FunnyMonkey Blog

Bill Fitzgerald | March 13, 2006

Some interesting reading on online communities and what relationship (if any) they have to a person's offline, in the flesh communities.

On D'Arcy Norman's blog, he questions the role his online interactions play in his daily life, and whether his participation in online communities comes at the expense of decreased participation in his immediate surroundings. There are some great responses to this post, and the whole thread gives some nice grist for the mill for those of us who spend (too much?) time thinking about and participating in online communities.

While I've mentioned this article before, it bears mentioning again: Danah Boyd's recent talk on MySpace. Danah gives a good overview of how and why youth interact on MySpace.

For good measure, we all should check out...

Bill Fitzgerald | March 4, 2006

NOTE: comments are closed on this post. It has been attracting a lot of spam over the years, and the web has changed significantly since this post was first written. END NOTE

Elgg, Drupal, and Moodle all have a role to play in providing tools for learning communities. The example outlined in this post illustrates one way these three applications can work together in an academic setting. At the outset, however, it needs to be stressed that this is one solution chosen from among many. These three applications can be used by different institutions in different ways in response to specific institutional needs.

In this post, I am assuming some familiarity with Elgg, Moodle, and Drupal. For a quick overview, go here for Elgg, here for Moodle, and here...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 26, 2006

Thanks to a recent blog post from Ben Werdmuller, I came across a fantastic article: Andrew Keen's post on CBSNews.com where he compares Web 2.0 to Marxism. His work provided me with the impetus to articulate ideas that had I had yet to fully examine. For providing me with that opportunity, I am glad that Andrew Keen is a collaborative creator within the blogging community. One of the opinions Keen states:

In the Web 2.0 world, however, the nightmare is not the scarcity, but the over-abundance of authors.

He goes on:

But one of the unintended consequences of the Web 2.0 future may well be that everyone is an author, while there is no longer any audience...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 17, 2006

I've come across some posts (particularly from Zack Rosen and Dave Tosh) in the last few days that have helped focus some thoughts on the relationship between class sites and ePortfolios.

Helen Barrett identifies a tension between two views of portfolios: "Some people think the primary purpose of a portfolio is for summative assessment (a culture of compliance or a checklist of skills). Others think the primary purpose of a portfolio is assessment for learning and to tell the learner's story (a culture of lifelong learning/professional development). These two purposes are often in conflict with each other."

Given that people who need to assess student work are the same people with money to spend on technological tools to streamline and organize student assessment, it's not surprising that the development...

Bill Fitzgerald | January 10, 2006

In a blog post from last November, Dave Tosh over at Elgg described a two layer model defining "how to facilitate the social interaction of learners and resources within the current architecture most institutions employ."

He describes two interrelated levels: a social network of informal learning, coexisting alongside the formal, more defined structure of an academic institution. In this model, the informal network can be supported by an application like Elgg, with the formal structure supported by an app like Moodle.

While teachers are not explicitly mentioned in either layer, they are implicitly present in both. Ideally, a teacher should be a learner among learners. However, the financial realities within which most of us live also require us to ply our trade within the (mostly friendly) confines of existing institutions.

Given that the two...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 23, 2005

Update: The instructions in this post describe how to set up a Drupal site in an older version of Drupal. While the instructions are still accurate, things will have changed in newer versions of Drupal. Also, if you download the site, do not use it without upgrading to the latest, most secure version of Drupal. See here for security info, and here for general upgrade instructions.
End Update

This post describes the process of setting up a blog based site for classroom use. In comparison to the pre-configured site available for download, this site is simpler and more open. One of the goals I attempted to meet was to create a site that could be used intuitively by users with limited technological experience.

These instructions assume that you have installed a version of Drupal 4.6.3, and that you have created...

Bill Fitzgerald | September 19, 2005

Update: The instructions in this post describe how to set up a Drupal site in an older version of Drupal. While the instructions are still accurate, things will have changed in newer versions of Drupal. Also, if you download the site, do not use it without upgrading to the latest, most secure version of Drupal. See here for security info, and here for general upgrade instructions.
End Update

Have fun with the pre-configured demo site.

Bill Fitzgerald | September 18, 2005

This site uses the Taxonomy Access Control module to regulate access to certain areas of the site. Taxonomy Access helps restrict the access of the Anonymous user (aka Joe Internet Browser) to all student created content. As this site is configured, Anonymous users have no access to student-created content, and limited access to teacher-created content.

In one of our test installs, we noticed what appears to be a bug in Taxonomy Access. This does not affect the functionality of Taxonomy Access; all student created content is still inaccessible to the Anonymous user. However, it does affect the ease of use, and if this issue appears on your site, we want you to have the workaround.

Normally, you can access the Taxonomy Access Control Settings by going to to ...

Bill Fitzgerald | September 18, 2005

The wiki-like collaboration that exists on this site is not particularly robust. As this site is configured, while students can edit existing posts, they cannot revert to previous versions, among other things.

The reason for this lies in access control. Although students do not have the ability to see this, the workflow settings for pages save a new revision every time a page is edited. So, the teacher can go through and see all the revisions on each individual page. While this would be a GREAT feature for students to have, it isn't possible to safely allow this feature using the current permissions in Drupal.

To have the right to view revisions of pages, a user must have "administer nodes" privileges. "Administer nodes" privileges lets the user edit or delete any node on the site, which is more latitude than the average site user...

Bill Fitzgerald | September 18, 2005


This site comes with three roles
set up and ready to go. In the interest of originality, I have named these groups "Group 1", "Group 2", and "Group 3".

This site also comes with three terms set up under pages -- Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3 (in addition to the Student and Teacher terms).

When assigning group projects, assign your students into their group. You can do this using the UserPlus module (go to Administer, Users, User+, Assign User Roles).

After students have been assigned into groups, go to Administer,...

Pages

Subscribe to FunnyMonkey Blog