First of all, let me introduce myself: I'm Luiz Eduardo Laydner, I'm Brazilian and I live in São José dos Campos. I'm a computer engineering undergrad senior at ITA (Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, www.ita.br), which is located in São José dos Campos, near São Paulo.
I'm one of the students accepted to work on Moodle as part of the Google Summer of Code 2007 program. I'm very excited to contribute to the moodle development community and I think it will be a very rewarding experience for me.
With all that said, I'd like to ask you all for feedback on my project proposal on social networking features.
It's not yet 100% complete. I'll be working on it during May. I gave it a start and I need feedback so that I don't miss important things. If you can provide me with sugestions and new ideas for the project, I will surely welcome them.
Thanks a lot!!
This might sound silly, but I hope you are also putting some thought into deleting. Sometimes the interconnectedness of data makes deleting things much more difficult that it might seem on first glance.
Also, I sometimes wish that I could build groups of things, sort of like folders. For example, within the friends section, I might want to group colleagues, students, by class, etc. This isn't quite the same thing as filtering/searching because usually all your friends are displayed at the same level. Do you plan to create some mechanism for better display/access to larger numbers of items?
Great stuff and all the best with your project. I used SNA in my thesis (Search the University of Pretoria, completed doctoral theses) or click here: http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10182006-154835/) What you won't see is the CD that accompanies the thesis and which contains animated maps, etc etc and the OSS that is used. Give me your postal address and Ill post the CD to you. Too much to download. Otherwise, Ill try and setup a site from which you can download.
IN my study I analysed the flow of converstations on an asynchronous discusison board. (Lonely Planet, Africa branch). I can put you in touch with my mentor who did the the programming and computer-side of things related to the graphical representation of the social network maps, the stats etc etc. What is awesome when one looks at these maps is who answers who and which threads get the most responses. One can get a clear picture (literally) of focus areas, key people etc etc -- stars, bridges, etc etc. An educator, when analysing dicussions in forums, can get stats etc on whose threads are popular, which threads are dead or which rate the highest. By adding a qualitative component, once can gauge the level of abstraction etc etc.
I do, however, see a far greater future for your work. Currently Facebook is the craze here at school. Like Linked, if your Social Networking module can put people in contact by sniffing out similar interests, etc etc, Moodle can become a force in establishing collaborative learning networks, something Im extremely passionate about.
What I would like to see when using SNA in a classroom, for example, is who does the group think will know the answer, versus who actually knows the answer.... Educators can then target the perceived "knower" to assist in peer-to-peer learning and if the actual knower is shy or socially unconnected, assist in getting these actual knowers connected to the group. In essence, teach the group to be able to identify the right source amongst them. Is this not what distinguished successful individuals within a given population: know who to ask first time round... This gives the edge! (I sometimes wonder about the Early bird thing.... don't be an early worm, however...)
All the best.
Sounds great, Luiz. Good luck! When do you think it might be available?
I've just got started on that.
I'll be working on the DB schema during the next few days.
As soon as I have something a bit more concrete I'll post it here, so I can get feedback.
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Great stuff. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
Some random thoughts I have come up with:
- Should the tags be linked with the existing Moodle blog tags. Also with the same ideas of user/site tags. Keeping these as one tag set would allow for blogging and social profiling to have some tie in as well as preventing the user adidng the same tags to both.
- External RSS linkage is a good idea. However as an administrator I would like the option of blacklisting certain domains. Think of this implemented the same was as email domain blocking is currently. In school populations I will want to block certain tools like myspace, Youtube, etc.
- The ability to join communities. Networking is more effective if established in some form of framework. While friends is a direct user2user style, I think more would be gained if larger communities could be formed. These could be either designated by the site administartor or, if allowed, created by users. This would allow users to join sub-communities of shared interests. Look at the Elgg model for an example. I look even further down the track and possibly see communities going across moodle with the new portal code coming in 1.9
- In regards to the interface design, not sure I like it all on one page. I think this should be seperated by tabs. (My friends, my profile, etc)
- I dont think you need a link to their posts as this allready exists in the user profile under the forum posts tab.
