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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.

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

@miklb It looks really easy to fix: < a href=" / " class= "u-author " > < / a > ...just fill it in. BTW did you go to Jekyll? I always loved design of this site. My next true huge lift will be to figure out displaying webmentions on

Greg McVerry

I think webmentions may help media companies reduce hate. Plenty of people willing spew filth when they login to a pseudonym with their facebook account, but what if they needed a website to reply? Would they spray paint their own house with this hate?

Greg McVerry

Teaching with was great. This summer using webmentions and post types on WordPress improved my classes. I wish I could use Known in my intro classes but I can't start any class with, "Well go to the repo, download the latest build, fire up FTP...."

Greg McVerry

Thank you @ctmirror for dropping facebook comments, I have to use disquss, but at least I can reengage in local journalism. We will get you to add webmentions some day.

Greg McVerry

How to Create the Best Blog Posts in Open Source Communites

2 min read

Press Publish. Done.

The best blog post is a published blog post. Period. Putting yourself out there as a blogger in your  open source community helps everyone.

Blogging Skills

Features of a successful blog post

  • Have a point, keep it organized, supported through the use of hyperlinks and multimedia materials (video, sound, images)
  • A clear, unified voice appropriate for intended community. Current contributors? Future contributors the public?
  • A title that links clearly to the content of the post
  • Use headers to keep it organized
  • Define key terms
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid idioms and dated pop cultural references for international audiences

 Features of a successful blog

  • Short, concise posts that use multimedia materials (video, images) to make a point
  • Effective use of hyperlinks to support ideas, to direct readers to relevant, interesting posts, and to strengthen open source network
  • A clear, unified voice that continues to grow and develop over time

Qualities of a skilled blogger

 Ability to publish. 95% of required skills

 The other fiver percent.

  •  Ability to quickly synthesize and articulate ideas
  • An awareness of a wide range of blogging techniques and of how these various techniques reach different target audiences effectively or ineffectively
  • Reading with mouse in hand: Engaging with (online and offline) materials as potential material for blogposts
  • Willingness to serve as an intelligent filter for a wide public audience
  • Engagement with the wider open soource community, including reply posts and webmentions

Modified from on successful blogposts, successful blogs, and skilled bloggers by Jacob McWilliams

Greg McVerry

The end of the native comment and blames rise of social media. brings much of this back.

Greg McVerry

Cutting myself off from my networks has negative effects with positive side effects. I so want to ask questions about displaying webmentions or CSS questions, but these inquires will get me off task of finishing the book and my new courses by 1/22.

Greg McVerry

Though this year I left WordPress and just made a few static pages for though with microformats I built an accidental blog that just displaying webmentions (yet).

Greg McVerry

@janboddez Yes webmentions works best when your theme handles microformats well. Getting a plugin to inject classes into HTMl without a theme or other plugin getting in the way has been elusive. Connecting to other sites on WP requires use of specific themes