#EL30 – Recognition Task

I’m falling a little bit behind on #EL30 at the moment, hoping to put some time aside to catch up properly in the coming weeks.

For the ‘Resources’ module of the course, Stephen set the following task for us:

Create a free account on a Badge service (several are listed in the resources for this module). Then:

– create a badge
– award it to yourself
– use a blog post on your blog as the ‘evidence’ for awarding yourself the badge
– place the badge on the blog post.

To assist you in this, you can see this blog post where I did all four steps with Badgr. (I also tried to work with the API, with much less success).

Source

I had previously created an account on Openbadges.me so I decided to use that badge service for this task. I’ve seen a couple of posts already from #EL30 participants that demonstrate how they created and issued their badges using Badgr, so this post will provide my experience doing it on a different badge service for comparison/anyone that’s interested.

Openbadges.me

There were 4 main tasks for me to complete on Openbadges.me in order to be able to successfully create and issue my badge on this blog post:

  1. Setting myself up as a badge issuer
  2. Creating or uploading a graphic to represent my badge
  3. Creating and Publishing my badge for issue
  4. Issuing my badge to a recipient (me! – but I can issue it to you too, read on ’til the end if you’re interested in adding this badge to your collection)

1. Setting up as a badge issuer

After logging into Openbadges you are presented with a dashboard area with a navigation menu to the left hand side. The main content area of the dashboard displays tiled flashcard-like blocks that each explain different things that Openbadges can be used for. The navigation menu on the left allows us to go to the areas of the site which will allow us to create and issue badges, so that’s where I begin.

Following Stephen’s useful blog post based on his experiences using Badgr, another badge service, I set about the first task – Setting up as a badge issuer. I selected the Preparing badges menu item and the Badge issuers sub-item. In the main content area I was presented with a pink button in the upper right-hand corner to “+ Create issuer”, as I hadn’t created issuers before. I clicked the button and followed the onscreen instruction to set myself up as a badge issuer, giving myself the permission to issue badges that I create.

Setting up a badge issuer
Setting up a badge issuer

2. Creating or uploading a graphic to represent the badge

As I didn’t have a pre-made graphic to use for my badge I decided to create one using the Openbadges Graphics library, which was accessible as a sub-menu item from the Preparing badges menu item.

Similarly, after selecting this sub-menu item I was presented with a pink button in the upper right-hand corner of main content area of the screen that prompted me to “+ Create graphic”.

The user interface was intuitive and allowed me to create and adapt a graphic of my own beneath 7 simple headings:

  1. Background
  2. Shapes
  3. Inner shapes
  4. Text
  5. Curved text
  6. Banners
  7. Icon
The Graphic builder interface

For my badge I used 3 of those headings – Shapes, Curved text and Icon. Once I was happy with the look of my graphic I saved it and was then able to preview it. The next step was to create the framework for the badge including the awarding criteria for someone looking to be awarded it.

3. Creating and Publishing the badge

It’s important to recognise that the graphic is only one component of the badge. Often, people can think that a badge is simply a .jpg or .png image, but it’s the metadata that we don’t always see that’s ‘baked into’ the badge  which is the most valuable aspect of it. This includes the criteria in order to be awarded the badge, any badge attributes (i.e. a badge awarded for completing 3 hours of CPD), the date of receipt, the date of expiry (if the badge needs to be renewed) the issuer details and the unique badge ID:

Adding primary badge details
Adding badge criteria
– the items that need to be accomplished in order to be awarded the badge
Adding badge attributes
i.e. An open badge can contain any number of attributes. For example, you may want it to represent 3 hours of CPD. To do this, you would enter the name as ‘CPD’ and the value as ‘3’.

I added the relevant details, criteria and attributes to my badge and also selected the graphic that I had created to visually depict it. I was satisfied with my badge so I clicked the grey ‘Publish’ button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to finalise my badge creation.

Importantly, a badge can only be published if it contains valid name, description, issuer, criteria and graphic and once you publish the badge you cannot go back and edit it easily unless you unpublish (withdraw) it firstly which remove all the details, criteria and attributes you have added to it. This is important to bear in mind so if you are not sure about your badge I would advise using the pink ‘Save Draft’ button before making the decision to finally publish.

My badge summary including auto-generated badge ID on the left-hand side

4. Issuing the badge to a recipient

With the badge created the last step was to issue it to a recipient, in this case, myself. I clicked the Issuing badges menu item and the Manual entry sub-menu option. There were other options available to issue it to groups, via API or through rules-based issuing, but manual was the easiest option initially when I knew I was only issuing it to one person.

The badge I had created appeared here and once I moused-over it I was given the option to ‘Issue badge’ via email. I clicked that option and simply entered my own email address in the space provided, clicked ‘Add recipient’ and finally ‘Issue badge’. I immediately received an email from Openbadges.me prompting me to click a link to download my badge.

Email issued from Openbadges.me

And here is what all the fuss was about!

My #EL30 ‘Recognition’ badge – awarded for completion of the task set out by Stephen Downes

For those of you who may be interested, Openbadges.me also provides reporting functionality to keep track of who has been issued the badge and when it was issued, which is accessible from the main navigation menu beneath Reporting:

Badge reporting

Want to be a recipient of my badge?

Just leave a comment on this post with

  • a link to your own badge (as evidence that you’ve completed Stephen’s task)
  • the email address you’d prefer me to send along your badge to

and I’ll email you a link to download it.

Featured image:
 “Open Educational Resources – OER Rocket Badge with Moon 360×360 PNG” by Eugene Open Educational Resources is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

#EL30 – Resources Task

This week, Stephen tasked us with creating a Content-Addressed Resource on the distributed web or Dweb.

