Blogs

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Blogs Wishlist

Its great to have blogs on Moodle, but we should expect more of Moodle's blogs. Let's make a wishlist.

How do I link to a specific Blog entry ?

The so called blogosphere bores out of the inter-linking between blog entries, but right now you don't know how to link to a concrete blog entry. Blog entries should have a link to refer themselves. We can only link user's blogs to categories.

Turn off or limit attachments

As blogs are not bound to courses, there is no way to turn off attachments for blogs or to set size limits without doing it globally.

Blog entry resume

A view of the blogs entries that gives only 3-5 lines of the blog entry, so a reader can view a lot of entries on one site and click on a "continue reading" link or so on.

Block Blog Tools

Some blog tools to view blog entries that wolud be nice to have:

  • Last Blog entries.
    • per user
    • per category
    • per course
    • per site
  • Blog search
  • Most read, commented voted blog entries ( and vote for blog entry, of course )

Blogs as course activities?

Blogs were touted as replacing the Journal (which was actually replaced by Assignment module in 1.5), which was a course level activity for reflective writing etc. The blogs system as of v1.6 seems to remove blogs from the context of courses (excluding course-level tags) even though they can be accessed from within the course through the Blogs block. The admininstration of blogs seems to be a rather broad brush - once the settings are specified centrally on the server they can't be modified. A vision for this might be:

  • Blog as an Activity modules in a course
    • Teacher able to set up blog with various parameters and should be able to:
      • Specifiy a timeframe for when blog needs to be posted. How would this work? Suggest a label with posting date and make the date red if it's after the due date/time.
      • Label all posts in response to this activity with certain tags. Implement an RSS feed for each tag to aggregate all blog postings with that tag.
      • Decide whether this particular blog activity is visible to course/group/institution/teacher & pupil only/the wider world. In other words, set default posting permission on the student's blog entry associated with this Activity (should be fun to implement :-). Should this be changeable by the student? Eg if the student wants her posting viewed by the world, then why not?
      • Should this be an assessed activity? If it's really replacing Journal, then almost certainly... Could use a similar system to Forums.
    • Blog posts which come out of this activity should be part of the user's wider personal blog
    • If comments do happen on blogs, then each course-centred blog should be able to accept comments just from teachers, from peers, or from no-one
    • Commenting parameters. A 'Blogging Activity' could ask for 1 posting and 3 comments on other blogs per student. When making a comment on another student's blog entry the student would have to choose a specific comment tag generated from this assignment from a pulldown list. Then an RSS feed for this tag could be aggregated into a single box for quick checking by the Teacher.

This idea has been proposed as a Student_projects idea for Google Summer of Code 2008, and has drawn some interest from students.

Post-forum binding or comments allowed. We want feedback on blog posts. Its a must!

Comments and trackbacks were present in the alpha/beta blog code developed by Daryl Hawes (IT@EC April 05 blog entry), so, in principle, the code should be there to deploy. Daryl coined a clever term for trackbacks "inform sites I have linked to that I have linked to them"

If commenting is implemented, then trackbacks should be too so that students can make thoughtful responses to each other's blog entries and still have them present in their own blog environment.

Blogs and Tagging

Should tagging just apply to blog posts? I'd like to see the notion of user tagging percolate throughout the whole of Moodle. Wouldn't it be great to tag Resources and then aggregate an RSS feed of tagged items. If keyword/tag were a universal epistemological asset within Moodle then the possibilities for leveraging via RSS feeds would be boundless. Think about the pedagogical possibilities of aggregating all objects tagged with a certain tag -- then you'd have some real connections made!

Features

Moodle 2.0


  • Each user has his own blog
  • Tags
  • Tags Block (cloud)
  • Comments
  • External Blogs (publish to/from)
  • Visibility controls
  • Capabilities
  • Secure RSS feeds
  • Permalinks
  • Search, sort and manage
  • Backup
  • Spam control
  • Attachments

User-centric blog

Blogs are not dependent on courses, but on users. Each user has one blog. However, blogs are associated to courses and their entries can be listed per course through the user-course associations. The same is true for groups and should be true for course categories.

Tags

Blog entries can be viewed by tag (show all blog entries with a given tag). Official tags are defined by admins, course tags (which are course-based official tags) are defined by teachers, and user-defined tags are obviously defined by users. Their visibility is contingent upon their level of definition.

Blog Tags Block

Settings:

  • Block title
  • Number of tags to display
  • Display tags used within this many days
  • Sort the tags display by

Comments

Implement comment icons. See Comments documentation

External Blogs

Pipe an external blog's entries into the Moodle personal blog Push Moodle blog entries to an external blog / twitter Automatically import external blog entry's tags into Moodle as user-defined tags?

Visibility

Admin controls visibility level of blogs throughout site:

  1. The world can read entries set to be world-readable
  2. All site users can see all blog entries
  3. Users can only see blogs for people who share a course
  4. Users can only see blogs for people who share a group
  5. Users can only see their own blog
  6. Disable blog system completely

The course participants page includes a Blog tab, listing all blog entries for that course, listed in inverse chronological order (last to first).

Capabilities

  • View blog entries
  • Create new blog entries
  • Edit and manage entries
  • Manage personal tags
  • Manage official tags
  • Publish to external blog
  • Publish from external blog

Secure RSS feeds

To prevent spamming, RSS feeds for publishing Moodle blog entries externally should be secured.

Permalinks

Search, sort, manage

Blogs can be listed by Tag, Course, Group, Site and User. They are always sorted in reverse chronological order (last to first). Management is controlled by capabilities.

Backups

Spam control

Attachments

Use the new File API and filepicker