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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.


Come Journey Through the IndieWeb Sites

‚Üź ūüēłūüíć ‚Üí

Greg McVerry

Over time I see myself folding bits of functionality into my own site as my learning grows but for now I have a unified visual identity and don't have to spend all day fixing leaky plumbing....which gives me plenty of time to break the pipes.

Greg McVerry

To Go Far Enough #digped

data, but on an engine running on that data‚ÄĒpowered by data. Instructure recently announced their ‚Äúsecond growth initiative [will be] focused on analytics, data science and artificial intelligence. The code name for this initiative is DIG.‚ÄĚ

Data are not evil. Its the profit motive that distort how it gets used and why users lose control, but I want some basic analytic tools in my online classrooms. I want to use chatbots to add scaffold to classes. There are patterns in writing and HTML machines will recognize hours if not days and weeks before. I want all of it.

so it behooves them to be sure we stay afraid. If we weren’t looking for efficient solutions to the messy work of teaching and learning, Instructure’s teacher-in-the-cloud wouldn’t be an easily foreseeable future.

We should be afraid but we should also take action. To say there can never be a place for machine learning in open pedagogy isn't the the right move. We must actively seek data structures outside of the big edtech firms. Ignore their unifiying data platforms, digital credentialing systems, and forthcoming xAPI. Carve out away to share metadata free from the edtech silos.

Martha notes that the four primary goals of the initiative are to:

  • Provide students with the tools and technologies to build out a digital space of their own
  • Help students appreciate how digital identity is formed
  • Provide students with curricular opportunities to use the Web in meaningful ways
  • Push students to understand how the technologies that underpin the Web work, and how that impacts their lives

These are pedagogical goals, not instrumental ones, not goals wedded to outcomes like retention and performance‚ÄĒthough they undoubtedly affect those things.

I think we can build a way where we still meet Martha's goals and have some fun new technologies to throw in our classes. For example I have been exploring using the class attribute any HTML element can have to keep metadata in the my plain HTML files where teachers and students can see it. That is part of the problem the edtech prededation occurs becuase we have no idea what they feed on.

This tiny bit of metadata, called microformats, is used by the IndieWeb community to power a ton of fun automation that creates some amazing open learning spaces. I hope to build new bots for badging and building smart tutors. Yet I want it to be opt-in for my learners. You log in with your domain and decide what pages and what type of metadata gets controlled.

Greg McVerry

Getting ready to launch our efforts to increase the number of latinx youth in who control their identity on a Domain they own.

Let's unleash a new generation of Latinx leaders.

Greg McVerry

We are now celebrating Junta's new visual identity. Celebrating the Latinx community since 1969.

Greg McVerry

Reviewer Comments from @IESResearch and #QuestionTheWeb #literacies

6 min read

Last August we submitted the following grant application to @IESResearch to address the critical literacy online....We were not funded.

I attach the reviewer comments to help others who live and die by the same rat race as federal research.


Some Notes

Reviewer One

One argument made in the application is that ‚Äúfor effective writing instruction to occur‚ÄĒreading instruction cannot be separate.‚ÄĚ However, it was not clear how reading instruction was a part of this project. It is not entirely clear if this intervention involves providing students with the platform and simply letting them use it or if it involves some form of instruction other than chatbots providing suggestions.¬†

Either the review quit reading too soon or we did not make the second phase of the intervention clear where participants encounter BIASED READ ALOUDs performed by avatars.....Literally, animated and annotated videos discussing text structure and reinforcing confirmatory bias......

But we will have to make the connection more clear that when students curate and resources they also have to READ. The web is a read/write environment. IES has never understood this.

 It was not entirely clear why the project focuses on seventh grade. It would be helpful to provide a more detailed description of the instruction that will accompany the online platform that students will use. It was challenging to identify what students would be taught and how they would be taught, other than getting advice from chatbots. It was clear that the applicants want students to assume control over the process. It is important to explain how this approach aligns with what is currently known about effective writing instruction. It appears that the avatars will read aloud to students, but it was not clear what the rationale was for having students listen to the information rather than read it for themselves.

We literally cited the CCSS standards for 7th grade, plus can't do tech studies under 13 way too much work.

The reviewer equated the biased think alouds with "being read to" they missed the entire point of the study. We do not recognize bias because we do not consider how perspective shape truth....They were getting BIASED read alouds so they would recognize how credibility markers are reinforced or ignored due to perspective. We will need to make this more clear.

Psychometric information for the planned assessments needs to be provided (AWC-SBA, surveys). In the description of the writing assessment, the applicants plan to wait until Year 4 to score all the students’ writing. This seems like a missed opportunity to provide feedback during the design studies in the first years of the project.

I think the reviewer skipped the entire paragraph from their reading (taken from our proposal)

In 2013, NWP developed the AWC for Source-Based Argument (AWC-SBA) to focus on specific features of source-based argument writing. In adapting the AWC, NWP reviewed extant argument writing rubrics (e.g., the Smarter Balanced and PARCC rubrics). The AWC-SBA retain the AWC‚Äôs basic structure rooted in the ‚Äúsix traits‚ÄĚ of writing but each has a particular focus on the attributes related to source-based argument writing. The AWC-SBA measures four attributes: content (e.g., quality of reasoning and strength of evidence); structure (e.g., organization to enhance the argument); stance (e.g., tone, establishment of credibility); and conventions (e.g., control of usage, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and paragraphing). The AWC-SBA has been used in three large-scale scorings in large-scale scorings (n>5,000) and performed similarly to the original AWC. For example, reliability estimates for the AWC-SBA ranged from 89%‚Äď92% on each attribute (Gallagher, Arshan, & Woodworth, 2016).

We reported these measures and we also explained why waiting to year 4 to score the test actualy reduces measure bias. This is a major assessment provided by the National Writing Project...We did not pick some unheard of measure, nor develop our own measure to prove our own intervention works.....

At the very least, ICCs should be estimated, and the project should be prepared to run multilevel models if there is sufficient classroom-level variability. 

On a 1.4 million dollar budget? You crazy???? They want sample sizes that will have enough power for multi-level models....for a Developmental Grant....a goal 4 grant maybe....but not a goal 2 developmental grant.

It was not entirely clear if the institutions supporting the research team offered the fairly sophisticated resources needed to mount and manage the online platform that is central to this project. Also, two of the institutions are not research-intensive institutions, so it would be helpful to have more details about their ability to manage both the communication challenges and data analysis needs for this project. 

IES has such a bias against schools of access. The system is almost explicity designed to ensure the rich stay rich and federal dollars do not trickle down to the schools that actually serve communities of color. Just because I don't work at some fancy pants r1 school with the same white kids from the same white picket fence lives does not mean I can't do data analysis.

So insulting.

Instead of ensuring federal research dollars reach all institutions we create a silo where the reviewers ensure all dollars stay at the r1 levels thus protecting their own bottom lines.

We need to break the inequity machine that this bias reinforces.

Reviewer Two

The richness of the planned intervention components seemed somewhat connected from a strong, systematic theory of change. Vague references were made to concepts of discourse, community, and identity. However, ideally, each of the elements of the intervention would have been systematically justified within the context of the theory of change. As one example, how exactly might students benefit from curating and vetting sources for each other?

Reviewer Two did not like our Theory of change. I thought it was quite good. They wanted us to explain all of the reading and writing research into the theory including going as far as justifying why having kids work together is a good idea...I liked our theory of change. We will revise it. Then next year's reviewers will suggest we needed something more like we just proposed.

In Summary

Reviewer A didn't like our quantitative measures and looks down upon faculty who do not serve in the ivory halls of R1 schools. Review B did not like our qualitative methods or our theory of change. Reviewer B could has some valid points but neither reviewer understood how we would use parsing, scraping websites for metadata to surface to new evidence of knowledge growth.

We will submit again. I hope the bias IED reviewers have against Universities who serve under-represented peoples does not doom our efforts forever.


Greg McVerry

@Wolfie_Rankin Agree only way for alt communities to thrive is to help develop and encourage skills within your social groups around maintaining your own websites. You can never control your identity if you don't own the doors on to the world.

Greg McVerry

Thinking About Microformats and Tracking Teacher Dispositions

7 min read

In , an online, writing intensive class I teach, I have to measure student dispositions, future educators.. We are using an assessment provided by TaskStream.

It is a multiple domain assessment, with each domain consisting of a single item that we then rate on an ordinal which accreditation boards then treat as numerical data. 

That being said the item prompts in the disposition assessment wouldn't be bad (not sure if they are proprietary so not sharing) to drive reflective inquiry. As an online class every student builds out their website and we create a distributed network of blogs. So students could and should reflect on the expected patterns of behaviors in teachers.

Measuring Dispositions in Online Classrooms

Online teaching also provides an important avenue for measuring teaching dispositions because as a modality the pedagogy of teaching with the web exists in every class. It is just a matter of degree of how much takes place online. No class is taught just face to face anymore. 

Blogging in Writing Intensive Classroom

  • Platform to design a professional identity
  • Reflection as a praxis¬†
  • Multimodal and digital texts reflective of today's classroom.

Measuring dispositions in an online writing intensive class do bias towards tech skills. I am not bothered, in fact, this is a perspective I want to encourage. Plus while I do believe (and we found in online reading) that are are significant statistical differences in tech skills based that would be explained by variance in socioeconomic skills we are still talking about a range of skills closer to zero.

The lack of technology skills in our K8 teachers is at crisis level if we hope for to ever become a reality, and it isn't the tech skills I am truly after I want the inquisitive teacher who knows what they don't know and has built up the networks to go find the knowledge they need.

Still given our goals of diversifying a teaching force and recognizing the needs of my online students we have to scaffold this understanding. So I provide getting started video tutorials, a chatroom for help built into the class website, and in person and online studio time. 

I have spent much of my career trying to research ways to measure dispositions. From Factor analysis of surveys, case studies, to almost ethnographies. Observation over time works best to measure but reflection works best for growth. Blogging provides avenues for both.

Harnessing Microformats to Measure Dispositions

I have written previously that HTML and microformat->JSON parsers could provide data to trigger tutorial bots. If a student has only one paragraph tag or maybe they never use headers after a certain date, etc. Yet I also think microformats would provide an easy way to collect user data in ways the learner controls how their information gets displayed.

A note on privacy

First in terms of learning analytics and student data I would rather default to students controlling the data rather than handing over the keys to the University. I want to build sustainable teaching networks over time. Shutting down the LMS doesn't allow this to happen.

I want my students to own their data and control how it is used. We are required to collect student data for CAEP. Teacher candidates poked and prodded like lab rats now. This does not mean students must cede control to some out of state board that swoops down to suck up data.

Hypothetically we can still meet both requirements of data control and assessment. By using microformats hosted on websites students control they can simply delete that source from the web. While the school may keep an archived version available, and anyone may have archived an open website the source gets removed from any record sent to outside agencies.

My Current Workflow

I have feeds for all my classes in inoreader. As a post comes in I cut and paste it into a spreadsheet with the assignment linked on top. I cut and paste each links. 

With microformats this would not be necessary. In my graduate edtech classes students send reply posts to the assignment page so I can organize the webmentions I receive. A really cool teacher dashboard could easily be built eliminating my spreadsheet step.

The way our dispositions work, you are supposed to make note of student behavior such as getting an email written in an unprofessional manner or if students go above and beyond in volunteer work. So what I do is leave comments on the spreadsheet or publish private notes to myself. This could be automated using microformats.

I could highlight student work using fragmentions and then tag that to the specific disposition item adding a note as to why that evidence meets the criteria and action steps the student should take for growth.

Microformats and Machine Learning

For brevity's sake, I am going to lump automation and machine learning, disparate things, into one ontological basket. My bad.

I think microformats also provide a path to machine learning in the measurement of teacher dispositions. In my class, for example, looking at date and time of submission versus date and time assignments were due and then using this data.

The ability to analyze student work to measure dispositions will require good mark up going in. That is why I believe microformats, as a minimally viable format because it  data class carried in HTML,  provides the best pathway for data interoperability for blogging based classrooms.

How Would It Work?

That's the best part,  microformats is probably the most widely deployed (discounting commercial search engines that need to have zero influence on my classroom) forms of metadata used on blogs. So many toolsets exist that instructional designers, teachers, and developers can use. 

So I would have a blogging platform with proper microformats. This would then be parsed into JSON and can be exported to xAPI, the data interoperability standard replacing SCORM. 

An HTML  first approach, that microformats provides offers the easiest way to measure teachers dispositons while building critical online teaching and digital literacies skills.

In fact bit by bit on the weekends I have started to revise the UI for the rubrics we use in ReVIEW Talent Feedback System. Well my goal is twofold: Move to CSS Grid from Bootstrap and add nested h-reviews  

screenshot of rubric

I am really excited about this effort. UCONN and SCSU awarded our company a 10,000 grant to add Single Sign On, using OAuth to start compliance with Learning Tools Interoperability standards. 

