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The struggle for style

It’s been several weeks now where the main thing going on with Bubblworx is trying to settle on a content style. It would seem that writing super-simple courses on basic things would not be a problem: start minimal, adjust from there. At least, it was easy to think that in the enthusiasm of early days.

This is actually not a surprise. The more concise and compact you want to go, the harder it is write. It’s way easier to include a whole bunch of extra detail, than to radically trim down without losing essential bits and pieces. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater fits closely enough.

Anyhow, things are moving along, slow and steady. When done, it will no doubt seem so easy, it should have been done overnight. It’s one of those things that just takes time.

Personal development

Personal development latest candidate from the ongoing quest to frame Bubblworx in a way that’s easily understood. Personal development courses

New web site!

Just switched in Version 2 of the web site, after weeks of wrangling with endless WordPress plugins. The new site is still WordPress, but stripped down for speed, and we got rid of the e-learning courses plugin, in favor of a simpler set-up.

WordPress is pretty typical of our fast-times digital world, where the trade-off between convenience and the cost of that convenience can be hard to see clearly. On one hand, with WP, I can quickly plug in and experiment with tons of sophisticated features. If I was an A-list coder who could stay up for 100 hours and code up what I wanted, (given a headstart, with a framework like ProcessWire)…I’d have done that. Instead, I’ve probably spent that 100 hours on a bunch of plugins that almost do what I want, or get the job done, but with unneeded additional functions, multiple sets of settings, cumulative performance drag, and so on, all having to be addressed.

It’s possible that I could actually have done all of this myself, leveraging the framework community and the endless supply of coding help from the web, but the pull of instant gratification that WP offers is strong. Going the more DIY route, I would also have learned more fundamental stuff about how the site is built, instead of just solutions to issues with prepackaged code.

Anyhow, version 2 of the site is still all WordPress, plugins, and tweaks, now fast-loading and minimally styled. Time to really concentrate on content. Courses!

Version 1 up and running

The Bubblworx site is finally all stitched together from a pile of WordPress plugins…and it’s now up and running! A half dozen courses are in place—they’re not finished, but well underway. So well call it BW v. 1.

It’s been just under 2½ months since we started. I usually think things will go faster than they actually do, which was the case here. Still, hitting milestones is the important thing, and we’ve now taken the first big step.

First courses

In keeping with our develop-it-live-on-the-site approach, our first courses are up. They’re early versions, mainly text.

Also made a commitment to hosting the courses on site for now. There’s a LOT of poking and tweaking required to get things done with WordPress—the risk of getting sucked into a time sink is always there.

Anyhow, progress!

What’s Bubblworx all about?

If you were to read only these blog posts and not look at the rest of the web site, you’d have no idea what Bubblworx is supposed to be about, apart from having “courses”. Noticing this today made me wonder whether that’s some sort of subconscious signaling, that the whole idea of what we’re up to isn’t that clear in our own minds.

The site’s main sales tag is “back to basics life skills courses”. The original, call it, instinctive, idea was to present no-frills courses on a bunch of basic skills and abilities, like growing and cooking food, expressing personal creativity (art!), core skills for body and mind that can get overlooked or over-embellished in at large parts of the modern world.

OK, kinda, but then, why would this be a worthy addition to the literally millions of courses, tutorials, how-to articles and videos, about everything, and already easily available online, much of it free, a simple search away?

The answer to that question is what working out the Bubblworx concept as we go is all about! More to follow…

Online learning…works!

The MOOC experiment continues. Realizing I’d bitten off more than I could happily chew, I dropped three of the four course I’d enrolled in, completed The Future of Farming, and signed up for a new course, an intro to cybersecurity.

 

MOOCs!

In the last couple of weeks I enrolled in a MOOC, and then a few more. That’s massive open online course. It’s basically courses on the web, of which there’s no shortage.

I’m still not sure what makes a MOOC a MOOC. How is it different from an online university degree course, or a training site full of video lessons, or a blog how-to or YouTube explainer video? Hard to say, exactly.

There doesn’t seem to be one universal definition of MOOC.

Scale is one identifier. To be massive, a MOOC should be able to accept vast numbers of students, tens or hundreds of thousands, so a MOOC has to be set up for a lot of traffic.

Open seems to mean free or not crazy expensive (around $100 per course is a popular price for the paid ones, from what I’ve seen so far). And open is also accessible. because it’s on the web.

Also, the couple of MOOC sites I’ve checked out are connected to universities.

Anyhow, the point for me is to try online courses, which I hadn’t really done before.

I quickly spiraled a bit. Started with one course, on Climate Smart Agriculture, enjoyed it – the comments section for each lesson can be particularly involving – and within a week had signed up for three more. Now I’m juggling CSA, two courses on nutrition, and one on digital supply chains. All from a site called FutureLearn.

The courses are quite light,  requiring 3-4 hours  each per week for 6-8 weeks, but multiple courses obviously add up. I think I will have to cut back.

It’s early yet for real impressions. Important thing: I’m on the online learning train. Stay tuned!

It’s all research

Development time over the last week has been spent mostly online, reading and watching videos: research! Now I know stuff like, there are over 2 billion smartphone users! And over 500,000 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every day.

No courses completed, but that’s coming along.

 

One thing leads to another

We’ve been at this for one month as of tomorrow! It’s hard to measure progress, because we don’t yet have a formal timeline or production schedule. Finishing the very first course is the main goal, because it gives us something to work off of, on the one-thing-leads-to-another principle. And what will that first course be?

Stay tuned!