Curation is a tall ask when engaging engaging in any large scale, online community/course like CLMOOC. With so much activity being generated by so many individuals, it is easy to feel both overwhelmed and overwrought with remarkable rapidity. One of the ways I like to bind multiple streams into a manageable means of content control is through the power of RSS and a digital dashboard.
There are still a few digital dashboard services, despite the loss of some heavyweights, like iGoogle and Pageflakes, both of which were really good products actually. I settled on Netvibes some time ago and continue to use it.
The advantage of using a dashboard like Netvibes is that you can easily run a number of data streams onto a single page in the for of widgets, allowing for quick scanning of multiple information sources in a single page view with minimal scrolling. Widget sizes can be altered to fit, as well as page layouts to reduce the need to scroll or accommodate more widgets. While I am making this page public and available to anyone with the address, it is a fairly easy set-up.
- Begin by registering for a Netvibes account.
- Once logged in click New… in the Dashboards drop-down menu in upper right corner. Enter the keyword(s) that you wish to track (I entered CLMOOC 2014).
- A number of pre-defined widgets will appear on the page (alter as desired).
- Click the arrow-head to the right of the tab title for a drop-down menu that includes the page layout, how the widgets will be displayed.
- Clicking the Green +Add button in the upper-left corner will reveal a all kinds of widget possibilities, many leveraging RSS.
I added the webpage widget along the top of the tab, partly because it looked cool with the logo, but also because I can scroll within the widget frame and see announcements quickly and easily.
I ran the Twitter and Google+ feeds off to the right, along the top to instantly scan the the most current information. What is really nice is that Netvibes has already done the work for collecting a Google+ stream, despite it not generating an RSS feed. So no extra work required there.
Below the fold, requiring some scrolling, I added the image feeds from Flickr, Picasa, and Instagram to browse the various memes and visuals created as part of the CLMOOC experience. Additionally, I paired the images with a widget gathering all the videos tagged in YouTube and Vimeo.
I can add other RSS feeds later, say like Diigo or Delicious if that proves to be a highly used tool for collecting sites and resources. I can even add a blogroll like widget if I like to track posts from select participants once things get rolling.
The one drawback is that the widgets are stuck streaming in reverse chronological order, so there is no real filter other than the most current content rising to the top. Still, a dashboard like this is great when you want to take the temperature of a highly active effort. A quick scan can help you get up-to-date in a hurry. This example will no doubt evolve as CLMOOC unfolds.
Lastly, I can’t say that I completely came up with this idea on my own. It is actually a bit of a hack based on something I learned from Steve Hargadon in the earliest days of the Classroom 2.0 Ning (way back in the olden times of 2008). Still, this seemed a pretty easy early How to Guide for creating something that can be a useful tool in the sometimes chaotic MOOC experience.