First experience with EduFeedr

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John is teaching an open online course where he has more than 30 participants. All the participants have their individual blogs where they publish the weekly assignment. John is using a feed reader to follow all the student blogs. He is also trying to comment all the posts that have an inspiring ideas.

In the middle of the course John notices that it becomes increasingly complicated to manage the course. Several participants are not able to keep up with the tempo of the course. In the feed reader it is not easy to see how far different participants have proceeded with the course.

One day John reads about new feed reader EduFeedr that has special features to support online courses. It an online feed reader similar to Google Reader. John creates an account and starts exploring the possibilities. He can easily import all the feeds from his current feed reader.

After importing the feeds he notices that the students posts are somehow grouped by the assignments. This way it is easy to see how far the participants have proceeded with their work.

It is possible to browse students posts by a tag cloud. Among other tags there is a tag "urgent". John clicks on the tag and finds out that a few students who needed fast feedback to proceed with their home task have used that tag.

There is also an image that displays the social network between the student blogs. John can see which blogs are more actively linked and commented.

John is impressed by these possibilities. He decides to get a cup of coffee and explore the other features of EduFeedr.

Questions about the scenario

  • Did the scenario wake-up any thoughts?
  • Could you image yourself to the role of the teacher?
  • Is there something you would like to change in the scenario?

Comments from the readers

This is interesting. This scenario is something I have encountered myself in similar online classes. The problem I've encountered though is not so much inadequacy of feed readers but the lack of coordination of tags.

The question this brings up to me is would this allow other users (instructor, other students) to tag User X's posts? Could some of those (the instructor) be designated as super-users (super-taggers)? [Is this too similar to what something like Delicious or Diigo already do?]

Another question is would an instructor go to the bother? (Another big problem in my own experiences is that the instructors can't keep up with reading and responding much less re-tagging.:)

Kfasimpaur 02:03, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Adding to Karen's comments, getting the balance right between complex features and very simple set-up will be crucial if you want to get more educators on board (beyond the edugeeks). Managing a tag library could be part of that set-up. The system could suggest a set of basic tags ("urgent", "a unique course ID", etc.) the same way diigo groups can have pre-defined tags. You will still need the students to tag their work correctly though. Or maybe you could pull all the feeds into one place, and then tag them there and push the tags back out to the blogs? Not sure how that would work ...

Finally, I think it would be great if the emphasis could be placed on students reading other students' blogs and commenting, and if that interaction could be tracked. That way the lecture might have to do less reading herself, and the review/commenting activity of students could count towards a grade.

I can't wait to get the first preview of this!

Philipp 06:44, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

As Kfasimpaur mentioned, somebody in the role of a maintainer, who ensures content is properly tagged so that posts and comments are correctly sorted to the correct areas in the reader, might be important. I feel that new users to the system would inevitably fail to tag content optimally. Despite this worry about the back end, this description of the front end is good. I would want to see the course components in a tag structure, such that I could view content different ways: course curriculum/course outline elements; student discussion threads intact or as a live feed on newest comments; student and teacher blogs; assignment-related content by assignment tag, collaborative notes from seminars (maybe this could be updates RSS feed from wiki), project workspaces (another RSS feed from a wiki?) Since you'd want to get the structure right and not miss any content, the class might need a maintainer of the "master copy" of the course.

ottonomy 17:56, 7 May 2009 (UTC)