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  • jarbenne 2:40 pm on April 24, 2014  

    WordPress 3.9 

    We’ve updated the Commons to the latest and greatest version of WordPress. You can check out this link to see the new changes, or check out the video.

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  • jarbenne 2:15 pm on April 22, 2014  

    New Profile URL Schema 

    Previously, in order to visit another users profile manually (by typing in the URL in the browser) you needed to add the sub-directory “/members” to the URL. You can still do that, but now just adding the username at the end of the Commons URL also works ie: rather than

    Cool eh?

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  • jarbenne 11:50 am on April 18, 2014  

    Flagging Content 

    Just a few notes about flagging content:

    When you flag content, only you and the community administrators see that it has been flagged. If content is flagged twice by two separate users, an email is sent to the user (and the community admin) notifying them that something they posted on the Commons has been flagged by other members of the community.

    Please teach your students how this flagging functionality works, and explain how it can be used to ensure the Commons is a safe and caring environment for learning. You may want to also ensure that they understand that the homework you assign on your class blog probably doesn’t merit a flag ;) As one of the moderators on the site, one of the frustrating elements of this functionality is the abundance of flagging that happens on appropriate content, making the process of sifting through the reports that much more difficult.

    One of the key functions of the Commons is to provide a space where students can learn about how to manage their digital footprint in social networking spaces. As members of the “village” helping to raise the child, it is important that we remember that beyond flagging, we all have a role to mentor each other and suggest ways to contribute appropriately when we happen upon individuals still grappling with how best to contribute using the indelible ink of the internet. The directives of the 21st Century Learning and Technology Policy and its associated directives set out Standards of Behaviour for Privacy, Ownership & Authorship, and Identity, Credibility & Positive Participation that you may find helpful when having these conversations. The resources provided by CommonSenseMedia provide lesson plans for every grade level, that align with our policy (both were created based on The Good Play Project: Our Space Resource).

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  • jarbenne 7:34 pm on April 17, 2014  

    Updates and New Themes 

    Nothing like a long weekend to trigger the upgrade bug. I’ve updated the site to BuddyPress version 2.0 which should result in some much faster results when navigating the activity feed. Those nerdy enough to know what all this means can read more here:

    I’ve also added two new themes: Fictive (see post from here: and Responsive P2. Responsive P2 should be used as a replacement for any sites using P2 and experiencing difficulty navigating their site on smaller screens. This should solve the problem. Shrink your browser from the anchor in the bottom right corner on this site to see what I mean.

    As always, please report any hiccups here on the blog. Enjoy the long weekend. Go play outside. Blog about it later.

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  • jarbenne 5:24 pm on April 15, 2014

    Velocity Page 

    Editing pages on the Commons just got a whole lot easier. VelocityPage is now active across the network, giving you the ability to edit your page from the front, in a drag and drop fashion.

    Check out the two intro videos here, then go and build something beautiful:


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  • jarbenne 3:14 pm on March 28, 2014  

    Update to the Events Calendar 

    I’ve just pushed an update to the Events Calendar plugin. You’re calendars should now be “responsive”, which means it should work better on smaller screens (think: smartphone).

    Please let me know if you run into any issues.

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  • jarbenne 5:37 pm on March 25, 2014  

    Stumbling Around the Commons 

    Looking for a way to explore some of the various voices out on the HWDSB Commons. Look up in the top right hand corner for the new “Random Blog” button. Spin the wheel and see where you land. If you find a blog post, be sure to add a comment.

    Those folks who follow this blog and run their own “Commons”, we open-source all of our code over on GitHub. You can create you own Random Sites functionality on your multisite by checking it out here:

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  • jarbenne 3:55 pm on January 29, 2014
    Tags: ,   

    Statistics Update 

    One month ago the analytics service we had been using on the Commons pushed out an update that broke our stats gathering functionality. We have spent a good deal of time this month trying to sort out where the issue lies, and how we can get things back up and running. I’m making an executive decision now to throw in the towel and shift to Google Analytics as our statistics provider.

    You don’t need to do anything. Under the Dashboard menu you will notice a new Statistics link that is running Google Analytics in the background. Google is the gold standard in web analytics, so we are confident that this shouldn’t be an issue in the future. The downside is that you are now starting from scratch, so you will be able to compare your daily stats, but won’t be able to see the growth of your web presence over the past year.

    Thank you for understanding this change.

    Those of you relying on Jetpack for statistics provided by will not be affected by this change.

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  • jarbenne 7:22 pm on January 13, 2014  

    Trouble with Analytics 

    Looks like we have been having some issues tracking the traffic on the Commons since around January the First. We are actively chasing down the issue and should be back up and running shortly.

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    • yimran0639 6:41 am on January 14, 2014

      Okay. Mr.Bennet I am still having the problem with the: This is somewhat embarrasing we could not find what you are looking for. It comes up when I click View Conversation. Remember I told you about on mrjarbenne? Now also when I comment on something, then it comes on my notifications I click and it says: You are not applicable to this conversation. Luckily I find away but it is so annoying!!!
      Thanks for the help! Reply soon!

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    • jarbenne 7:24 pm on January 17, 2014

      Thanks for the report. I am looking into this @yimran0639

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  • jarbenne 6:34 pm on December 31, 2013
    Tags: calendar, , HUB,   

    Import Calendar Items onto Your Blog 

    Those of you who use the Events Calendar functionality on your blog, and also maintain a course on the HWDSB HUB (D2L) will be happy to know we have developed a means to post events from your course calendar directly to your blog events calendar. Visit the Plugins menu and Activate the Events Calendar – iCalendar Importer.

    How to use?

    • Make sure The Events Calendar is already installed and activated.
    • Activate the The Events Calendar – iCalendar Importer plugin.
    • Navigate to the “Events > iCal Import” page.
    • Next, enter in the location of your iCalendar files.
    • Optionally, add a category slug so your imported events can be categorized appropriately and also set a custom interval to let WordPress know when it should sync the iCalendar.
    • You can immediately test the import by checking the “Manual Sync” checkbox.
    • Hit “Save changes” and that should be it!

    Here’s a quick video to explain how this could work. This plugin could work in combination with the Feed WordPress plugin (feeding your D2L/HUB Newsfeed events to the Blog as new posts) to create a publicly accessible Newsfeed and Calendar — in blog form — from your D2L/HUB course. This will also work if you are using a Google Calendar and want to feed events from multiple calendars onto one centralized blog calendar.

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