This Week in the Openlab! June 11th Edition

(SlideGuy Image by Reverend)


Last weekend, your very own OpenLab was happy to be part of the 2012¬†WordCampNYC. ¬†If you’ve never heard of WordCamp, it’s a¬†national series of conferences dedicated to bringing together WordPress users, including individual users who run their own sites, and larger groups and communities like ours. (And if you’ve never heard of WordPress, it’s the platform on which we run the site portion of the OpenLab). This year, the OpenLab participated in two sessions, both of which brought together CUNY folk who maintain platforms similar to our own at other CUNY campuses.

The first of these sessions was Building and Supporting WordPress for Higher Education, done with three other CUNY projects: the CUNY Academic Commons, Blogs@Baruch, and Macaulay ePortfolios.  At these sessions each group gave overviews, discussed our development and support processes, and talked over key issues with the audience, like how to present help documentation that makes sense for users.
(image by the inestimable lwalzer)

The second session was called Developing and Extending WordPress for Higher Education.¬† (Ten points if you can spot the difference in the titles!) ¬†In this session the CUNY teams were joined by Tim Owens¬†from UMWBlogs. ¬†Tim spoke about ds106, an “open, online course that you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need.”¬†

In addition to bragging a bit about our role, we also want to be sure our users check out the important work going on there, so PLEASE check out ds106, particularly if you’re one of our CityTech faculty. ¬†One feature of DS106 is crowd-sourced assignments (here’s a bunch of great examples, and so is the ‘slideguy’ at the top of this page). ¬†Users submit assignments for others to do, complete assignments, and write tutorials describing how to do the assignments. ¬†And the result, sometimes, is this:

(image by Annie Grotophorst)

Tim¬†also talked about the Inspire blog, which we just love as a solution to the problem of making sure people see good work done on our sites, even as those sites get larger and larger. ¬†Because¬†ds106 participants create hundreds of posts, it’s easy for things to fall by the wayside: Inspire was created to allow users to act as curators, and recommend their favorites. ¬†Our own home page was designed with this kind of thing in mind as well.¬†Here’s a great one.

Pretty inspiring!


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