Network for Learning Workshop

Herewith I would like to call attention to an upcoming workshop about Social Network Analysis (SNA) in the area of Educational Research, taking place at the University of Duisburg-Essen on 21st October 2014. Please find further informations as well as a registration form at:

Connecting PLEs

On Friday I presented and discussed our paper about connecting Personal Learning Environment at the PLEConf in Berlin. The main assumption of the conceptual study is the need to connect learners PLE which leads to the interpretation of the role of institutions Learning Management System as a “bridge” between PLEs. The term “bridge” origins from graph theory and indicates a critical line in a graph connecting parts of a graph that would otherwise be separated. The idea of the paper is to use bridges as metaphor for institutions learning platform, that means to realise those systems according to that metaphor.

Thoughts about organising academic conferences with Drupal

Some years ago we started developing the Drupal Conference module at the University Duisburg-Essen. This effort grow out of the need to organise a moodle conference. The module was first designed to work with Drupal 4.7. At this time, the only module offering the ability to create customized node types was Flexinode -- today there is Content Construction Kit. Also the Workflow module wasn't there. So this version of Drupal is long ago and things have changed. Of course there is still a need for a simple and tailored module to organise conferences with Drupal. But I would like to encourage opening ones mind that Drupal today offers modules which can be used to construct a similar functionality. Especially if one has requirements not served by the Conference module this can show that Drupal is a very flexible content management system that easily can be customized to different needs. Of course this effort requires more knowledge of Drupal in detail -- or can be a reason to learn it.

E-Learning with Drupal: What is a course?

If one uses online learning management systems like Ilias or Moodle, one needn’t pose the question: "What is a course?". Courses are an universal structure of arbitrary content types like pages, files, forums, wikis etc. sorted in time. But what if one has the chance to more specify a course? Could it be interesting if a course is -- lets say -- just a wiki?

Currently we design and implement a learning management system from scratch with drupal. This system will be used in an established program of study. Therefore many requirements are given and especially courses have been considered to be mainly like forums so far. But I suppose that having the opportunity to more specify a course in an online learning management system offers advantages. Courses need not to be structured widgets any more and can be more concert objects. Advantages can be:

Drupal as Learning Management System: A Concept for Cloning Groups

Organic groups is an important feature in drupal, especially in educational contexts. Organic Groups can be groups of students learning and collaborating together. Organic Groups can also be complete courses in a program of study. If this courses are taught as distance learning or online learning, they usually contains learning documents and therefore re-usability is an important demand. The possibility of cloning or coping groups with its content is very important to use Drupal as a learning management system.

Regrettably cloning nodes is not an easy task in drupal. Many content types, in particular those providing a functionality, are implemented in modules and depends on special data structures or external resources. Cloning a book or a forum makes less sense without cloning its subpages or contributions.

Drupal 5: Customize RSS-Feeds with Views

As far as I found out, drupal 5 does not provide an easy way to offer customized rss feeds. The Views RSS modules features a page view as rss feed, but the feed it generates does not include the fields of a view. The feed rather contains the title and a link to the corresponding note for every item. A first attempt to improve the rss page view is made here, but until now no module has been written to implement a new view style plugin. So I took the the code snippet and included it in a drupal 5 module with some improvements.

The new module View List RSS offers the following features:

Drupal 4.7 Conference Module

The conference module allows you to organise conferences with drupal 4.7. It implements a mechanism to post papers, to manage reviewers and to assign reviews to papers. A paper is an aritrary node whith an attached file and a review is an arbitrary node assigned to a paper. It also takes care for the access permissions to papers and reviews:

How to theme the trackback URL in Drupal

Just a little detail: do you like the way how the trackback-module displays the trackback-url on your drupal-site? There's a simple way to change this behavior. It requires some little changes in the module-source, but perhaps that will give you an understanding of the programming of drupal-modules...

At first have a look at the trackback.module file, especially on line 261:

$node->body .= theme('box', t('Trackback URL for this post:'), url('trackback/'. $node->nid, NULL, NULL, TRUE));

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