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MERLOT: ECollaborative Online (Aussie View)

Getting ready to start the Thursday 8:00am general session, another presenation by Garry Putland from EdNA (Education Network Australia). There will be other bloggers in the room madly typing the notes, so I plan to lean back and observe…

Too bad the room is looking pretty sparse- Garry is brilliant and EdNA Online is worth seeing. Maybe too many late nights whooping it up at the Celebration of Lights fireworks last night… I could hear from outside the throngs lined up for the SkyTrain after the show were chanting “Oh Canada” endlessly.

Now it the room is filling, and on with the show.


We Would Clone MLX If….

We are flattered. David is aiming for a clone of our Maricopa Learning eXchange, and is added to the list of people requesting a copy of it.

We are not being stingy and would love to put the code out there. For the 10 years I have been web publishing, our MCLI site has and still does share all of its content, e.g Writing HTML.

To be honest, as it stands right now, the MLX is rather specialized (our use of colleges for organizing content, some of the file storage methods, LDAP hooks for creating accounts). The real problem is time and staff- the technical staff in my office is 1.5 and one is writing this right now- the bulk of the database and PHP integration development has been done by a brilliant part-time student programmer. This is Maricopa, not Michigan ;-) We just are not able to devote resources into supporting a sharable MLX as it would drain what we have available for its development.

It still sounds stingy.

What I would like to aim to do is provide a documented framework for the MLX, a downloadable version of the mySQL database structure. But someone else is going to have to sort it out for making a clone.

We will give it a try, but do not hold your breath.

Alan will no doubt correct me (and I hope he does), but the basic concept is pretty simple ￐ people fill in forms and either upload data or point to existing online resources.ᅧ

That is pretty fair for the creation process. You do not see the submission forms, the user options, the inventory tools. The RSS creation is handled by a timed (cron) script, and uses a simple RSSWriter script for output. Trackback is automatically enabled simply in the template PHP that is output for each MLX item, but there are some background things like the MovableType Standalone Trackback code. We are working on a new content rating feature as well.

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MERLOT: Building Communities Through Collaboration

(This blog is from memory- a browser freeze up managed to eat a half composed immediate blog entry).

First half was on the connection of MERLOT and EDUCAUSE’s NLII (National Learning Infrastructure Initiative). NLII research fellows Colleen Carmean and Patricia McGee provided the overview of NLII as the arm of the EDUCAUSE organization that looks at issues of teaching and learning, and in particular one of its themes this year on…. Learning Objects.

Part of the “building community” is the Learning Object Virtual Community of Practice (LOVCOP, love the acronym), which to be honest from this writer’s opinion, has seen little activity of community and even less practice, and is only hampered by the cumbersome and community-stifling Worktools technology. At least the “virtual” part holds up.

But that is an aside.

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Waiting now for the start of Garry Putland’s talk on the Australian LO portal- I had a chance to chat with him early, and heard about what sounds like an incredible integration of information connected with RSS- he mentioned availablity of more than 2000 feeds, not only for objects, but information piped to different web portals.

Well, maybe I am getting ahead of the presentation… It is ready to roll. In a snippet, the Ozzies are way ahead of the pack in terms of “getting it” with open source, standards, syndicated content, and communities of practice. Makes us look like roadside wombats..

MERLOT and EdNA now have a relationship to be revealed here. (EdNA= Education Network Australia) Rightfully so, Garry is based in Adelaide, home of many great vinyards.

He mentioned (and others have alluded to) published RSS feeds from MERLOT, but have yet to see anything for real. Is it to be revealed at Thursday’s 4:00 PM session on “MERLOT Federated Searches”?? The abstract mentions implementations of “web services”.


The MLX Poster Lands at MERLOT

It is here. It is not on a board or two dimensional or a tri-fold, and features real packages. The Maricopa Learning eXchange (MLX) poster session has appeared at the MERLOT conference (no thanks to UPS and customs goofups). It is all representational- a model train representing the “warehouse” metaphor, trucks representing the delivery of […]


MERLOT: Customs or UPS Ate My Poster

My decision to send my poster materials to the MERLOT conference by “express” shipping looks shaky. Apparently, my “packages” were held at customs for extra taxes, my office authorizied, and who knows where they are right now. C’est la vie.

So for now, my Maricopa Learning eXchange poster is very transparent, or totally virtual. This is no way to run a warehouse ;-)

Certainly not the end of the earth. Anyhow, the hotel is brimming with name tagged persons, people glancing at name tags, the usual conference shmoozing etc. Opening reception is up at the 34th floor, and tomorrow the MERLOT flows. Bring it on. There is meta data in the air.

Keep on scrolling/clicking to see some photos.

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The Phoenix Has Landed at MERLOT

Unlike D’Arcy, my trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, was less than smooth. It rained in Florida, so my flight from Phoenix was late, customs was slow, and the bus stopped at every freaking hotel in downtown. Finally arrived at 2:00 am, cannot h-a-r-d-l-y t-y-p-e (no more than usual). It is blessedly cool here (They call […]

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Amazon RSS Feed-Builder

Although Boris recently blogged on a convoluted way to get RSS feeds from, there is a slicker interface from onfocus , the Amazon RSS Feed Builder. This site is by “pb” or Paul Bausch, “co-developer” of Blogger and author of Amazon Hacks, so definitely no slouch at the programming command line. It is the […]