Talking, sharing & being taught WPMu @ NV 2008

Image from David Olson's talk at NV08
Photo used thanks to Sonson’s intellectual generosity.

The original title for this post was: “Just one more NV post, memory bartender”

The Northern Voice 2008 posts have been streaming in regularly, and I can’t add much to their overall reflections because they capture the power of this conference beautifully. That said, I have one more reflection to serve up before I check myself into a thinking detox.

At Friday’s Moose Camp I was able to catch up with a couple of UBC students who work with Brian. They are building an “educational publishing platform” using WPMu, and we got to chat about the ins and out of this system, RSS, aggregation, and the possibilities for a more powerful way of building campus community through such a tool, and needless to say these cats get it (the two I sat down with were Vince Ng and Andre Malan, and let me tell you that these two are the future of edugluuuuuuuuuuu!) It kinda I felt like being a guest speaker in one of Brian’s learning party classes, though as usual with me I came away with more than I gave back. In short, they blew me away. They understood that BDP RSS is by far the better feed parser, yet cannot create individual posts in blogs as re-blogging spam engines, like WP-o-Matic. So, Andre and Vince said, well why not automate the sign-up for BDP RSS publicly in the front end, and then take the aggregated feeds from the respected output formats and automatically feed them into WP-o-Matic as needed. Now I know this makes no sense to most, and I will expect that Andre (or Vince) write it up given he is blogging his work now.Hallelujah!

Now that technical conversation wasn’t the real charge I got out of this discussion, it was the glean of eduglu that I saw in Andre and Vince’s eyes. They had been under the informal tutelage of the abject teacher, and they groked the issues and have the programming prowess to make a difference with these tools for teaching and learning. There is no limit to what Andre, Vince, and the other students on the team can not only give back to the educational community, but also blaze the path through which students take control of the destiny of how they frame their learning environment online. I eagerly await any and all future developments, but a post like this one from Andre gives me an almost unfathomable sense of excited impatience for things to come:

I realized that I have been neglecting my duty to the community by not outlining our solutions to the problems of implementing a university-wide blogging platform.

So here it is, my plan for using WordPress as a University wide blogging platform:

To start off, I’ve been mentally breaking the problem down into two parts. We are in a sense providing two completely different services. One part is that we are providing a platform and community for student bloggers. The other part is that we are providing a course management system for professors. Although both services are interlinked, they each have their own fundamental challenges.

Not tell me this cat isn’t a natural edublogger? Looks like the edublogosphere just got that much richer with this unique and necessary voice. Can you imagine someone blogging about WPMu as publishing platforms in education who actually knows something about code? Perhaps with Brian’s dream team we can start giving those Drupal code freaks a run for their eduglu money )

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I am Jim Groom
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