Running An Aggregated Course or Collaboration in Glow Blogs

What is an Aggregated Course/collaboration?

This is a site where content from participants is aggregated into one blog. In Glow Blogs we can do this with the Syndication Plugin.

For example, class blogs in West Lothian can categorise particular posts #shareourlearning these are then automatically syndicated into a hub blog. This means in effect that participants can work in their own spaces and contribute to a project with others.

West Lothian Sharing Our Learning

On the hub using the participant’s categories and tags (and adding more) can organize blog content from these participating blogs. EG on the National #ShareOurLearing blog, participants have a tag added depending on what sector they come from, this make it simple to see all the nursery contributions or primary contributions etc.

This system can be adapted to organise a ‘course’. In this case the HUB blog would post assignments or challenges indicating what tag the participants should add to their post. This allows viewing of all of the posts associated with a particular task/challenge/assignment.

Caveats

Currently the Syndication plugin will only work on public blogs, this means the participants will need to have a public blog.

This does mean that they can use existing class blogs, or other blogs they already use. It also means that classes/participants using other blogging systems (edublogs, edubuzz, WordPress.com) can join in too. It may also be a good way to work with external partners who already have a blog or web presence.

Setup

  1. Set Up a Hub Blog
  2. Activate Syndication Plugin: Dashboard->Plugins, click activate under Syndication
  3. Activate Jetpack Plugin: Dashboard->Plugins, click activate under Jetpack
  4. Activate Jetpack contact Form: Dashboard->Jetpack-> Settings
  5. Create a ‘site group’ for the syndication Plugin: Sites->Site Groups – Add a Group. This can be called anything you like. You only need one.
  6. Create About this ___ page, explain how it will work (see below)
  7. Create Signup page. Add form for signup.
  8. This form needs to gather info from participants; the most important is the RSS feed that will be used in syndication. It is suggested that instead of explaining how to find that feed, which can be different depending on browsers, that the participants are directed to create a post for the shared category or tag that is going to be used and put a link to that post into the form.
  9. A simple aggregation, like ShareOurLearning will just aggregate content from participants onto the home page.
  10. Add feeds to syndication as they come in:

Dashboard->Sites-Add Site. See the syndication plugin page for details.

Remember to tick the box to put the site in the group created. I’d recommend that you:

  • Redirect syndicated posts to origin blog: this is polite. We do not then looks as if we are claiming ownership for the post.
  • Turn off comments on the HUB, this will mean visitors will be able to comment on original blog.

Start the Syndication: Dashboard-> Settings-> Push Syndicate Settings, put a tick in the box for the group you created, Save changes.

Advanced: Call Response Setup

If you are issuing challenges on the HUB blog you may like to have a more complex setup on the HUB blog:

A home page with the latest challenge, and a general introduction.

A Posts page that shows the latest posts from the participants.

Pages for each challenge automatically created, via tag.

There are several ways to do this. This is just one suggestion.

  1. Using the TwentyFourteen theme.
  2. Static Home page
  3. Show last challenge post (s)as a Slider or grid on the home page by making it sticky.
  4. Respondents add particular tag to responses. This means this will be a tag on the hub blog too; it can be linked from the challenge post. If we get the list posts plugin we can add a list of responses to the challenge post too.

Or

  1. Add a widget to the challenge post for RSS for the agreed tag.
  2. Participants blogs are syndicated it, and the RSS from HUB blog used
  3. The Widget is only shown on the challenge post using the Jetpack Widget Visibility module.

Here is a demo of one question with 2 answers.

The Blogging Bootcamp in Spring 2015 took this approach, although the Syndication Plugin was not available at that time. That site has bee rearranged so that you can use there resources to run your own bootcamp.

 

 

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