think and reach out if you want to get involved.

Featured Image: CT – New Haven: Free Public Library flickr photo by wallyg shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Spreading the News: Our Dissemination Plan for a #DoOO and #IndieWeb Grant

The final step I needed to finish before packaging our #QuestionTheWeb: Improving Argumentative Writing and Critical Evaluation Skills grant application to the Institute of Educational Science was describing how we would share the results.

I will share the entire proposal here once

Multiple audiences will benefit from our research. Most importantly we may provide evidence to state policymakers local school system administrators about effective interventions to improve writing. Given the stagnant low scores in national writing assessments our research will highlight tools and instructional routines that may improve argumentative writing through the use of digital tools. Dr. McVerry and Dr. Hicks both sit on statewide educational commissions and will use this venue to share the results with policy makers.

School administrators will also benefit from our research in the use of providing individual students with their own website and domain. School systems pour millions into portfolio systems when a website controlled by the learner maybe the best portfolio of all. We believe this “personal cyber infrastructure” will also raise writing achievements. Therefore if our theory of change leads to the hypothesized outcomes we will provide evidence of ways resources could be strategically deployed to improve learning.

Teachers, staff, students, and parents will also benefit from this research. Understanding the role the web plays in defining credibility is now a life lesson. Having students learn markers of credibility while presenting their “most credible self” online we believe will not only improve student writing but it also provide opportunities for agency as a writer.

Other educational researchers will benefit from the open nature of this project. First all deidentified data will be made openly available. Some local school districts may allow students to publish on the web. We will also openly license the software developed as part of this proposal. Researchers will be available to follow update, issues, and pull request.

We will reach our audiences mainly by publishing everything on the web. All development will be done on GitHub in open repositories. All field notes, observations, meeting minutes will be published on individual researcher websites and then syndicated back to a project feed. Researchers will publish reflections on their progress. Teachers and students will do so and share their work governed by the acceptable use policy in place. Reflection and iterative design are hallmarks of this project. We will create a newsletter in a manner and style useful to policymakers and practitioners. Basically our canonical urls will capture a sequential record on the design process and discuss how the intervention was developed.

We will also publish our work in scientific, peer-reviewed journals. We have made a commitment early on to only publish in venues that are open sourced. There are a growing number of well respected journals that allow for open publishing. We believe knowledge is better served when it is accessible to everyone.

We will also present at national and international conferences to a wide variety of audiences. The Scientific Advisory Board coincides with the annual Literacy Research Association conference in December and the annual IndieWeb summit in June. Dr. Hicks serves on leadership roles within the National Council of Teachers of English and we will disseminate our work across those networks. We will also present our research annually at the American Educational Research Association Conference. Finally our partnership with the National Writing Project on this grant brings in a network of thousands of teachers who will have access to all our findings/

We will publish a final cost benefit analysis after the conclusion of the study. This will describe the effectiveness, practicality, and the estimated expense for other districts to try and replicate our intervention.

Featured Image: Stigma&Dissemination_Flickr flickr photo by Everhartz shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Update on Badging with Webmentions

As #EDU522 Digital Teaching and Learning Too wraps up I find myself reflecting on my goals for the class…I mean “my goals” in the class not the hopes on the instructional design. Much more on that later.

All summer, well before EDU 522 began, I set off to create a remixable template others could use in course design. The goal was simple HTML and instructional design. I knew this would be the subjective I chose in the class for my learning project.

As part of edu522 I explored adding a badging system to the class. While I do not have a deployable badging webmention badging platform yet I was able to get to a proof of concept.

Webmention Badge Flow

First I developed a learning activity on a static site that could receive webmentions.

Learners would then have to send a “reply post” to the assignment containing a link back to evidence that met the criteria.

In this example Cooper Kean shared his reflections on the digital detox project.

I then set up an account on webmentions.io to track when these replies come in. This creates “a ledger” of sorts.

I then created an individual badge to send back to Cooper. This obviously isn’t scalable I can’t make a new html file for each badge I issue but this project really came down to proof of concept.

Then using the webmention endpoint on Cooper’s blog I sent him the badge as a webmention.

In this screenshot you see the webmention entry page which you can find on any webmention enabled WordPress site at /wp-json/webmention/1.0/endpoint

I then entered the badge as the source url and the link to Cooper’s application as the target url.

I sent the webmention and it was successful. Cooper can now decide how and when he wants to display the webmention.

You can see an example of a webmention badge as a comment on Cheri’s page.

The final step was to throw the badge into a microformats parse to see what data would be available for machines and people to consume. The results are here

You can see I get the links to the application, a list of the criteria, links to the original assignment and links to the learner’s evidence.

Next Steps

The proof of concepts works. You can easily use webmentions and microformats to issue badges.

Course Template

I want to build a way to issue and receive badges in my remixable course template. I tried to spin up an Heoku app but ran into authentication issues and I then tried Ruby but ran into cert issues installing gems.

Teaching #edu522 in three weeks while also writing a 1.4 million dollar IES grant..I couldn’t dedicate the time I needed to learn how to build either app.

I did start playing with the form fields that would be needed for a student badge application. Will also need a badge creation form. I can’t spin up one html file per learner per badge forever.

Parser

I need to pull in the learner’s name from the h-card on their site some how. That will obviously be important information to parse. I also would like the criteria and evidence to be a property but there are no micoformats for this yet….

Moving Forward

By the time I leave IndieWebCamp NYC I want to have a remixable course template as a static site that piggybacks off of a platform to create and issue webmention badges.

I need to do another reflective post on the instructional design choices I made in #edu522, but teaching with different post kinds and webmentions was awesome. There are many ways to embed assessment so learning and not measuring learning stays the goal of the class.

If you have any interest in exploring different technologies for badging beyond the #OpenBadges 2.0 standard join us and let’s build together.

Featured Image: Nerd Merit Badges shipment flickr photo by hyperdashery shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Recruiting Guest Speakers for #EDU522-Come Join me for <10 min

I am exploring audio and video formats as part of #EDU522. In all of my onlien teaching students enjoy expert panels more than recorded slide decks. Yet, I also know few finish hour long podcast

So after watching how microcast work on in the micro.blog community I thought about switching it up for #EDU522: Digital Teaching and Learning Too and doing short microcast.

Here are the topics:

  • You are your Domain- Chris Adlrich-Date/Time: TBD
  • Open vs Privacy-Guest: TBD-Date/Time: TBD
  • Open Pedagogy-Guest: TBD-Date/Time: TBD
  • Connected Learning and Affinity Spaces: -Guest: TBD-Date/Time: TBD
  • Assessment and Open Pedagogy -Guest: TBD-Date/Time: TBD

Featured Image: Podcast in Retro flickr photo by themaccraic-david shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license