14

Hider – Remove Elements via URL Parameters Plugin

Origin Story About a week ago I posted about a theme that was designed to integrate into the LMS via iframe embeds. The goal was to strip out extra things like headers and sidebars that were confusing or unwanted. You’d still have a normal WordPress site at your regular URL but would be able to selectively embed chunks of it in the LMS in whatever way you desired. That is the key that I don’t think I stressed enough. You could easily add CSS display:none and whittle you site down via the customizer but I wanted to be able to do that only when embedding the site (or linking to the stripped down version). After some back and forth conversation on Twitter I decided to write a simpler version as a plugin rather than a theme so it could be used more broadly. The plugin is here if you want to give it a shot. The Pieces To make things simpler I wanted all the divs to have an ID. I considered giving an ID to everything but figured in 95% of the cases the major pieces of the theme would be in divs. That’s an amazingly easy thing to do in javascript. I could have made this even more concise but figured this would be easier to understand. The […]

stranger portrait - what?

WordPress for LMS iFrame Infiltration

Origin Story Over the years I’ve seen a number of people embedding WordPress within the LMS using iframes. There are lots of reasons to do this but it’s not something that WordPress is really meant to do. You end up with an odd feeling as it’s a website within a website and many things feel out of place (headers, footers, sidebars). I said something on Twitter one time that I might make a theme that would behave better in those kinds of scenarios. I was able to find that tweet using Twitter’s semi-hidden advanced search. Note that Sept. 9, 2018 date. It’s been a while but here’s a super simple theme that tries to play well in the land of iframe embeds. What is the best #WordPress theme that allows a seamless #LMS integration? #webdev #EdTech #bcpse — Erin Beattie ??? (@ehbeattie) September 9, 2018 Show Only What You Want As is my pattern, I figured I could hide most of the extra things through javascript and use the URL’s query string parameters1 as the way to decide what was shown. I haven’t built out all the various parameters but for this theme, I added some javascript to look at the URL for a ‘show’ parameter. So https://baseurl.com/some-page/?show=article will show only the tag for this theme. You can see how […]

LMS Metaphors

Blackboard/LMS is like a – giant filing cabinet closet filled with attractive, well organized, clothes lifeblood to us, like a Web course in a box shark learning management system eating smaller sharks so it can survive and thrive large thermonuclear device framework that handles all the learning procedures blank canvas tattoo It seems there are whole papers written on metaphors for Blackboard. I saw Jon’s LMS-as-training-wheels metaphor and Britt’s response– both as a result of Jim’s talk. I’ve been thinking about it a bit and I think it ends up giving the LMS the wrong kind of credit. It implies a temporary guide, a training ground to get you used to using the Internet to teach. I don’t think that’s the goal at all. It seems to me that the LMS is a fast-food franchise kitchen. It does exactly what it is meant to do. It is built for people with minimal skills to make cheap food quickly at scale. It isn’t meant to be a training ground so people can move up to gourmet cooking. These skills don’t transfer. You aren’t even meant to graduate to being a line cook at Friday’s. The LMS reaches the minimum quality people will tolerate in exchange for convenience and low cost.1 The LMS focuses on making the very things I find most […]

Zombies, Flamethrowers and Catfish

Image credit – CogDogBlog It’s really a strange world. The shot above was taken in Second Life by CogDog following my presentation with Jim Groom the other night. It was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had with a presentation. The video’s down there somewhere. There were zombies, flame throwers and a lot of madness1. Jim was in rare form and really justifying his Reverend moniker. It was a pleasure to listen to him roll. CogDog has a very solid synopsis on his blog. The gist of the presentation is that forcing people into boxes tends to mess up education rather than improve it- that things like BlackBoard create a lot of false impressions. They make it look like lots of your teachers are using tech but the way that they’re using it tend to be very low level and actually hurts your real tech integrators. The future is open. The future is mobile, agile and friendly. BB (and others) are slow, ugly and unfriendly. It seems simple to me. Forced tech integration doesn’t work. It just gets you really poor teaching with tech sprinkled on top. Focus on forcing good teaching, get rid of people who don’t do it. You can do things to require that and your time and energy will be spent in a much […]