The Strength of Weak Ties

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blogs and Wikis...in Blackboard

Today I spent about an hour looking at the Campus Pack building block for our Blackboard system from Learning Objects that will enable our Blackboard Portal to host blogs and wikis. The system enables students to have blogs and wikis within a Blackboard course, or outside of a course but within Blackboard. The system is closed, with District 99 Blackboard guests (non-registered users) not able to interact and leave comments although any registered D99 user can. Unfortunately, the Wiki associated with each student, but outside a class, does not support multiple authors, so I guess you really can't call it a wiki (they actually don't on their website, sort of). Anyway, the wiki tool associated with each class (they call it Teams LX) does an outstanding job of disaggregrating contributions by wiki teams, so this will give us really a jump start on developing assessment tools for this kind of product. Additionally, students can export any of their blog or wiki products and host them in another location if they desire, such as Blogger.

The company is developing RSS capability for the blogs and wikis produced within the system and these feeds will be able to be sent outside of our Blackboard system into any aggregrator.

We liked the system very much. It gives us the capability to provide a safe environment while teaching kids how to use these tools correctly. Anyone who read Will Richardson's post and examined the wiki page (via Paul Allison's writing class) contained within the post will probably agree that we need to be careful with such tools. And it still gives kids the opportunity to post their content on an open system and in the future, distribute their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives to anyone.

1 Comments:

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