Shhh! Don’t tell anybody…

I’ve been lucky enough to play around with Alan Levine of the Maricopa Learning Exchange and D’Arcy Norman of CAREO, bouncing email back and forth around the intersections between LOs, weblogs, RSS, and all that groovy stuff.

Truth be told, their skills are so much stronger than mine that they’ve been doing most of the bouncing…

But it’s been fun watching these guys work, and throwing in my cheerleading and ill-informed opinions along the way. Today D’Arcy summarizes some of the potential applications:

Imagine this: “Person A” is searching a LOR and comes across a really cool LO that they want to use. They have some comments that they might be wanting to share with a community outside of the LOR. They publish these comments to their weblog (say a departmental or institutional or even personal LO-related weblog), and include a trackback to a URL provided by the LOR for that specific LO.

Sometime later, “Person B” is searching the LOR for some content, and finds the same object that “Person A” found. They click the “Details” button to learn more about the LO, including the metadata context stored in the LOR, and all trackbacked weblog entries related to this LO. They are able to see “Person A”s comments directly in the LOR, providing some addition outside-of-mandated-metadata-schema context that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.

“Person C” is surfing the LO-related weblogs, and come across the post from “Person A” about a LO. They click the link, and are brought to the LOR’s “Details” page for that LO, where they can see the “official,” centralized metadata, as well as all informal, distributed metadata and comments aggregated by the Trackback feature of the LOR.

This could be quite cool.

Imagine this going one step further… There is no reason for Trackbacks to be restricted to weblogs… They could just as easily be generated by other LORs, or even other completely unrelated software. Imagine a user on CAREO being able to trackback a LOR in MERLOT. Or vice versa. Or a CAREO user being able to trackback and comment on something in the Corbus collection. Or an instructor working on a BlackBoard course being able to search for and add to comments on LOs in LORs all around the world, in the context of their course…

Anyhow, Alan has started up a demo weblog running RSS feeds of LOs, and he’s apparently got the trackback feature going. I wasn’t sure if he wanted it public at this early stage, but seeing how D’Arcy has already plugged it, I might as well do so too…

Another angle

To me, the coolest thing about weblog tools is that they allow a relative novice to publish well-formatted content to the web with ease. The basic applications are as easy as email, and advanced functions have evolved in response to the desires of the user community. I can’t help but wonder if the elements that have made weblogging adoption grow so rapidly can’t be applied in our own sphere. Obviously, I’m not alone.

Scott Leslie of EdTechPost has mused about looking at some of the tools building toward structured blogging for CD/DVD/book reviews, and reworking them for LOs. And it looks like George Siemens and others over at the Open Source Content discussion group have similar ideas.

My brain hurts. But I kinda like it.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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