Finding A Path

The way through the woods

Image by Steve-h via Flickr

Seeing tweets about setting teachers up using WordPress Multisite so that they can easily read what students are writing.  I am trying to understand what the best path is to take with this and am wondering if I have missed something. This is what I have tried from my first start in 2005 as I explored how to make it easy for myself and others:

  • make each student an author on a teacher blog and have students comment within the one system
    • easy to manage
    • student does not have their own blog
  • on WordPress sites I created for students have each student create a blog roll for all the other students in the class
    • nice to use the student blog roll to get from student to student
    • student content is not aggregated into one place
  • have each student create their blog externally using Edublogs and view content via a Netvibes page & Greader
    • each student has their own blog
    • student content is aggregated to one place
    • Netvibes looked nice but loaded very slow in Saigon
    • RSS Feeds were created on a blog by blog basis
  • on Edublogs but using Excel to create the feeds though concatenation then using an OPML tool (can’t remember if this is the tool) to create the feeds and upload the feeds to Greader
    • once the formulas were created it was a quick way to get at the feed urls
    • had to manually add each blog name to the spread sheet
  • on Edublogs using a Google Spread Sheet to create the feeds through concatenation then switched to a GForm so students added the data needed to create the feeds and OPML file
    • learnt a lot about concatenation
    • less work to create the feeds
    • students had some difficulties adding the correct URL
  • repeated using a GForm and concatenation  on the SSIS blogging system
  • adding student blog posts to a teacher blog via rss plugins (there are many)
  • import all student posts into the teacher blog using Sitewide tags, FeedWordpress and the Add Links Widget
    • each student uses their own blog
    • all student content is imported into the teacher blog
    • worry about the workload this might have on the server
    • a bit more work to create this on my end
  • use category or tag based feeds from the main blog created via Sitewide tags. This basically means you have a situation like my very first one.
    • as all blog posts, categories and tags become part of one blog this is a one step process and you need to add one feed only to get at all the student work.
    • with tags you can select work based on topic so instead of seeing everything written for your English class you can select a specific topic like poetry or AOW
    • if tags or categories are not written correctly you will not get all the content

It’s interesting that even with teachers who like using RSS feeds the second option is one of the preferred ones. The last two are the ones I like. Based on what I have read issues dealing with misspelling of tags or categories are overcome by having students import preset categories, tags and menus. All I would have to do is show teachers how to replace the middle-school slug  ( with their name or subject etc. and add the URL to their reader account.

Other suggestions?
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