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Jan 10, 2007

Comments

Laura Gibbs

Hi Graham, this sounds really great! I've been doing project-based learning in my online classes for several years now (students build websites instead of doing a final paper) - and I wanted to chime in here on the value of sharing projects and archiving projects. Students learn SO MUCH MORE from seeing the work of other students than they do from listening to me preach! Over time I've accumulated hundreds of student projects, and I can see that each semester the projects get better and better and better exactly because students are able to look at what previous students did, and thus raise their aspirations a bit higher each time. One of the activities I have students do in the first week of my Indian Epics class, for example, is to look at the projects from past semesters and pick their favorites. Then, when they start to define their own projects the next week, they have some concrete, real, actual sense of the possibilities! This is a big help when students are embarking on a topic - like ancient Indian epics - which is otherwise totally alien to them! Instead of me orienting them, previous students lead the way!

I'm not sure if HTML is allowed here, but here's the URL

http://mythfolklore.net/india/orientation/storybook.htm

Morgan Benton

Hello Graham,

I do research in the area of technology support for teaching and education, and based on what I know about you, we have a similar approach to/philosophy about education. I read about you in Jon's blog.

I'm currently using BaseCamp (http://www.basecamphq.com/) to manage PBL with my college students. It has almost all of the features that you just blogged about needing for edu20. My students have found they like the system so much that they have begun creating their own accounts so that they can use it to manage their project work with other teams in other classes. BaseCamp, as you may know, is a hosted solution so you can't install it on your own server. However, they do have an API and I've written a few scripts to extend its capabilities to support some of the things I do as an instructor. The API, is somewhat limited--you don't have full access to all of the functionality in the system.

Alternatively, there is a free and open source project called ActiveCollab (http://www.activecollab.com/) which is a knock-off of BaseCamp for people like me who would rather put it on their own server. It doesn't quite have all of the features of BaseCamp, but it is open source so if I really wanted to (read: if I had the time!) I could add the features that I want. This code base is something that you might be able to use in implementing PBL in edu20. At the very least you could study these two systems for their feature sets.

We should chat some time! Keep up the good work.

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