I have1 a number of preconceptions about ol’ Blackboard . . . I figured, like Mikey, Bb wouldn’t eat anything2 and I enviously watched Keegan and others play in the Eden that is Canvas. I decide the other day that I needed to just pry at the edges of Bb and see what I could do. It turns out, there is a whole lot of stuff you can do. I’m not saying it’s necessarily ready for basic faculty use but there are some huge doors we can open up given what’s available. All the following examples were done by going to Build Content>Blank Page then clicking the view HTML button and pasting stuff in. iFrames It seems like I can iframe in anything I want. That really surprised me so I started to see what I might embed. I tested initially on expected things like Google docs and charts — that stuff worked well. But could I do a Google Drive folder like I do in WordPress? Yes. Could I do something a bit less typical like awesome table? Yep . . . Rampages? Yes . . . So I’m pretty sure I’m close to unlimited in what I can iframe in. Jeff has already started roughing out some iframe widgets for Blackboard that meet particular faculty requests. Scripts and […]
In WordPress multisite there is a set of allowed file extensions that can be found at Settings>Network Settings in the “Upload File Types” field. You can add to this list but what isn’t necessarily apparent is that if the extension isn’t already part of the list here1 then you can add extensions all day and you’ll still get the security warning. To make a weird extension work . . . like .studio3 for instance you have to add the extension there and do a bit more. I tossed the following code in our network activated custom Rampages plugin. It’s just a hodgepodge of bits of code like this that I want applied across the site but that doesn’t seem like it deserves a plugin of its own. Take note that if you try to guess at the mime type and get it wrong, things won’t work. You’ll be able to select the file in the media uploader but it’ll still give you the security warning. I found this site for determining mime types. There may be other ways but it worked. 1 It is a generous list.
I did a workshop on productivity and now know that I took a bunch of knowledge for granted that could be helping people. So my new goal is to do a better job documenting stuff just in case it’s of use to people. To be clear, I don’t really care what people do with the time they reclaim from trivial and/or unpleasant tasks. I just hope to alleviate some degree of suffering. Maybe they’ll use their extra time to go for a walk or pet a puppy or something. You might also note the sub 60 seconds video tutorial time.1 1 I just want to tell you something as quickly as possible. Video tutorials seem to tend towards lengthy meditation sessions although now that I can control the playback speed very exactly they may become tolerable.
Bean with Tools on the Ocean of Storms flickr photo by NASA on The Commons shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) We’re taking a much deeper dive into accessibility lately. It is a fruitful and good thing to do but also one of those deceptively deep topics with lots of complications. As a result I’m learning a good bit so I better write it down before it’s all forgotten. Two Handy Tools Thanks to both Matt and Jeff, I ended up using a few different tools.1 Google’s Vox Plugin helps you get a better idea what the experience was going to be like for someone with issues seeing the website. Using this will enable you to understand exactly how some of your decisions play out. I found it very handy. As a minor warning, there appears to be no way to turn it off/on short of disabling the extension. Despite that, I really think it’s a good idea to spend some time using this tool. It really helps. The other useful tool so far has been the Siteimprove Chrome extension. It’s pretty handy to see what warnings/failures are in play in each page. It’s led me to realize that there are so many problems. Bits of Useful Code One of VCU’s requirements is a text only view for the […]
We had some trouble with the selected display name not showing up correctly in comments. It worked fine in themes which displayed post and page authors but comments was often incorrect. That wasn’t good from a user experience perspective and also concerned me a bit in terms of what students might expect to be showing vs what actually was showing. A bit of Google-ing prior to trying to write it from scratch led me to this post which I was able to add to a network activated plugin and be done with the issue. I tend to link in the source of stuff I used to solve the problem1 in the plugin. That gives me an embedded reference/footnote in case I ever need to revisit it and it provides a kind of credit as well. Good for me. Possibly even good for the author of the fix. Having a plugin network activated for fixes of this type is also handy. It keeps the plugin numbers down and ends up being a single place for adding/removing/troubleshooting random custom functions like this. 1 Harvard may not agree.
Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World In 2015, HP pushed a fake security update to millions of Officejet owners, which showed up as a routine, ‘‘You must update your software’’ notification on their printers’ screens. Running that update installed a new, secret feature in your printer, with a long fuse. After six months’ wait, the infected printers all checked to see whether their ink cartridges had been refilled, or manufactured by third parties, and to refuse to print with any ink that HP hadn’t given its corporate blessing to. CS50 Updates Course Policies, Asks Students To Go To Class | News | The Harvard Crimson Students are now “encouraged” to physically attend the course’s taped weekly lectures, according to the two-page document. Malan had previously tweaked the course policies in fall 2016 to make lecture attendance optional. Attendance is now also expected at every discussion section until the first mid-semester exam. Malan wrote Thursday that previous CS50 students had reported the online presentations lacked the energy of in-person lectures. Meet Me in the Google Doc For, Uh… a Performance? | KQED Arts took part in a previous incarnation of the Google Doc as shared canvas. “We had no idea how it would develop,” she says. “Over three hours, the doc took on a life of its own. It […]
I’m a big fan of Events Calendar Pro. It makes all sorts of date related things in WordPress very pleasant. The free plugin also does a great job. I did run into a bit of an issue this afternoon as I tried to take events I created in one site and get them into another. Since the events are a custom post type you use the normal WordPress Tools>Export to get them out. That worked fine and I was able to import the events into the new site. The issue came with venues. I’d defined some Venues so I wouldn’t have to keep entering the same addresses again and again. I was able to export/import them in the same way I’d exported the events and they showed up fine as content. Unfortunately, it seems like plugin references the venues via post1 IDs. My imported venues ended up with different IDs and the IDs reference by the events ended up being random WordPress posts (in the traditional sense). This led to venues with names like ‘untitled 4’ or ‘a moment of calm in online teaching.’ Trying to change them on the backend to the venues I’d imported led to weird duplications and the prior information displayed no matter what I did. I didn’t have a huge number of events, maybe 13. […]
This is an attempt to explain a pattern of troubleshooting WordPress through a specific event and perhaps reinforce the need for me to be humble in all interactions with people. So even if you never have this problem this might be useful. Symptoms An admin for one of our sites using FeedWordPress and suddenly can’t see any feeds in her syndicated sites view for that plugin. She sends me an email. I drop into the site and check. All looks good to me. Sadly. Sadly. Sadly. I respond to her and say it seems to be working on my end . . . has she tried another browser, computer, login/logout/restart etc. It’s easy to end up assuming the person reporting the problem is wrong by default. I get a fair number of emails. Many of them, probably most of them, report problems that are more human than mechanical. It’s easy to fall into a trap of assuming it’s a human issue, especially if a superficial inspection confirms that suspicion. It’s also called a trap for a reason. Avoid it if at all possible and if you fall into it please attempt to climb out.1 A bit later she indicates that she has done these things and the problem persists. I go back to the site. It still works for me. […]