Joshua’s project ideas

1. Improving the BMCC ESL Lab website: Revising, revamping, renovating, re-tooling, reorganizing, restoring, rebuilding, repairing, remaking, and/or otherwise improving the wiki page that I have created for the ESL Lab, which I oversee at BMCC, is still my plan. After speaking with Maura and Michael, it became apparent that a “less is more” approach will work with this project, particularly to begin with. Step # 1: moving the content that I want to keep on the site over to WordPress. There are several reasons for this, including

  • Expandable, Flexible: On WordPress, there is a huge community coming up with useful plugins and resources all the time. Our site functions more like a web page than a wiki, in that it’s not particularly collaborative (other than some of the faculty who contribute/write/edit); as I noted before, the site is meant to be a repository of information, links, materials and interactive exercises/activities for English language learners at BMCC rather than a student-created/collaborative wiki. WordPress seems to be the best platform to create new content for the site, and also introduce more interactive elements and/or games.
  • Content Ownership On many free web-hosted platforms (Wikispaces, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.), the terms of service are pretty clear. Without warning, these companies can remove your content, remove your site, and they actually can use your stuff however they want because they own it. With WordPress on my own server, I own everything I put on there.
  • Integration with other applications. WordPress seems to be the first choice of third party software and websites when it comes to creating easy to integrate website applications. If I want to program/create new content for the site, it will doubtless be easier to do on WordPress than on Wikifoundry, the site’s current host.

2. Making Interactive Content for a writing skills/grammar site, again comparable to– and hopefully an improvement upon– John Jay College’s E-Resource Center . The John Jay site is useful in many ways, but consists of mainly Flash animation slideshows, which make for a slow experience as the site unfolds at its own pace. I am interested in creating something perhaps both CUNY-specific and/or more general, providing interactive composition/grammar/reading comprehension activities helpful (hopefully) to any college student. As I posted earlier, I know that the John Jay site was grant funded, by the U.S. Department of Education (Title V) and the New York State Education Department (Perkins III). If I apply for grant money, faculty will be interested in collaborating. This project could be built from scratch, or incorporated into the WordPress site.

3. Writing/Grammar App: I would like to create an app, to assist students to improve their English writing/grammar skills, perhaps for ELLs (English Language Learners), perhaps for native writers/speakers of English. This could be a game-based app or not. There is an interesting app called Rhetoric and Composition Study, which could serve as a model… but I would want my app to cater to ELLs.

One thought on “Joshua’s project ideas

  1. Maura A. Smale (she/her)

    Hi Joshua, all three of these sound useful and related to your research and teaching. I definitely agree that WordPress is a better strategy for #1 than a wiki, and you’re absolutely right that it’s better to own your content rather than let a 3rd party control it. Remember that you’re welcome to use the Commons as a sandbox if you’d like — you can create a hidden blog accessible only to you and experiment freely with the plugins that the Commons makes available.

    Re: your #3 idea, as I’m noting for everyone who’s interested in creating an app, do you think this project is something that must be an app? Or are there potentially other ways to achieve your goals, like creating a mobile-friendly website?

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