In a comment over at Gardner’s, I envisioned a faculty member distributing an OPML file to her students who would then upload it into some kind of Bloglines-type application, in which they could then comment upon/annotate the readings they were doing.
With an application like Bloglines, the students could use features like clipping and the built in blog as their own spaces for synthesis.
Then, I thought the OPML file would really need to be up-datable, so that the professor could add new feeds (like for each student’s blog) as needed. There is no way to really do that with Bloglines now–at least not automatically. A professor could keep re-distributing an updated OPML, but that could get tedious. Alternatively, an entire class could use one Bloglines account, but I like the idea of students having individual space for reflection.
Then, I thought what if there was some kind of environment which supported this robustly. Bloglines almost fits the bill, but not quite. I’d like an environment where all the students and the professor could access the Feed(source)book (which could be regularly updated/upgraded), and in a collaborative space (some parts of which were “group”-oriented and some parts of which were for the individual voice) synthesize and reflect on the “text.” Environments like Drupal are also, almost the right solution. But that hasn’t been developed with quite the interaction that I’m imagining in mind.
It would be like a, oh, I don’t know, “course management system”. . .but cool. And more importantly, at the center of it would be real, meaty content, in the form of a Feedbook.
My problem, of course, is that I can imagine this stuff, but I’ve got no programming skills. Perhaps there is way to make this happen over at Ning. . .