Embedding video with wordTube

Not sure if I missed it on the first run through the installed plug-ins, or if the admin team is very active with add-ons for users, but after spending some time today trying to get a Youtube video to show in a Page I noticed the “wordTube” plugin.

I activated it, found a wordTube link in the Media area of the dashboard, and added a Youtube video. Cool.

After some finagling I sorted out the method for getting the video to load in the page.

Here’s “The Machine is Us/ing Us,” by Michael Wesch, as a video embedded in a blog entry:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Nice. Easy. Unattractive!

Positioning and resizing a wordtube video in a post

Dumping a video on the page is one thing. Getting it to look good by positioning and resizing is something else.

I was able to resize the wordtube media with a little code, and to center the media by wrapping it in a div and affixing an inline style of center to it. No sweat, though it would be nice for students if this could be handled through buttons.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Here’s a cheesy caption one might put beneath the video

If you know your way around an html element or two, and a little about css, the following will help you out. If you don’t know about html/css, you probably want to just wait for some new plugin or enhancement to wordtube.

  • Code I used to adjust media size: media=# width=xxx height=xxx
  • Code I used to center the media: div style=”text=align:center

Loading the video into a “portfolio” page

Here it is loaded onto a page nested within the Courses area of the sandbox eportfolio. (Scroll to the bottom of that page for the link(s).

I tried to adjust the default size of the video in the page by modifying preferences in wordTube. While I thought I had made the mods, I’m not seeing a resized video. I suspect this is because I’m grabbing a smaller version of the Youtube video. (More tweaking will provide answers.)

Ajax/Javascript to Drag/Drop Sort Pages?

A quick search revealed that I’m not the only one bothered by the lack of drag/drop Page sorting functionality in WordPress.  In 2007, a Brazilian wrote a plugin for WP that does just this during the Google Summer of Code – http://bitsinashortbit.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/the-final-bits-of-gsoc/.

I suppose I might implement this kind of thing in my own blog.  (I think I’d just go in and mod the template pages, in all honesty.) But I certainly can’t do it from my limited access in a blog in WordPress mu.  Someone at the uber-admin level would need to put this functionality into the blog tool.

Why Do This?

  1. Any e-portfolio should enable the author to name the areas of his/her portfolio, and to sort the items in appropriate ways.  The template I’m using in the demo blog sorts via alpha list – totally meaningless, if you ask me.
  2. Drag/Drop functionality is available in other platforms/packages, and even in other areas of WP (notice the widgets sorting).  Why not put it where it matters, like in the pages listing?
  3. In WordPress mu, an individual blog admin has very limited customization options available. Enhanced individual blog admin controls add power without necessarily requiring added coding knowledge.

What’s up with this blog?

This blog is a sandbox of sorts.  There’s interest in WordPress as an eportfolio tool in some areas of campus. I’m comfortable with WP generally, and my personal blog is a WP blog.

But I’m not nearly as familiar with WordPress mu.  The Academic Commons enables me to try out the “user” side of mu, to test its limits and to see the organization options available.

If you come across the blog in the Academic Commons and have some thoughts on WP mu as an eportfolio platform, please share insights.

Questions I have after 1-2 hours working in mu:

  • Can I sort the order of my “pages” in the horiz nav?  Normally, I’d go in and edit the php files, but this seems not to be an option given my limited permissions in mu.  Ideally, there’d be some sort of Ajax-like implementation (or javascript) that offered the user/admin a drag-to-sort option in the Edit Pages area of the dashboard – like Blogger and like the Widgets sorting in WP.
  • If students load eportfolios into WP mu, is it possible for the institution to easily sort and pull samples out of the database?  Assessment is the motivation here, and without this possibility I think WP mu is limited from an institutional perspective.  (Obviously, it’s still a wonderful tool for the user/student.) I can’t see any of the options for this work from my vantage point within a single blog in mu.
  • Word docs are excluded from media uploads for security reasons. Is this an Academic Commons restriction, or a general mu default restriction?  I converted to pdf and uploaded, but that’s another step that students would have to take.  And it requires the Acrobat package, unless a student turns to open source pdf maker tools. (I suppose there’s a way to write a pdf converter into the upload process so word docs get transformed. But why overcomplicate matters?)