We need to keep better tracking records for the various types of ongoing experiments that are constantly getting set up as part of daily online life.
That’s a problem I’m trying to solve, and the aim may be to have an action logging app that covers this kind of documentation eventually, in order to manage all those spinning plates while on the move, I’m talking mobile now, but in the meantime we came up with the idea of using MediaWiki templates to create structured project pages incorporating multiple cycles, on the intranet and other wikis.
MediaWiki templates provide a consistent style, even if it does look a bit blocky, and can be used to prompt for missing data, to make sure everything gets put down in words, figures and dates. Links and images too.
There are two ways of passing specific data over from the project page to the Template itself, one is using parameters that are referenced by position – 1,2,3 etc and the other is to used named parameters and I think I’m going to try using named parameters for the Cycle template. See there, I’ve already modularised the system by plumping for nested templates with the Cycle Template being called a number of times within some kind of overall Project Header template. They may not actually be nested in practice, but simply chopped together on the calling page but we’ll see about that later on once we get to the coding stage.
Action Research Project MediaWiki Template
The Project template describes the project in terms of an area of online activity to be worked on and a stated intention for improvement.
To start with I’m suggesting the following specification
DARproject $Domain, $Aim, $Strategy to test, $Notes Other variables to take into account
using the above 4 variables to define the project, we next move on to look at individual cycles:
Action Research Cycles MediaWiki Template
DARcycle $Cycle number, $Action to be taken, $Date actioned, $End date, $data collected, $Observed Results, $Reflection, $Conclusion, $Next Action to try
So that’s what I’m up to today, using Mediawiki templates to try and prototype a system for tracking distributed action research projects better online.
Update on Progress with DAR Templates
I’ve got the basic templates up and working using the specification outlined above, tweaked just a little to use positional parameters for the first two variable in the Cycle template, and named parameters for the rest. Rather than nesting templates inside each other, I’ve plumped for a simpler system of just calling the Header then instances of Cycle then the Footer from the content page, so I now have three separate templates which work together. The result is as intended.
Here’s a screenshot from a fictitious example which shows a rudimentary colour scheme and other visual indicators to try and make the functioning of the system as intuitive as possible
The next stage now is to start using the prototype templates for a small but real project as soon as possible and see how it goes.