In a course revamp for ENGL3177: Weblogs and Wikis, inspired by PLENK2010, and incorporating connectivist and MOOC ideas, I’m using FeedWordPress to syndicate student feeds to a new Daybook (experimental at time of writing).
An aggregator is at the heart of a working PLE – and also at the heart of a MOOC. I’d like to use Steve Downes’s gRSShopper but I’m not sure my host will run it, and I want to wait for a RC or at least a later beta.
So I took an alternative route, inspired by Jim Groom’s new design of his Digital Storytelling course. (Earlier version here. And collaborative notes on course design are here. Damn, he’s good.) I set up a new iteration of WordPress on my domain, then added the FeedWP and two extra plugins. Set up went well – and I’ll be donating to radgeek’s tipjar. Adding feeds works well. As a test, I syndicated feeds from a few public sites, and a flickr feed: all good. I set up to trim the extract to 250 words: worked. FeedWP provides a lot of options, and while it’s well-designed, a lot of options means a couple of (enjoyable) hours experimenting.
But I want to filter posts by hash tag, so that students can syndicate to our aggregator only what they want to. That has been problematic. (Seems like Jim is having a similar issue). There’s a filter in the FeedWP Categories and Tags panel that looks like it should work, but I haven’t had much luck with it. So while I sort it out, I’m trying an alternative solution.
I’m using a Google Alert and will syndicate that. Let Google to the heavy lifting of finding the hash tagged stuff, then feed it to the Daybook in one flow.
– Students don’t have to register with the Daybook site, but I will ask them to anyway.
– I don’t have to register every stream (blog, flickr, twitter, tumblr, facebook …) on the Daybook. Google should find all the hash tagged stuff, wherever it’s published.
– Should be easy to set up new hash tag Google Alerts.
– All the posts come in as a big firehose stream. I may have to find a way to help readers sort them. Careful tagging will help, but seriously, who’s really careful about tagging?
Extracting a daily newsletter from this set up looks problematic, too, but I’ll deal with that when I get there.