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Enquiry Blog Builder

A suit of plugins to help students enquire into a subject and teachers to manage their progress. Intended for use with multi-site setups.

There are several plugins as part of this suite, they can be used independently, but are intended to work together. More details of the EnquiryBlogger project can be found on the Learning Emergence site.

The development of EnquiryBlogger was funded as part of Learning Futures, a project launched in 2008 by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (a charity) and the Innovation Unit (a social enterprise) in order to find ways to improve educational outcomes in secondary school by increasing young peoples' engagement in learning.

MoodView - This displays a line graph plotting the mood of the student as their enquiry progresses. The widget displays the past few moods and allows a new one to be selected at any time. Changing moods (a hard coded drop-down list from 'going great' to 'it's a disaster') creates a new blog entry with an optional reason for the mood change. The graph is created using the included Flot JavaScript library.

EnquirySpiral - This widget provides a graphical display of the number of posts made in the first nine categories. A spiral of blobs appears over an image with each blob representing a category. The blobs are small and red when no posts have been made. They change to yellow for one or two posts, and green for three or more. In this way it is easy for the student to see how they are progressing, assuming the nine categories are well chosen.

EnquirySpider - This widget works in the same way as the EnquirySpiral, except that the blobs are arranged in a star shape. They are associated with seven categories. (from nine to sixteen so they don't conflict with the EnquirySpiral). The categories match with the layout of the Learning Power profile generated by ELLI. Following the underpinning research which shows that icons (especially animals) can help young people ‘inhabit’ the dispositions, customisable icons can be added to the EnquirySpider, as shown.

Teacher Plugins - Along with the three plugins above, there are corresponding ones that provide widgets on the dashboard for the teacher. These show all the student widgets, with each blob hyperlinked direct to the corresponding student blog posts.

BlogBuilder - This plugin allows batch creation of blogs. Teacher names and student names are provided and all the blogs are built in one go. The teacher-student relationship is stored in a table in the database. Teachers who login will then see the dashboard showing the progress of the students assigned to them.

In order to make the blog builder more effective, we recommend New Blog Defaults plugin which allows each new blog to inherit the same set of defaults. In particular, setting the categories for the spiral and the ELLI spider and choosing the blog theme.

We wanted the blog builder to create all blogs and not require any layout changes or widget fiddling for individual blogs afterwards. To acheive this, we picked a theme to use and some code in the eb-blogbuilder.php is hard coded to this theme,

We used the Suffusion theme to place the widgets and also applied a number of Suffusion presets to every blog so they would be laid out as we required. We also created a child-theme of Suffusion which adds an extra page that will dynamically display links to the other students in a group that the blog belongs to. As this is all dependent on the Suffusion theme, we have commented that code out, but it can easily be re-added.

Part of the Open University EnquiryBlogger suite.

Requires: 3.0.0 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.9.1
Last Updated: 2014-7-10
Downloads: 715

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