[wp-edu] GSoC 2010, BuddyPress for teaching

Christopher christopher at portallanguageservices.com
Sun Apr 4 01:40:19 UTC 2010

Hi, I just recently joined the wp-edu list and got your comments on the 
Scholarpress plugin.  I was very excited to see that others were trying 
to use Wordpress for courses beyond kb-gradebook.
I installed it on my ESL/EFL site and went to configure it to discover 
that it was more of a reference tool for offline classes than a plugin 
designed for giving courses completely online using Wordpress. I'm not 
saying it is bad. I found what it does very interesting even though it 
is not what I've been looking for.
I have been working on my own  testing & gradebook plugin with the goal 
of teaching online so the quiz scores get posted to the gradebook as 
soon as a test is taken not something that requires a CSV file or other 
manual entry.
I still have to try to set up course descriptions and homework schedules 
for mine so I was very interested in checking out Scholar press.  I only 
saw the option to set up one course description and the scheduling seems 
to be for fixed dates.

I'd like homework scheduling and all related tasks to be flexible for 
days from enrollment so I could have students starting on different 
days, but their assignments and tasks would be different because they 
are in different stages yet it would be manageable since it would be 
following a syllabus.

While Kb-gradebook is ideal for an off-line course to post grades, it is 
impractical for true online classes to force the teacher to go through 
that busy work of manually updating a csv and uploading it instead of 
creating his or her course content online and adding grades as needed.

I have also been trying to use Moodle (after trying Atutor) to design a 
course over much of the last year, but I find its administration to be 
more than frustrating which is why I've gone to programming my own 
plugins for Wordpress which I already know and can use for content 
management. This way at least I can have something up and working for 
people to use even if it only serves the testing and gradebook function.

I'm curious how much conflict there is in design and planning of plugins 
from the off-line course resource to the completely online course. I'm 
also curious about how much teachers who normally give courses off-line 
bring their fixed-exact-date-linear thinking to their online course design.

Are there any AJAX programmers on the list? I'd like to extend my 
testing to include adding javascript based quizzes (drag and drop, 
ordering, matching), but I don't know how to take the results and pass 
them to a PHP script for processing.


On 4/3/2010 6:22 PM, Stas Sușcov wrote:
> During the last #wordpress-gsoc chat, Jane pointed me to the
> ScholarPress, a community of WordPress plugins developers that are
> writing code to make WordPress useful in education. Their plugin,
> Courseware is built for WordPress and currently offers the following
> features:
>        * manage schedules
>        * manage bibliography
>        * manage assignments
>        * manage general course information
> > From what I heard the plugin also works with BuddyPress, but making it
> depends on WordPress (shortcodes, wp-admin) isn’t exactly a perfect
> integration. The idea what came is to port ScholarPress to BuddyPress.
> In details, to make SP aware of BP groups, and treat them as classes of
> students. Assign schedules per group, add bibliography to scheduled
> courses, so on for assignments. From the upstream TODO list, I also saw
> the need of a grade-book and I would also add a notification system
> (send a private message if a course is upcoming or a new grade was
> posted).
> More on the internal part…
> It will require changes like, split the courses apart from schedules.
> Because SP will be groups aware, it will be more logical to create
> courses and link bibliographies and assignments to them, after what
> publish them in a schedule. Also I would consider adding an upload
> option for the courses that require annexes or attachments (later, you
> can bundle those with Google Docs viewer or psview).
> About the gradebook, I liked the idea used for kb-gradebook, and I think
> it’s the bare minimal implementation of grades assignment I can consider
> as a starting point (read the csv file, and assign group members to
> marks).
> About users…
> In most of the education centers students are managed using a LDAP or
> ActiveDirectory. So bringing some core functionality into such a plugin
> also should be considered. I know you’ll jump that there are plenty of
> plugins that offer LDAP integration, but hey, none of them (afaik) will
> offer you options to integrate two baseDN’s into the same instance (this
> can be really useful for role mappings also, divide students from
> teachers).
> I’m a student and at our university I had the opportunity to play a
> little with Moodle, so the above idea is based on my experience. It
> would be nice to hear some opinions from persons who are really involved
> into teaching process and what would they like to see in such a new
> ScholarPress.
> There's also a post I wrote (this is a copycat) about this idea at:
> http://sushkov.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/scholarpress-buddypress/
> Thanks.

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