We already export our data in really pretty JSON files that I love to run statistical tests on but the addition of h-review rubrics plus OAuth will allow us to connect to all of the tools on the and any blogging platform that plays nice with microformats.

Basically, we could become the rubric system of open pedagogy. We are still going to be a platform to improve teaching through better feedback. This will include tracking dispositions. 

I believe if you teach with personal websites and blogs (and you should) then microformats may provide us the best avenue forward to harness data and keep learners in control. 

Greg McVerry

Just came across PhD thesis as we have been comparing how does identity with h-card and how RDF does identity with you the person getting a url and your site getting a url

Greg McVerry

Submitted Application for the @Mozilla Responsible Computer Science Challenge

20 min read

Concept Description:


The Computer Science Department, Research Center on Computing and Society, and School of Education at Southern Connecticut State University propose this work to fund the creation of a Virtual Reality recording and editing studio, with accompanying coursework on storytelling and WebVR.

Specifically, this project will fund the creation of the VR lab and openly licensed pedagogical materials other computer science departments could use to learn ethics, WebVR , or both. Through these courses students will create scalable, remixable content around issues of ethics in computer science in order to leave our program understanding of ethics as a first-design principle.

The project will proceed in two stages. The Responsible Computer Science Challenge award will fund the first stage. During the first stage we will develop the animation and WebVR lab as well as the curriculum. Successful results of this stage will lead us to seek follow up funding to design a dual-purpose Virtual Reality live recording studio while maintaining planetarium functionality.

Stage One, funded by the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, is a formative design research project that revolves around the  pedagogical goal of understanding how perspectives, history, and personality shape ethics and technology. We will develop a class cross listed in philosophy and computer science will teach digital storytelling through narratives of ethics and revise computer science classes in web design and security to include WebVR.

SCSU  is uniquely qualified for this award. Our Research Center on Computing and Society, founded and led by Terrell Ward Bynum, has explored the ethics of computer science and technology since 1988. Dr Heidi Lockwood, Professor of Philosophy, will join the project. Dr. Lisa Lancor, Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department will serve as Principal Investigator on the Project. Dr. Greg McVerry, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Learning, and long-time Mozilla contributor, will lead our efforts to facilitate the development of course curricula  that align our long history of exploring ethics and computer science with theories of open pedagogy.

Theoretical Principles

We draw on John Dewey and see digital literacies and ethics in computer science as necessary for efforts in democratic education. The pedagogy used will center around production-based inquiry methods. We will also encourage all participants to reflect openly on a blogging platform. We will encourage further involvement of the larger Mozilla WebVR community in the project

Why WebVR

We believe webVR has the greatest reach and impact when teaching ethics. While the cost of full virtual reality rigs and the computer to power these systems are out of reach for most of the global population, WebVR is accessible to anyone with a phone and Mozilla’s virtual reality web browser.

Open Pedagogy

Every participant will have their own website domain and a  content management system. Our theoretical underpinning is that agency and belief in oneself as a writer is essential in order to engage in the reflective thought required in ethics education. In today’s networked society (Castells & Cardozza, 2006), a new set of skills and practices have emerged, and we must design for diversity and inclusivity by acknowledging computer science has not been a safe space (boyd, 2018) (1,137 characters)

Formative Design

Collect Baseline Data

We will begin with focus group interviews with students who have completed CSC 235 Web and Database Development and ask about how they felt the class integrated lessons of technology and allowed them to develop their own space online. This class will include introductions to building A-Frame as students learn HTML.

We will also collect efficacy data about how participants feel towards storytelling. They will be asked to choose a picutre from a set and explain how the picture represents how they feel about their skill level. 

Develop Learning Interventions

We will then create and file the necessary paperwork for our new and revised courses. These courses will be designed in conjunction with our students and assigned a license that allows for . We will work with Mozillians already creating content on Glitch to develop WebVR tutorials.

Implement Interventions

We will then implement the courses and collect student feedback. The class will be open to SCSU for credit but open to global participants to play and contribute. Data will be triangulated using their blog posts and plus delta charts at multiple time points.

Analyze Data

After the first run of classes we will analyze the data to determine which factors inhibited and which factors supported our pedagogical goals.