- This most probably wont sit with you, but i would love to see a tool that would allow users to flag their favourite forum posts. Essentialy an online bookmark to discussion topics. This would allow users to easily go back to posts they know they want to keep an eye on, and also would allow them to share posts they highlighted with friends.
I hope some of these ramblings make some sense and are usefull
I must say I really like your plans. Personally I first saw this kind of functionality in Elgg and thought is was great. Especially the way that I could discover other people with the same interest (e.g. all Moodle users @ Elgg). Your ideas should make that possible.
What I also like there is the possibility to create groups and the fact that they do not need anybody's permission to to this.
Another thing I would like is suggestions for interests... Maybe I do not know my own interest, but the tool could scan my forum/blog post and find words I commonly use, or words that already have a tag, which can then be offered as a suggestion for me.
I am very interested in the pages about a specific tag. Your mockup shows members, related tags, blog entries, forum topics and files.
Where do the files come from? Would students have the ability to directly add files to this page?
The external RSS feed possibility is great! I would like to have that as a complete alternative to the blog-tab. The only problem is that then you would have no blog entries to show on the tag page!
I am looking forward to what you are going to make and am willing to test/try and then comment on anything you develop.
Hans de Zwart
The way it's currently implemented, anyone can create a tag (or an interest). Just go to your profile and add your interests separated by commas. If the word you enter already exists, you get associated to that tag. If it does not, the tag will get created.
Maybe some moodle users find it important to restrict certain roles from creating tags... that's why I'm asking for feedback !!
Currently, there's a capability associated with editing the tag description. That way, only certain chosen roles have the ability to change tag descriptions and related tags entries.
The idea is that, in the future, tags will be used all over the place in moodle. Users, files, blog entries and resources will be easier to share and find by associating them with tags... Using tags to describe user interests is a starting point.
Concerning the different approaches for 'social networking in moodle'.... My view is that courses are a good way to group people with similar interests, even though there's not really a course going on. Moodle offers good tools for interaction in a course (wiki, blogs etc..).
However, the interests/tags approach has some advantages:
1) it's more informal and spontaneous. This encorages users to describe their interests, thus making it easier to find people with a certain interest. The more users in a moodle site use the tags functionality to describe their interests, the more valuable it becomes.
2) Interests groups don't get mixed with courses. (In a university moodle site, we generally expect that a course in moodle corresponds to a real course)
3) Tags are more flexible than courses... In the future, anything in a moodle site could be associated with a tag (files, events, resources, courses, even tags themselves), not only users.
I hope this makes some of the ideas more clear...
And again.. suggestions and feedback are welcome!
May I say how pleased I am to see the social networking functionality being advertised as making it into 1.9 (see http://docs.moodle.org/en/Roadmap). From your own point of view it must be satisfying to see your hard work making into a real project so soon. So much of the project work produced by students at my own University doesn't get used so it is satisfying to see it make it here.
I look forward to playing with it!
Well done Luiz, even these basic (but easy to use features) will be interesting to the audience I am sure.
If I get any specific feedback I'll post it here, or encourage others to do the same
Well done, Stuart.
First check site.
site is not running.
And is the 'friends' aspect working as well?
Would be great to let students make friends lists with people outside of their own course!
Needs some sort of confirmation field, and it should work well enough. Interesting too, since it supports "blocking" of people.
Good Day from the Philippines. We have been a using moodle for the past 5 years already here in our institution De La Salle College of St. Benilde.
I was just wondering whether we can integrate or link some social networking sites or accounts to moodle since most of our students and faculty members are using either friendster or facebook.
The link can start with simple alerts coming from moodle (like alerts on quizzes, forums, or news) going to their social networking accounts.
Would this be possible or would it post problems with moodle security?
My colleagues and I are toying with this idea since social networking accounts serve as the informal way of communication and learning. We were just thinking "Why not bring moodle to that environment.?" Of course, if it is possible.