This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

EOF/SOF: Building a connectivist conference platform for ALT-C using WordPress (first look)

You may have seen from my colleagues Lorna Campbell (In the meantime…) and Sheila MacNeill (Sideways) that the University of Strathclyde office for Cetis is closing at the end of the month. Things are slightly up in the air right now but we are hopefully the ‘Glasgow based supergroup’ will reform soon. In the meantime we’ve found ‘other projects’ to keep us busy. In my case the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) are looking to utilise some of my ‘production’ talents helping them create their conference site for ALT-C 2013. Given Stephen Downes is keynoting this year it’s rather fitting that we are going down a connectivist inspired route for this. Just as in my earlier work with the ocTEL open course platform we’ll be deploying the lean mean aggregation machine (FeedWordPress) to pull/push delegate activity with some added situational awareness/organisational features. As with ocTEL we’ll be using the WordPress platform as a base sourcing and joining selected plugins to hopefully give delegates a seamless experience. Given the tight deadline I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to share as I go along but at the very least we’ll publish our recipe under an open source license and you can follow some of the commits to the code repo.

To give you a flavour of what is to come below is a list of the main plugins we are using and some early screenshots (skinning is still on the to do).  

Main plugins (so far)

  • Conferencer – for conference programme (inc. tracks, rooms and sessions)
  • BuddyPress – Delegate profiles (inc member search), conference session groups (allows users to follow and discuss sessions)
  • MailPress – daily email push
  • FeedWordPress – to aggregate conference activity from 3rd party networks

Early Screenshots

Programme view
Programme view

Individual session
Individual session

Martin Hawksey is Chief Innovation, Technology and Community Officer for ALT his work is focused on the development of ALT’s member services exploring how connectivist approaches can be used to support the community. This includes the application of data aggregation and dissemination techniques using existing open source platforms such as WordPress.

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