Iterate on Learning Interventions

We will then revise the coursework and run the classes again.

Analyze Data

Finally, we will analyze  data one last time using content analysis to identify themes that brought us closer to our pedagogical goals.




Working Open:


We will open this project to the wider computer science and WebVR world. In fact, as we write this proposal, we welcome Pull Requests and issues at GitHub

Open Begins on Your Own Domain

As we develop this project, all participants will be encouraged to blog and share their reflections and learnings.  We believe working open involves not only "documenting and sharing your concept with broader audiences",  but inviting  audiences to get involved and help shape both the project and our openly networked space for learning.

To this end, all participants from the PI to each student will be given a url and a blog. We will use a social reader and technologies called to connect learners.

Open Pedagogy

The two courses designed for this class will carry an open license. In fact, they will be built using readily available tools. Members of Mozilla's WebVR community have already expressed interest in both designing and taking the course.

Open Data and Privacy

No participant will be required to share openly and will have full control to license their own content as long as they meet the requirements of any reused code or previously licensed content.( 




Internet Health:


In a recent survey on Internet Health, specifically the future of connected devices, Mozilla found that those who identify as ultra nerds are more optimistic about the web than those not always online. This result mirror's danah boyd's twentieth anniversary critique of John Berry Barlow's original manifesto. Ultra-nerds come from a place of privilege, and this usually means white, male, and from the global north. We never designed the web for diversity because the original designers had never felt threatened, were never stalked. This explains why, even today, Amnesty International find female journalists get attacked every ten seconds online

In college I did have a stalker. It was a very scary experience. I come to technology with a different perspective because of that experience. It is not a matter of techno panic but a matter of self-preservation....lots of people in Silicon Valley who have never had a Stalker. They are not thinking like that. If you get more people involved that have had …well…Diversity improves technology in a way that makes regulation less necessary Stacey Higginbotham, This Week in Google.

We seek to improve internet health by ensuring that ethics, especially the areas of diversity and inclusion, gets taught as a principle of first design. WebVR provides a useful avenue for this approach as we can put hypothetical characters in situations that would not be ethical to do to real humans. Furthermore, early research into counseling, PTSD, and autism finds virtual reality may help to improve empathy.

We will utilize a series of case studies as models and encourage students to record and create A-Frame content. The use of a WebVR first approach also allows us to reach a much larger audience with our message of ethics in computer science. While the price point on high end virtual reality rig  the cost makes it inaccessible to almost 100% of the world population. Anyone with a smartphone and a compatible lens can use WebVR.

Our MVP case studies we propose and will develop with our students include:

  • Greening the Web: Do you really need React or Blockchain when HTML will do?
  • Code of Conduct: Better conferences or Kangaroo Court?
  • False Positives: Do Algorithms protect us?
  • HTML First: A Matter of ?

Our students will then work in distributed teams with open participants across the web to create additional case studies.





A scan of scholarly articles and a survey of virtual reality and computer science specialists found no evidence of anyone else trying to teach ethics through the use of WebVR. We posted messages to GitHub repos, Telegram, Twitter, and Slack in communities that focus on webVR.

While we did not find anyone currently doing similar work, we did find a large expressed interest from people who want to contribute. In fact, we are already collaborating with the two most popular A-Frame  teachers in the greater Mozilla networks.

However recent outreach on Twitter lead to emergin connections to other researchers in the State of Connecticut may lead to partnerships on scale up efforts. 





Key Personnel

Dr. Lisa Lancor (an 8.3% effort, or 1.0)will enable her to oversee course development and program instruction as well as administration of the project funds. Dr. Lancor will also revise courses following their operation and analyze data collected.

Co-PI Greg McVerry (a 9.4% effort, or 1.13 Academic Months). He  will act as a pedagogy and instructional design expert helping to design courses. Dr. McVerry will also coordinate with third party developers creating learning tools. He will also devote 0.5 Summer Months above and beyond his normal duties to the project, for an additional 4.2% effort

Additional salary support for Co-PI Heidi Lockwood (a 2.7% effort, or 0.3 Summer Month) 4% of time will provide assistance in applying the philosophy of ethics to our course design.

Other Personnel

Student 1 $15 per hour for 20 hr/wk. This student will help to record and edit instructional videos, data collection, provide four hours of open online office hours for help, and spend four hours documenting the program through our website and social media.

