There are often times when you’ll want to add an iframe element to your site. Many services offer cool widgets that come as iframes. Unfortunately iframes are also a bit dangerous, they are like windows into other websites which could be like windows into terrible alternate dimensions! For that reason WordPress is designed not to allow normal users to add iframes. There is, however, a solution. You can use a shortcode to add your iframes. It’s already a function of your site and it’s super easy.
Adding a Calendar to Your Site
A common thing that people want to do is to add google calendars to their sites. If you are reading this tutorial you’ve probably already pasted the iframe link into the text window of the page you wish to add, hit publish, and become frustrated that nothing shows up. It’s not your fault! WordPress strips the offending iframe before it even hits the web. Let’s look at the iframe you want to add, this one is for my ALC calendar:
If you drop this code into the editor it will just vanish, what we are going to do is convert this code into a shortcode. A short code has a format like this:
The shortcode to display iframes is named iframe and it takes all the same attributes as a normal iframe, so making your iframe work is simply a matter of changing < >’s to [ ]’s and removing the closing tag! I’ll highlight the above example with red where you would delete or change, then show you the proper shortcode:
We have a Hangout culture in ALC land. At least once a week I get on a Google Hangout call and talk, coordinate, share, or co-work with my peers. It’s great fun and easy (especially when we’ve set up special hangout links that are always the same, but that’s for another tutorial).
Sometimes, though, we want to capture the activities that go on in our Hangout. Lucky for us YouTube Live has got us covered. I recently did the first Network News Call using YouTube Live and wanted to share a tutorial about how you can too!.
Create Live Event
Login to YouTube as Agile Learning Centers or which ever account you wish to save your video as. (you’ll need to be a manager of the ALC Google+ Account to use the ALC account)
Go to ‘Creator Studio’ https://www.youtube.com/dashboard (You may have to switch or add account)
Go to ‘Live Streaming’ https://www.youtube.com/live_dashboard
Go to ‘Events’ https://www.youtube.com/my_live_events
Click ‘Create New Event’ https://www.youtube.com/my_live_events?action_create_live_event=1
Fill out Basic Info
(Optional) Set up a post for our Google+ page, on the right.
License and rights ownership: Creative Commons
Community contributions: Yes, Allow viewers to contribute translated titles, descriptions, and subtitles/CC
Click Create Event
Capture the URL for the watch page. Link should look like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae_2k6DhXCw
Capture the “Start Hangout On Air” URL
You’ll click the button on the Live Events page, then grab the URL out of the box that pops up.
This link is for controlling the live broadcast
From the control room hangout click ‘Invite People’ on the top center.
Copy the hangout link. This will be shared with participants.
Great! You’re done. Double check that you have the following:
A YouTube live event scheduled for the correct date and time
A URL for the Hangout On Air dashboard (for admin)
A URL for the Hangout On Air Invite link (for participants)
A URL for the YouTube Watch Page (for viewers)
Admin link looks like:
https://hangouts.google.com/hangouts//ytl/JZh5EGnthzDQy2wx5kUi9CVgHzXDo8qS1Qtf6wivo=?eid=101876412708067782160&hl=enUS&authuser=0 Participants link looks like:
https://hangouts.google.com/call/nnn2ycpuvbaefciiv564vt36gae View link looks like:
Send an email to ALF email list (or whatever group you think best). Be sure to have the following info:
Date and time of call with timezone
A brief description of the call
Links to view the call
(optional) Link to participate in the call
(optional) Link to Call’s RSVP card
Post a message in Slack on #announcements
Example: Tech Support Call Tomorrow 9/20 at 8:00 pm ET ! Watch Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae_2k6DhXCw - I still need technical questions to answer! Please post them in #general
(optional) Set an automatic reminder in #announcements when the call goes live.
Command in Slack: /remind #announcements “Tech Support Call happening NOW! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae_2k6DhXCw” at 8pm tuesday
(Optional) Set up Trello
Make sure an RSVP card is set with the date and time of the card.
Create a checklist and add your name to it
Add the call information and links to the card
Reach out to specific people who you want to attend the call
Do the Call
Make sure you, or someone, is on the admin hangout so they can turn the Hangout “on air”
Introduce the call so people watching have some context
Remember that the call is being recored and broadcast live!
