Get your bliki on!

That’s right, the WordPress MediaWiki mashup is gaining some momentum. Just check out the Blogfolio del Dr. Mario Nunez, a self-proclaimed “Blogfesor” at the Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez in beautiful Puerto Rico. I love it!!! The other thing I love is that I got most of the credit when Andy Rush did most of the work 🙂

The bliki has re-surfaced for me as the Fall semester looms larger every day, and Mario and I have been talking a bit about the installation details (is this on a WPMu account Mario?) and perhaps it would be helpful to go through the steps more precisely in a blog post. I’ll try and put together a play-by-play tutorial for anyone interested in experimenting with the Bliki this Fall. Additionally, there is an excellent example of a Bliki that we worked on during the Spring semester that I have yet to blog. Marjorie Och’s Venice Seminar Exhibit was a really convincing experiment with the bliki for me and I’ll be sure to blog the details of this as well so that you can get an idea of the struggles we had when figuring out when to use the blog, when to use the wiki, and how to integrate the two for a more dynamic site/exhibit. And, ideally, you could let me know what your logic is so that we can begin to conceptualize this malleable course space.

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9 Responses to Get your bliki on!

  1. Andy Rush says:

    Thanks for the love. I’m sure you’ll fix the link 😉

  2. Gardner says:

    Jim, we gotta talk. I’ve got a FSEM I want to go full-out with, and some experiments in two other classes. Time for a grokfest. I’m buying the pizza.

  3. Tony D'Ambra says:

    Hi Jim. As a new reader of BavaTuesday, pls excuse my ignorance, but I am lost. I followed the link to the post: “A Bliki – what’s a Bliki?”, but I was even more flummoxed, for example:

    “[our group spends] very little, if any, time on infrastructural or network issues, and concentrate all our efforts solely upon developing, experimenting, and iterating through small pieces loosely joined…”


    Is there a simple answer to the question somewhere. Tks Tony

    PS: Sorry to be a PITA

  4. jimgroom says:

    @Andy: fixed -and you know that I love you.

    @Gardner: Ok, no more talk -I want pizza action. Name the time and day.

    @Tony: You kinda walked in on an Educational Tech geek out. Sorry about that, in fact writing about film and being an all around jack ass is only what I do out of an obligation to pay society back for all the pain it has inflicted on me.

    My real job is to re-imagine ways of using Web 2.0 tools to frame out new learning environments that might supplement, augment and somehow transform the way we share, discuss, publish and archive our thoughts and ideas. Blogs and wikis play a key role in this, and the bliki is a hybrid that brings the two together. I have been playing with the idea, by no means original to us at UMW, but we have come across an interesting hybrid of a WordPress and mediaWiki installation that allows professors and students to harness the power of both the wiki and the blog. And interesting concept that is not nearly fleshed out enough -so that’s what all this is about.

    In fact, your own countryman, James Farmer, is one of the pioneers with blogs in education and has been a beacon of hope and light for me as just a paltry WordPress fanboy who always just wanted to write about b-movies 🙂

  5. Sue Maberry says:

    I would so love to know how to create a blicki. I’ve been following your blogs about it for so long. A tutorial would be much appreciated!

  6. jimgroom says:

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for commenting, and congrats on the New Media Consortium excellence awards, from what I’ve seen from Otis it was well-deserved -nothing like a good old WordPress shop representing 🙂

    I kind went through the details of the bliki in a thousand places and between Andy Rush’s Misty Look discovery, Alan Levine’s pointing to the MW/WP integration extension, and host of other things they are a bit spread out. So let me do a quick and dirty link narrative here, then Andy and I will try and join forces on a more comprehensive compendium shortly.

    The Hacking a Virtual Learning Space Part 2 is a good basic overview for starting to integrate MediaWiki into WordPress through basic header tabs and overall settings for MediaWiki. So if you are a bit rusty with MediaWiki this is a good place to start.

    Next, I’d probably use the MistyLook themes for both MediaWiki and WP to get the visual illusion of integration, very powerful for playing with the two more intensely. Andy discusses these details here. Setting up the MistyLook theme for MediaWiki is a cinch. Upload the files into the skins folder and then edit one line of code in the LocalSettings file of the MediaWiki:

    $wgDefaultSkin = ‘monobook’; changed to $wgDefaultSkin = ‘mistylook’;

    After that, you just need to add a tab in the header file of the WP blog (much like I talk about here which is for the K2 but the code is extremely similar in both, even if PHP seems like Cuneiform).

    Next up, Alan Levine linked to a nice integration tool that allows users that sign-up for either the MediaWiki or the WordPress installation to be populated users who can use the same information to access either. This further fakes the integration of the two and now you are just about there. (Link)

    The final step (not necessary mind you!) would be a big one. Test out some PHP code in blog posts to pull MediaWiki articles into a post. This is very experimental and full of bugs, but this is where the whole thing gets exciting. Give wiki articles specific RSS feeds, and edit your blog posts over time like a naturally morphing organism. The link to the post about this experiment is here. A link to an example of this (which is not working quite right, for the content is being pulled -but from a MediaWiki install without the MistyLook skin on a different domain) is here.

    Now if you are using WPMu, you would have to designate a Misty Look theme for that specific class only (for you still need to hack the header). If you administer the WPMu site it’s a cinch, otherwise you need to wrangle with an admin about what it is you need to do -namely make a theme available only to that one user (prof, student, etc) who is mashing WP and MediaWiki together.

    Ok, there is my mini-version before the more official take on the whole thing.

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