Free Range Edtech

Category: Ways to Contribute

As part of our tagline “contributions not contracts” here are small, doable actions you can do to contribute to the OpenETC

Not Using That WordPress Site Anymore? Cleanup is now Self Serve

We are not suggesting your WordPress sites are garbage! But if you can clean your digital room of unused sites, the system administrators here may smile.

At the time of writing this, there are over 3100 separate WordPress sites created at the OpenETC! That’s fantastic! And we hope you create more as needed. In the back room of the server (there is no such place actually, we are in the CLOUD) we do come across many sites that were started but not used much beyond. Or, if you are like me, maybe you create one to test something out, but then it just sits there, taking up database space.

As one of the ways you can contribute to the OpenETC that offers you a free and easy way to create WordPress sites here.

How to Delete and Unused WordPress Site

Previously only those with the keys to the server back room (see note above) could delete a site. But now you can do it yourself! Do this only if you are 100% sure you no longer need the site.

When logged into your WordPress dashboard, look under the Tools menu for Delete Site.

WordPress "Tools} menu with arrow pointing to "Delete Site" item beneath it

It is not immediate as we want to make sure that you really want to delete a site. You have to confirm with a checkbox AND then respond to an email confirming this step. So there are two chances to reconsider.

Warning about site deletion! It’s here to save you from accidental clicks.

Again, this is something to do only if you have no plans to use a WordPress site and truly want to see it vanished.

What About Exports? Archives?

There’s more to this topic than we might cover here! And we strongly suggesting taking questions, comments to the WordPress channel in the OpenETC Mattermost community.

You may want to move your WordPress site maybe to another host, your own domain. Exports should be easy, right? As usual with technology, you run into nuances. Guides are out there. While you can generate the export of your site’s content (via ToolsExport), you would still need to install themes, plugins, etc to a new site. And unless you leave the old site in place until exported, you will not be able to import all your media.

But maybe you want to create just an archive. Tools are out there that can convert a WordPress site to a standalone HTML archive, if you never intend to use it as a WordPress powered site again. I have used an OSX one called Site Sucker. Yes, it’s icon is a vacuum cleaner.

Let’s say you are not ready to decide! The OpenETC does not currently have a policy about when/if old sites should be removed. One thing you can do is publish a post left at the top of the site that indicates that it is no longer active. Who cares? Someone out there does! See what Dr Blog just did to make this clear.

It’s a small thing to do, but definitely, if you created a WordPress site here and never used it, please consider taking it to the curb.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons photo of Unused Phonebooks by David Shankbone shared under a Creative Commons CC BY license.

We Seek Your Stories of OpenETC in Action

What does having your own OpenETC WordPress site, Mattermost Community, or access to Web Apps mean for you? We want to collect these stories to demonstrate the impact an Open EdTech Co-op can have.

Charts and numbers are one way to show this, but personal stories can say a lot more.

As another way of contributing back to the OpenETC we are asking for short stories that can submitted in a number of formats via a new collection of Stories of OpenETC in Action.

Using a pre-built SPLOTbox media theme available to all OpenETC users, you can add a story in video (YouTube or vimeo), audio (uploaded audio or recorded directly to the site), or an image and text. We just want to see, hear, share in your own voice what using OpenETC platforms has enabled for you as a BC student, teacher, educator.

We seek short, five minute stories that convey why your site or experience at the OpenETC is meaningful to you as a student, teacher, educator, internet citizen.

You do not even need to identify yourself or your site, just share as much as you wish. This will also help give people new to the OpenETC a reason to start their own journey.

Explore the stories and we hope you hear our call and share your own.

Also your stories will also help us in a presentation April 21-22, 2021 for the OERxDomains conference to share to the world what is happening here at the OpenETC.

Finally, another way to contribute back to the OpenETC is to nominate someone else’s site that inspires you.

Image credit: Remix of the concept of Rosie The Riveter We Can Do It poster (public domain) with an OpenETC logo designed for us by Bryan Mathers (shared under Creative Commons CC-BY).

Open Education Week: Share An Inspiring OpenETC Site

OEWeek 2021

Monday starts Open Education Week, a celebration and showcase including more than 165 activities and events taking place around the world. The schedule is always reflecting your local time. Share what you are doing or experiencing in social media frequently during this week using the #OEweek tag.

BCcampus Activities for Open Education Week

BCcampus has a full slate of activities worth tuning into- we highly recommend the Open Education Challenge series –

This series is a fun way to get a taste of  Open Education Practices (OEP) – over the course of 5 days, we will release 2 challenges per day.  A challenge is a micro activity that you can do in 10 minutes or less that will cover a small aspect of open education.

