Applying a systems-first approach to open [source] software for tech curious educators and publishers

Leveraging Markdown Content and Workflows

Do you need to overcome the content constraints within your LMS (e.g. Canvas)? Or maybe you want to leverage the system-independent format of Markdown for your open education or publishing projects? Perhaps you are looking for a faster content updating process, with full version control? How about options for hosting on either a Webserver or GitHub Pages? Hey then, you are in the right place!

Working Inside or Outside of Other Platforms

Paul Hibbitts of Hibbitts Design is focused on helping educational organizations, as well as tech-savvy or curious educators and publishers, benefit from better online experiences while leveraging Markdown in an open and collaborative workflow. He has published several open source projects based on tools such as Grav CMS and Docsify that can uniquely be used both inside or outside of other platforms (e.g. an institutional LMS).

Serverless (i.e. GitHub Pages) or Webserver with GitSync

His ready-to-use Docsify projects such as Open Course Starter Kit and Open Publishing Starter Kit require no Webserver (or even a build process) as they can be hosted just using GitHub Pages. With his highly customizable Grav CMS projects such as Open Course Hub and Open Publishing Space, both which use the GitSync Plugin, a Webserver with PHP 7.3.6 or higher is required.

Enough Already, Show me Some Real Examples!

Want to see an example of Canvas LMS + Docsify at work in an actual course? Check out the Spring 2022 SFU CMPT-363 Canvas course site (using seamlessly embedded Docsify pages) or the multi-device friendly standalone Spring 2022 SFU CMPT-363 Docsify site.

How about an example of a more customizable Grav Open Course Hub site with three terms of the same course (whose pages could also be seamlessly embeded into an LMS)? Explore the SFU CMPT-363 Grav Course Hub.

Both the Grav Open Course Hub and Docsify Open Course Starter Kit projects have been fortunate to benefit from direct student usage and feedback, as both (unofficially) blended and fully online iterations.

Helping others improve the online student experience

Paul can work with teams or individual educators to improve the learning experience of almost any online course by using the same processes and techniques that he has successfully applied on his own Simon Fraser University CMPT-363 course and open source projects. These techniques include empathy maps, journey mapping, job stories, task prioritization, rapid prototyping, and usability assessments. Remote design reviews are also available. To learn more and start a discussion, contact Paul via Twitter, LinkedIn or email him at paul@hibbittsdesign.org.

Current Docsify Projects

Docsify is a unique static site generator that automatically generates a Website directly from Markdown. Docsify has reached over 20K GitHub s.

Docsify Open MultiCourse Starter Kit

Docsify Open MultiCourse Starter Kit

A MultiCourse variation of the Docsify Open Course Starter Kit to quickly create a Markdown-based open multi-course site with the site generator Docsify. Global navigation elements can be hidden for seamlessly embedding pages (i.e. into an LMS). Includes an optional "Edit this Page" link.
Use as Template on GitHub | Repo | Docs

Current Grav Projects

All of the below projects are built with the Grav CMS (which has over 13K GitHub s) and are available for download at getgrav.org. Grav requires a Web server with PHP 7.3.6 or higher.

Grav Open Course Hub Demo

Grav Open Course Hub

Take LMS-constrained courses to the next level and empower tech-savvy educators with an open, collaborative and version-controlled workflow using Markdown and Grav. Includes Admin Panel and Git Sync.
Download | Repo | Docs

Grav Open Publishing Space

Grav Open Publishing Space

Leverage a fast and version-controlled workflow using the text editor of your choice in the creation, sharing and collaborative editing of Markdown-based Grav sites. Includes Admin Panel and Git Sync.
Download | Repo | Docs

Grav Open MultiCourse Hub Demo

Grav Open MultiCourse Hub

A MultiCourse variation of the Open Matter Course Hub, including three different example courses using a range of page types and features. Includes Admin Panel and Git Sync.
Download | Repo | Docs

Grav Learn2 with Git Sync

Grav Learn2 with Git Sync

Learn2 with Git Sync, a sample Markdown-based documentation site using the Learn2 Git Sync theme. Includes Admin Panel, Git Sync and TNTSearch plugins along with RSS/Atom Feeds.
Download | Repo | Docs

🌍 Are you using one of my Grav or Docsify projects in connection with climate science education and action? If so, you may be eligible for no-charge premium support – contact Paul for details. 🌏

Grav Open Content and Workflows

What are Users of Paul’s Open Source Projects Saying?

