Coming off my post last night about selective RSS I got several comments and a handful of office “stop bys” this morning that got me thinking more and more about RSS and all things recycled content. It has me looking at three things I think would compliment any educational blogging environment if we start to take the approach of personal content management, ePortfolio, and personal repository. What I am thinking about are three little features:
- Enabling the simple creation of multiple RSS feeds
- Enabling a “move this post” feature
- Enabling an embedded Feed2JS potential
What I would like is the ability to enable the simple creation of multiple RSS feeds from a single blog via the categories/tags system. Imagine a simple checkbox interface that would let me automatically create new feeds based on any of my categories that could then be placed in the head element of the blog so users could easily subscribe to just the content they are after. Sounds silly, but as an instructor if you are using your blog as the center piece to your course lots and lots of content ends up flying at students. If you can get them to subscribe to the RSS feed content gets delivered to them, but at the end of the day there is little way for them to pay attention to specific pieces of information. If, for example, you post all of your assignment instructions to your blog, you could set the category of these to “assignments” and if you have an easy way for them to subscribe to specific category feeds they can easily separate the important assignment posts from other less critical posts. So imagine working with students at the start of the semester to set up a reader with a folder that had feeds from the course blog under categories like, assignments, feedback, resources, links, thoughts, and others … you would effectively give them an easy way to avoid the noise of all the posts and just grab the ones they need. This is clearly easy to do, but creating a simple interface that would allow a blog owner to go into their dashboard and put checkboxes by category items that would then auto generate the feed and the code to make browsers recognize it. That would simplify the whole thing.
I’d like to explore enabling a “move this post” feature that would allow you to quickly republish an existing post to another one of your personal blogs … This idea is one that I remember talking about as part of the old Edison Services blog project we explored back at IST as a “feature Creep Friday” project. It was brought back to life in a more interesting and applied way today while talking with my colleague, Dave Stong. We were talking about a recent ePortfolio meeting we had in which we were discussing the concept of a private/secure personal repository where students could place as much digital content as they wanted to in that would act as a huge body of evidence of learning, development, scholarship, or other. I outlined the concept a couple of weeks ago in another post, but the short version looks like this:
Basically they store everything in the private repository and then selectively pull pieces of content out, reflect on it, and post it to their public ePortfolio. Simple. How nice would it be if we added a simple little tool to every post that would allow a blog owner to use a pull down menu to push that post to another one of their blogs without copy/paste or anything manual. This would effectively create a new instance of the post that could be reflected on in the new location without disrupting the original. Now think about how faculty could use it … a protected blog category to store all assignments, article reviews, thoughts, anything really. Essentially create a single teaching objects repository that only the faculty member could see. As the semester moves along, you could go into your private teaching repository and selectively move things into the current semester’s course blog. You could edit the assignment without effecting the original. Could be a very powerful way to manage content over the long haul. Imagine the graphic below is a screen capture of the bottom of any blog post …
At any rate, there are three little additions to the blog project that I think could have big downstream benefits. Any thoughts for me?