a blog/wiki paper ([abstract/text]) for the July 11, 2003 LOVCOP teleconference
[Learning Objects Virtual Community of Practice]
- Why the fuss?
- What is RSS?
- Viewing RSS Content
- Connecting Learning Objects via RSS
Why the fuss? (Brian)
The exisiting emphasis in LO management has been the building of repositories (metadata, tagging, central organziation), with less thought to the use of LOs. The metadata and repository paradigm is daunting, complex and expensive. The exhausting efforts of standards bodies notwithstanding, functionally most repositories are silos - XML-RPC and SOAP protocols have yet to cohere into a viable network.
- "I need a way to find relevant learning resources from several available sources"
- "It needs to be dynamic, and up to date."
- "I don't have much programming resources to draw on, for development of maintenance."
Cheap, simple, existing tools and standards point to an approach that:
- can assemble dynamic collections of LOs (from RSS-supported repositories, etc...)
- can alert users to resources as they are made available, set by specific criteria, subject or keyword (ie: "literature", "geothermal animation").
- can support the deployment of LOs in course management systems, or any other web page.
- can describe and link to contexts in which learning resources are being used elsewhere (by metadata, weblog discussion, or trackback).
- buzzword-laden version: "decentralized contextualization of aggregations of distributed learning objects."
- foster communities of practice (if COP = group of people who form based on shared a set of goals, use a common set of resources), and integrate the "product" with the process. Why? Because the tools, techniques and standards emerge from existing and growing use of "social software." COP's working with this model are not a theoretical construct... they are a reality.
What is RSS? (D'Arcy)
- [What is RSS?]
- A fuzzy acronym with a [convoluted history] / [troubled past]. Who cares [what it stands for] or [who invented it]? or arguing the standard [0.91]? [1.0]? [2.0]? [Echo]? Focus on what it can do!
- A metaphor - news headline, the news ticker on CNN, sidebar on other news sites (like Yahoo!) with wire service reports.
- What RSS looks like (XML not made for human eyes).
- [RSS Parts diagram]
- channel information (describes the site providing the information/content, last update, contacts)
- item information- the simplest of meta tags (title, link, blurb)
- [XML source]
- Mechanism for sharing sets of resources (including learning objects).
- Not just for newest content, it can be used to find old stuff, customized content, as long as it's relevant to me/you/whoever.
- Creating RSS feeds:
Viewing RSS Content (Alan)
- Desktop aggregators (lists of RSS Readers at [Abbe Normal ] , [RSS Info])
- integrating into web sites (parse XML? who wants to do that? heavy lifting required)
- integrating into Course Management Systems (no different)
Connecting Learning Objects via RSS (D'Arcy, Alan)
- [RSS for Educators] (Nov 2002, Stephen Downes)
- [DLORN] Distributed Learning Object Repository Network
- "headlines" about LOs can be published elsewhere
- Not just newest items - RSS by discipline, keywords
- Not just newest items- saving custom query results as RSS
- aggregate sub-collections from multiple sources
- [browse with RSS aggregator] (screenshot)
- [Lora] includes MLX, CAREO, HUMBUL, ITPapers, About.com, Google, "faux" Merlot
- [Boris] includes MLX, CAREO, HUMBUL, About.com, "faux" Merlot
- [RSS feeds from Learning Object Repositories - Known Examples] (Scott Leslie, EdTechPost?)
- [MedWeb Scripting and XML Demonstrator] several working applications accessing multiple RSS sources, [first example] of RSS/LO integration (David Davies)
- takes little effort for databased content (less than a few hours each for both D'Arcy (CAREO) and Alan (Maricopa) to implement
- Implementation at Maricopa Learning eXchange (Alan) [Backtrack to Trackback]
- Implementation at CAREO   (D'Arcy)
- Was in the process of building a new interface management utility for CAREO, and wanted to test with something radically different (looking) than traditional HTML. RSS is just machine-readable XML, and should be able to be handled by the CAREO interface manager (theme engine)
- The only technical hurdles were in the way the theme engine was built (XML fragments processed using XSLT, requiring specific management of XML namespaces and entities). The RSS portion of the equation was absolutely trivial, and didn't require the addition of any new code to CAREO.
- The result of this experiment in CAREO will lead to various data export modules in the next version of the repository software. One of these modules will be RSS, and will allow syndication of any page or component within the application. (other various modules, like QuickTime or Keynote... will follow)
- Current RSS implementation in CAREO provides syndication feeds for:
- Top Objects (most viewed)
- Recent Objects (newest objects in repository)
- Search Results (syndicate any simple search)
- Implementation at UBC [LOs @ UBC Applied Science]
- Locally developed repository built on Alan and D'Arcy's work. (We are also installing an instance of CAREO here at UBC.)
- Current RSS functionality of Applied Science repository provides syndication feeds for (links are RSS):
How About Some Trackback? (A post-script for the hard-core participants)
Recommended Ed Tech Webloggers:
Check out David Wiley's great primer: [A Beginner's Guide to Joining the Instructional Technology Blog Scene] and see George Siemens' list of ["Current" Edu-bloggers]. Also see the [final version of weblog definition] (Jill Walker, jill/txt) and the[incomplete annotated history of Weblogs]