Student 2 will be paid $12 per hour for 10 hr/wk  He or she will handle  office logistics and filing of university required paperwork. They will provide technical assistance in the lab during class time. 

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits for are protected under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Dr. Lancor  64.70% rate on summer work; Dr. McVerry 83.47% rate on course release and 49.72% rate on summer; Dr. Lockwood  72.73% on summer work. Students do not receive fringe during the academic year.

Materials and Supplies

Insta360 Pro II Spherical VR 360 8K Camera, Extra Battery & Charger Kit, $6,000

 Audio recording equipment $4,000

3 Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera $2,100

Audio remixing and studio equipment, $2,900

5 high-end desktops or laptops $20,0000


  • Professional Installation, 2000 for the set-up of the audio recording studio
  • Developer, Malcom Blaney,¬†[FJ1]¬† at $75 for 65 hours.; Create a ledger and micropub client for issuing and recording webmention badges. and HTML.
  • Developer, Grant Richardson, $9,000 at $75 for 120 hours; Create a lightweight blogging CMS using nodejs. Include webmentions, indieauth, and micropub endpoints. Create a microformats parser for tracking class participation.¬†

Indirect Costs: SCSU maintains a negotiated indirect cost agreement with DHHS. Copies of SCSU’s NICRA are available upon request.





As a university sponsored project, all research activity funded by this grant will require approval from the SCSU  Institutional Review Board and any consent and assent from participants.

Humane Tech isn't Engineered

Mindsets do not shift easily. Many developers look to engineer their way to the perfect social solution. This world belief that "Code can save the world, but only I can write it" traces its roots, as Sara Wachter-Boettcher (2017) points out, back to bias engineered into computer science since the 1950's when  identified loner men as the most apt for programming and then built assessments to identify these types of employees. Yet  of bias of perfection, impostor syndrome to explicit bias around competition, verbal discourse, and neurodiversity have weeded their way through all of our history (Banaji & Greenwald, 2017).

We cannot code our way to better community. While what we engineer reflects our bias, engineering alone can never overcome perspectives and pasts. Instead we must carve anew; placing our principles before our pull  requests. To overcome the risk of settled mindsets we will first put a focus on listening to voices who tech does not serve or has not served safely.

We will then root the story of ethics in Computer Science into the narratives of at-risk populations. We will study the shape of the story and come to understand how the prescriptive technologies (Ursula, 2004) control the shape of stories we tell. We will then create narratives through the webVR case studies.

This does introduce the risk of too many possibilities. Amy Burvall notes that constraints lead to greater creativity. We will mitigate this risk by first focusing on creating webVR using A-Frame technologies as a proof of concept before scaling up to a full virtual reality recording studio.

However, we will provide everyone with a Domain  of their own and a blog to ensure they own their stories.

Interdisciplinary Approach

Our use of webVR and A-Frame will require computer science engineers to study digital storytelling and narratology while English and education majors study computer science. The populations served by many community colleges and state universities in the United States have multiple jobs and families to raise. Adding additional domains of knowledge to already crowded curriculum can add stress to the lives of students.

To mitigate these risks, we will add additional scaffolds, a network of open participants, bi-monthly face to face meetings, and on-demand video tutorials.  We will also stress importance of community in Open Pedagogy and encourage participants to rely on each other and the knowledge we create and curate together.

Open and Privacy

Online communication, such as tweets, blog posts, and comments are generally out in the open and technically ‚Äúpublic‚ÄĚ and available for researchers to analyze and quote. Internet researchers have, however, documented how a particular communication may be technically public but viewed by the individual who posted it as meant for a more limited or private context.

Even if an individual feels that they have ‚Äúpublished‚ÄĚ in public or have consented to be part of research, they might still feel like trust has been violated if their words are taken up and re-framed in a way that they feel is out of context or misrepresented. While this study will seek IRB approval, we also have stringent rules around users:

·       We will analyze and publish data that is de-identified or aggregated in ways that cannot be traced back to an individual.

  • Any identifiable quotes or descriptions of activities will not be used in a research publication or presentation without the permission of the individual. This includes anonymized or pseudonymized quotes, because they can be linked back through a search engine to an individual public posting.

Participants may also be contacted and recruited to participate in surveys and interviews for specific research studies. In these cases, we will offer a clear explanation of the consent and privacy procedures, how the data will be used, and what benefit the research will provide to the individual and the community. We will also allow interviewees the opportunity to review transcripts and quotes.