Create a resource (for example, a web page) using IPFS, Beaker Browser, Fritter, or any other distributed web application (see some of the examples here). Provide a link to the resource using any method you wish.

To help prepare for this task, watch the video ‘From Repositories to the Distributed Web‘ as well as these videos on IPFS and Beaker: installing IPFS, making a website with IPFS, installing Beaker.

Source

The final results

The Dweb?

Dweb – The letter D in the popular shortened version stands for either decentralised or distributed. Here’s a visual depiction:

Image Source

The conceptual framework behind the creation of a decentralised or distributed internet is an attempt to replace, improve upon, or at least run parrallel to, the current centralised web (based on the web 2.0 premise). A feature of this current web is siloed platform specific engagement.

In part, this shift in thinking has transpired as a strong reaction to the centralisation of control and power in the hands of a few giant internet and tech companies. A decentralised, distributed web would, in theory, more evenly spread the balance of power, control, etc. across a network of much more people, in the hope of removing the reliance on using web 2.0 platforms to communicate with one another, thus diluting their influence.

Further, the dweb has been brought about by the need to create an immutable way to preserve the largest open and accessible collection of human knowledge ever created.

Here’s how I did it

My laptop screen while installing and initialising IPFS

Following Stephen’s video’s (linked to above) was very straightforward. They are very clear and thorough. The only real hurdle I had to overcome was that I was performing the operation on my Mac laptop rather than on a Windows device. All in all, performing the operations was much the same.

Downloading and extracting IPFS

The first task I set about was downloading and installing the go-ipfs distribution implementation of the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS).

I unzipped/extracted the go-ipfs download into my home directory (davidmoloney$ in my case). It isn’t as easy as double-clicking on the .exe file in the directory and following an installation wizard I’m afraid! You are the installation wizard!

Installing

I opened up the terminal application on my Mac to begin the process of installation. First things first, I changed directory into the new go-ipfs one which, if you remember, I had saved to my home directory.

cd \go-ipfs

In Stephen’s video, in order to list the subdirectories within the go-ipfs directory on his Windows device, he types:

dir

into the Microsoft Powershell. On the Mac terminal the equivalent command is

ls
Running the ls command in Mac terminal within the go-ipfs directory

You could also type

ls -l

if you were looking for some further detail.

Running the ls -l command in Mac terminal within the go-ipfs directory

Initialising

It’s the “ipfs” file listed on the right hand side of the “ls” screenshot above that I am initially interested in.  I want to initialise this file in order to establish my IPFS node. To do this this I type

../go-ipfs/ipfs init

Initialising the ipfs file generates a hashed peer identity for my IPFS node on the distributed web. It also creates a link for me to progress to the next step and open the Readme file.

I copied the hashed value that had been generated in the terminal (by highlighting it and using Command+C) in order to open the Readme file, also ensuring to copy the

cat

code that comes immediately before the hashed string. Stephen notes the importance of this in his video. Without the “cat” prefix piece the command will not run properly.

I typed and pasted the following command into the terminal to open the Readme file. You will replace the *ABCD* section in the code below with the hashed public key that is generated for you (although I think it’ll probably be the same anyway – ending in “Vv”).

../go-ipfs/ipfs cat /ipfs/*ABCD*/readme

The Readme.md file should open for you within the terminal.

Initialising IPFS via the Mac terminal and opening the Readme file

Starting the daemon service

Once initialised it is important to get the IPFS service up and running by starting the daemon service

../go-ipfs/ipfs daemon

I love how Stephen pronounces daemon in his video – demon! Very Irish!

The IPFS Companion Add-on for Firefox

Ordinarily, it seems that by then browsing to the web address produced after running the daemon service (http://127.0.0.1/tcp/8080) I should be able to access IPFS via my browser. However, without the IPFS Companion add-on, I couldn’t get to that point using Firefox.

Once the IPFS Companion add-on is installed you can click the small icon in the browser bar and then select the Open Web UI option to view a dashboard interface.

IPFS Companion add-on with option to “Open Web UI”
IPFS companion showing a connection to 496 peers
Dashboard UI of my IPFS node and distribution of peers chart
The geographical distribution of peers

Creating and hosting my simple website on IPFS

I followed Stephen’s guidance in his video and used Gio d’Amelio’s quick tutorial to get my simple website set up and hosted on IPFS.

Using the Sublime Text 3 text editor for code, I copied and pasted the sample text provided in the quick tutorial and created basic index.html and style.css files. I saved the files in a subdirectory that I similarly named “ipfssite”, following Stephen’s lead.

Adding my site to IPFS using the terminal

I opened a new terminal window and changed directory into the go-ipfs directory within my home directory again

cd \go-ipfs

From here, I ran the following command to add the .html and .css files within my ipfssite subdirectory to my IPFS node.

./ipfs add -r ipfssite

Doing this produces hashed values for all of the files and also the entire site. The very last hash value before the command completes is the hash value to use to browse to your IPFS site.

http://127.0.0.1:8080/ipfs/QmP8G2jdjwMTtXFMXWLjEkZx3NLhPgTm7vNaayhKE45XbX/

or

https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmP8G2jdjwMTtXFMXWLjEkZx3NLhPgTm7vNaayhKE45XbX/

And tada!

Finally, I decided to install the beaker browser and establish a new .dat website also. This post is already a little unwieldy so I won’t detail how that went, but it was all pretty straight forward. Ultimately, I simply followed along with Stephen’s video instruction which was excellent.

The first version of my .dat site on Beaker browser

Featured image, Universe, by geralt