OpenLab Pioneers!

This began as the collaboratively edited Type With Me documents created during the the July 12-13 and August 2-3 Faculty Fellows training.  Please add any additional bugs or suggestions here.  Thanks!

1) The behavior of the page and menu tabs at the top bar in WordPress is strange. Isn’t it standard practice to NOT be able to click on the “parent” in cases where there are sub-menus? I am assuming there is a web design standard, but this is what I recall as usual.

2) Similarly, in OpenLab, it is a surprising discovery to find that clicking “Courses” brings up all courses, whereas the large 3-part menu would lead one to believe that you must choose there. It might be more straightforward to have “view all” or “browse” as options at the top of the menu, and then some search options (search in specific fields–course title, keywords, professor, semester, meeting times) and also the option to browse all and then sort on the above fields

3) When you click “courses” should the menu disappear so you can see the result?

4) Why do sub-menu items show up differently on the Group pages for different courses? e.g., compare History 1111 and Tooth Morphology.

5) My Group page (Preservation Design Studio) is not automatically updating the web page names from my modified menu. I noticed that Peter’s were doing so yesterday, 07.13.11.

6) Looking at the Tooth Morphology website (WordPress), which has a background color (not white), you realize that the OpenLab white bar at the top of the page extends all of the way to the right but not all of the way to the left, and grey bar at bottom is aligned with white bar at top on the left but not on the rights

7) On any website, the “site admin” is available, but it is a surprise to find it takes you into YOUR site, not the one you are on. I am not saying we SHOULD be able to get into each other’s dashboards (though it would be cool to poke around and see how certain things were done).

8 ) I have two projects, but only one shows up on my public profile page. I see them both on the pull-down under “Projects”

9) In order for full name to appear with middle initial on the faculty page, first name has to be “Shelley E” or “Jody R”

10) I don’t think we want first names only under “Friends”; how will I know which “Peter” it is? Will students see only our first names?

11) Philosophical . . . I am not sure what I think about “Friends” in this context . . .

12) On the faculty page, I don’t think “Member since ___” is the most important thing about us . . . what about “Assistant Professor, Architectural Technology”?

13) My course (Preservation) is not appearing when I select Architectural Technology in the big 3-part menu

14) On the Group page, under the course name, where it says “Faculty:” the name should be a full name, not just a first name

15) What are “CityTech Sites” (text on the default template pages in WordPress)? Aren’t they OpenLab sites (or at least City Tech Sites, with a space between City and Tech)

16) I notice on some web pages, when you return using the back button, you return to the same view that you left (e.g., mid- or bottom of page); that would be useful and less irritating . . . . I find myself constantly paging down to get back to where I left in many views.

17) Can we add a next / previous topic button to the BP forum? To read all the topics at present you need to keep going back to the full listing. This would make it much more readable.

18) Is there anyone else who would want to know the date and author of the initial BP forum post? I can imagine that in the thick of the semester, there would be a need to more easily go back to a forum started by a particular student, or to identify a forum begun at a particular point in the semester.

19) Following up on comment #5, the group page is not displaying menu tabs that point to categories or other web sites/urls rather than pages.

August 2-3

OPENLAB BUGS (What’s not working? Please include as much info as possible, including the URL of the page on which the bug appeared)

  • changes to group email settings won’t take (even after clicking “save changes”)
  • boris’ course did not show up on his profile page, though the course exists on the openlab (can be found by searching) the site associated with the course appears on his profile page when he is logged in
  • Twenty-eleven Theme not currently working (You have the option to activate it, but it doesn’t actually display)

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE SITE (Have features to suggest? Please list them here)

  • Faculty Screen – Different information than membership by picture.., better search criteria like first name, last name, department
  • On signup screen, could have contact sensitive help for some fields like website
  • Can we have custom URLs for courses – either  “” or, if we want to obtain a domain name, “”?
  • Regarding the default links to navigate between the course home page and course website — I like “course home” for the course, but “site home” reads as a bit confusing — I think students could be confused by this (what’s the difference between “course” and “site”? Isn’t the “course” page also a website? etc.).  I don’t have a great alternative to suggest however — I’ll keep thinking
  • Can we change “friend” to “colleague”? That might encourage professionalism among students and between studetns and faculty, rather than the types of relationships students would have on Facebook.
  • On the course page, the list of “Members” just shows thumbnail images. For the sake of being able to easily recognize people, it might be useful to see names, at least perhaps in a hovering text box when you mouse-over them? Also, the other fields on the course page (Recent Website Posts, Recent Discussions) have links below that take you to those respective pages, the “Members” field should have one too that leads to the “Members” page. On the actual “Members” page, we see a first name and that’s it — still might be hard to tell who’s who.
  • Usually when I search, I  will want to just search the entire OpenLab — could we add this as an  option? It took several tries using the search box (on the upper right) to locate the “OpenLab Pioneers” group, mainly because I had to work through the various items in the dropdown — it didn’t show up until I chose the correct category, Projects.
  • I just want to offer my support for what my insighful colleague says in the previous comment — please don’t make me choose where to search!
  • I feel that students should see the faculty name as their last name and or by Prof. “last name”. Using first names could create an awkward relationsip. In addition, the list by first names only can become confusing when trying to identify a particular person.
  • I find the “+” icon counterintuitive for searching — each time I click it, I have a mental hiccup in which I worry that I am “adding something” to my site…
  • Dealing with “old” courses — can we mark a course as “completed” or “deactivated”, so that (as our collection of courses grows) we have a way of telling current from past courses.
  • Karen thinks there should be a “bio” section in the profile section..
  • Create an option so that RSS feeds can open in a new window or new tab
  • like to see somewhere (pioneers?) a list of goals/upcoming features for upcoming iterations.
  • Is there support for Latex (display of mathematical symbols and expressions)?  I know this is working on the Commons, not sure about the OpenLab.
  • I mentioned this in the Spring semester and I wanted to put in another word for it: We need a good open-source online homework system (get us away from these high-cost proprietary systems that publishers provide!).  To clarify, I mean a system that allows students to complete homework problems online, grades them automatically, and so on.

GENERAL FEEDBACK ON THE OPENLAB (General thoughts and opinions about the site)

  • What is the expected support for alumni, this could be an important tool to connect with alum
  • Thanks for putting this together! I  appreciate all the hard work that has and will go into the tool. It is a  great addition to the City Tech resources.

WORKSHOP RESPONSES (How did we do today?)

  • This workshop is making me so happy, I am encouraged to use the site for many of my classes.
  • I think your conception of these summer activities was great — these were a very productive two days, and I think there will be a great deal of work done over the next few weeks in anticipation of the final workshop.  Great great great!
  • I have learned a lot about using this open digital platform during the 2 day workshop. Thanks for all the help that was rendered. There is a concern about the privacy issue when posting material on a platform like this, which is easily accessible.