Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anchors for Glossary

Teaching always makes me to learn. Usually it happens in discussion when learners share their thoughts - and they are different from mine. Sometime the difference is small but causes me to reconsider. Sometime the difference is huge and I get to struggle with my own perspective, incorporate this new way of seeing and figure out what I now know.

At other times, a student asks a question, that seems straightforward to them, but I don't know the answer (not even a lame answer). I could go into a long post about how I came to be ok about not knowing answers. But this post is actually about providing the answer (maybe a lame one) to a specific how-to while blogging question. Joan this is for you. Readers, if you know less lame answers please comment.

Joan has created a blog for and with young children. She wants to be able to link key words to definitions but is not keen on what happens when she links to (it is busy and the reader ends up leaving the blog). I link from my blog often but have never been been trying to do a similar task. It would be awesome if the text definition popped up like they do on the NYT page, leaving the readers in the same spot. But that is probably way to fancy.

I searched the gadgets to see if there is a gadget in which Joan could build a glossary. I looked for askaword-like gadgets that lead to a preexisting dictionary. I looked for online collaborative glossary tools. No luck. But here's my current answer.

1. Create a new page on the blog called glossary. (Yeah the tab will show but that isn't so bad if it is one page and not a page for every word.)

2. On that page build your glossary like this (of course this is my sample glossary - see the tab at the top of this blog).  I have three terms in my glossary: Virtual Worlds, Pedagogy and Online Learning.  Virtual Worlds has not been bold-ed yet.  Pedagogy has been bold-ed but is not ready to link to.  Online learning is both bold-ed and ready to link to.

HTML code for setting anchors on a glossary page  (code for bold and new line
are also visible)

3. While in edit on your glossary page, choose HTML next to the COMPOSE button.  This takes you behind the scenes into the HTML code of the page.  Mostly it just looks like text but you will see some non-text stuff. In the above example look at the code in my glossary (which contains only 3 words and a lot of space for this example).
  • Look at "Virtual Words" in the above code.  It is just text.
  • Look at "Online Learning." It has the code  and /b on either side in brackets. This is the code for bold that was applied to the HTML when I pressed the B bold button on the tool bar in COMPOSE
  • Look at Pedagogy.  It has this code a name= "pedagogy" and  /a  before and it in brackets. This code is called an anchor and makes it possible to link to this specific place on the glossary page. As in the previous example   and /b will make the word Pedagogy appear bold.
4. While in Edit mode on your glossary page, AND in HTML (not COMPOSE), copy the code as above.  Add  a name= "youranchorword" in front of each of your glossary terms and /a  after.  Use the < > symbols as brackets. Replace "youranchorword" each time with a word that you will remember to refer to this term.  In my example glossary I will use "pedagogy" for Pedagogy, "online" for Online Learning and "virtual" for Virtual World. Publish your glossary page to save it.  You can edit it at any time.

5. Go to a post in your blog that contains words that you want to link to your glossary.  In edit mode AND in COMPOSE (not HTML), highlight the word and choose the link button in the tool bar. (We can do this in HTML but it means more code!) Paste the url to your glossary page.  You may need to open it in another tab in order to get the address. Follow the address with #youranchorword, where pedagogy is the anchor word you used for that item in your glossary.  Click ok in the link editor and publish your blog post.  The link will turn blue. When you click it, you will open your glossary with the anchored word in the top most position of the page.

6. Test our my glossary words now that I have anchored each of them: Virtual Worlds, Online Learning, Pedagogy

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