No student will be required to join the study. In fact, someone beside the class instructor will collect permissions and the teaching professor will not know who agreed to be included until grades are submitted.  Participants may be asked to complete an additional consent form that will be reviewed and approved by our Institutional Review Board..



Student Audience:


At Southern Connecticut State University, we design for a future where there is no separate tech industry, for we embrace the truth of the present that every industry is now a tech industry. Therefore, our entry level class in the program will be offered to all students as part of our Liberal Education Program. This class will focus on the structure of storytelling, character development, and storytelling.

We will fork and also participate in the online class . This distributed learning community is the longest continuously running MOOC  and will connect our Southern students to open web advocates from across the globe. These students will be invited to join our efforts at developing ethical case studies using traditional new media.

All of our Computer Science undergraduate and graduate students take a class in computer ethics. All the case studies developed as part of this grant will be deployed in this class to be used by all of our computer science classes.

We will also revise our graduate level ethical hacking class to include case studies specifically around the ethics of privacy and security. Every computer science graduate class offers this program.

We will also develop and propose a new class on learning A-Frame and WebVR. While students will not complete case studies in this class, they will take storyboards and scripts students wrote in DS106, apply greater disciplinary and tier-three academic language, then develop the webVR files using the editing studio funded by this grant.


All the material we create from this class, including participant blogs, will be made openly available on the Glitch platform and GitHub. We have already started to work with collaborators who have created A-Frame tutorials and host these files on Glitch as well. Participants will maintain the right to license their content  however they choose.

This strategy of providing locally curated content that we also open to the web at large will lead to the greatest number of students to be involved in the grant. Working openly also provides a greater voice for our students to get involved in the design of the classes and the projects. The SCSU computer science club has expressed an interest and reported to the department they would like instruction in virtual reality. Any student member can join the steering committee simply by showing up to a meeting or filing a pull request on the team repo.

We also hope computer science, philosophy, business or education schools take up and use the case studies developed by our students. While we believe the learning and knowledge students gain by creating, editing and animating their videos will lead to greater knowledge growth, we will also develop the curriculum for programs that would just like to utilize our series of case studies.

The tutorials on A-Frame and WebVR that we will develop in conjunction with the Mozilla Virtual Reality community will also reach thousands. Having  tutorials framed around e ethics will further reinforce the concept that diversity and inclusion need to be a first design principle.

While traditional instructional design places a priority on learning objectives, ethics in computer science can never work this way. Inclusion should never be a rubric. No one should get a ‚Äú2.7 proficient in diversity‚ÄĚ score. Creating a culture of ethics as a first principle of design requires us to reshape society and not learners.

As Gary Stager points out (2005 pg 3), a focus on instructionalism, the measurable objective, direct instruction, forced response assessment, in education using the web leads to "delivering re-purposed content to students via the Internet. Communication, collaboration, community and construction are afterthoughts graded onto modern correspondence courses."

This data fetishization is a symptom of society rooted in the same problem that lead to the lack of ethics in computer science. Being inclusive doesn't exist on a Likert scale; it develops on a human scale

Therefore, rather than specific learner objectives, we will work with participants to set their "subjectives" (Cormier, 2015) and let them determine the goals in a class that is

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Collaborative¬†‚Äď everyone, including the instructor, learns together and takes responsibility for everyone else‚Äôs learning.

·       Documented - the processes of learning are more important that the specifics of the knowledge constructed. The learning process, therefore, is documented in the...

·       Open - by exposing learning to colleagues and the public, students take the first steps in taking control of their digital identity and expanding their horizons as connected learners-John Becker, 2016.

Community we create will teach more about ethics than specific content. By utilizing case studies, we can connect with multiple perspectives and allow for growth and self-remediation yet we must live these lessons to the spaces and tools we build.



Measuring Success:


Measuring Success

Space as Variable of Interest

As our focus is more on measuring success in our spaces of learning, we will ask learners to plot how they feel the class supports learners in growing on the following scales:

  • Lead
    • Learn
    • Teach
    • Innovate
    • Evangelize
    • Organize
  • Communicate
    • Inquiry
    • Identify
    • Position
    • Empathize
    • Engage
  • Think
    • Question
    • Reflect
    • Analyze
    • Decide
    • Change
  • Create
    • Build
    • Test
    • Iterate
    • Differentiate
    • Scale


We will  will create a simple web app for participants to record not where they feel the majority of students engage with the participatory learning environments. After each class students, will simply click on across each of the four scales. We will use this data to iterate on how we meet our pedagogical goals.

