Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keeping the GUI simple with the HUI

The Hidden User Interface
As we strive to maintain the "easy as dirt"* usability of the Graphic User Interface (GUI) in our open source Salsa application, we are creating a customizable User interface that lives "beneath" the GUI. We have even coined an original term: Hidden User Interface (HUI).**

We're still fleshing out the concept, but here are some thoughts:


  1. Achieve simplicity and beauty through "ruthless reduction" (inspired by Fedarko's description of dories in The Emerald Mile).
  2. Provide an interface that is accessible for all Users.
  3. Maintain a common "top-level" interface to support interactions between Users: collaborative creation of SALSAs, feedback, coaching. 
  4. Maintain a common "top-level" interface to optimize resources and services provided for Users: documentation, training, support.


  1. Provide the ability to adapt to a User's spatial and/or visual preferences.
  2. Allow the User to select the level of instructional scaffolding that is visible.
  3. Allow Users to also share HUIs through the "Template Link" (currently allows a User to share content without creating a User account).
SALSA template link

*Actual client feedback on a beta version.
** Originality claim based on an exhaustive (several minutes) Google search.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Getting my global geek on

Today I received Happy Ugadi greetings from the Swift eLearning team:

A quick check on Wikipedia informs me: 

Yugādi,Telugu:Ugadi (ఉగాది/యుగాది), (Ugādi 'Samvatsarādi Kannadaಯುಗಾದಿ Yugadi , Konkani/Marathi: युगादि yugādi) is the New Year's Day for the people of the Deccan region of India. The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new age". It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar.

The question is, do I send a greeting in Telugu, Kannada, Konkani, or Marathi?

JS to the rescue:

var lang = "language";

if (lang = "Telugu") {

"-ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు"


else if (lang = "Kannada") {

"ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು"


else if (lang = "Konkani" ) {

"Navve varsache shubhashay, Samsar padvyache shubhashay."


else if (lang = "Marathi") {

"'गुढी पाडव्याच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा'" 


else {

"Happy Ugadi!"


I didn't want to limit the critique of my JS to just my readers, so I posted on StackFlow: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22790439/js-formula-for-ugadi-greeting

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Incorporating Bloom's Revised Taxonomy into a Syllabus

Many higher education institutions recommend that instructors use Bloom's Revised Taxonomy when creating a syllabus. Here are a few examples: Chicago State University, Duquense University, University of Illinois - Champaign-Urbana, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina - Greensboro and University of West Florida.

Incorporating Bloom's Revised into a syllabus is very easy with the open source syllabus authoring tool Salsa. Action verbs grouped by Bloom's Revised are built into the product:

Instructors can select a level of Bloom's:

And when they click on the verb, it is added to the text editor:

What are your thoughts on Bloom's Revised in the syllabus?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Salsa is up and running!

salsa logo

We'll be launching version 1.0 of Salsa shortly, but in the meantime, the open-source application is up and running.

Follow Salsa on Twitter:

Monday, September 16, 2013

What are SALSAs?

SALSAs are styled & accessible learning service agreements for contemporary higher-education students, particularly those participating in some form of asynchronous learning delivered online.

SALSAs are:

  • accessible to all students regardless of physical or sensory impairment
  • styled to provide clarity and consistency
  • organized into six parts: information, outcomes, resources, activities, policies and grades
The Center for Innovative Design & Instruction at Utah State University is developing an open-source, web application named Salsa. Building on the design of the PDF Syllabus Builder, this authoring tool generates online documents in PDF and HTML format.