Skip to main content

My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

Greg McVerry

One of the scariest criticism's I have had to add yet: h/t to @dhh for the link. Get your friends and families off of facebook. Not to be trusted.

Greg McVerry

Changes to My Core Instructional Design #literacies #digped

3 min read

I got some expected feedback from my online Children's Literature class. A reoccuring theme amongst my students is they feel overwhelemed by the number of tools. To me it fels like the natural tools of networked knowledge building but many students have trouble navigating the tools. I used o use:

  • Class website- for example
  • Class Feed-Linked on the page
  • website, usually a first, where they learn to blog
  • Slack-Our chatroom and hangout
  • Hypothesis-Online Annotation

This semester I am dropping Slack and Hypothesis. I love the tools but clearly my students want less places.....And I am itching tio add more like wikis....but I won't. The shift of mindset alone requires enough effort.


I always want to recreate the culture we have in our online pedagogy groups. A fool's errand. Many of us have hung online toggether for ten years. A decade of of practice can not be baked into one semester.

Though I am starting to get students who have helped to create learning speaces with me in two other classes so maybe this will improve.

Still no students hang out in Slack like we roll in Slack, IRC, or Twitter. The primary reason lies in the realities of the students I serve. Many have two to three jobs. 25% of of my undergraduates have children. Each as a unique life story and experience to bring. This ain't the cookie cutter white fence lives of Ivy League students or even UCONN students. They worry about making rent not the next Spring Break destination.

Having the capcity for networked learning reflects priviledge. No one used the channel. I tried Slack because when I used Known turned into a file cabinent to hand in assignments. If I wanted that I would use Blackboard. Slack was no different. 

Maybe I could have tried more welcoming messages each days, diret messaging people, but I coudl not increae engagement in any class.

The Replacement

I still need chat. It reduces student emails a hundred fold, plus it's how humans learn. So I added a chat room to my IndieWeb Course template.


I love hypothesis. My students do not. Partly because I did not spend as much time in the arrticle stream, but also just preference. Many do not want to read and take notes this way. I feel have a moral obligation not to demand students use a specific method for the external storage of knowledge.

The Replacement

I am going to have students publish Read posts and include block quotes and analysis, and then publish an analysis post synthesizing the readings. Our students, even in their sophmore year of college need support in text based analysis. I feel this step will add in greater reflection.

Class Feed

I have used inoreader the past few years and create a page of class feeds on the website. I am debating whether to try Malcom Blaney but all my students use so I wouldn't get the benefits of having a microsub/micropub social reader.

I don't have a one button push solution for IndieWeb sites and the best we can do with is webmentions with Bridgy.

Probably just stick to Inoreader.

Meeting the Student Needs

This will greatly reduce student navigation. They now will only have to vist the class website and post on their website.

Greg McVerry

@Vancano If you want to do WordPress and and not touch any code use the SemPress theme.

Greg McVerry

FYI WordPress people the WordCamp Online might be of interest: @wpcampusorg

Greg McVerry

I get that having a website, the time, treasure and talent, of reflects privilege and I do agree "scratch your own itch" while most proven approach to the resilient web, is rooted in the values of a Western male dominated culture .

Greg McVerry

Okay spent more time on networks this morning and even spent time in chat yesterday. I stink at staying offline. Going silent until I check in at end of day. Just three days left to finish book and redesign an class I never taught and make it onine

Greg McVerry

@cathieleblanc @actualham ooh wow!! an Homebrew Website Club launching in Plymouth, MA would rock!! Would even try to make it up there..though at 4 hours will try to land a speaking gig at a local school or something. Best of luck!! You should do it

Greg McVerry

@actualham @cathieleblanc can both join me for Homebrew Website Club 1/23 5:30 est, just made migration from WordPress to Known. I just wanted a website that not only worked but also worked well and with , hard to do with WordPress

Greg McVerry

Thx but no thx @mozilla I'd rather own my bookmarks from my own domain #IndieWeb

Thx but no thx @mozilla I'd rather own my bookmarks from my own domain #IndieWeb

I love Mozilla, I love Firefox, I played with pocket, broke it years ago with IFTT and could never really clean it up, great idea but solutions better.

Greg McVerry

#CheckOutMyDomain gets the the gasface from @spencer_fdn

2 min read

Another year another unfunded grant.

It get's so disheartening. You pour hours and days into a project to make the world a better place and you get the big fat "No Thanks"

This project seemed perect for the Spencer Foundation. It drew on civic education, put an emphasis on schools in the commnity, and had stellar formative design applying interesting assessment techniques.

In my heart of hearts I know we have to support the local web. I know the lack of digital literacy skills in our community presents a threat to our democracy and society,

I just wish I could convince others of the power seeding the IndieWeb into our communities.

You can check out the proposal here:

I would love feedback as the Spencer Foundation doesn't give you in any.

I think that's the part the frustrates me the most. We know you have a 90% rejection rate. Almost eveery grant does. At least most funders have the decency to send you reviewer scores and comments.

Not the Spencer Foundation.

So you left wondering what yo udid wrong and if you need to revise the proposal for the next  submission or not submit al all. The next submission deadline is in like three days? Do I revise and resubmit?

I don't know, if for example, the Spencer Foundation has a bias against technology. My digital field placement proposal wasn't funded last year. went unfunded this year.

If you look at projects Spencer Foundation likes it seems they haven't funded anything technology or new literacies since 2015. One study in online learning this year.

Maybe that's it, but that's the point...the maybe. Was it me or you? How do I get better? Should I resubmit?

Providing scholars with no details as to why you reject our work devalues the time and effort we put into writing proposals. How hard is it to send the score sheet and reviewer comments? I don't care how many applicants you got. Email works at scale.