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This is based on a submission to the Penn State open innovation challenge for 2018. I like to post my ideas to my blog in addition to my submission so that I never lose them. This one is about the logical extension to HAX for desktop over 2018 which could be utilized to decentralize instructional experience creation. If this sounds of use to your institution, good, let's work together on it.


Faculty and staff have no idea what they can use at our institution. No matter how many registries of information or solutions we provide, people will need to practically be marketted to just to know they exist in the sea of information about what makes the university work. Beyond this, there is no way to provide continuous innovation to those not at high-touch units which work hand in hand with faculty to produce highly experimental course spaces and approaches. Even if we could find the things we need, very few of them talk to each other, their user experiences are all over the map, and most aren't very good for creating materials without needing to understand technical topics (like HTML). This isn't a PSU specific problem, Duke has an illustration that highlights 93+ solutions available to faculty, many of which don't talk even if they knew them all. How to solve the problem of finding and once getting there creating engaging experiences?

Leading questions

  • What if faculty and staff involved in producing instructional experiences had an app that told them what services existed and made it instantly possible to use?
  • What would it look like institutionally and what would the use experience look like?
  • What needs would we have technically in order to support this?


    This is the vision of HAX, a distributed instructional creation tool. HAX can be viewed as a public demo here. The important thing to keep in mind with this is that desktop publishing of applications can be done using HTML, making them far easier to build when you just make it work on the web. Imagine if users could log into the app on their laptop or phone and just create. Creating a new course? Start one on your local machine and with the press of a button publish it to Canvas, Drupal, ELMS:LN, GravCMS or a static website. Want to see what colleagues have shared from their courses? Fork their materials by searching an institution protected repository right from the app or connect to global shared object repositories. Instead of trying to market to faculty and staff what services are available, have people utilize a unified app which connects to the registry of everything available to them for teaching and learning. Want to stream video? Upload it to the app and it'll publish it to youtube or the video provider the university supports. Want to create H5P but don't understand hosting? Build it in the app and it'll save to the correct, FERPA valid location. Want to create a slideshow? Drag and drop a series of images which automatically get uploaded to Amazon S3 and then click a UI to "build" your slideshow. Worry about accessibility? HAX will take care of it for you automatically and without the ability to make in-accessible content. Content in HAX is accessible by default due to the game changing technology called webcomponents. Let's get faculty and staff out of the business of understanding HTML and instead build materials that allow them to leverage the services the institution provides without increased cognitive load.


    The ELMS:LN team has begun work on such a desktop app called HAX deskop app which seeks to achieve this vision. Help us make this a reality in 2018 and beyond as we seek to empower faculty and align technology deployments with academic freedom and student curiosity.

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Crazy, abrasive, caring, dreaming the world into existance we need, not the one we have.

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