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learning – teaching – research – design – technology

Aggregation rumination

Cross posted from

I’ve been thinking about Martin Hawksey’s excellent post “Show me your aggregation architecture and I’ll show you mine“. Martin surveys some 14 MOOCs (or, to be precise, cMOOCs) and compares their aggregation mechanisms. Theoretically, MOOCs are about making connections between learners’ independent journeys, and synergising the resources and insights they bring. If you have hundreds of participants or more – that needs some machinery to make it happen.

There’s a wide range of social technologies in the bag (flickr, twitter, facebook, lots of google groups) but only two RSS aggregators stand out: FeedWordPress and gRSShopper. The first is a wordpress plugin, so obviously only works if you choose wordpress as your platform (and have your own installation, rather than a or institutional one). The second requires root access to a web server. The sourceforge page cites 4 downloads, so I suspect its used mainly by its creators.
Martin seems to suggests we need a robust aggregation technology for MOOCs, and I agree. I’d also like to suggest the kind of activity it needs to support:
Nomination: you run a MOOC, I participate. I want to propose a feed for you to aggregate. you can accept the feed automatically, manually, or by public vote (e.g. it has 3 people to speak for it).
Aggregation: harvest the posts from a large group of feeds and display them in a way that I can easily sift through and find the stuff I’m interested. e.g., let me navigate by tags / keywords / most liked.
Curation: I want to select items from aggregator brought in, and compose a new item from them. Storify style.
Correlation: I want to find and display links between items. “Joe says A, Ann says B. But Ali links the two in a surprising way.”
And – I want it all with zero install. Ideally, as a platform independent embeddable component.

October 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment