At OpenEd09 I was part of a very necessary conversation. We were talking about different ways in which our respective universities use . The consensus was that in order for us to be truly successful we need to be sharing much more. Sharing our frameworks, sharing our plugins and sharing our hacks. MUBoone Gorges frames the conversation nicely here and talks about what is needed from developers. Enej and others responded by reviving the OLT Dev blog. However, Matthew Gold rightly said this:
But we need to build more lasting channels of communication soon, lest we miss some important connections
So here is my attempt to provide those connections:
Jim Groom provided a blog from his WPMUEd domain so that a new channel, dev.wpmued could be created. I used the Add Link Widget with FeedWordPress to turn this blog into an aggregation of content from developers who are working on developing WPMU in education using the method that Jim and I came up with. I seeded it with a few of my often read WordPress MU in education blogs (myself, Jim, D’Arcy, Boone, OLT and CUNY Dev).
But we need more, much more. If you know of any other blogs that write on this subject, please add their feed to the site. Here is the current master list of institutions that are using WordPress MU. If you have any connections to any of them help the community out by contacting them and asking them to share what they are doing. Also, before you add your feed remember to turn the number of posts up (if you have more than 10 feeds to contribute). If you use WordPress you can include a mutli-tag feed by going “your-url/tag/tag1,tag2,tag3/feed”.
This can be a powerful way to boost our combined development prowess as well as a fantastic demonstration of the power of WordPress to support a community.
Adding your feed is as simple as dropping the URL into the text box on the left sidebar. Add the password (wpmued) and you are done. I’ll be checking for new feeds periodically but you can give me a shout and I’ll activate it ASAP.
I plan to use Wiki Append to pull important content from the wordcamped wiki into pages (it would be done already but wiki-append is having some problems). I think the wiki can act as a second channel of communication. I will post again as soon as all of that is set up. In the mean time, edit the wiki, give it some much needed love!
I’ve also been playing with a branding idea. A year ago I came up with the idea for the UBC BlogSquad of having badges for contributors. It has worked really well as it reminds everyone of the existence of the aggregated blog (including the blogger themselves). It also immediately identifies you as part of the community. Of course, these were all first and second year students and I am not sure if seasoned bloggers want to pollute their blog with badges. If you do, feel free to grab one below. If you don’t like the design feel free to take your own shot at it (icon design is definitely not my strong suit). If you think the idea is stupid and that something else would work better, let me know in the comments below.