WordPress MU and eportfolio reporting requirements

I had the good luck this week to stumble into a very helpful blogswarm. And since it’s best to make use of their expertise while they are still checking back here, let’s cut to the chase.

Here is the new thought, re: eportfolios and other WP projects needing data aggregation.

Append an optional process at the end of WordPress MU setup that pre-populates the category table with canonical terms.

So, for instance, the table could be pre-filled with specific performance indicators appropriate to educational eportfolios, organized around a standardized phrase, such as “Demonstration of Classroom Management Skills (NC 2.1.3)”. You upload the artifact and you or someone bigger than you tags it.

Now here’s the neat part. Since we have faith these terms are the same across MU instances, reports are simply a matter of writing code that cycles through all the MU user tables and finds posts that are tagged with that term. Want a report of all users who have not met requirement NC 2.1.3? Easy.

Caveat: the people here with an intimate knowledge NCATE are still drawing up what the reporting requirements will look like. But then, there’s very little one can’t do with tagging and SQL. So I’m not worried yet.

So question…. does this make sense? Is anyone else using WP tagging in this way? Does anyone have NCATE reporting experience, and what can you tell me?

(Bill, I will eventually look into your neat hack in Drupal as well…]

2 thoughts on “WordPress MU and eportfolio reporting requirements

  1. Mike,

    It’s interesting what you are describing here, because something similar would be extremely useful out-of-the-boc for WPMU. We really haven’t gotten into the murky waters of using blogs for questions of accreditation, massive reports, etc. Although if they are successful, I’m sure it will follow. But the fact that you are doing all the hard work for us is very encouraging;)

    This idea of pre-populating tables with pre-defined terms is really interesting. What we have been beating our selves up over, and which I will be blogging sometime soon, is how we aggregate different content from this distributed system into temporary spaces for exhibiting a snapshot of a class work, while allowing students’ work to remain in tact in their own blog. We have been thinking about having students create specific categories for specific classes and then feeding just that content out to a aggregating page using the WP category feeds. The aggregation is still laborious, but what if -now I’m riffing on you for my own purposes, sorry- you could set up a space where students could, within WPMU, create a space to “deposit” their category feed, and you could aggregate them all together and have the information you want fed to you. Now I know you are suggesting this would be a way of tracking student progress, is this done by specific course completed or taken? Or is this an independent concern. If class had a particular, consistent tag (perhaps adding specifics for term and year) this may somehow re-connect with what you are looking for. In short, my ideal is always to use the tag/category feeds to search for and access all sorts of information about students -particulatly their work -and re-present and harness it in different ways. It may not answer some of the administrative questions, but it begins to create to community elements that have me so excited when I log on to WordPress.com. Their dashboard gives you an excellent overview of the goings on in their environment, could we do the same for an educational space using tags/categories what have you, and hey maybe it would even be useful for reporting…

  2. I’m actually going to respond to this a bit later today (hopefully).

    I forget if my email is on this site, but it’s keenenh and I’m on gmail.

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