For Teachers New to Weblogs: An Introduction to Blogging (ver 2.0)

Wednesday, I'll be part of a workshop here at GVSU for teachers interested in using weblogs. For a handout, I decided to revise the "For Teachers New to Weblogs: An Introduction to Blogging" created by the CCCC Blogging SIG during September 2005.

Here is For Teachers New to Weblogs: An Introduction to Blogging (ver 2.0). There are some significant changes from the original version.

Google Summer of Code Drupal Assignment/Gradebook Module project


Bill Fitzgerald of FunnyMonkey is mentoring a student with the Google Summer of Code project. The student will be working on an Assignment/Gradebook module for Drupal.

Based on feedback from students using Drupal in my classes over the last couple of years, the ability to check grades online is the single most important feature missing from Drupal when compared to their experiences with WebCT. Moreover, even though the community/collaboration/configurability features of Drupal make it an excellent online platform for the writing classroom, more traditional teaching types are used to the course administration emphasis of proprietary learning management systems. This is a much needed addition if Drupal is to be adopted more in the mainstream.

Open Source LMS's in Education: A Service Learning Opportunity

In blogging Sam's, Dave's and my presentation on Drupal in education, Harold Jarche cites two of the slides offering a particular bit of commentary to one of our points:

Reallocation of funds from site licensing fees into learning opportunities for students. [I like this one!]

More on OSDDP: Presentation Version

As part of this year's Professional Writing Pedagogy and Technology Showcase at Purdue, Suzanne Black and I used OpenOffice to prepare a PowerPoint style presentation giving an overview of OSDDP. A Flash version is available online.

Purdue University's OSDDP: Integrating the Open Source Development Model into the Teaching of Writing

One of the reason that my personal weblog has been begging for attention during the last few months is that I've been working on a new project here at Purdue, the Open Source Development and Documentation Project (OSDDP). From the most recent press release:

West Lafayette, IN -- October 13th, 2004 -- The Professional Writing Program at Purdue University has implemented an evolution in service learning called the Open Source Development and Documentation Project (OSDDP). As members of a community formed to integrate learning with the open source development model, students, teachers, and clients are working together to develop documentation of and related to open source. Through their involvement in the project, students are gaining valuable experience in collaboration much needed for professional development while building business and technical communication skills

OSDDP is currently designated as a pilot program and is being used in almost a dozen business and technical writing courses offered through the English Department at the university. “[OSDDP] is initiating a new major course project involving service learning and community engagement, which Purdue is very interested in and that we see as critical to learning to write in the 21st century workplace,” explains Dr. David Blakesley, Director of Professional Writing at Purdue University.

Carnegie Mellon Starts Offering Courses Online

This Slashdot post notes that Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative is available to the public. However, unlike MIT's OpenCourseWare which is a content delivery system (granted, with a lot of useful content), OLI is a community-based approach with some innovative, interactive features:

OLI courses include a number of innovative online
instructional components such as:

  • cognitive tutors
  • virtual laboratories
  • group experiments
  • simulations

Cognitive theory and faculty expertise guide the
initial development of each course. As the courses are delivered,
OLI researchers conduct a variety of studies to examine the effectiveness
and usability of various educational innovations. The research results
are used not only to improve the courses themselves, but also to
contribute to a growing understanding of effective practices in
online learning environments. (from the Project Overview page)

It's nice to see that Carnegie Mellon is using OLI as a way to test new pedagogical tools in an open source developmental style. With the potentially larger user base from making this system public, Carnegie Mellon scholars should be able to leverage a wider range of feedback in user testing.

Hopefully we'll see more of this as educators begin to understand that open content is not just about access to materials for students and other teachers to use, but also a new twist to developing pedagogy that is rooted in the long tradition of pratictioners who have shared their ideas and content with others in a way that futher develops our teaching practices by more than just depending on the publishing of research.