The Open Course Hub was easy to set up and get running and my students loved having a one-stop place to go to for their course content. I really love that it syncs with GitHub so easily and seamlessly. I was able to have an open, collaborative, easily updatable, fully version-controlled site up and running in little time, with fairly modest technical skills. On the student side, it is all beautiful and easy to use on any device!
— Mark Coster (Associate Professor at Griffith University, Australia)
The Docsify Open Course Starter Kit is a follow-up to Paul's Grav Open Course Hub projects. The Docsify Kit provides a dead-easy(!) entry point to build content from scratch or migrate from existing Markdown files. The strength of the Docsify approach is the possibility of using GitHub Pages to provide a highly reliable hosting option. While some basic technical knowledge is expected, you can very easily and quickly update your course content once you get things going.
— George Chow (Instructor at Simon Fraser University, Canada)
I wanted to use something to get around the restrictions of our LMS. Everything was so plain vanilla there, and didn't provide the flexibility I needed. Grav Open Course Hub was the perfect answer to my problem. Using the available documentation, I was able to get it up and running, integrating it into my Canvas course. I did run into a few issues - and Paul of Hibbitts Design was immediately available to help me get past them. I highly recommend trying it - I think you will like it and the support is fabulous!
— Dr. Cindy Corritore (Professor at Heider College of Business, Creighton University, United States)
Paul is an inspired individual, capable of inspiring others. His work in Grav is excellent. I've found his knowledge of Grav CMS—applied to Higher Education sector needs—to be a breath of fresh air. It's simple, logical, and smart. His Learn2 with Git Sync project has allowed me and colleague to roll out numerous internal web systems in-house, saving countless hours and dollars by not having to outsource the work—all while making staff more knowledgeable and competent. Thanks to Paul's work, I've been able to create many win-win-win situations in my work.
— Kevin Call (Web Developer, East Tennessee State University, United States)
The Grav Open Course Hub will allow TWU to deploy multiple versions of courses, all based on the same core content, to learners in widely diverse communities across the world. Since the core content of each course is centralized and versioned in GitHub, then displayed in Grav, we can ensure that all learners are interacting with the same content. Furthermore, since the content can be embedded directly into our LMS, we can build interactions, activities, and assessments unique to each community of learners, whether they are in India, Kenya, China or Canada.
— Colin Madland (Online Learning and Instructional Technologies at Trinity Western University, Canada and PhD student in Educational Technology)

What are Paul’s SFU CMPT-363 Students Saying?

This is by far the BEST remote Computing Science course I’ve taken.
The online offering of this course is phenomenal.
Overall, I thought this was the best course taught out of all the courses I’ve had in the past.
Absolutely loved how the course was handled online.
Paul Hibbitts has designed the best Computing Science course experience I’ve taken, online or in person. I think this says a lot considering I don’t even like UI/UX design and only took this course to fulfill a major requirement.

Share Your Feedback

Have you used one of the above Grav CMS projects? If so, help shape its direction by sharing your feedback:

How about one of the above Docsify projects? Then help shape its direction by sharing your feedback:

Would you prefer to have a quick chat to share your thoughts and experiences? Visit the Grav Discord Room or the Docsify Discord Room and feel free to directly message Paul Hibbitts.

Support this Work

To help increase adoption and fund his open source work, Paul offers a range of services related to Grav CMS, Docsify and his open source projects such as consulting, premium support subscriptions, workshops, custom development, and his brand new offering Grav and Docsify Kickstarts which combines a one-on-one learning session with a month of premium support. Sound of interest? Send a note to paul@hibbittsdesign.org.

Would you rather make a single or reoccurring financial contribution to help support Paul's open source work? You can do that too - thank you!

Looking for another way to show a bit of ❤️ for Paul's open source work? Give one of his GitHub Repositories a ⭐️. Thanks!