I said SPLOTs were targeted little tools. Let’s suppose you want to have your students “write in public”. We want students to write. Well, there’s a lot of evidence and experience that demonstrates when students write about real topics for real audiences where their writing lives on past the end of the course, the students write better. A lot better. That’s what writing-in-public is about. If you want to know more about having students write-in-public and you don’t believe me, then ask Professors Leslie Johnson and Sarah Steinhour. They’ve been doing it for years.
The Open Learn Lab makes it easy and doable. One of the original SPLOTs, called TRU Writer, makes it even easier with a SPLOT called TRU Writer. I’ll let Alan Levine’s description at splot.ca describe:
TRU Writer offers a simple but elegant web publishing platform that lets visitors quickly publish full formatted and media rich articles, essays, papers — without requiring any logins or tracking of personal information.
Published written works are presented in a style similar to that at Medium.com, clean text, wide margins, all in a format that looks just as good on a mobile phone as it does on a large screen monitor.
A published work includes a header image which is upload to the TRU Writer. Authors can remain anonymous or give credit in any way they choose. The body of the written work has a full featured rich text editor, and media can also be uploaded to be included within the body text.
Media such as YouTube or vimeo video, SoundCloud audio, or flickr photos can be embedded simply by putting a URL on an empty line.
As an example see To the People of Sangamo County, which was Abraham Lincoln’s first political speech made in 1832
The text of the speech has been augmented by embedded audio and video files.
Content can be authored directly in TRU Writer or you can copy the contents of anything written in a word processor, or already published on a web page, paste it into the TRU Writer editor. Most standard formatting (headers, bold, italic, underline, lists, blockquotes, hypertext links) will be preserved.
A great example of TRU Writer is called TOC-TALK here at LCC (screen shot above). In the Teaching Online Certification course (TOC), there’s a module/unit about connected open online learning (COOL). You can take that module/unit yourself by visiting it in the CTE Courses library. It’s listed under LOOCs. At the end of that module/unit, students are asked to write a reflection on what they learned and write it in public. They do that on TOC-TALK. Take a look yourself by going to the site at cte.openlcc.net/toc-talk. This link will open in a new tab/window so you don’t lose your place here.
Like any SPLOT or WordPress site, you can customize and modify it. If you want submissions to be moderated before being posted, so be it. You can make that happen with a click in the configuration. You want students to be able to be anonymous on the web, you can do that. Or not.
Another great example of a TRU Writer SPLOT in action is a writers’ magazine published at TRU. Visit it at smallcities.trubox.ca.