Blog

Exploring and Building Open [Source] Software for Learning Ecosystems and OER

EXPERIENCE DESIGN / EDUCATION / OER/ MULTI-DEVICE / GRAV CMS

Recently I’ve been working on trying to visualize my approach for a future-friendly open content system, including how my Grav projects support that system, and I thought I would share them here:


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Today, the biggest update so far to the Git Sync Plugin has been released, and what a release it is! Two of the most requested features have been added - the ability to sync additional user folders and the ability to fine-tune the automatic synchronization of page changes - plus much more!

SFU’s fourth annual DEMOfest is scheduled for Wed, November 21st and I hope to share with my fellow educators how the Grav CMS can be used to expand and enhance Canvas - here’s my submitted proposal:

Expanding and Enhancing Canvas with the Open Source Grav CMS
Tech-savvy educators! Want to incorporate more open and collaborative materials within Canvas? How about improving the online experience? Faced with this challenge, Paul Hibbitts developed components for the file-based Grav CMS (getgrav.org) to effectively work inside of his CMPT-363 Canvas course (https://canvas.sfu.ca/courses/38847). Grav uses the platform-independent Markdown format and enables collaborative editing by students and instructors with Git-based services such as GitHub and GitLab. These also naturally support the 5 Rs (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute) of Open Educational Resources. Integrating Grav pages within Canvas is seamless too - without any content restrictions.

As an experiment I’ve created a small set of 30-second demo videos to give a glimpse into some major and minor features of my Open Course Hub and Open Publishing Space projects. I recently tweeted these videos and thought I would share them here too:


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While I’ve been in ‘heads-down’ mode with my SFU CMPT 363 User Interface Design course this summer I’ve also been working away on a brand new Bootstrap 4 based theme for Grav. I recently tweeted a few highlights about the early release of this new theme, called Bootstrap4 Open Matter, and I thought I would share them here:


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I am excited to be sharing the most recent developments of my Grav Open Course Hub project at the Festival of Learning on May 29th.

Here is the description of my session:

Delivering a Better Experience by Using the Open, Collaborative and Flexible Grav CMS – Inside or Outside of your LMS

Want to provide students and course facilitators a better online experience but still want or need to use the existing institutional LMS? Faced with this exact challenge, Paul Hibbitts started to develop a set of components in 2016 for the modern Grav Content Management System to partner with his institution’s LMS (Canvas). Grav leverages forward-looking standards such as Markdown for platform-independent content and enables Git-based (i.e. GitHub, GitLab, GitBook, etc.) collaborative workflows, both which naturally also supports the 5 Rs of Open Educational Resources. In addition, the ability to use GitHub Desktop for mirroring Git-based content to one’s own computer for backup and editing with the tools of your choice not only brings peace of mind but also a highly efficient workflow.


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Open Publishing Space with Git Sync is designed to publish, share and collaboratively edit Markdown-based content using the modern flat-file Grav CMS. I am happy to share the news that a customized version of the new Grav default theme Quark, using the Lightweight, Responsive and Modern CSS Framework Spectre CSS Framework, is now the standard Open Publishing Space theme!

Open Publishing Space Blog List Figure 1. Open Publishing Space Blog List

The original Open Publishing Space theme, a customized version of the Antimatter theme, is still available.


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With an unexpected opportunity to teach SFU CMPT 363 User Interface Design this summer, I’ve been feverishly working in the open on the accompanying Canvas LMS site (leveraging my Grav Open Course Hub project) so that potential students can better self-assess course fit before our first class me...

I recently tweeted a few highlights about the 2.0 release of the Open Course Hub and I thought I would share them here:


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