Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-04-03

9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us — Modern Learning — Medium We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school. As Matthew Lieberman from UCLA notes, “For more than 75 years, studies have consistently found that only a small fraction of what is learned in the classroom is retained even a year after learning.” Jacob Torrey – LANGSEC: Taming the Weird Machines The complexity of our computing systems (both software and hardware) have reached such a degree that data must treated as formally as code. The Superbowl of Protest will be in Cleveland this Year – Global Guerrillas The Federal government gave Cleveland a $50 m security grant to prepare for the convention.  With this money, the city plans to field 4-5,000 officers drawn from around the state.  Here’s what it they plan to equip them with: Commons:Picture of the Year/2015/R1/Gallery – Wikimedia Commons Wikipedia’s photos of the year contest – some really amazing work and CC licensed. The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets – The Washington Post Even mundane tasks demand creative effort, as writers try to build personality quirks into the most rote activities. At the start-up x.ai, a Harvard theater graduate is tasked with deciding whether its scheduling bots, Amy and […]

FI Video Collective – The Project & Theme

The FI Video Collective is a really fun project that Molly is leading centered around VCU’s common book. This spring semester, Focused Inquiry faculty are teaming up with ALT Lab to offer a unique creative opportunity to UNIV 112 students. This project is inspired by the artistic style of the winter reading selection, Lauren Redniss’ “Radioactive,” in combination with crowdsourced video projects like Hit Record’s “First Stars I See Tonight” and The Johnny Cash Project. The end product will be a single video featuring a story collectively written and created by as many UNIV 112 students as are interested in participating. The video will premiere at the FI Expo on May 4th. My summary, in case you are not a video person (really, just watch it), is imagine a bunch of faculty and students collaboratively creating a video with options for participation ranging from script writing and acting, to creating music, to drawing a lamp. Lots of access points for people who like to do different things all leading to a massive collaborative project. The Theme Part While nothing like driving the project1, I had a couple challenges on the web side of things. We needed a way to say what media was needed from students and to associate it with the script/narrative so that’d it make sense to anyone dropping in. Additionally […]


Password Protect Posts Created via Gravity Forms

A quick little plugin that sets the password for posts created via Gravity Forms. This came about as the result of a faculty request today. In this case it’ll grab the first form field and use that for the password. You could hardcode it into the plugin itself but I thought this gave a bit more flexibility. With this option you can make that field something that the user could set or you can make it hidden and set it consistently for all submissions. Simple but maybe handy for someone else.

All the Plugins – Custom Fitted?

Are you custom-made, custom-paid, or you just custom-fitted? –Ludacris I finally got a look at all the plugins in use across our install. I ended up having to incrementally push the data to a CSV file. It’s not a beautiful and I guess I could just as easily create a table and update that . . . but it works. The top 25 most installed plugins are in the chart below. Even prior to seeing the data I realized that the vast majority don’t turn on any plugins. I just didn’t quite realize how vast that majority was. That certainly makes dropping plugins easier to simplify management but it also points out some areas where we can really improve. As Tim Owens pointed out, it may be that students/faculty simply aren’t used to plugins existing. It makes sense. You don’t have anything like plugins in most of today’s social media tools. You get what you get with almost all of the major players. Even wp.com lacks a plugin structure on the free accounts. Instagram won’t even let you use a browser at all. People may have become accustomed to acceptance with their online tools. This kind of passivity<footnote>That’s not meant as a judgement. Fatalism doesn’t work either but it’s something like that.</footnote> is certainly something to consider when thinking through the student role in […]


First Steps in the Personal API

  The first step in starting to consider your personal API is figuring out where your stuff is now. This has been an interesting experiment for me as I’ve flung stuff all around the Internet with very little concern for long-term considerations. Where is my stuff? I’m trying to think about all the places I’ve put work and/or media I care about. I’m also trying to group all of it in some sort of organized fashion. I thought it’d make sense to think big picture and work my way down. Domains/Servers bionicteaching.com on bluehost until I can do the reclaim migration mainly the blog but lots of random files as well- no real idea what’s on here tomwoodward.us on bluehost until I can do the reclaim migration rampages.us (work) – on reclaim, code stuff is mostly on github but content is in the wind augmenting.me (work) – on media temple, code stuff is mostly on github, maybe greatvcubikerace.net (work) – limited, no idea if I’ve got this on github teachers.henrico.k12.va.us – (old work) not sure it’s salvageable in time  (lost to the monsters?) Google Docs bionicteaching – 5GB vcu- work – 11GB montessori – work henrico – work (lost to the monsters – I document this as reminder of how much stuff can be lost when you change jobs- remember changing ownership across google […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-03-27

MIT Media Lab Changes Software Default to FLOSS* — MIT MEDIA LAB — Medium Kind of insane that there was ever a need for ‘permission’ to release their own work. This student put 50 million stolen research articles online. And they’re free. – The Washington Post “There are many ways to argue that copyright infringement is not theft, but even if it is, it is justified in this case,” she said in an instant-message interview via Google. “All content should be copied without restriction. But for education and research, copyright laws are especially damaging.” What I learned from Om and Hossein These two people who I only know because they blog, are right — but then I thought — no I don’t agree. And yes, it’s something I’ve been struggling with, but for me the struggle is over. I write my blog not because I want to write a “good” blog post, or even one that’s read by a lot of people. And my own self is not scattered, it’s right here, and as long as I live it will continue to be here. And my online self doesn’t exist for the benefit of others, it’s here to help my real self develop his thinking and create a trail of ideas and feelings and experiences that I can look back […]


All the Sites, All the Plugins

WordPress gets complex as a multisite get bigger. Things that worked at smaller scale start dying. I’ve long wanted to be able to run a report on all the active plugins on our multisite but it always timed out before it would complete. This script will spit out 1001 sites at a time into a table and list any active plugins. It’ll also add pagination to go forward below the table. That same pagination can be manipulated directly in the URL by changing /?id=1 to whatever number you’d want. I was attempting to do this with MYSQL and OFFSET but ran into timeout issues when I hit LIMIT 4000 and OFFSET 3200 (displays 800 records but starting at the 3200th record). It was an awkward and inefficient and ultimately broke. I learned some things though. This was the WordPress.com post that got me moving in the right direction. I’d searched for ways to batch call MYSQL statements but wasn’t quite getting what I wanted. Looking at it now, it makes sense and I feel like I should have seen that path sooner but it’s now a pattern I understand and will be using in some other ways as well. I should be able to roll all the results into one big variable and spit it out, or write it incrementally […]