After the call is done write up a little recap. You can go through the video and pick out parts to link to them, like it did in my network news recap. To link to specific parts of a YouTube video you can simply add ?t=#m#s to the URL, like so https://youtu.be/zyU0KcA5Tio?t=7m25s (This jumps to minute 7, and 25 seconds)
An easy way to do this is to view the video, click share, and then check the ‘start at’ box.
Over Labor Day weekend, a small group of Agile Learning Facilitators attended the Twin Oaks Communities Conference in central Virginia to host a workshop titled Culture Hacking 101, covering the Agile Learning Center Change Up meetings and the Community Mastery Board. We wanted to share this ALC culture creation practice with people who work hard at creating intentional culture and gather feedback from them to strengthen our own practice.
The workshop went well, and we all had some very interesting and exciting conversations about community, Agile Learning Centers, and education throughout the event. This post intends to share resources related to our workshop and outline what we did.
Change Up Meetings & Community Mastery Board Resources
The focus of our workshop was on the Community Mastery Board (CMB) which is “changed up” during a regular Change Up (we use “∆-up” as a shorthand sometimes) meeting.
Liam suggests using the CMB as a way to stay true to our organization’s guiding principles with the Roots Mastery Board. This is a great example how to “hack” the tool and find new uses for it.
Look at our Starter Kit for information about how ALCs run and how you could start one (or adapt our kit to fit your needs!).
Over 40 people came and attended Culture Hacking 101! We presented outside in a cool temporary dome structure.
We created an outline of the presentation on a kanban board with:
Introductions and tone setting
Played Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cheerleader
This went super well and really got people’s energy up!
Played Allies where people stated what they wanted to get out of or learn in the workshop & added those things to a practice CMB
People seemed to really enjoy this process as well. Rochelle was in another workshop later that weekend that adapted Allies to start off their session too.
What are ALCs?
Rochelle gave an intro to the ALC project & SDE
Plato is wrong
Abe talked about how all tools are just tools, not answers
Rochelle gave an overview of the value of making the implicit explicit & gave a quick overview of kanbans and gameshifting
Drew intro’d the CMB as tool
Liam took us through a change-up meeting
Questions and answers
We took questions and gave answers as we wrapped up the presentation
Feedback for next time
We got a good bit of feedback, some very positive. People said they had fun and are excited to try it out. Other’s helped us with more critical feedback.
One glaring misstep was our use of the world “culture”. Some people said they didn’t know what was meant by culture. In ALC land we talk about culture all the time and mean a very specific definition:
the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.
But culture can also mean:
the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
We could have been more clear when choosing our title!
The next major mistake was making our demo confusing. We tried to take people’s intentions for the presentation and move them through a rapid Change Up meeting. It was confusing, weird, and burned up a lot of time!
Some other feedback from our new friends (and ourselves) includes:
Too many presenters: This was interesting feedback in that it didn’t fully resonate with us as presenters, who felt that the ways in which were able to jump in & contribute to each other’s presentations felt useful & in trust. Her feedback was that allowing us to add to each other’s speaking bits created the impression that none of us knew what we were talking about & didn’t trust each other’s understanding of the content. Regardless of how we felt, this is still useful feedback as to the feel or flow of a workshop with multiple presenters & how we came across to the audience.
Trust: A change-up meeting won’t look the same at home among people who trust each other & know the process as it does here among a group who’s come together for a 2-hour (ish) workshop. Remind people that this process requires trust, and we haven’t talked about ways to build trust among community members (or in the facilitator).
Go directly from Allies into the example Change-Up: We should have addressed the awarenesses generated from Allies right away. Waiting to check in on them made them seem distant, confused the process, and made it more difficult to address one-off questions as opposed to potential group norms (if we use the process of gathering Awarenesses from workshop attendees about the workshop itself at all).
Review what’s on the agenda at the beginning of the workshop: So that people know what to expect re: the flow of the conversation. We got feedback that the board was hard to see (given an audience of 40, this is no surprise!) and that a quick review of the agenda would have helped. This also would have allowed us to give a quick 30 second demo of kanban right away as well.
Create a sticky with a clear outcome by which we could judge the success or “mastery” of attendees (and presenters!) in the workshop: And check in with it a few times throughout the course of the meeting.
