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1. Hi #PressEdConf19 my name is Mark Smithers and I am a Senior Coordinator of Digital Learning Design at RMIT University. For the last 3 years I have worked on developing and implementing ideas of digital habitats for learners using WordPress as a platform for collaboration.
2. The work that I’m involved in is aimed at the Program level, discipline level or School (department) level. The VLE/LMS normally involves itself at the Course level. There is often nothing at the higher levels. This is a gap in the learner exp that needs filling #PressEdConf19
3. By creating WP digital spaces at high level we can address a number of issues. A. we can create a ongoing community of practice that students belong to. Wenger, White and Smith describe this as a digital habitat. #PressEdConf19
4. B. This addresses the issue of the development of PLNs over time that doesn’t work well in most LMSs. An issue that Wiley and Mott identified. #PressEdConf19
5. Other theoretical underpinnings include the work of Jarche of networked learning and Blashke’s work on the pedagogy-andragogy-heutagogy continuum. #PressEdConf19
6. C. A WP digital space allows you to, relatively easily, create a cross boundary, protected collaborative space that allows institution same sign on for current staff and students along with WP sign on for alumni and external partners #PressEdConf19
7. Examples. The first site that we created was for the Creative Practice Research program at RMIT practice-research.com This site is 90% open and 10% protected content. It was built based on many of the ideas of Wenger, White and Smith. #PressEdConf19
8. We then built the Art School Portal artschoolportal.com This again is 90% open content. It is part of a strategy to encourage maker based pedagogy heutagogical approach to learning and is particularly encouraged at Masters level. #PressEdConf19
9. The latest site we are working on is ourschool.education for the School of Ed at RMIT. This space emphasises cross boundary collaboration. It is 10% open and 90% protected space for users in four distinct learner groups; students, staff, alumni and partners. #PressEdConf19
10. We are working on mainstreaming a solution that allows Programs to develop digital spaces that mix open and protected content and collaboration. This is intended to enhance a sense of belonging and identity and build a long lasting community #PressEdConf19
11. How do we do this? We use a standard WP install. The School of Ed site is a WP Multisite. RMIT uses both Google and Microsoft so we use the WP Social Login plugin to allow same sign on for staff and students. Regular WP accounts work for alumni and partners. #PressEdConf19
12. We then use a membership plugin and roles management to control access to content and abilities to create and view content to different user groups. We have used BuddyPress but than can be over complex to start with #PressEdConf19.
12. We then use a membership plugin and roles management to control access to content and abilities to create and view content to different user groups. We have used BuddyPress but than can be over complex to start with #PressEdConf19.
13. The nature of these types of sites is that their focus varies as they develop. For the CP site it started around their library of videos and developed into a community space. If you are thinking of building a space like this be prepared for a winding journey. #PressEdConf19
14. Future developments revolve around simplification of the UI and UX and performance improvements. We use a lot of plugins and, being focused on creative practices, often a lot of digital media #PressEdConf19
15. We have found that these spaces fill a key need in the University that is not easily filled by off the shelf solutions. WordPress is highly adaptable and is a good technical solution for this case. Thank you. #PressEdConf19
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