More tinkering goes on with the ds106 Assignment Bank as a wordpress theme (watch it change as often as flickr at http://bank.ds106.us), thanks to the work being done by Karen and Brad on a new version for the Making Connected Learning MOOC.
Again fresh eyes and ideas are helping me see (sometimes) past the way we built it for ds106. One area we have danced around is the use of the WP-PostRatings Plugin. Typically this is used to allow people to register votes for blog posts, and has flexibility to have simple up/down voting, or 5 star and many more.
The way we have used it for DS106 has been a crowd sourced difficulty vote (1 star is easy, 5 is hard), so anyone visiting an assignment can click on a star value to register a vote. What Brad and Karen saw was a value in having this plugin used for a popularity rating, but allow for people creating a new “thing” to give it a one time fixed 1-5 difficulty rating that never changes.
I tried to explain that with the options for WP-PostRatings Plugin you could make it do either, but not both. They wanted both, and have somewhat forked the code to make it work (it’s not too much work, and if someone says it is worth doing, I can easily weave it into the site).
The plugin offers a lot of customization– you can choose the type of images used, and create any maximum scale, we use 1-5, but it could be 1-10, or 1-2:
Once the scale is set, you can also edit the labels for each step on the scale and the point value:
And you can define who gets to vote, just people with accounts on the site, or visitors, or both (the latter is what we use at ds106, it means any one who looks at an assignment can register a vote for difficulty).
So if you wanted to make something that only the original uploader (or someone with an admin account on the site) can set, use the registered users only option for Who Is Allowed To Rate?.
But what I did realize is that I had hard backed in the 1-5 point scale and a meaning for it into the form where you create a new “thing”. So in this process of thunking about the differences of ratings and difficulty settings, I modified the form so it uses the same levels and labels that are set in the PostRatings plugin options:
The other place you can add some customization is on the templates used to display the ratings summary
On the DS106 Assignment Bank we stripped the template down to just showing the stars (because of the layout design), but on the new demo site, we are using the full display capability. Here it helps to change the text a bit so it does not sound like votes of popularity, but public rating for difficulty, and also that it shoes if you have rated it before (it does this based on IP address, not perfect but what really is?)
And when you hover over a vote option (here I am on “3”), it shows the label below the stars
I still see a good reason to go with the approach Brad and Karen are doing, and I can be nudged easy to bake it into the code.
If you are trying to use this theme, you will see many updates happening on the github source site, and I will likely continue tinkering this month, and maybe well into 2024.
Vote? Rate? Difficulty? What are your thoughts?