The challenge series is open to anyone but has been designed for educators who are new to open education. You might have heard about OER, open textbooks, and perhaps even open pedagogy but if you don’t know where to find them or how to use or create them, then this is for you. This isn’t a bootcamp or a crash course in open education, it’s more of a tasting buffet of appetizers, designed to allow even the most time-constrained educators to participate.

(listed here as part of Open Education Week)

And take note- the Open Challenge site comes to you right from the OpenETC! Maybe that site is… inspiring?

An OpenETC Activity (for this week and beyond)

The OpenETC is launching here an ongoing activity for Open Education Week . Let’s celebrate and recognize the wealth of open educational practice amongst more than 2500 WordPress sites housed in our co-op.

We provide yet another means of small but valuable ways of contributing back to our co-op. The ask is that you nominate someone else’s site that somehow speaks to you, inspires you.

Meet OpenETC Inspire

The ask here is to share not your own site, but someone else’s at the OpenETC. All that you need to do is (a) find an inspiring site; (b) Make a screenshot and copy the web address; and (c) share that information into the Inspire site.

As examples, see the ones we seeded for this launch or see what happens when you pick one at random.

How do you find a site to share? Currently the sidebar of the main OpenETC site displays the 20 newest sites just started here. We are at work to build a dynamic directory, but for now we have a mega list of over 2100 OpenETC WordPress sites. Explore a few and find one that speaks to you. If you are teaching with an OpenETC blog, you could share a student’s site (or students could share their course sites or peer sites).

The only rule is that anything submitted must reflect a site hosted at

Think of what we might build if we take on this bite sized Open Education Week challenge. And as a bonus, this site is built on a SPLOT WordPress theme that is available for OpenETC members to clone as their own.

Inspire Was Inspired

In the spirit of reuse, remix, the idea for the OpenETC Inspire (and we name it honor of the original) came from a project in the DS106 open digital storytelling course. In 2012, for their final project, two students proposed what they named inSPIRE as a place to honor and share the work of other ds106 participants. It became an ongoing activity in future ds106 courses and demonstrates a valuable, connective characteristic of open communities.

The original ds106 inSPIRE site (still available)

The spirit of ds106 inSPIRE site is as relevant or more nine years later.

A key part of the ds106 community is the connections between all of the pioneers. We have knitted together an intimate community that is not only participating in its structure but also creating it. The in[SPIRE] project wants to build a narrative of these connections in an ever-growing diagram. Be a part of the project and submit works that have inspired you and watch the diagram grow!

ds106 INSPIRE SITE Description

We invite anyone to find an inspirational OpenETC site and share it in the Inspire collection. More than that, we hope you get a chance to partake of some of the many activities of Open Education Week.

Featured Image: Unsplash image by Ave Calvar modified by placing the OpenETC chicken logo behind the phone.

Asking As Contributing

As alluded into my hello post one key way to contribute something to the OpenETC is to ask a question. Doing this is a double win– when answered, it hopefully helps you, but doing so in public helps others.

Still, I sense often there is a reluctance to ask something in public, due to that inner voice that may whisper “you are an idiot! everyone knows how to do that.” That voice is a liar. And to reiterate my ability to mess up in public, when tweeted I misspelled my own blog post title.

Yet there is another wonderful aspect about asking questions in public. Educators are eager to help answer! It feels good to do. It’s great medicine in anytime, but especially in pandemic times. I usually like to teach in networked spaces where my students can answer each other’s questions before I can. And no, I am not trying to get out of work — it creates more of community feel when the answers come from each other.

And that’s why the openETC Mattermost channels are a prime place to contribute by asking questions, answering, offering resources, encouragement, and yes, the every helpful reactionary GIF (I leave it to the reader to imagine one below). We have an ideal set up in the OpenETC “Team” for anything, the generic Town Hall channel is a good starting spot, but we have specific places to ask about Mattermost, WordPress, and the Sandstorm / Web Apps.

List of the OpenETC public channels in Mattermost including "Mattermost", "Off-Topic", "Tech Help", "Web Apps", and "WordPress"

And it need not just be technical things to ask about here.

There is also a pending plan to set up something to curate “asks” and “answers”, and no, it’s not an FAQ. A Frequently Asked Question page always sounds ideal, but perhaps it is me, but I almost never find the Q I have much less the A.

Step into the channels and ask and answer each other. That’s the smallest big way to be a part of and give back to the openETC.

Featured Image: From one of the Asks and Offers activities led by the community building champion Nancy White

Asks flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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