I’ve not have much time over last days weeks more to do much SPLOT tinkering (well there is one experimental feature in the works). But I got a burst of positive energy this week from the passing of a green Scooby Doo type van labeled Reclaim Roadshow.

Some tweets were spotted about their current online workshop happening Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and I noted there was some SPLOT-age on the agenda. Ears perked up.

This is warming, for to misquote Chico Escuela, “Reclaim Hosting has been berry berry good, to me” in that they have made both SPLOT tools and some Calling Card templates part of their single click installers. And I got an invite in 2018 to be part of a DoOO workshop in Fredericksburg (back when that was a thing).

I DM-ed Lauren Hanks in twitter asking if I could listen in to the SPLOT session and she graciously offered a seat in the studio with her and Jim Groom. Yes, that Jim Groom.

The format of their workshops is very active for online events, you can see it was honed from the way they supported the OERxDomains21 conference. Sessions are mixed pre-recorded intros and live discussions (not slide show talk overs) broadcast via Streamyard, all atop an ongoing conversation space in Discord.

I did not get a chance to listen to their pre-record, but watched it post-game.

As always they are respectful of the SPLOT origin story which is better when told differently. I will make one note that my SPLOTs are not just WordPress, the last one added to the site was actually designed to be GitHub based (or technically just static HTML). The Permutator is meant to produce the same random acronym word shuffle that adorns the splot.ca header- that is no GIF but some jQuery/JSON dancing (see the demo).

But despite how it is read here, it’s not all about the Glory of the SPLOT- the important part of what Reclaim offers in their Domain of One’s Own platform for institutions is the ability to set up premade built out sites, not just WordPress, that can be offered easily to educators creating sites. So it’s also Tiny Tools and templates (think of having portfolio template sites specific for a university/college department’s need.

I got to come on the live segment and probably blabbed a bit much, but hey, they gave me a microphone.

A rather fun highlight was the demo of TRU Collector set up on Jim’s bavaradio site when the demo install went awry- it’s more or less a One Man SPLOT but Groom enthusiasm knows no limits. So Lauren showed how the submission form works, that it’s moderated for approval. The funny part was when Jim shared that content published at Bavaradio (e.g. Lauren’s demo) is automatically syndicated/republished on Jim’s blog (voila, though sans featured image). My mind was spinning about putting things in Jim’s SPLOT that would go to his blog (go ahead Jim, approve that new item submitted).

But that’s just the silly background. The thing I was pleased to see was a number of examples of SPLOTs used by other folks, a few I had not seen before. And that is the real reward. I use them myself for my own projects, but seeing how others have taken them on makes a SPLOT Daddy proud.

I had seen an earlier iteration of Tineke D’Haeseleer’s use of TRU Collector for the Material Culture Of China In A Global Context, it’s a great use of a directory install of that within the domain for the class that ties together nicely. Tons of great DoOO are happening at Muhlenberg College, much with the support of the creative spirit of Tim Clarke.

Plus see how separate SPLOTs tie a whole site together (via WordPress menus) shared by Jim Luke at Lansing Community College (let’s give some big nods to a community college doing Domains of One’s Own). Their Live Together, Learn Together site offers both in Words (TRu Writer) and in Images (TRU Collector) the stories of LCC faculty and students pandemic survival experiences in a public space.

But wait, Lansing Community College is not done! I am just head over heels excited to see the Starscapes collection of student presentations of their media projects, all collected in a SPLOTbox powered site. Also noteworthy is the use of a static page front for the site to explain itself rather than starting with the raw flow of content.

I have known that Middlebury College has put SPLOTs to use, and they took on again one of the more complex ones, the DS106 Assignment Bank theme (and sorry Amy Collier I still need to fix that bug!) to produce the Middlebury Teaching & Learning Knowledge Base “a repository of teaching ideas contributed by Middlebury faculty, for Middlebury faculty”. They’ve also taken on well the task of making the theme look prettier than I made it.

And they have a new hired hand who will do much more creative things than my SPLOT fiddling.

