Simple Feed Rolling for GReader Users – Bundles

One of the most common requests that I can think of from newcomers to the “loosely coupled teaching” approach is:

“How do I roll together a number of feeds and produce a single RSS feed for them.”

Over the years I’ve recommended any number of approaches, from Yahoo Pipes to Grazr. But in trying to share a bunch of feeds with a colleague today, I stumbled on a feature of Google Reader I hadn’t used before that makes this dead easy. Named “Bundles,” these are essentially a simple way to publish a web page that represents a folder of RSS feeds from your reader. To make a bundle, simply click on a folder in Google Reader

Click a folder's options

Then Save it…

Save the Bundle

And voila, what results is a public HTML page aggregating the feed, with a subscribe button, as well as a link to the ATOM feed and OPML file.

Resulting "Bundle"

I’m not suggesting everyone has to drop their current approaches and flock to GReader, just that this is yet another simple technique to add to the basket that makes combining, remixing and repurposing content that flows via RSS just that much easier. And that has to be a good thing. – SWL

Sharing your PLE just got a little bit easier

Big hat tip to Gerry Paille for knowing me well enough to realize that the huge Firefox Add-On nut that I am would be extremely excited to learn about a new feature/service for Firefox called “Collections.

Basically, the Collection part of the site (and the related Add-On Collector Add-On – ha!) allow people to create collections of add-ons, annotate each of the add-ons with commentary, share these with other users who can subscribe to these collections!

So, for instance, if you are interested in some of the key add-ons to help yourself become an Open Educational DJ (ahem) you may want to check out my “Open Educator as DJ” collection which I just published, and better yet, subscribe to it, so that as new tools get added they are pushed to you.

Clearly, the PLE is more than just one tool, more than just the browser, and definitely more than MY use of either of these. But for me, the browser, and the various ways I can pimp it out, are a big component of my workflow as both an educational DJ and network learner, but one which has always been really challenging to share with people. With Firefox Collections, that just got a lot easier. – SWL

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Special Issue on Next Generation Learning Systems

Maybe I follow the wrong crowd, or maybe it’s just a case of journals becoming increasingly marginal as a way to disseminate work, but I’m surprised, especially given the crowd I do follow, that I hadn’t heard a peep about the latest issue of JOLT dedicated to “Next Generation Learning/Course Management Systems.”

While I found the opening piece quite painful (and a pretty surprising way to lead off an issue on ‘next generation’ systems, if you ask me), if you dig in there is much goodness here. Patricia McGee and Marybeth Green’s piece on “Lifelong Learning and Systems: A Post-Fordist Analysis” is very good, and Gary Brown and Nils Peterson’s article on “The LMS Mirror” is well worth the read, if only for the anecdote of the custodian, something that deserves to be enshrined in ed tech folklore like the story of the perennially shortened roast. And there’s more. Do yourself a favour, have a look, I promise there’s at least one article there you’ll cite in the next year. – SWL

Your favourite “Loosely Coupled Teaching” example?

As part of my new ongoing efforts to collect and re-present ‘Best Practice’ examples of what I’ll call “loosely coupled teaching” I am really interested to hear from readers their single best example of a course (ideally one reachable on the public internet) taught using contemporary social software/web 2.0 tools outside a course management system. What have you seen that really made you sit up and say ‘Wow! it works!’ (And before anyone starts, I am asking for ‘course‘ examples in the context of formal higher education…I know, I know, but that is the audience and context I’m working in right now.) If you had one chance, less than 5 minutes, to convince a colleague to give up their CMS addiction and teach out in the open using general web tools, what is the best example you can point them at to convince them? – SWL