Know your audience: And know how to create expectations for them. Some people reallylike tight containers, and expect containers focused on info downloads in shorter time-frame environments (like 2-hour workshops or presentations). Some people may also be a bit hesitant to jump in & start creating with one another. How can we created a sense of shared (yet playful) responsibility to engage in an example Change-Up in a 2-hour time frame?
Rochelle also gave a workshop about Gameshifting during Open Space on Sunday that was attended by about 10-12 people. You can read more about Gameshifting here: http://gameshifting.net!
We would love to hear your questions, feedback, and examples of how you might use these tools in your community, please leave a comment below.
I held the first ever Network News Call September 11th at 11am ET. It was broadcast live using YouTube. This call will covers Network news and information for the ALC community. Check out a recap from the call. This post will go over how to run the Network News Call.
Created an LIVE event through the ALC Network YouTube account
Move cards in Discussed Last Month to Ready to Archive
Move cards in Discussed This Month to Discussed Last Month
Copy INFO & RSVP card and place last weeks in Discussed This Week
Change the dates!
Click the edit button or just click anywhere on the description area
You’ll see links inside parentheses (rounded brackets) for more info about Trello links, click formatting help
Set the Agenda
Reach out to people who might have things to share, have them add to the Trello agenda
Send reminder email with a link to the YouTube page and to the RSVP card
Email Template below.
Announce on Slack in #general “Hey everyone, there is a Network News Call on [date] at 11am, Got something you want to share? Please add it to the Trello board or let me know https://trello.com/b/iGb9qN9o/”
Set a reminder in #announcements for 15 minutes before event with LIVE link and Hangout link.
In Slack you can set a reminder like so:
‘/remind #announcements “Network News is going live in 15 minutes! [youtube link]” at 10:45 [date]‘ Reminder documentation
Do the call!
Make sure you select someone to write notes on the Trello cards, this will make documentation much easier!
Coordinate with people who are going to speak on the call and see if the agenda fits their needs.
You must login to the ALC YouTube account and click the Start Hangout On Air button under the Live Event. From there you will be able to Go Live from the hangout.
Post Call Work
Move all cards to Discussed This Month and arrange them in order
Go through the video and add annotations for links/emails
Captured the time code for each card and added a link as a comment in the Trello card
Write the recap blog post, used Card title, description, youtube timecode link, and notes from trello to generate.
Added a link to the recap post to the YouTube video description.
I use Google Drive to save and share documents. With Google Drive one can upload big files and share them with people. Often times I’ll host files on Google Drive and create links to those files on web pages. If I need to update one of those files I don’t need to worry about running around trying to update all the links because I know a little secret about Google Drive, you can upload revisions!
This allows you to use the same share link but update the file that the link points to. I used this technique on my ALC One Pagers post. In that post I’ve linked to 6 different PDFs and 5 images, all hosted on Google Drive. If I ever need to update any of these files I do it through Drive using manage version and the links in my post will automagically point to the most recent version.
In this post I will go over how to manage versions using Google Drive and I will show you how to create links to picture files so you can display them on your pages.
I’ll assume you’ve already gotten a folder in Google Drive and placed some files in it. Remember you can only manage versions of files like PNG, PDF, JPG not Google docs or spreadsheets (those are managed through the doc).
I want to add a link to one of my PDF files.
Change the sharing settings on the file so that “Anyone with the link can view“
Then I just make it into a link on my post and now if anyone clicks that link they will go to the above URL and get the PDF!
Great, but now someone downloads the PDF and tells me there is a typo! Rather than upload the fixed version, delete the old one, then update the link I can just upload a new version.
Let’s go back to our Google Drive folder, find the file you want to update and right click:
In the pop up menu find Manage versions… and click that.
Click Upload new version and select the updated file.
This will update the file and now when the link on this post is clicked the new version will be downloaded!
Do the same with images
In my ALC One Pagers Post I also have images of each of the PDFs. I want to use the images directly from Google Drive so that if I need to update them then they will update across all references to them.
First we need to build the link, this is a little bit technical, but you’ll be able to do it!
Make sure the images are in their own folder and that the folder is shared publically.
Here’s the pattern that we are going to use to create our image’s URL:
The folderID is the long string of characters that represents your folder. Navigate to your image’s folder and grab the folderID from the URL.
Do you have a bad habit you wish you could get rid of? Do you have a practice you wish you could incorporate into your life? Making or breaking habits is a very common desire. Maybe you want to stop drinking soda or start meditating everyday. This takes willpower and I often hear people say “I don’t have the willpower to do _______”, this is a lie. Willpower is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you exercise it.
I want to share with you a tool that will exercise your willpower.
What I’m about to share is adapted from a reddit.com comment I came across over a year ago. Which has spawned quite a big following of people who have taken control of their lives and step into their power.
Follow these steps:
Grab the following: index cards, a pencil, a red marker (color optional)
With a pencil, draw 6 vertical lines intersecting 6 horizontal lines. This will create a 7×7 grid of 49 squares.
Now, sit down and think about a daily habit you would like to imprint on yourself (meditate each day for 9min, exercise 7min, no sugar, etc.) Do not make it too hard! It’s better to succeed at a small thing than fail at a big thing.
On the back of a card write why you are creating/breaking this habit. I’ll quote OP (original post) here: Obviously, if you succeed, the resulting change in your life is going to be sweet. I mean, the reward if you do this, is seriously a big reward. It’s not a game. This a non-so-small step on the road to improving your life. You know it. This is important. You will need it. There are times you will need to turn that card over and read it, and remember. You really have to find the truth why you are doing this, and boil it down into something short and true.
Now start! These 49 squares represent 7 weeks, each day that you do/don’t do the habit you take that red marker and you put a big fat X through that square.
You can make several cards, label each one for the habit it’s making/breaking. Don’t over do it! Just like working out a muscle your willpower muscle will want to start small and build up.
After a week you’ll have 7 nice big X‘s across your card. Take a picture and show it off, put it in the comments here, post it on a social network, or post it to the reddit community I link to at the bottom.
After 7 weeks you’ll have 49 days done! The last day, day 50, this is when you have won. You’ll have done it! Not only will you have a new habit but you will have physical proof that you did it. Develop a ritual around the completed card. Burn it, frame it, or mail it to your grandma!
Now you will keep going, make a new card, either continue the habit or if you feel like you’ve got that one covered find a new thing you want to do!
Each card is a physical representation of your success, which is the real gift.
What if I miss a day?
Then you’ll have an ugly white hole in the card, BUT the very next day you will have an X. If you miss a day turn the card over and write your excuse, often it wont be very good and you’ll be able to reflect on it and not make the same mistake.
What’s important is that you take this seriously. If you don’t hold the card with reverence then there is no point. You have to want to fill the card out. Remember, you don’t have to do that hardest thing first you can build up to this. You are making small successes into bigger ones.
ALF Weekend Fall 2015 is over, the work has been done, and now it is time to write some blog posts. I am doing a post in two parts focusing on the outcomes and the organization of the weekend. This post will cover how the weekend was organized, what work and what could have been better.
Planning the Weekend
In the weeks leading up to the ALF Weekend @rochellehudson was attempting to organize space to host ALFs for the weekend. Ten days prior to the start of ALF Weekend @abbyo set up a Trello Board to being capturing project ideas that were being discussed on a Monday Call. Six days before the opening of ALF Weekend I began organizing in ernest by setting up a structure and schedule.
Step 1: Organizing Retreats
The first ALF Weekend in Fall 2014 took place at in upstate NY where most of our network met in person (read @nancy’s account on her blog). For me it was a powerful community building time, it was the first time that I hung out with my fellow ALFs outside of the intense ALF Summer. It was much more focused on looking in, strengthening our bonds and developing our network.
Take Away: In person events are the best way to experience an ALF weekend, if possible.
The Fall 2015 ALF Weekend wasn’t able to coordinate around a shared physical space. In our reflections there was agreement that save a large network gathering the next best thing is to have regional gatherings. If possible try to organize local space to co-work and collaborate for—at least—some of the ALF Weekend Days.
Take a look at @rochellehudson’s form for gathering information on interest around a retreat, on this Google Form (note: all ALC Network sites have access to the Gravity Forms plugin for creating forms directly on your sites!). Her form asked for the following:
Name (important and easy to forget this!)
Do you plan to participate in our Fall 2015 ALF Weekend? (with dates)
Are you able and willing to travel to [location], for this weekend?
If you can’t travel to [location], do you still plan to work on network projects virtually that weekend?
How much would you be willing to pay, per night, for an in-person retreat?
