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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


Greg McVerry

The learning benefits of gamification, like most token economies, diminish quickly but it helps with onboarding, outreach, and initial success for retention. Has more to do with social presence rather than cognitive presence.

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

@actualham Let's apply a simple filter: no retention algorithm from companies who do not openly share their regression models. If students really knew schools are making choices and their professors can't really say why. We can't test, validate, nothing

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

To Go Far Enough #digped

data, but on an engine running on that data—powered by data. Instructure recently announced their “second growth initiative [will be] focused on analytics, data science and artificial intelligence. The code name for this initiative is DIG.”

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—though 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

Seven Strategies for Blogging in Open Source Communities

Everyone hears bloggers beomaon writing block. Yet no great ailement spreads that saps writing ability. No virus takes away verbs and no bacteria takes down

2 min read

Everyone hears bloggers beomaon writing block. Yet no great ailement spreads that saps writing ability. No virus takes away verbs and no bacteria takes down a blogger.

Writer's block emerges not from some mental state or illness but from a lack of strategies to get started. Open source community members may not want to blog simply out of fear of answering the question, "What do I blog about?"

The best blog post is a published blog post.

Just encourage this value in your community. Make it a meme, an emoji, a mantra. Get the community blogging and if they need help offer one of these ideas.

  1. Learn Something- No one comes to open source saying, "Gee I want to find a project where I can contribute code." They have a goal and something to learn. Documenting this journey provides endless content for open source bloggers. Simplay answering the question, "I want to learn X" so I will try Y" provides enough content for a post.
  2. Teach Something- Documentation != tutorial. Have you tried to use open source documents to learn? Not for the faint of heart. Check out the Apache documentation I stumbled across when trying to learn to abit of regex to write a redirect, or tell my server to point old links on my blog to the new url of my blog. Write a tutorial. Help the next contrbutor.
  3. Backstage Blog- Slightly different than a tutorial go more in depth into  a reflection your decision making process when building an app, coding, or running an event. Tell us what worked, what didn't, next steps, or what you will do differently next time.
  4. Behind the Scenes-If you work at a company contributing to open source or building open source tools share some office shennanigans. Community members love this stuff.
  5. Plan Your Future-Share your goals and upcoming events.
  6. Share the Past- Post pictures and reflections from events or major community changes.
  7. Celebrate the Community- Higlight other community members. the h/t goes a long way in terms of recruitment and retention.


Greg McVerry

Building Open Source Source Communities Through Blogging

Open source does not mean working open. Open source refers to a small sliver of our work and refers to the license we assign to

4 min read

Open source does not mean working open. Open source refers to a small sliver of our work and refers to the license we assign to content we create.

Working openly builds open source conent but places an emphasis on learning out loud, reflecting on growth and sharing our triumphs.

When we work openly we build better open source software and open source comunities. In fcat five key benefits should drive every open source community to encourage members to blog.

Share your Story

Truth and reflection sell. In fact never sit through any seminar on SEO or social media (trutfhully skip all things SEO) that does not begin with this mantra. Good content is all that matters.

Every open source community has a mission. Never keep quiet about your mission and values.

A blog builds open source communities.

Recruitment and Retention

When you tell your story you attract other people who first want to listen, maybe tell a friend or better yet get involved. So much energy in open source community gets spent on thinking about how do we track contribution? How do we get more people involved in open source? Anyone know any designers?

Platform after platform gets built by community after community without realizing the web provided all the tools we need for recruitment and retention. Blogging begets blogging.

You also get metrics on contributions that go beyond the core commit. We know  other layers of the onion [1] surrond  core community members that contribute most of the code. Event planners, bug filers, and even the feature request as an issue crowd all support

The contributions nontechnical members make support the community as a whole and drawing in contributors, both those take push code or content, requires blogging.

Keep it DRY

Most commit messages are awful. Usually commiters leave a brief word or two and fail to capture changes in the code base let alone the decisions behind choices.

In many open source communities we often fall down repeated rabbit holes. When core committers also blog we reduce the risk of "repeating yourself" over and over again.

When someone may ask about a decision a blog post, which in open source communities averages 11 times the median length of a commit message will not only explain more to our members but it helps sustain our collective mission.

Build a Better Web

 No one gets into open source to save moeny....Well if they do they won't be around long. We choose open because we know it leads to a better web and a better web leads to a better world.

Blogging can make it all happen. Every time you encourage a community member to capture their journey with open source you help build a better web making it more enjoyable and inclusive for all.

Have Fun

Most importantly blog because you enjoy open source. You may not enjoy writing. Even the best bloggers struggle with crafting words just as you struggle with code. Always boils down to text structure. Some  languages are simply more declarative than others.

Let blogging declare you. Let it parse your history as an open source community. The average blog post in open source communities is only 150 words. And who says you have to use word? Photo blogs or video blogs (vlogs) can provide avenues of intention any day.

150 words, one picture, or two minutes of audio or video. You can do this. Your community can do this. Simply set a goal. Could be every day, once a week, before every pull request or commit. You decide. Just have fun.

Greg McVerry

Finding artifacts and evidence in @eddiehinkle's myurlis podcast: and and thinking about discovery, recruitment, and retention in Community Trumps Cloud


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