ScholarPress in the “Classroom”

I was fortunate enough to attend THATCamp “Mothership” at George Mason University this past spring and was particularly inspired by a session entitled “All Courseware Sucks.” As a consequence of that session, in part, Jeremy Boggs and Boone B. Gorges, in conjunction with Google Summer of Code 2010, helped create ScholarPress. In light of that significant advance I am interested in discussing on online course delivery via independent, instructor-run websites, as opposed to closed-source and proprietary platforms such as Blackboard. I am particularly interested in discussing the details of setting up WordPress sites using the new Courseware plugin for BuddyPress. As I am teaching four classes at the moment using that setup I am eager to have a conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of this new online tool.

Is anyone else using this option, or other alternatives to Blackboard? Chime in and let me know what you think.

Categories: General |

About Mark H. Long

A native of Florida, I left as soon as I could after high school swearing I would never return. I worked as a wilderness guide for a company based in Chicago for a number of years after college before finally deciding on a career in history. I received my Ph. D. from Loyola University in Chicago in American History. Ironically, I am currently back in Florida on the faculty at the University of Central Florida, where I am an instructor teaching courses in Florida, Southern and Frontier history.

5 Responses to ScholarPress in the “Classroom”

  1. Mark Long says:

    I thought long and hard about FERPA before deciding to take my courses out of Blackboard, and would love to talk about that this weekend. My final conclusion was that it was fine to do so, obviously, but not without hesitation. We can also talk about technical solutions (in my case, within WordPress) for dealing with the potential complications that arise.

  2. brucejanz says:

    I think FERPA can be dealt with, if handled carefully. For instance, I use an outside wiki pretty extensively (pbworks). Students upload work, and I make comments on their work on the wiki itself. The grade, though, goes in the MyUCF tool. I can imagine the same thing working for blogs or other tools as well. We used Glogster last term, and did the same thing there.

  3. leclaire says:

    I agree that there are multiple better options – such as e-portfolios – which have the added advantage of continuing beyond an individual course and building as the student moves through their program.

    However, one concern that I hear frequently from the Administration perspective is FERPA considerations. I would be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts about this.

  4. amyfoster says:

    I know I would demand more written work on exams from my students (and I’d like to believe I could make them better writers) if there were an easier way to grade it other than that d*!# comment box in Webcourses. But I still want to have timed exams with written components. I don’t know of a better way to do that outside of Blackboard.

  5. brucejanz says:

    I have many annoyances about Blackboard, and in fact came up with a document called “Things Blackboard Can’t Do” when I was going through the training. So yes, going outside of its limited capabilities is something I’m interested in as well.

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