Blogs in E-Learning: BAM, Moodle and a taxonomy of educational aggregation projects?

Background

The Blog Aggregation Management (BAM) Project is a 3 year old project to extend some of the ideas (especially small pieces loosely joined) behind my thesis into the brave new world of “Web 2.0” (circa 2006). It was also intended to help solve a set of immediate problems in a particular course I was teaching through appropriate assessment and activities implemented by each student having their own blog. BAM provided the essential management and institutional wrapper around the use of these blogs to enable us to track and mark student progress.

More information on BAM can be found in this post and on BAM project page. The post is probably the most recent and complete perspective.

The next steps

Since 2006 and its original design and implementation there has been little work done on BAM. Some minor extensions and repurposing, but nothing else. Most, if not all, the publicity and publications about BAM have been web-based and/or by other people. This is about to change.

Today I received notice that a paper on the initial application of BAM by Jo Luck and I has been accepted at the EdMedia’2009 conference. All going to plan, we’ll use this presentation as a deadline and a platform to do and announce some more work around BAM.

This additional work will include:

  • A taxonomy of educational aggregation projects.
  • An examination of the chances of integrating BAM with Moodle.
  • Additional BAM papers.

Taxonomy of education aggregation projects

One of the reviewers of the paper for EdMedia wrote

The reviewer wonders whether there were other BAMs that may also exist. Some mentioning of BAM in the literature search in this aspect may be worthwhile.

An important question and one we will have to address in some way for the revised EdMedia paper. In my travels I haven’t come across any projects of a similar type to BAM, though there have been a number of aggregation projects in university learning. Perhaps it is past time to search for or create some sort of taxonomy of the different aggregations tools and their approaches currently available.

Any pointers?

The obvious place to start is Google. My first go is “educational aggregation blogs”, possibly a bit too specific, but I’ll start there and then come back to RSS and more generic feeds later. A Google for “educational aggregation blogs” reveals the following links:

  • Aggregation and the Blogs at Penn State.
    A 17 March 2008 post (author not immediately obvious) explaining how one course had students blog in their own university provided blogs and then aggregated these feeds into the course Pligg site.
  • Getting there one piece at a time.
    A March 12, 2008 post outlining how individual researcher blogs are aggregated into a “mother blog” focused on undergraduate research course. It includes a public tagging system. It and some of the posts seem focused on WPMU.

From that simple and limited search a couple of dimensions seem to be presenting themselves:

  • What is being aggregated? Who owns it?
    Both the above seem to be aggregating posts made on blogs provided and hosted by the organisation. BAM aggregates posts made on any RSS feed.
  • What purpose is the aggregation is used for?
    The above examples present the aggregated feed to a community to do something with. BAM currently aggregates it for teaching staff/markers, though it has also been extended for community use in EDED11448.

Integrating BAM and Moodle

My current institution has decided that Moodle will the institution’s course management system come 2010. To my current knowledge Moodle doesn’t provide a BAM like service. An obvious useful innovation might be to port BAM to Moodle. This would make it available to a broader collection of people.

Before we do this, we have to

  • Check the Moodle community to see if this has already been done.
  • Become more familiar with the Moodle way of doing things to determine if this makes sense and is doable.

Additional BAM papers

This first paper only scratches the very surface of what we’ve already done and doesn’t come close to capturing future possibilities. At the very least there are the following papers that could arise out of the BAM work:

  • Indepth examination of the feedback from student and staff focus groups during the initial use of BAM.
  • Broader discussion of the implications of BAM for how the “Product” part of e-learning within universities is understood.
  • Broader discussion of all the uses of BAM over the last 3 years.

One thought on “Blogs in E-Learning: BAM, Moodle and a taxonomy of educational aggregation projects?

  1. Pingback: An alternate BAM related idea « The Weblog of (a) David Jones

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