Import Blackboard Common Cartridge into WordPress

flickr photo shared by Internet Archive Book Images with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) It’s far from pretty and I don’t know how well it’ll play with other courses but . . . here’s the plugin I used to import a few Blackboard course exports into WordPress. It’s nothing magical but I think it should get you most of the WordPress kind of content on courses sort of like these. It won’t pull in quizzes or anything like that and I make no attempt to map user/user roles. I just want the page content, discussion prompts, that sort of stuff. I opted to pull this content in as posts and tag them (as opposed to the Moodle import where I used Pages and parent/child relationships). It just seemed like the right path based on the content. In any case, here’s the code. It’s super ugly as I adapted some stuff I was playing around with during my Moodle attempts. It loads the xml file twice and probably does other things that will make programmers sad but honestly I was bored with it and didn’t feel it was worth re-writing. I just wanted it to work. It may also be a terrible example to set as I’m not sure I want people importing their Blackboard courses into WordPress. I do know […]

LMS Metaphors

Blackboard/LMS is like a – giant filing cabinet closet filled with attractive, well organized, clothes lifeblood to us, like a Web course in a box shark learning management system eating smaller sharks so it can survive and thrive large thermonuclear device framework that handles all the learning procedures blank canvas tattoo It seems there are whole papers written on metaphors for Blackboard. I saw Jon’s LMS-as-training-wheels metaphor and Britt’s response– both as a result of Jim’s talk. I’ve been thinking about it a bit and I think it ends up giving the LMS the wrong kind of credit. It implies a temporary guide, a training ground to get you used to using the Internet to teach. I don’t think that’s the goal at all. It seems to me that the LMS is a fast-food franchise kitchen. It does exactly what it is meant to do. It is built for people with minimal skills to make cheap food quickly at scale. It isn’t meant to be a training ground so people can move up to gourmet cooking. These skills don’t transfer. You aren’t even meant to graduate to being a line cook at Friday’s. The LMS reaches the minimum quality people will tolerate in exchange for convenience and low cost.1 The LMS focuses on making the very things I find most […]

Snow Days Don’t Stop Assessment

This wouldn’t be worth of mocking except for the fact that it was retweeted time and time again by the Blackboard Twitter fanboy crowd and when I finally read it I couldn’t get the taste of bile out of my mouth. This is the garbage they celebrate as a success. So the following post is an attempt at purging my system. Original article here. Italics and footnotes, as always, are mine. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ The snow led to more than 300 local closings and delays today — but if a district uses too many snow days, there’s less time to test. No one wants that. One local school figured out a way to have the best of both worlds -students at home *and*1 a full day of testing. Joe Webb says it works through technology -insert dramatic music here. The kids at Taft Elementary will lose a day of class because they’re at home. McAuley High School has figured out a way to reach out to its students and have them in class at home. At Beechwood Elementary, Miss Burns’ fourth grade class beat the elements and had a school not a snow day. But in 2010 this is truly old school.2 McAuley sophomore Sam Rack kicked it new school3 today at home but taking all her regular classes online. It counts […]

Zombies, Flamethrowers and Catfish

Image credit – CogDogBlog It’s really a strange world. The shot above was taken in Second Life by CogDog following my presentation with Jim Groom the other night. It was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had with a presentation. The video’s down there somewhere. There were zombies, flame throwers and a lot of madness1. Jim was in rare form and really justifying his Reverend moniker. It was a pleasure to listen to him roll. CogDog has a very solid synopsis on his blog. The gist of the presentation is that forcing people into boxes tends to mess up education rather than improve it- that things like BlackBoard create a lot of false impressions. They make it look like lots of your teachers are using tech but the way that they’re using it tend to be very low level and actually hurts your real tech integrators. The future is open. The future is mobile, agile and friendly. BB (and others) are slow, ugly and unfriendly. It seems simple to me. Forced tech integration doesn’t work. It just gets you really poor teaching with tech sprinkled on top. Focus on forcing good teaching, get rid of people who don’t do it. You can do things to require that and your time and energy will be spent in a much […]

31

I Doubt I’m a Doubter . . .

Mike got all up in my grill for criticizing the CMS in education. I am apparently both a dreamer (but I’m not the only one) and a “doubter.” He even accused me of listening to Beach Boys music (I do have a theme song in mind for CMS’s – unless some knows a song dedicated to mediocrity?). I will ignore the fact that I was mainly talking about Blackboard and never mentioned HCPS’s Schoolspace. Although that military mindset is very much like some aspects of HCPS. Mike, be careful with that kind of talk you’re headed toward a job in the nugget factory and I don’t think that’s what you want. To put it simply, the use of the CMS in education is very often an admission of defeat. It is replacing agile and targeted with clumsy (often forced or coerced) mass adoption. It’s a cookie cutter response to what are very individual needs. You want a blog, she wants a discussion board. I (the lord of technology) will give you something that does that (sort of, in the next version- I swear!) and 43 other things you don’t want– only it does none of them very well. Now you should be happy. Right? I’d much rather work with individuals on tools they can control and tweak to really do […]