Three flavors of course blogs, very yummy…

In a comment on my post “who owns a class blog Jim Groom said:

That is the rub, when you open up a system like this, there are a number of ways of going at it, and having the ability to meet as many of them easily makes your life simpler.

I agree whole-heartedly with Jim. My judgment has been clouded lately by the Wp-o-matic’s ability lack of to update posts on the fly and the lack of a “delete all” button on any of WordPress’ pages. Today though, I saw the light. I now have a clear vision of three simple, definable, student driven course blog structures.

  1. The ghost blog:

  2. This blog is for the professor who doesn’t want to be confused by hundreds of student posts knocking around his/her blog. The blog simply uses BDPRSS and my add-to-BDPRSS widget (source code coming soon I promise) to populate a WordPress page with aggregated student entries. When another year of students comes, the old posts will still be there (or not, or in another blog that that the new blog links to), but as newer posts come in, the old posts will fall off of the bottom of the feed and the blog will have just new fresh content. No having to delete anything!

  3. The Communal blog:

  4. This blog is for the professor who wants to get stuck into the blogging experience with the students. This also probably the easiest (although I used to think it was the hardest) to implement. Jim reminded me of the “Add Sidebar Users” widget, which I will tweak slightly to make setting up this kind of blog super easy. Our new blogging service will allow students to sign up as just subscribers if they want to and with Campus Wide Login they won’t even have to remember their username. Zero work for the professor!

  5. The spam blog:

  6. Jim did great things with WP-o-matic. I found a tool that works even better for what we want to do (in fact, it is the one thing that I can now do better than the current incarnation of eduglu). FeedWordPress by Charles Johnson is another spamblogger that updates entries if they change in the feed. The biggest problem that I had with other versions of spam blogging tools was that they took dynamic content, republished it and then made it static. This might work for blog posts (which don’t generally change very much after they have been written)… but for something like a course syllabus or wiki feed (I’ll save that discussion for a later day) the content in the repository has to be continually updated. Otherwise we just have old junk entries lying around. FeedWordPress fixes that. FeedWordPress also has a nice “delete all” button that will get rid of feed entries that are marked for deletion. Best of all, the author has provided an excellent API and a bunch of hooks so that I can massage this plugin into doing my complete bidding.

    I will be finalizing and testing these methods tomorrow and over the weekend and will hopefully have some concrete examples by early next week.

    One last thing. These structures do not have to be independent. the communal blog can be combined with the spam blog (giving students the option). A ghost page can then be created in a different tab, feeding in content from other sources as examples and even points of discussion for future posts by the students. A ghost blog can be archived by simply feeding it into a spam blog and so on.

1 Trackbacks

You can leave a trackback using this URL: http://andremalan.net/blog/2008/02/29/three-flavors-of-course-blogs-very-yummy/trackback/

  1. By Viva El Señor Presidente! on February 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    […] the students kept individual blogs as well. And I promise you Jon, we will be able to whip up a proper course blog if you’re willing to give OLT another […]

5 Comments

  1. Anre,

    Have I ever told you how much you rule! FeedWordPress is new to me, and I await your every move with wild dreams of WPMu eduglu. Down with Drupal ;)

    Posted February 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply
  2. Funny enough. I’ve been using both of those feed plugins on WPMU installs. (one test, one for a client)

    Works well.

    Posted March 7, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply
  3. What you are developing strikes me as fantastic! I have a development installation of WP MU and am looking at how this application could further teaching and learning. You address the question well and deal with the issues “where the rubber meets the road” Not to mention the resources available that are linked to from your blog(s).

    The one issue of scale that I am wrestling with is getting beyond paste or import of student lists. Add and drops from a course are pretty frequent early in a semester. Looking into how to provide ability of instructor to add a course identifier and have some sort of real time or batch synch to SIS data.

    Posted June 20, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply
  4. Writing a plugin to do that kind of thing would be relatively easy, but it would require the SIS to have an easily accessible API. Currently our system is very clunky. Maybe the new SIS Kuali student will be easier to work with… but that is several years down the line.

    Posted June 21, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Permalink | Reply
  5. We stumbled over here different website and thought I might
    as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to finding out about your web page repeatedly.

    Posted August 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*