FunnyMonkey Blog

Marc Poris | February 19, 2008

A few more things to look into:

It looks like RDF is coming to Drupal. This has some interesting implications for learning spaces, and doing things that you just can't do in Blackboard.

And here, some very interesting thoughts on using OpenID and FOAF as anti-spam tools. Looks like you and your friends can get together and whup up on the spammers after all.

Bill Fitzgerald | February 18, 2008

From my comment on Gardner Campbell's blog:

Hello, Gardner,

As a few people have already pointed out, these are incremental moves -- Open Content has been around for a while, as have blog-based classes. I think most of us are in agreement that, in general terms, these are Good Things, and that these shifts are improvements over expensive textbooks and cumbersome, expensive, proprietary LMS's.

The incremental shifts, however, become more meaningful when considered together.

Pulling content from a closed repository isn't all that big a deal -- we've had rss for a while. But, putting high quality content into a container where it can be readily remixed and reused is an incremental step in the right direction.

Using this newly liberated content as the basis for constructing a course isn't that big a deal either. You can use a blog as the skeleton for a traditional...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 17, 2008

Introductory Notes

These are some thoughts in progress -- I've been thinking these things through for probably the last few years, but things have been getting more interesting of late.

Some of the blog posts that have helped shape my thinking here include:

Bill Fitzgerald | February 13, 2008

Over at weblogg-ed, Will Richardson has a post about, among other things, how teachers are increasingly networked outside their district, but not inside their district. As I see it, this is a pretty natural progression, and one that can be loosely compared to how people understood and used the web.

To paraphrase and expand on my comment on his blog:

From Will's post:

But one thing (again) that has really been sticky from EduConn was the idea that local connections support local culture (as well as a few other things, such as leadership, of course) and vice versa.

In many ways, this mirrors how the web itself was understood, and how use of the web developed. Initially, you had large companies creating user silos tied...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 8, 2008

9:30 -- Re-read Brian Lamb's blog post.

9:33 -- Poked around Stephen Downes' site, reading over some of the documentation on Edu_Rss. Really, I'm hoping to find an OPML file. Bingo.

9:40 -- Create a database on

9:42 -- Go to -- grap a copy of the 5.7 codebase, and the following modules: FeedAPI, FeedElement Mapper, Views, Views Bonus, Tagadelic, and CCK. At a later point, if nothing blows up, I'll probably add in Similar Content.

9:50 -- untar code. Realize I'm curious how long this will actually take, and resign myself to getting less sleep than I originally hoped. So it goes.

9:59 -- upload code to the server. Crack a beer. A good one.

10:04 -- bring site live.


Bill Fitzgerald | February 4, 2008

From Michael Feldstein, via the OLDaily.

It looks like Blackboard paid for Google adwords to have ads for Blackboard appear when people searched for "Open Source LMS" --

Image via Michael Feldstein

Unfortunately, the Blackboard ads appeared under the heading "Open Source LMS" creating the appearance that Blackboard is an open source product.

Image via Michael Feldstein

It appears that Blackboard has pulled the ad. And here I was, expecting to see a link to the "Blackboard Free Download" page, and their Community Support wiki.

Bill Fitzgerald | February 2, 2008

I saw this earlier today over at --

Kyle Matthews and Clint Rogers built a Drupal site in suppport of a web analytics class. The site aggregates student blogs and expert blogs; this way, everyone blogs from their chosen blogging platform, and their feed gets imported into the course site. In other words, people use whatever blogging tool they are currently using, and the software running the course (in this case, Drupal) adapts to the participant. This is a nice contrast to the usual approach, where all participants must adapt to the structure required by the LMS.

The site was built using the FeedAPI and the Feed Element Mapper. We have talked about...

Bill Fitzgerald | January 11, 2008

Earlier today, Drupal core was upgraded to version 5.6. This is a security release, and all users should upgrade.

For users with existing DrupalEd installs, you only need to upgrade core Drupal -- you do not need to use this specific package.

For new users to DrupalEd, this is the package for you.

Download it here to get started!

Bill Fitzgerald | January 7, 2008

Over at the Thinking Stick, Jeff Utecht has posted a series of questions and answers related to the hiring process.

At the outset, Jeff states:

You will notice that my list says absolutely nothing about integrating technology or how the teacher uses technology in his/her classroom. No, this list focuses directly on the skill set and the tools these teachers use for their own learning.

My immediate question, of course, is: why? But we'll get to this in more detail later.

The hiring process has always fascinated me, as it is a frequently overlooked element of maintaining the strength and vitality of an organization. I thought I knew something about hiring until, a few years back, I had the good fortune to be hired by -- and work for -- Trish King. Trish has since gone on to become the head of The Island School, and if you're reading...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 31, 2007

File this under "The Check Would Be In The Mail, If Only You'd Let Me"

Today, while trying to pay my Comcast bill, I went to their web site. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my password. My bad.

Fortunately, this is 2007, and password retrieval technology is at a fairly stable place.

No Password

Not so at Comcast.

So I figure I'll give them some feedback.

Feedback Box

Great. I feel better after that. I hit the submit button that takes me to:

Comcast Cares

Should I be worried that I have entrusted...


Subscribe to FunnyMonkey Blog