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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-02-05

you-draw-it – bl.ocks.org How to do that awesome draw/predict the chart interactive piece from NYT Where To Catch Me For personal reasons, I stopped accepting ordinary speaking engagements in August 2002. Your offer will have to be exceptionally interesting to pass my filters. The Final Flight of Martin McNally | Feature | St. Louis News and Events | Riverfront Times But nothing could have prepared McNally for the interference of a young Florissant businessman, David Hanley, who was among the bystanders ogling the drama from the terminal. Hanley did not remain a bystander for long. As the jet taxied down the runway, its massive engines revving in preparation for takeoff, Hanley’s 1971 Cadillac Eldorado crashed through the runway’s perimeter, battering through a fence at 80 miles per hour on a collision course with Flight 119. The plane, heavy with fuel, was essentially a bomb with wings. Over the intercom, the captain’s voice crackled with panic. “Oh my god, there’s a vehicle on the runway!”

ANTH 101 Rebirth

I had the chance to work more on the ANTH 101 site with Ryan and Mike over winter break. It’s a pretty significant change. It’s almost entirely gutted in terms of the WordPress side of things with a different theme, some new plugins etc. but also some significant changes on how student see and interact with the work they make. Some of the initial conversations resulted in the Minimal WordPress work which . . . we ended up tossing.1 But what we ended up creating is pretty slick and does a number of pretty interesting things. The Bones ANTH101 is a large class- several hundred students large – so a chunk of being able to deal with that is making things simple for students. A large chunk of work went towards simplicity. Another large chunk of effort went towards making it feel and look app-like on a phone. That’s the equivalent of making it look cool/interesting and feel modern – pretty much the opposite of most course site software. It was expected students would be using their phones to submit work and browse. ANTH101 runs on a child-theme of Boss.Not like this boss (#nsfw). There are few different plugins that make it all work. The major ones are as follows – Visual Composer – both Mike and Ryan want to […]

More Than a Bunch of Stuff – Argumentative & Experiential History Sites

In working with students in the Digital History course, we’ve repeatedly bumped up against the idea that it’s harder to make a cohesive argument on the Internet (vs a traditional paper) or that constructing a web-based exhibition abdicates controls you have in physical space. There are frequent examples of archives referenced in the texts (Valley of the Shadow for instance) but for various reasons (age, limited time/space/knowledge) there aren’t many decent examples of constructing a multimedia argument or experiential/immersive examples. So here’s an attempt to show some sites that are far more than a-bunch-of-stuff-on-the-Internet and some elements that help them do that. Kennedy/Oswald It’s a bit heavy on the parallax for my taste but it’s a pretty direct parallel to a museum exhibit. It sets out to parallel the lives of Kennedy and Oswald reinforcing that parallel with visual metaphors (split screen transitions, similar images etc.) to reinforce that concept. There is a main text-based storyline, music to reinforce a certain mood,1 and the ability to see supporting elements by clicking on various items. The movement through the site is very guided. The links are kept within the site and remain contextualized rather than leading to other sites. The ancillary materials are a mixed bag of audio, images, video, and mixed media. Digital primary source materials are used throughout to […]

No Easy Anythings – OER at VCU

Emanuel Shinwell, 1918 flickr photo by LSE Library shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Someone sent me the following comment from Professor Golumbia (a professor here at VCU). He’s got me blocked on Twitter for some reason or I’d loop him in directly. I’m taking that as a message not to communicate directly but since this comment was public and I’m quoted in the article, I figured I could at least respond. Maybe it’ll moderate the level of perceived evil intent. cool, my employer is now paying its employees to screw themselves & other laborers out of significant future wages https://t.co/rf1zmelscS — David Golumbia (@dgolumbia) February 7, 2017 I don’t feel like it’s quite as binary as it’s being portrayed but that portrayal may be a result of Twitter’s limits.1 It’s also easy to see an institution as purely evil. It’s usually harder to do that with individuals. It’s also a rough time to care about education, students, faculty, academia as an institution, nature, freedom, humanity, etc. etc. All that to say, I understand an aggressive response to just about anything right now. With that, I’ll give you my two cents on why I opted to engage with VCU OER work. In the OER conversation, the easy victory is to focus on monetary savings for students. It’s a far […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-01-29