Curating Evidence of Success

Each week all participants will be asked to select a picture and write a brief not explaining how the picture captures how they feel. Using content analysis and semiotic analysis we will explore the visual metaphors participants choose. This will provide evidence of knowledge growth from participants. This task is also designed to reinforce visual thinking in the creation of case studies.

Parsing for Growth

Because A-Frame is written in declarative HTML, we will be able to track knowledge growth by using HTML parsers and a type of metadata called microformats. These will be included in both the case study templates, student blogs, and the A-Frame starter kits.

We will also be able to track the number of changes students make using the history available to us in both Git and Glitch.

Webmention badges

We will also create a platform to issue badges. These have been piloted and successfully deployed. All class instructional pages will accept webmentions. Students will apply for a badge by writing a post in reply to the course explaining how they met criteria. If they met the criteria a webmention badge will be sent in reply to the application and to the student’s badge display page.

Circuit of Reflective Inquiry

Ethics requires a study of self and society through a process of self-remediation and democratic education. As we try to measure success of these efforts in Computer Science, we attempt to use multiple pieces of evidence that still put agency in the learner to focus on their subjectives. In this approach we hope to measure growth through Gee's circuit of reflective action:

We formulate a goal (and the goal could be answering a question) and then we take an action in the world. We see how the world responds to the action, ask ourselves whether this response was good or not for the accomplishment of our goal, and then, if need be, act again on better information or a redefined goal. The circuit of reflective action is an interactive conversation with the world.

Greg McVerry

Onboard Through Blogging: Open Source Training

3 min read

As an open source community  your front door must invite potential contributors to walk right in. Yet many spaces fill their most forward looking properties full of jargon and or well established practices not easily identifiable to outsiders.

Might as well put a Keep Out sign on your front door.

We need to find new ways to invite people in. This often includes onboarding. Some open source communities have very formal governance structures and may require training, others may have explicit systems for issues, pull requests, and commit files.

The snark that scored when n00bs violated social norms can no longer stand today. Instead we need to socialize new members into our ways of being as we always have in apprenticeship models.

Use Blogs for Onboarding

As long time contributors to Mozilla we often tried to push contributor onboarding through open pedagogy. Specifically within the learning programs in the now sunsetted learning programs run by Mozilla Foundation and in MOOCs set up by different communities within MoFo.

MoFo chose a different path and went with a commercial training and testing platform. The lure of ease of prescriptive technology and the ability to quickly generate data to write reports provided to sweet a deal.

We believe blogging provides open source communities a better option because:

  • Open Pedagogy- We know this works when people have shared values of open.
  • Shared Identity- A blog empowers people to embrace identity formation encourage their identities to be a part of the communities.
  • Spread Your Message-You do open source for a reason. Why not encourage others to tell the world?
  • Better Data- While multiple choice¬† test produce pretty pictures they often get framed in bad data. People blow through online quizes making them meaningless. When you make task relevant you can trust the data it produces.

How to Set-Up Learning Tasks

Look at your current onboarding documents. Most if not all you could turn into blogging tasks.

If not you can choose a well defined path where you encourage the publishing I milestone posts, "I just did X after completing Y." You can also design more open ended and reflective tasks.

Trust me you will enjoy the freedom of of designing learning modules not answered in mutliple choice questons.

Even if your onboarding in your community is just walking someone through their first pull request encourage participants to publish a post when done.

Not Everyone has a Blog?

Did your teacher ever correct you for showing up to class without a pen or pencil? Isn't showing up to an open source community without a website the same thing?

Now many children in school live an existence where thjey may not have access to pencils and this inequity gets compounded in life to a point where we can understand why someone may not yet have a website. Then, just as our schools should, we need to asisst or members and provide basic literacy tools.

You can link to tutorials on setting up free blogging tools on commercial hosting sites. As a community invest in  a domain and provide subdomains to anyone who can not afford the real life cost or need the anonymity of not paying and registering for a domain.

As an open source community we must band together and help build a better web. We can do this by encouraging blogging across our networks. Why begin where it all begins at onboarding?