Blog

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

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

Throwing caution to the wind I’ve decided to submit two proposals for the Cascadia Open Education Summit in Vancouver, B.C. on April 17 and 18, with both involving the use of Markdown, Git and the file-based Grav CMS for creating and delivering open educational resources (OER).

UPDATE: While these proposals were not accepted this year I would be more than happy to meet with any interested educators about the above topics while they are in Vancouver April 17th and 18th.

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It’s been a pretty busy year for my Grav-based open education projects - here are the highlights:

  • Three new example demo sites for Open Course Hub (basic, intermediate and advanced)
  • Initial support for displaying H5P content in Open Course Hub and Open Publishing Space
  • New default theme for Open Publishing Space - Quark Open Publishing theme
  • Bootstrap4 Open Matter theme (now the default theme for Open Course Hub)
  • Bootswatch theme styles in Bootstrap4 Open Matter theme
  • Shortcodes (PDF, H5P, Twitter and others) added to Bootstrap4 Open Matter and Quark Open Publishing themes
  • New ‘section’ and ‘subsection’ page templates for better support content-heavy pages in Bootstrap4 Open Matter and Quark Open Publishing themes
  • Git Sync Plugin 2.0 (skillfully developed by Trilby Media) support and integration
  • Improved accessibility in Bootstrap4 Open Matter theme and inclusion of an Accessibility Checker in the Open Course Hub skeleton packages
  • Additional theme styles in the Learn2 with Git Sync theme (thanks Ole!)
  • Initial preparations for the planned release of Grav 2.0 (which includes Twig 2.0 compatibility)
  • Improved support for multiple blogs in Open Course Hub and Quark Open Publishing
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The Grav CMS Open Course Hub project is now significantly more accessible than ever! Not only has the overall accessibility been improved, but the Grava11y Plugin (courtesy of absalomedia) is now pre-installed to help others make their own sites more accessible tooπŸŽ‰

Grava11y Plugin Popup (lower-left)
Figure 1 - Grava11y Plugin Popup (lower-left)

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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.

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...

A brief video demonstrating how locally hosted H5P content can be used with the Grav Open Course Hub (once you have set the source URL of the H5P content):