Imagine courses that take place in wikis, blogs, social networks…

I am this week in the WikiSym / Wikimania double conference.

Its’ another great opportunity to spend some time with the world’s brightest wiki-minds: academics, developers, community members and bureaucrats.

I am going to give a short talk on Friday in the Wikiversity session. I am going to present the EduFeedr, a small and beautiful project I am working with Hans Põldoja.

If you can’t make it to Gdańsk — it’s sunny and with nice mixture (like good wikis) of Slavic flexibility and Prussian order — you may check the following presentation. I’ll copy here also the abstract of the talk:

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Designing Tools for Supporting Wikiversity Courses: the Case of EduFeedr

In spring 2008 the authors organized a course on composing free and open educational resources (in the Wikiversity). It was officially a master’s course at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. The authors decided to make the course available with an open enrollment through the Wikiversity and promoted it in their blogs. As a result about 70 people from 20 countries signed up for the course on the Wikiversity page.

The course was organized as a weekly blogging seminar. In each week the facilitators posted a weekly theme and links to related readings on the course blog. The participants reflected on the weekly theme in their personal blogs and commented their peers.

One of the challenges in a large blog-based course is to follow all the communication. Typically this communication takes place not only in blogs but also in other environments such as Delicious, Twitter, etc. Most of these environments provide RSS feeds but typical RSS readers are not very suitable for following this kind of courses. Most of the RSS readers such as Google Reader are designed for personal use. In a Wikiversity course it would be important to have a shared feed reader that all the participants could use.

EduFeedr is a web-based feed reader that is designed specifically for following and supporting learners in open blog-based courses. The design process of EduFeedr is based on the research-based design methodology. We have organized several Wikiversity courses where we have tried out various online tools to manage the course. The initial user needs for EduFeedr came out from this contextual inquiry. Interaction design methods such as scenario-based design, user stories and paper prototyping have been used in the process.

As a result of the design process we have indicated the key features for EduFeedr. These include (1) signing up for the course, (2) visualizing how the students have proceeded with the assignments, (3) visualizing the social network between the students, (4) annotating blog posts and comments, and (5) archiving the course.

EduFeedr is currently a work-in-progress. The first version is implemented as Elgg plugin and we are currently doing internal testing with real data from several Wikiversity courses. In this version we have implemented signing up for the course and some of the planned visualizations. We are planning to launch the beta version of EduFeedr service in late summer 2010. The source code and more information about EduFeedr is available at the project web site (see http://www.edufeedr.org).

4 thoughts on “Imagine courses that take place in wikis, blogs, social networks…

  1. Excellent! This is exactly what is needed.

    An embedder for wiki pages or sections to appear in blogs would complete it nicely, making the data flows optionally either way. Brian Lamb did this a couple of years ago.

    But your reader alone would be a massive help.

    Like

  2. Leigh: good point. We need a EduFeedr Widget which one may embed to any website. I assume it is still a challenge to embed things on wikis — don’t know what is the state of affairs today.

    Like

  3. To me EduFeedr is the most anticipated tool in the edutech sector at the moment. How’s the hosted version progressing and does “late summer” translate to “before the end of August”?

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