Exploring and Building Open [Source] Software for Tech-savvy Educators and OER Publishers


It’s a cliche (for a good reason), but I it’s hard to believe the summer is almost over and the fall teaching term is about to begin.

Over the summer I continued working on all of my Grav open education and publishing projects. A highlight was the brand new Grav skeleton package Open Presentation Hub to help create, publish, and share Markdown-based slides with the Presentation Plugin by Ole Vik, which uses the Reveal.js Framework.

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Based on discussions with two educators (thanks Colin and Brian), the ability for multiple courses to be included within a single Grav Open Course Hub is now supported!

Multiple courses within a single Grav install
Figure 1 - Multiple courses within a single Grav install.

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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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It’s a launch: here is the (mostly open) learning ecosystem I’ve assembled for this Fall’s Simon Fraser University CMPT-363 User Interface Design course.

Learning Ecosystem for CMPT-363 @ SFU 2017
Figure 1. Learning Ecosystem for CMPT-363 @ SFU 2017.

It was created to support the pedagogical goals for the course while also delivering...

I recently tweeted the key problems Grav Open Course Hub was created to solve for tech-savvy educators, and I thought I would share them here:

  1. Pedagogical goals are unmet by the current Learning Platform (e.g. LMS or CMS) alone
  2. Student and facilitator experiences, especially multi-device,...

The Grav Course Hub project was created for individual tech-savvy instructors who want an open and collaborative course space in their full control.

Flipped LMS Approach Using Grav Course Hub with Git Sync
Figure 1. Flipped LMS approach using Grav Course Hub with Git Sync.

Diagram of Grav Course Hub with Git Sync supported collaboration and workflows
Figure 1. Grav Course Hub with Git Sync supported collaboration and workflows.

Grav Course Hub with Git Sync Visualization
Figure 1. Grav Course Hub with Git Sync workflow visualization.