RSS is More than I Thought

I was doing my daily bloglines run this morning and came across a post on one of my newer entries about a new site called, RSS Calendar … quick little bit from the About link:

RSSCalendar is an exciting new way for individuals and organizations to share their calendars with family, friends, and co-workers – utilizing the latest in “Really Simple Syndication” (RSS) technology, including RSS channel creation and aggregation. Not only is RSSCalendar easy to use but it is also easy to administer, and setup is a snap. RSSCalendar is well-suited for a variety of uses …

Not an earth changing tool, but it got me really thinking about the Edison Services Syllabus Tool and our overall philosophy behind it. When we set out to create it, we wanted to give faculty and students a central location that all their teaching and learning materials were available. The hub to your digital teaching and learning life concept … read more about that from an earlier post. We wanted to kill the “folder tab” look and feel of all the current LMS tools out there that are used in the higher education space and we did a nice job.

One thing that has always bothered us has been the assignment table … we’ve been building these crappy tables that list things in a week to week format. Just doesn’t make any sense. Let’s face it, the calendar is a relatively accepted format for displaying dates … why try to change something that just works? What I started thinking this morning that instead of building all the pieces to Edison Services, why not try to incorporate more of the available technology and build better hooks to take advantage of it. With the RSS Calendar example, we could simply build the hooks into the Edison Syllabus and allow it to “subscribe” to a given faculty member’s calendar. Just makes total sense to me.

Now, to take it a step further, the entire syllabus experience could be changed by simply allowing it to subscribe to multiple feeds … it could create an amazing customization opportunity, but it would also make the syllabus much more of a destination — if you can believe that. The goal is to give students and faculty a reason to show up everyday — sort of like a living blog space that has pointers to your learning environment. Could be cool. Our next steps are to take a bunch of open source tools we’ve identified and start seeing how we can make them talk to each other and to Edison. I’ll be posting more about it as time goes by.

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