April 20, 2007
Feed registries for coordinating learning activity
I think D'arcy hits the spot nicely with his "feedlibrary-as-eduglu" concept. In an environment where students and staff are using personal tools for learning and teaching, an appropriate organisational response is to supplement this with coordinating technologies.
The registry that D'Arcy is working on enables the users to share their context - their sources, writings and so on - using a range of metadata types (RSS, OPML), so that others can pick these up and incorporate them into their own environment. For example, you can import the OPML of a particular staff member or student, essentially replicating their information environment for the context. Or you can pick up particular feeds of theirs, such as a feed of recommended readings from a teacher.
Its an interesting approach that fits well with the general concept of "institutional repository", although it turns the concept inside out - the registry hosts feeds, not content objects - the objects continue to live where the user publishes them, requiring various kinds of personal repositories. I think its the kind of application that will provide the services that students and staff will be able to connect their PLE with - connecting, not replacing, personal technology. The assumption that everyone is a source of content is particularly strong in this model, which also fits well.
One thing that I think would be a useful addition to round things out would be to enable personal communications and collaboration as well as content sharing, so being able to subscribe to the list of participants, get their Skype names and so on. Maybe thats somewhere else in this system; maybe it would be a feature too many.
Anyway, it'll be good to see how the concept develops, and how students and staff feel working with this solution.