I was looking at the posts on WPMu Development for Education earlier this morning, and I came across this post from The College of Wooster’s (or should I saw WOOT!ster’s) WPMu/BuddyPress install Voices. The post was about new themes added to their system, something I am always interested in, but it also gave me the opportunity to check out the hard work Jon Breitenbucher has been doing on Wooster’s blog-based publishing platform, and I am extremely impressed. What I am really blown away by is how he is using BuddyPress Groups as course instances, and the way they’ve set it up, courses are linked to groups, and through those groups course pages you get access to the latest blog posts, wire comment activity, group members, and a link to the course blog. Additionally, there’s also a fourm integrated through an integrated bbPress. The whole design gives the course a really nice landing page and overview for anyone coming in from the outside, I love this setup.
And what’s more, the group course blogs have the option of being public or private enables the option of privacy that so often gets misunderstood in this platform as non-existent. People do have the choice in such a environment to make a decision about open or closed, most LMSs do not give the average course instance. One of the public blogs, Geology 105 is an open course that is blogging about Natural Hazards. As it turns out, professor Gallagher’s Geography 240 course is also dealing with the topic Natural Hazards. And the fact that these two courses are following a similar topic openly might allow Jon and to actually put in place something we were talking about at WordCamp NYC, namely a sharing of ideas across our two campuses. The platform provides a means for us to do this easily, and if eaither of these courses were in an LMS, would we have the same options? Would I have been able to discover the work at Wooster so easily? And while some say we need to rethink the LMS and work within that space to make in do these things more readily, I for one feel none of that compulsion. Working in an open source platform that provides the means to share and converse so readily precludes the need for reinventing the wheel with proprietary software. Why waste our time, now let’s get his party started right, Jonny B:)