[wp-edu] GSoC 2010, BuddyPress for teaching

Stas Sușcov stas at nerd.ro
Sun Apr 4 10:47:37 UTC 2010

În data de Sb, 03-04-2010 la 19:40 -0600, Christopher a scris:
> 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.

Hey, thanks for quick reply. I'm also new here so there are a lot of
things I need to know to understand the demands. Hope I'll get some of
the answers here.

> 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.

About your plugins, did you publish them to plugins directory?

> 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.

Yes, that was the first thing I saw just by reading the existing code/db
schema. As I wrote already, splitting courses from scheduling process,
should bring the flexibility you were looking for. The idea is to start
with defining courses, and select them from a drop down list (sort of)
when creating schedules. Also this approach, will leave more space for
options for schedules (of any kind).

> 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.

You're right. I just think kb-gradebook was created for cases when
mid-terms or exams are given in written, what you want is more like test

> 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.

That's why I brought this discussion, let's make something that beats

> 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.

I know ajax, and can help. Christopher, I'm trying to make from this
idea a proposal for Google Summer of Code, so would be really cool to
get a list of features you would like to see in
current ScholarPress plugin. Also, if there are any plugins that in
someway are useful to you as a teacher and require upgrades,
improvements, list them (I will consider adding them to the proposal
list, port them to BuddyPress). Although the idea is for BuddyPress,
don't take it as an overhead, BuddyPress already has plugins for
Group Wikis and Forums, and bringing learning tools into it, is exactly
what a modern Moodle should look like. WordPress is cool, but using
BuddyPress makes it just more powerful.

Looking forward you reply. 

> Christopher
> 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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