So I installed the IndieWeb plugin and it authenticates me on Indielogin – I only had to enter my domain name learningwithmoocs.com. Also other members of the IndieWeb-universe were able to comment on this site just by commenting on their own site.

So far so good, but it’s still useful to consult the Getting Started on WordPress on indieweb.org. They suggest a handy testing tool, indiewebify.me.

Several things were not functioning as they should. The explanation is not always easy to follow for a beginner, for instance: “A h-card was found on your site, but it’s not marked up as the representative h-card! Add a u-url property which matches a rel=me link on the same page so this h-card can be identified as the h-card which represents the page.” Rather than complaining, I studied the tutorial.

  • I learned about microformats, which are semantic classes added to HTML tags. There are currently not many WordPress themes which properly implement microformats, the tutorial recommends starting out using either Sempress or Independent Publisher – I use Sempress for now.
  • rel-me links to my other profiles on the web seem to be important. This will enable web-sign-in and IndieAuth using my domain as my identity. The Indieweb plugin adds several common social media site fields to my “Edit User” page in the admin panel. I also have to log into those services and include the URL of my site in the appropriate website fields of my profile so that they point back to my website in return.
  • Now the dreaded h-card, which is like a business card. The tutorial explains in simple terms what I have to do.
  • “Post on your own site, syndicate elsewhere” is a cornerstone of the IndieWeb community, so it is being explained. The quickest and easiest of them is to enable WordPress’s JetPack plugin. However, I prefer to do this manually. I don’t have a huge production and I like to post mindfully on the silos.
  • Webmentions are very cool: “In IndieWeb, we use an open protocol called webmention, which is a W3C recommendation, to allow independently operated sites to interact with each other just the way @mentions do on Twitter and other services.” It’s part of the plugin-bundle.
  • Backfeed. In addition to sending one’s content to silos, ideally one would also like to accept comments, replies, likes, and other replies to these copies back on one’s own site. This is known in the IndieWeb community as backfeed and it is handled by the plugin Bridgy (part of the bundle). There is a separate tutorial for this. Also Bridgy allows for publishing on social media, I decide to allow it for my Mixed_Realities account on Twitter.

I created this site on Reclaim Hosting, the hosting service for ‘educators and institutions’ (and, I guess, for learners in general) co-founded by Jim Groom. Jim previously gave the world the word Edupunk and he facilitated the digital storytelling course ds106.
Learning with Moocs is all about connected learning and more specifically about a number of more technical experiments.

IndieWeb

For now these experiments are being suggested in the course E-Learning 3.0 (#el30, facilitated by Stephen Downes). The course is about learning in a decentralized environment, where learners work on their own projects and own their own data. I posted about this course on my other blog, MixedRealities. In that context I got interested by the “IndieWeb”, that should be a people-focused alternative for the ‘corporate web’. My new site uses the IndieWeb plugin(s) for WordPress.

This bundle of plugins helps to send and receive comments, likes, reposts, and other kinds of post responses using your own site. I’m not sure whether these plugins play nicely with my older MixedRealities site and I’ve no idea about the security aspects, so these and other experiments will be done primarily on this new blog, Learning with Moocs.

OPML

Not visible here is a smaller intervention I did using my site aggregator Feedly. Stephen Downes suggested to use the course OPML-feed to subscribe to the course feeds. I use Feedly a lot, as it helps me to keep track of many sites in a very efficient way. It’s a pity that aggregators never got mainstream adoption. I guess it’s just too hard and too time-consuming for the average web user to get involved with these tools (same applies for social bookmark sites).

As you can see in Downes’ instructional video, finding the OPML-import button in Feedly was not totally self-evident. Stuff like that makes it obvious why adoption of these technology is limited to a niche audience of information professionals and geeks. Anyway, OPML is a useful thing.

gRSShopper

I’ll use Learning with Moocs also for installing Downes’ gRSShopper, “a personal web environment that combines resource aggregation, a personal dataspace, and personal publishing.” I’ll report more extensively about that experiment, as soon as I manage implementing it.

PS – If you have a look at the comments section, you’ll see some IndieWeb-magic taking place there, with me talking on my own site to Matthias who talks on his own site.