EduFeedr 0.5.3 released

Last week we released EduFeedr version 0.5.3. This is mostly a bugfix release that includes the following changes:

  • handling of WordPress.com blogs is fixed, blog posts are again displayed on the progress page;
  • removed link to ManyEyes, as they have redesigned the service and removed social network visualization tool;
  • added links to participant profiles (see example).

In the current version, the participant profile lists only blog posts. However, we have been also testing a prototype that displays all comments written by the participant in his/her profile page. In the prototype, this was achieved by connecting comments with the authors manually.

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Problems with Progress page and WordPress blogs

In last two weeks we have had problems with Progress page and WordPress blogs. Blog posts from WordPress are aggregated, but not displayed in the Progress page. Blog posts from Blogger are displayed correctly in the Progress page. It is possible that this is related to WordPress 4.1 that was released in December. We are currently investigating the issue and hope to provide a bugfix release.

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Moving the development to GitHub

We have moved the source code and development tickets to GitHub. One of our students is working on a new version of EduFeedr that will have a profile page for each learner. Learner profiles will list all the blog posts and comments that the learner has written in a course. New source code is currently submitted to a fork that will be merged with the EduFeedr code after the testing is complete.

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New release of EduFeedr

We have completed a bug fix release that solved several issues that we were known for a long time. EduFeedr 0.5.2 contains following changes:

  • EduFeedr is now able to aggregate blog posts from WordPress categories and Blogger labels. This is important when people use the same blog in several courses. (#162)
  • Participants list can be downloaded as CSV file. This is useful when a facilitator needs to grade the assignments. CSV file can be imported to Excel or other spreadsheet application as a table with all participants and grading column for each assignment. (#148)
  • Incorrect blog URL’s are automatically fixed during the enrollment. (#163)
  • Enrolling the same blog twice is not allowed. (#129)
  • Course blog URL cannot be changed after creating the course. (#164)
  • Several changes to how information is displayed in EduFeedr. (#134, #136, #149, #159, #165, #166)

This is our first release since October 2010. In the meanwhile our research group has been working with another software for managing blog-based courses — Dippler. In Dippler project we have taken more institutional approach on blog-based courses. Dippler has a central interface for managing courses and requires a special plugin in student WordPress. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. EduFeedr is more suitable for open courses where participants are not affiliated to one institution. We are planning to continue providing EduFeedr as a free service and do minor updates. However, we do not currently have a separate funding for continuing the development of EduFeedr.

Due to problems with spambots we have not reopened the registration form. Educators who are interested to use EduFeedr in their courses have to contact us to get a user account. So far EduFeedr has been used in more than 40 courses in Estonia, Finland, Spain and Portugal.

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Removing inactive user accounts

Recently we had to deal with a large number of spam bots that registrated to EduFeedr. Unfortunately there was no good way to separate real users from spam bots. In order to clean up the system we decided to remove all user accounts that were not facilitators in a course. This included also real people who had registrated to EduFeedr but had not created a course. All together we removed more than 70000 user accounts and only 41 accounts were left.

All the course data remained intact. Remaining users are able to continue using EduFeedr as before. Registration of new users is disabled until we have released a version update. Currently our developers are busy with other projects, so I am afraid that we are not able to release an update before the summer. Until then we can manually create user accounts for people who are interested to use EduFeedr as their course aggregator. If you need a user account in the system, please contact us by e-mail: hans.poldoja@tlu.ee.

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