Other than the cost of lodging, how much $ could you put toward food & other expenses we could share?
Checklist: Try and gather this information from the network early! Get an idea of the cost, location, and logistics needs.
Step 2: Capture Project Ideas
There is always lots to do around the network and in local communities. Start to visualize this early! Abby took the initiative to create a Trello Board with two main lists, one for network projects and another for local projects. After hearing people say “we should do that at ALF Weekend” she created a space to hold those intentions.
Checklist: Create a container to hold ALF Weekend intentions.
Create a Trello Board with the following lists:
Then begin adding (and asking people to add) intentions as cards. Use labels to denote Network and Local ideas for work. I will go into more detail on how to organize a Trello Board later.
Step 3: Create an Overview & Infastructure
With less than a week before the start of ALF Weekend I didn’t see much more movement (aside from Rochelle and Abby) to schedule the time and projects. So I just took a stab at it, admittedly I could have reached out for support, but really I should have started the process much earlier.
Take Away: Start organizing a framework for the weekend early so there can be more feedback and buy-in from the community.
I wrote up the ALF Weekend Fall 2015 organizing document mostly for myself, to organize my thoughts, and also as something to share. As is typical with me, it was probably a little over kill and I don’t know if many people really took the time to read through the whole thing. If I were to do it over again I would have:
Added a section about how the Trello board worked.
Simplified the schedule and put it at the top.
Started the document earlier to gather more information about projects
Checklist: Create an overview of ALF weekend. Include the following:
Introduction, if people will be taking on roles, make them explicit, share important links at the top.
Create clear expectations, one of the major take aways from this weekend was the need to make explicit that if you say you are going to be somewhere then you will be expected to be there. This can be supported by a clear schedule which I’ll go over later.
Schedule overview, outline the structure of each day. If all the days will share the same structure then simplify it.
Introduce projects, give people an idea of some projects that will be worked on.
Link to project’s Trello card on the ALF weekend board (or what ever system you decide to use)
Description of project
Supporting links (Trello cards, conversation threads, blog posts, documents, etc.)
Checklist: Set up communication infrastructure.
Because this was a mostly online event I figured that we might need extra space to meet virtually. We have a dedicated Google Hangout video conference room for meetings, but if people were working on projects at the same time that would get problematic. I was also worried that if people set up their own hangouts there would be confusion over who was where doing what!
To alleviate this I created two more hangout rooms by going to my personal gmail account, navigating to hangouts.google.com and creating an empty call. I than made the call open to the public, grabbed the link, and used the Redirection plugin (available on all network sites under Tools > Redirection) to create custom links. The result:
Main Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout
Red Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout-red
Blue Room: http://agilelearningcenters.org/hangout-blue
These links should still work far into the future, so no need to set up more unless you want to!
Checklist: Set up the Trello
I expanded Abby’s Trello Board to include lists for each session so people could move cards into specific time slots. I also added labels to give cards a visual color marking to indicate information about them.
READ US FIRST: a list of cards with basic information about the board and ALF Weekend
Unscheduled Topics: list of cards that haven’t been scheduled. Cards that didn’t get worked on got moved back to this list.
Don’t know what to do? Do this!: This list was added mid-weekend to hold cards that could be worked on without much prompting.
Happening NOW! This list held cards that were currently being worked on from the sessions.
Session Lists: These lists were for each session (as pictured above) when a session ended cards were moved off and the session list was archived.
Pend until… This list holds cards that need additional work at a later date.
Done! And ready to be blogged about This list is for finished cards/projects!
At the top of each session list I added a card called RSVP with the session time and date. I requested that people add their names to a checklist on each card to indicate when they were coming. This might have been too overly complex… people took to adding cards into sessions saying that they weren’t going to be there or were going to be late, so you might want to pave those cow paths when you do this.
Labels! I used labels to indicate network projects from local projects as well as to indicate facilitation information cards (like the RSVP cards) and also to indicate which hangout room a card’s discussion was held in (main, red, blue):
Again, this was all a little bit over designed. I’m sure it could be remixed to be more lean.
