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A technician's notes about open education, open source, open data, the OERu, and WikiEducator.

Quiz Cloze

The Widget:Quiz Cloze (and therefor the Template:Quiz Cloze that is normally used to wrap it) now displays the intended word beneath any incorrect responses. At present it always behaves this way, but it could be made optional if authors prefer. --Jim Tittsler (talk) 04:31, 19 February 2016 (UTC)


Widget:Display Table uses AJAX to include a copy of a designated table from another page in the wiki. The author has the option to filter the rendering so that only some columns and/or some rows are displayed. --Jim Tittsler (talk) 02:41, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

OERf is Growing!

It is exciting to announce that Dave Lane is joining the OER Foundation tech team. Dave, who lives in Christchurch, has a background of using Open Source software to help organizations achieve their goals. A handful of OERu partner institutions have teamed together to fund a position to address some of the OERu's technical requirements. Great to see the partners pull together in this new way. --Jim Tittsler (talk) 02:41, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

WikiEducator Goes Green

WikiEducator with the secure https padlock
SSL (TLS) has been enabled on English WikiEducator, so you can now login more securely.

--Jim Tittsler (talk) 06:16, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Mediawiki 1.23

All of the WikiEducator and WikiResearcher wikis have been updated to Mediawiki 1.23.3. This long awaited update was delayed because our old LiquidThreads (pre Version 1) did not cleanly migrate to the current LiquidThreads V2, so we needed to understand the undocumented schemas involved and build a tool to do the transfer so that we did not lose any historical threads. Because it has been a long time since the last upgrade, some of the extensions that we used to use are now obsolete. Much of the functionality can be duplicated with newer extensions and building some widgets might permit recreating other old functions if necessary.

The major new feature is the new VisualEditor which provides an improved editor for beginning wiki editors. This improvement should make the transient inconvenience worth enduring. --JimTittsler 06:55, 03 September 2014 (UTC)


The AddToTable widget allows users that may not be comfortable with wiki syntax to add a row of "data" to an existing table on a wiki page. It creates a button that pops up a form with entry fields for the various columns of the table. It has an auto mode where it uses the column headings as the form field labels, but it also allows the original table author to specify a variety of form elements including user, name, date, timestamp, country, selection of specified options, and radio buttons for selection of a small number of options. When the user populates the form and clicks Submit a new row is added to the table (either at the top or bottom of the table as desired). --JimTittsler 03:53, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Social Bookmarking

In 2010 we agreed to try adding a navigation button to simplify sharing WikiEducator content on social media sites. Unfortunately the implementation has some privacy and technical limitations. Most users that frequently share content via social media have browser extensions, bookmarklets, or other preferred tools. I've eliminated the button from the sidebar navigation. If you would like to restore it for your WikiEducator use, you can add the line:


to your custom Javascript file (usually vector.js or monobook.js depending upon which skin you use). --JimTittsler 19:57, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Link to Row

The Widget:LinkToRow allows you to create a URL that will direct a user to a particular row of a specified table on a WikiEducator page. It requires an id parameter that references the DOM id of the table. If you click on a row in the table, the browser location will be modified with a hash string that points to that row. You can then share or post that URL which will scroll directly to that row for visitors. (Note that this presumes that rows above the one referenced are not added/deleted, because it points to the nth row of the table. If your table is mutable, use a URL for the current instance of the wikipage (see the Links in the navigation bar). --JimTittsler 01:50, 3 July 2014 (UTC)


Over the years we have developed a variety of techniques for theming content authored in WikiEducator. I've posted a longer blog post summarizing some of the possible methods.

These are important considerations because they separate the authoring and presentation. Some of the schemes further separate the learning pathway through a collection of resources from the resources themselves, encouraging potential reuse. --JimTittsler 04:54, 19 May 2014 (UTC)


This year we have made two upgrades to the WikiEducator server infrastructure. In March, we moved the main instance to a faster server at Amazon Web Services. And now in April we have moved the main database server to an SSD-backed system, further increasing the responsiveness of our server. --JimTittsler 04:00, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

The official name (OERuniversitas) of the OERu initiative didn't make for a very memorable URL, so we were able to obtain the shorter --JimTittsler 00:00, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Migrating from Moodle

Since the WikiEducator and OERu courses are currently being delivered directly from WikiEducator, we have disabled the WikiEducator Moodle instance. The content is archived should it ever be useful. --JimTittsler 00:00, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Piwik Analytics

For the OERuniversitas web site we are using the Open Source Piwik web analytics platform. Data is openly shared with partner institutions. --JimTittsler 00:00, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Local Times

One frustration with international collaborations is specifying meeting times with easy-to-understand time zone conversions. The {{MTime|}} encourages a consistent date/time authoring format, with output that is formatted by the standard #time parser function. By default, the output is the time in hours/minutes followed by AM or PM. The MTime template takes an optional format parameter that allows specifying other output formats.

By adding {{#widget:LocalTime}} to the page, Javascript causes all of the times specified with MTime to show the local time (based on the browser time) when the user hovers over the time, and a small popover window is displayed if the user clicks on the time. Examples:


--JimTittsler 02:00, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

WEnotes Atom Feed

The WEnotes micro-blog and blog aggregator can provide a one-stop-shop to monitor the activity surrounding one of the courses offered by the OER Foundation or our partners. The standard client displays in a WikiEducator web page (example). The same content is also available in Atom format for use in your favorite news feed reader. You can customize what is included in your feed by subscribing to different URLs.{tag}{tag}/{comma separated source list}

The first feed would include the postings for the tag from all of the various sources, mimicking the WEnotes web display. But you could narrow it down to just the blog postings by using the second form and specifying blog as the source. Or get all the blog and g+ postings (typically the longer form postings) in a single feed by specifying blog,gplus as the source. Examples:,gplus

The first would have an item for every item in the ocl4ed aggregated feed. If you subscribed to the second URL, you would only get news items for the longer-format posts from blogs and g+.

--JimTittsler 04:33, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

WE Activity Chart

I have built a widget that uses the d3 data visualization library to build a simple punch card type chart showing user edits in the wiki. Putting the widget invocation: {{#widget:WikiEducatorActivity|user=Username}} will insert the graph for Username. (Here is an example.)

--JimTittsler 00:00, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Reader Mode is now a Gadget

You can now enable Reader Mode by enabling the preference on the Gadgets tab of your Preferences. Reader mode works only with the Vector skin. By default, Reader mode is enabled for devices with screens with widths of 1024 pixels or less. You can change that default by adding:

 window.weReaderWidth = 1280;

to the vector.js subpage of your user page (where the number is the width that should trigger Reader mode).

--JimTittsler 03:29, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Google+ WikiEducator Community

There is a small Google+ WikiEducator Community. I've started posting a few Tips & Tricks there on effective WikiEducator use.

--JimTittsler 02:38, 7 January 2013 (UTC)