I had suggested to Reclaim that they get SPLOTbox in their mix, and jim mentioned it was something that were considering. As usual I was curious to find new examples, so I put The Google to work using the specific identifying text I put in the theme’s footer. I did come across another SPLOTbox that, as Mom used to say, “blew me away” from University of Washington-Bothell

The Becoming a Learner media collection is for the course BCUSP 100: General Learning Strategies, and it appears that for Spring 0f 2021, students were asked to used media to create/share stories about Time Management. This says much about what their goal was:

Students will create posts for the site in order to illustrate their personal connections to the course content and their ideas around student learning and success.

Students will reflect on their experiences and the experiences of their peers through the site, in order to recognize and discover their challenges and growth in college.

Students will get experience sharing their work in an open learning environment, which encourages sharing and collaboration while breaking down traditional information barriers such as cost or log-ins.

https://uwb.ds.lib.uw.edu/becomingalearner/about/

Seeing what folks design and collect with the SPLOTs is a priceless reward.

The Discord conversation at Reclaim Roadshow did come up with a request I’ve grappled and failed before. How can SPLOTbox display the same way media from Kaltura media servers? I did try a few months or more ago when asked by Robin at KPU.

The challenge is that SPLOTbox makes use of either media from sites WordPress already supports via an automatic embed (where you can paste in the URL for a YouTube page, and WordPress makes it an in page video player) plus a few more I have been able to add by creating custom functions to provide the same feature (Internet Archive, Vocaroo, Adobe Spark, and Loom).

Two things need to be in place for me to add support for a service:

  • There must be a structure in the URL (usually the domain) that can identify by pattern matching which service it is, so SPLOTbox is tossed a URL, and it can test if it is SoundCLoud or Adobe Spark. There is no way to do this from Kaltura media servers. The domains names vary with institution. The only consistent part of a Kaltura URLs is a /media after the domain, and that is not quite unique (someone with real grep chops might do better than me).
  • But that’s the easier condition. The real trick is being able to take that URL and extract from it an iframe embed code. For most services this is easy, it is usually a manner of finding a string in the URL that represents a database ID, the url in the embed code is usually just slightly different. But Kaltura is design to obfuscate media, and I could find no way for this to work without instituion specific codes.

Tom Woodward did share a plugin used at University of Wisconsn-Madison that makes this work via an oEmbed web address, which Kaltura does provide. I had tried doing this for a specific media server, using what I thought was the correct approach with wp_add_ombed_provider but It Just Did Not Work. Now that I am looking at the structure of the UWM plugin, it’s more likely Alan Did Not Enter The URL Pattern Correctly. But also, I get the sense there is something that needs to be enabled on the Kaltura Media server side to make it work.

UPDATE: SAME DAY LATE AT NIGHT! I took another attempt and have a crude test version running that uses the SPLOTbox Extender plugin I updated to allow code to be added to add Kaltura servers (it’s all done in code), with this site now enabled to use media from BC Campus and servers.

Now I think there might be a Kaltura path again. It’s possible, the trick is how can it be made easier to add sources. It also has to make clear that these nes require the oEmbed URL available from the share button on the source.

I was musing another approach though. It is quite possible I imagine to have a SPLOTbox option to list domain patterns to whitelist for iframe code that is allowed. This would open the door to another of other options.

Stay tuned. No matter how shiny the box, it’s never quite done.

Thanks again Reclaim Hosting for giving me a chance to fire up some experimentation again.


Featured Image: Old wood box, metal hasp, handmade, recycled, used case goods, South Seattle, Washington, USA flickr photo by Wonderlane shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license modified by Alan Levine to include a SPLOT logo on the front.

A large wooden box, old style like it was made by hand, with heavy metal braces and a clasp. Superimposed on front is a pattern of a paint blob with the word SPLOT in the middle.
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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

      1. Quite so. When I look at the list of your repos on GitHub, though, a lot of them are for WordPress plugins, which can’t be used without WordPress. So I was wondering if there’s a list of your non-WordPress based splots.

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