Step 4: Create a Schedule Framework
For this ALF Summer I created a schedule with two 4 hour blocks each day. These “sessions” had a mini SCRUM (or a time in which individuals come together to schedule individual appointments and projects with each other) at the beginning, a “break” in the middle where people were asked to come back together to check-in, and a closing reflection period (all times are Eastern):
9am – Morning work session – Starts with 15 minute SCRUM in Main room 11am – Break – Check-in in the Main room 1pm – End Morning Session – Reflect, document results, check-out in Main room
3pm – Afternoon work Session – Starts with 15 minute SCRUM in Main room 5pm – Break – Check-in in the Main room 7pm – End Afternoon Session – Reflect, document results, check-out in Main room
A note on timing, I chose the start and end times to account for the wide variety of time zones ALFs are coming from. The Afternoon session starts at noon on the west coast and 10am in Hawaii, take this into account when planning your ALF Weekend to be inclusive!
A note on breaks, the idea behind having a mid-session break was 1) to make space for people to take care of themselves, stand up, move around, etc. 2) to make space for people who were late to integrate into the session. The idea was to have people check back into the main hangout before leaving to take care of themselves.
Overall there was a positive response to this configuration and in the first few days there was a lot of participation. However it dropped off as the weekend went on (well, we started Thursday, so by the time the weekend actually came…). The feedback I got was that people burnt out showing up to session SCRUMs to find that the people they wanted to work with weren’t there. Though, I think more shorter sessions might also work, you should mix it up!
Take Away: Have a Set-the-Weekend meeting to establish clear expectations of participation and planning when projects will be worked on.
I did hold a Set-the-Weekend meeting on Thursday night (after the first day’s sessions) but it was announced on very short notice. I did, however, like the format:
Next time: Have everyone commit to sessions they will attend first! Document who will be at what sessions and hold each other accountable.
SCRUM! Start moving projects into session slots, set specific times if need-be.
Long form Check-ins, we saved our check-ins for the end of the meeting to give everyone more time to talk. Each of us went around and discussed what we were doing in the network and/or our local community. We used this time to bond and share our successes with people we maybe haven’t seen in a while. Remember: ALF Weekend is also about community building!
Checklist: Schedule a Set-the-Weekend meeting well in advance! This is probably the most important meeting of the whole weekend, especially if it is virtual!
Step 5: Hold Coherence
I felt a high degree of ownership over the weekend so I held much of the coherence around being at meetings, facilitating, and sharing information. I wish I had had more time to collaborate and share some of the responsibility with others. Here’s a list of tasks that need doing throughout the weekend:
Facilitating session SCRUMs. Making sure trello cards get moved and that people are aware of what is going on.
Facilitating session breaks. Make sure late comers are brought up to speed on what’s going on.
Facilitating session reflections. Make sure work is documented and cards get moved.
Send end-of-day recap. I sent out an email at the end of each day that went over everything that had been worked on, this helps keep people too busy in the loop.
Checklist: Assign people these roles.
Step 6: Document the Result
I see this blog post and the one that will follow it as key to this (or any) event. I want other ALFs to feel empowered to take on this kind of responsibility which is why I try and make explicit what and how I do things.
If you are reading this with the intention to organize an ALF weekend or similar event I hope you find this useful and I also hope that you remix this!
I wanted to write up a quick post about posting to this website. Sometimes we, as facilitators, help our students publish their blogs. Maybe they write them in a text document and ask us to perform the technical task of publishing them or perhaps we type as they dictate. However it happens here is a quick tip to make sure the student, not the facilitator, gets the author credit.
When you make a new blog post it will be attributed to who ever is currently logged in. As I write this post it has already been set to display me as an author, but we can change this! Let’s say that I’m logged in as myself (Drew) and I want to change the author of the post to the student I’m writing it for.
Setting the Author While Writing
Once you’ve written the post (even after you’ve published it, but best to do this first) you’ll want to scroll to the bottom of the main text input area and find a box titled Author. If you don’t see it, you’ll need to turn it on:
At the top right of the edit post screen (or any backend screen for that matter) you’ll see a tab called Screen Options. Click that and it will drop down.
Each of these items under show on screen is a “meta box” that can be toggled on or off. Make sure the check box next to Author is checked. Now move down the page and find the Author meta box:
Simple change the drop down box to the proper person! Then update/publish the page.
Changing past posts
You can use the above method for changing the author of any post, but there is an easier way. First navigate to All Posts by clicking Posts in the blogs dashboard, be sure you are in the correct blog when doing this!
