Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Proudly spamming OU courses

Jim Groom and Tony Hirst have been building on each others tinkering. This is terrific.

"There has been a bit of excitement about the possibilities for pushing the uses of RSS towards a mythical eduglu as of late. Brian posted about it here and got some great feedback, soon after D’Arcy Norman and Bill Fitzgerald ramped up their work with Drupal. Then there was David’ Wileys re-publishing of his course on WordPress.com, and Brian (again) frames the implications beautifully, and then Stephen Downes uses this example to point towards Tony Hirst’s Disaggregation of MIT OCW. In short, an amazing distributed thread to follow.

So while I was looking at Tony Hirst’s work with MIT’s Open CourseWare, he must have been leaving a comment pointing to a series of feeds on the Open Learn OER site. Additionally, he suggested that there isn’t any reason why these feeds couldn’t be pulled into a blog rather neatly. And you know what, he couldn’t have been more right!

I gave it a shot on a WordPress Multi-User installation I keep around for just these sorts of things. I pulled the Open University courses feeds into individual blogs using Wp-o-Matic, a tried and true spamblogging plugin. And I am pretty excited by the results. (As an aside, I find great pleasure in re-purposing the wicked tools of spammers to make re-publishing open educational resources that much easier.)


This was a pretty amazing experiment for me because it illustrates just how much I learn from reading blogs on a daily basis. Ideas happen in a series of relations, and I so thoroughly enjoy taking other people’s genius and testing it out. When I saw the Goya class get pulled in successfully in just over a minute, I started to realize just how powerful these open resources can be once they are freed from their repositories. What is stopping K-12s and universities from setting up WPMu installations (or Drupal, or what have you) and pulling these amazing resources in? Or even pushing them out themselves? Another question that needs to be asked is how many of the other open resources out there have the stellar RSS feeds these OpenLearn OERs do?"

This is amazing stuff. The power of the net and bright people...

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