Author Archives: Tom Woodward

Gravity Forms + FacetWP = Gravatar People

Screen Shot of OLE members

Having just finished presenting1 at NMC. I said we all need to document more, to show examples and explain what we did. Making the notes for the presentation last night and being able to use the blog posts I’d already written really showed me the value of reflecting on little things in an ongoing way. It’s amazing how much stuff I do that I completely forget even happened.

So this is how you’d make a gravatar people browser based on information submitted via a Gravity Form.2

The way you can use form element to populate a post body using the content template.
This image above shows the basic setup for the Gravity Form. Form fields essentially get combined with some HTML in the post body field. It’s pretty simple but it might help someone.

FacetWP setup to display gravatar images

This is the basic setup in FacetWP that generates the query and the display code. There are two elements. Element one is the query which tells which pieces of content you want. The second part is the display which shows the content that you’ve retrieved in whatever way you define.

The text version for the FacetWP template is below. There’s also a dab of CSS.

.person {
  float:left;
  margin: 8px;
  width:120px;
  height:200px;
}


1 Or at least talking in a room with humans in it. It was not of enough quality to justify the term presentation. I need to figure out why that felt so bad.

2 Could also do some stuff via the author information but that’s for another day.

Rampages Growth Plotted

As part of the gen ed seminar I pulled the rampages.us user signup data for Kristina Anthony. It was just a straight export from the wp_users table and stripped of everything but the date. She pulled it into Excel and used a pivot table to make it manageable. Which is awesome. So I pulled it down and pushed it back up into Google Docs so that I could embed the chart in this post.

It makes me feel better to look at the growth over what amounts to around a year of actual use. I tend to focus on places for improvement (and there are many) but it’s worth looking at what ALT Lab has managed to achieve in a fairly short period of time.1 The July to February jump of about 6000 users is pretty insane. I have every expectation that we’ll add another 6000 or so users next year. Things will certainly only get more interesting.

This has been done without huge student training initiatives. For the most part faculty members are able to support their own students. We have some of that filter up and we deal with some troubleshooting online but there’s no dedicated person(s) to support WordPress issues or train students. That’s a testament to WordPress.


1 In the higher ed dimension a year is equivalent to 6 mins in other dimensions. So this was really, really fast.

WordPress Comment Subscriptions by Category


flickr photo shared by duncan under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

It’s particularly helpful in a rather specific situation- i.e. one where you’re doing a mother blog and want to see all the student comments (like Allen did with the #thoughtvectors reader) but since we have students using their blogs for more than one class things get messy fast.

Enter me asking smarter people on Twitter, almost going to the forsaken land of Yahoo Pipes,1 and being saved by Google liking Mark more than me.

So anyway, here’s the structure to get the comments for specific categories/tags.

  • by name – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?category_name=apple
  • by category ID – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?cat=18
  • by tag name – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?tag=tutorial-2

This is one of those things that barely rates a post but given I didn’t know how to do it maybe it’ll help some other wanderer and for people who want this it’ll be really useful. Thanks to Mark, Alan, and Martin for helping me out.


1 I like Yahoo Pipes but one has to assume Yahoo will kill it dead very soon . . . although I’ve been hearing that for several years.