You will see a list of all posts with the author along side. If you need to change a single post just hover over the post title, a few more options will appear under it, you’ll want to select Quick Edit.
Click that to expose the quick edit menu.
Here you will have the same Author drop down menu, just change the author and click Update.
You can also click the check boxes on each post who’s author you wish to change and click on the Bulk Actions drop down and select Edit. This will give you a similar option box as pictured above but when you update it it will change all selected posts in bulk.
Why Should You Care?
When a post shows up on the activity feed it comes along with an author’s name, the post title, and the blog name. This can cause some confusion if you don’t know the student’s blog name, it might look like you are suffering from some split personality issues and having radically different reflections on the same week.
It also makes searching for a student’s blog post more difficult because if one searches for an author’s name it wont pull up the posts you’ve written.
This post will cover how to write a post that covers how to do something (so meta!). One of the Agile Roots is to create sharable value so that you, and others, can visualize your learning. I like to model this root by creating tutorials that cover doing things. The wonderful thing about writing these kinds of posts is that I can stay DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) by pointing people with questions to the answers I’ve already documented.
Let’s talk about some rules and philosophy behind a good tutorial.
Don’t be esoteric!
We want to write something that will answer questions, not create new ones. Use simple language and spell out what you are trying to say. Keep it simple! Even the use of the world esoteric (which means highly technical speak) here might be a bit much. Pretend that the person reading your post is not a native speaker and has no background in the topic you are discussion. Of course sometimes your target audience might be people who understand esoteric language, in that case go for it.
A picture is worth 1000 words, sometimes
Personally I can’t follow tutorials that don’t have pictures, other people need each step spelled out. It’s wise to use both written and visual media to explain yourself.
Link, link, link
I try to always link to documentation of ideas and technology that support my tutorial but are outside of it’s scope. For instance I was writing about Trello (a web application with cards you can write notes on) and how they use Markdown syntax. I don’t want to go off on a tangent about what Markdown is so I would link to the documentation already provided by Trello.com. If you use a word or introduce a concept that people might not be familiar with, add a link to it’s Wikipeadia page.
Limit the scope
Keep your tutorial on topic and focused on a single issue. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and start explaining a bunch of stuff that is related to the thing you are talking about. Use your best judgment to determine if what you are talking about is adding or distracting from your main topic.
Let’s Make a Tutorial
Start off with an introductory paragraph. I like to relate the tutorial with a real life story or some personal anecdotes like I did at the top of this page. Don’t make it too long though, people are here to learn about a specific thing and probably don’t want to wade through more than a few sentences.
Create an Outline
Your outline should go over the broad steps involved, think of this as a quick reference that leads into more detailed steps:
Provide an outline
List needed materials
Collect screenshots/pictures of a “example run”
Edit screenshots with text, arrows, and removal of sensitive data
Create post with a descriptive title
Write the body content, make use of headings
Write a conclusion, ask for feedback
Before you get into the meat of the tutorial make sure you list the supplies someone will need. These will obviously be wildly different depending on the tutorial. Here are some ideas:
A camera to document the process, perhaps keep a sticky note near the project space that says “take pictures!” to remind you to photograph each step
A note pad to record each supply use use
A voice recorder or video camera
A place to record the tutorial, like a blog.
Screenshots & Pictures
I typically go through the steps of the tutorial I’m writing before I write the tutorial so that I can collect screenshots. If you are doing something in the “real world” make sure you have a camera ready and are taking shots. Really think about details that people will need to know when doing the thing themselves. Be aware of knowledge that you take for granted.
For instance I often will say something like “click the menu button” and forget that the menu button is small and out-of-the-way. A newbie might have a hard time finding that. A better way to say that would be “click the menu button in the top right corner of the page” and better yet, add a picture:
If you are writing a tutorial about something that happens on a screen you’ll probably want to capture the action on your screen.
I will be going over some techniques for taking screenshots on a Mac, if you have Windows or Linux or a tablet, please refer to take-a-screenshot.org
I prefer to use Mac’s partial screenshot function so that I can take a picture of only the important section of the screen (Tip: don’t crop too tightly or you might lose context for the screenshot) This is achieved using Cmd⌘ + 4 which then provides you with a little crosshair. Click, hold, and drag the crosshair to form a box, once you release the mouse button the screenshot will appear on your desktop.