Why School Reform Is Impossible “…before the computer could change School, School changed the computer.” just getting the original quote Tilt.js – A tiny parallax tilt effect for jQuery The high-tech war on science fraud | Science | The Guardian The comparison is apt. The exposure of fraud directly threatens the special claim science has on truth, which relies on the belief that its methods are purely rational and objective. As the congressmen warned scientists during the hearings, “each and every case of fraud serves to undermine the public’s trust in the research enterprise of our nation”. OU Create Thus Far (2016) – Adam Croom This post, a sort of end-of-the-year wrap up, is a step towards trying to pull together a better aggregated story as to what has and is happening with OU Create–though it’s really only a start. Yes, it still leans on metrics, but please don’t get distracted by those too much. They are merely a tool that serves as an anchor. Below the numbers I’ve linked to relevant blog posts, which I’m personally more interested in. I’d rather build towards stories and relationships than numbers. But numbers do make it easy to build an infographic… So one of those is at the bottom too. List: Tips for Staying Calm and Relaxed in 2017 – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Put a […]

You Can’t Do That on WordPress

I submitted something like this already to NMC but it failed . . . and I did not have a backup copy. They happened to extend the deadline so I’ve resubmitted and I’m sticking a copy here for future reference. It might also be useful just for a handy list of examples. 100 Word Summary 1 Open Source, highly flexible, and running 1 in every 4 sites on the Internet today, yet many still put WordPress in the “cat diary” box.2 In the initiative’s third year, we have 21,000+ sites. See examples of WordPress as a single-use tool and how it can be used to build truly customized courses.  All examples are open to the world (no passwords). We’ll explore design patterns (build fast at scale) and powerful plugins (use the community). Mind expansion is the goal. The code’s on GitHub. Warning: 1980s Canadian TV show references will occur. These are all public examples. They’re in real courses in a large, public university. This is work that is accessible and possible for anyone. Additionally, all the plugins and themes we create are on GitHub (here and here). I’ve also done my best to document how it all works on many posts on my site. I want people to be able to do this on their own or with their institution […]

Required Plugin Trick

Image from page 148 of “The Phynodderree, and other legends of the Isle of Man” (1882) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) 1 Mark Luetke wrote a really nice plugin2 for us when he was here that helped faculty setup mother blogs. It requires FeedWordPress (FWP) to be active to work. This morning I had a faculty member who set everything up correctly except for FWP. It’s happened a few other times so I figured I’d do something about it. I’d seen plugins that warn you if you don’t have a required plugin working so I went that route first. The code below was lifted straight from this stackoverflow response and set to look for FWP. It was decent and functional but I felt like I could make the notification better which led down a winding road. Modal Popup This code is straight from this codepen.3 And the little child_plugin_notice function got a bit larger. ID FWP Then I thought it’d be neat if I could scroll them down to FWP when they closed the modal popup. This could have been easy if the WP plugins table had ID elements that were rationale but it doesn’t. That led to a bit of an odyssey with various flavors of document.getElements. I still don’t […]

WP REST API Custom Fields to Google Maps

Manuel, the young shrimp-picker, five years old, and a mountain of child-labor oyster shells behind him. He worked last year. Understands not a word of English. Dunbar, Lopez, Dukate Company. Location: Biloxi, Mississippi. (LOC) flickr photo by The Library of Congress shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) 1 I had a site we used for the Great VCU Bike Race course that’s been sitting around. I knew it had lat/lng data for lots of urban bicycle related posts. My goal was to get it into Google Maps via the REST API. Get Custom Field in JSON By default you won’t see custom field data in your JSON endpoints. There are some plugins to make that happen but I wanted to take a stab at doing it myself. Given the documentation, it was pretty trivial.2 The code below in a plugin or the function.php file would make the lat_long custom field show up in the post JSON. Using this URL, I can get the 30 most recent posts.3 Some Map Stuff Google wants lat/lng separate but it’s coming in as one item split by a comma. These little functions split it up nicely. In javascript, split breaks up a string by the defined element (comma in this case) and returns the pieces as an array. Since I’ll get two pieces […]

Google Script, Twitter API & Google Maps

Image taken from page 12 of ‘Guide to Cambridge: the town, university and colleges … To which are added, notes upon the villages within ten miles, a map, etc’ flickr photo by The British Library shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) This is more playing with Martin‘s TAGs in Google Script and then moving it into Google Maps for visuals . . . the TAGS related functions will only work in that context but the purse Google stuff should work in any spreadsheet. Get Twitter Location by Account This function will get the user’s location as defined by their profile. So =getLoc(“twoodwar”) would return Richmond VA. This function will get the lat/long via Google Script. So =getLl(“Richmond, VA”) would return 37.5407246, -77.4360481. Keep in mind if it’s trying to get the lat/lng for someone who put “the Interwebz” as their location like OnlineCrsLady then your lat/lng may not work out that well. So that’ll let us take a chunk of TAGs data.1 and do something like this with Google Maps. I’m not going to break this chunk down quite yet. I did it at very odd hours and it works but it’s not very clean and I know there are ways to do it better.There is no shame in my game but there is some bashfulness. Pretend I’m an […]