FunnyMonkey Blog

Bill Fitzgerald | December 4, 2007

I presented earlier today at the Case District VII and VIII conference in Las Vegas. One of the things that struck me as I was getting my notes together for this talk is how using the current/upcoming tools require that organizations staff themselves differently. For example, you can't really write an OpenSocial app without coding skills, and while programmers are easy to hire, writing a good app requires a connection between spotting a need and writing code that addresses it. One of the other differences between where we are now and where we were as recently as a year ago is that people are beginning to understand the value of leveraging their existing community, as opposed to building everything new from scratch. Perhaps online forays, like Kaplan's into MySpace, have been a suitable object lesson in how not to use the social web.

The...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 2, 2007

Over the last couple weeks, there have been some large shifts in the world of Drupal development.

The first of these occurred last week, when Raincity Studios acquired Bryght. For the three non-geeks reading this blog, Raincity is a Vancouver, cA based design shop, and Bryght was the first Drupal company out there. While I have yet to meet the Raincity folks, I know several of the Bryght guys, and they do amazing work, both for their clients and within the Drupal community. This partnership promises some great things for advancing Drupal development, and Drupal design.

The next piece of news (and file this under, "Man, It's About Time"): Dries Buytaert, Drupal's founder, has launched a Drupal-based startup called Acquia. Dries describes the details on his blog, and on...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 1, 2007

From some comments I made on Tom Hoffman's blog, in response to the Capetown Declaration -- Stephen Downes also has a great take on this.

As I see it, the thing to be avoided is:

A person or a community creates a resource that is freely available, and can be easily moved from one site to another. Some other entity comes along, uses that resource as a base for their work, distributes that resource, charges money for access to that resource, yet does not the new source material freely available.

That entity has effectively taken something that was freely available and commodified it into something that is no longer freely available.

In general terms, the point of an...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 27, 2007

Given the growing hullabaloo over Facebook's newly released advertising program, the thing that surprises me the most is that people are actually surprised. In its Privacy Policy, Facebook contains the fairly broad statement in the "Third Party Advertisers" section:

Advertisements that appear on Facebook are sometimes delivered (or "served") directly to users by third party advertisers. They automatically receive your IP address when this happens. These third party advertisers may also download cookies to your computer, or use other technologies such as JavaScript and "web beacons" (also known as "1x1 gifs") to measure the effectiveness of their ads and to personalize advertising content. Doing this allows the advertising network to recognize your computer each time they send you an advertisement in order to measure the effectiveness of...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 24, 2007

A mildly edited version of my response to Jim Groom's post over on the bava --

D'Arcy mentioned the need for this to scale, and he's right. With that said, I don't think we need to have scalability to 100K students as a first goal. The beauty of the small pieces loosely joined is that it's easier, and that it's a step away from the monolithic LMS's so beloved by so many --

Toward that end, it's good to consider what we'd need to carry from the blog to the aggregator in order to connect a student work with an institutional SIS/LMS. To start, I see two factors as essential: first, mapping a feed to a student, and second, mapping individual posts from within a feed to a course.

The first piece is relatively straightforward: within the institutional aggregator, map each feed to a userid within the school...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 23, 2007

Over the last two nights, I put some time into building out a rough proof of concept showing some of what can be accomplished via a good aggregator and Drupal's taxonomy structure.

We've been thinking about/using aggregation in a variety of ways for the last couple years, but the development of the FeedAPI has created some pretty amazing possibilities faster than we could have hoped. I've been meaning to build out a site like this for the last few months, but a couple of recent conversations stirred me into actually doing it.

What has been fun about building out this proof of concept was how quickly the site came together. It's rough, and has no graphic design component at all, but the core functionality came into place quickly.

The results are...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 9, 2007

File this under "Better Late then Never."

In August of this year, Jeff Graham joined the team at FunnyMonkey. We had been looking for a talented developer for a while, but hiring the right person -- especially for a small company -- is tricky. The fit needs to go beyond more than skill set -- there also needs to be some philosophical overlap, and some similarities concerning the approach to getting work done.

Prior to joining us, Jeff did a large amount of Moodle development as part of the Moodle development team at Humboldt State University (HSU) and as an independent contractor. Jeff was the lead Moodle developer at HSU when HSU won the Andrew W. Mellon award for Technology Collaboration in 2006. Jeff was also one of the primary developers on Moodle's gradebook for Moodle 1.5 through 1.8, and has contributed numerous other patches that have been incorporated into Moodle core. As an independent contractor,...

Bill Fitzgerald | October 18, 2007

This release features both security and maintenance upgrades.

For new users, this is the best version to download and install. The download tarball contains a directory named "Instructions" that contains some instructions on getting started. For additional help, and/or to get involved with the DrupalEd community, submit issues to the issue queue or join the DrupalEd group.

Download DrupalEd here

For existing users, you do not need to download and install this tarball. Rather, you should be managing your upgrades by using the update status module. This module will help you keep your DrupalEd install current and secure. If you have an existing DrupalEd site, you should upgrade immediately to keep your site secure....

Bill Fitzgerald | October 4, 2007

In this session, participants will examine portfolios from several angles:

  1. as a learner, using the portfolio to track/present their day to day work;
  2. as a learner, using the portfolio as a tool to highlight individual artifacts in order to demonstrate learning over time;
  3. as an instructor, examining the various situations where portfolio use may or may not be the best choice to support student learning;
  4. as an instructor, using a portfolio as a professional development tool;
  5. as an administrator/evaluator, using a portfolio as a means of presenting the different types of learning occurring within a school or an organization.

The approach to portfolio development examined in this session, however, will differ from the approaches traditionally taken in other portfolio applications because the different types of portfolios described above can coexist in the same application, without the needs of one stakeholder...

Bill Fitzgerald | October 3, 2007

I've been thinking about Open Content recently for a few reasons -- As he does with many things, Jim Groom had a great post over on his blog about his experiences at Open Ed 2007.

Here is a lightly edited version of my comment on his post:

On days when I'm feeling cynical, I can't get around the sensation that some of the motivation driving the discussion on "issues of scalability, sustainability, localization, and other infra-structural issues" has less to do with scalability, sustainability, and culturally competent/translated content than it has to do with controlling the flow of content, or slowing the process while businesses figure out how to make money off of licensing.

...

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