Adding symbols and text to picture
Sometimes you’ll want to direct attention to a specific spot on your picture, symbols (like the arrow) are great for this! Again, I’m only going to show you on Mac, you windows folks will have to use MS Paint or something (sorry).
On Mac OSX: Once you take the screenshot open it in preview.
Expand the edit panel:
Then use the line tool:
You can adjust the line tool settings on the right , by setting the arrow head on the left the arrow head will appear where you start your line which I find gives me more control.
Remember: Be aware of what you are taking pictures of, you don’t want to inadvertently share a secret password or email address in your public tutorial!
Now save the picture and you’re ready to post it!
Create the post
Coming up with a good title is very important, you’ll want to the title to reflect what you are going to be talking about. This is how people will search and find your awesome tutorial so take some time to think about it!
Remember, also, that the title and first 150(ish) characters will appear on search results and social media posts, so make it count!
As you can see from this post I’ve made use of headings to break up the content. Typically each heading has a size (or level). For instance “Lets make a tutorial” is heading 1, then then main points are Heading 2 (e.g. “Create the post”) while sub headings like the one directly above are Heading 3.
This is simply good practice for formatting posts. You can imagine this post (up to this point) has a nested outline like so:
How to Make a Good Tutorial (title h1)
Don’t be esoteric! (h2)
A picture is worth 1000 words, sometimes (h2)
Link, link, link (h2)
Limit the scope (h2)
Let’s Make a Tutorial (h1)
Create an Outline (h2)
Material list (h2)
Screenshots & Pictures (h2)
Taking Screenshots (h3)
Adding symbols and text to picture (h3)
Create the post (h2)
Using headings (h3)
See how clear this outline is? Doing things this way isn’t necessary but it does create a data structure that eventually will come in handy when humanity (possibly) moves to the Semantic Web in the future.
Now we are done with the tutorial. I typically like to write up a short conclusion about the great things we’ve learned, like how to take screenshots and edit them and how to use headings and break up your tutorial.
Have any questions? Or comments? Leave them below!
Gravity Forms is a wonderful plugin available to our network that allows site admin to create powerful forms that users can fill out. Part of the beauty of these forms is the powerful notification system. When a form is filled out you can have the input emailed to multiple email addresses.
I recently found out that Trello, a web application that acts like a Kanban, has the ability to create cards via email. This tutorial will go over how to configure Gravity Form notifications to automagically add cards to your board when someone fills out your form.
You’ll need an account on Trello.com and an ALC website with the Gravity Forms plugin activated (Go to Dashboard > Plugins to activate)
Create or select a Trello Board
Grab your secret email address
Create a new notification for a Gravity Form form
Add the secret Trello email as the send to email
Add merge tag values to the subject and message fields
Get the Trello email
Once you’ve created your Trello board navigate there:
Click the show menu button on the top right.
Click the More menu item.
Click the Email-to-board Settings.
Copy the email address they give you. It’s important to note that if anyone gains access to this address they can send cards to your board, so don’t share it! Then set the list and position the card will appear in when it’s emailed to Trello.
You are now done with the Trello side of things, let’s navigate over to our ALC website (or any WordPress site with Gravity Forms)
From your Dashboad find the Forms menu item, click it and select the form you wish to send notifications from, I’ve selected a contact form. Now go to Form Settings > Notifications to see a list of the notification that are attached to that particular form. Click Add New to start building out the trello card notification.
Paste in the Trello email address from earlier into the Send to Email field. If you don’t see this field make sure the Send To radio button (round white dot) next to Enter Email is selected.
Now for the fun part, we need to configure how the data from the form will show up in the Trello card. You can use the following links for reference:
Gravity Forms Merge Tags – Merge tags allow you to put place holder text that represents data from the form as well as other variables such as submission date.
You can select merge tags using the marked buttons in the above picture. Anything you put in the Message area shows up in the description of the card while the text in the Subject area is placed in the title of the Trello card. I suggest playing with the Markdown syntax in a test card then transferring it to the Gravity Form notification and adding merge tags like you see above.
Once you are done setting it up hit save, test the form and allow about 15 minutes for the card to show up on Trello. After that you’re done!
If you want to take this to the next level you can use different user accounts to create different email address that can then be sent to based on conditional settings on the Gravity Forms. Let me know how this works for you in the comments!