Tag Archives: research

Towards a better Features Matrix

A common approach to choosing a technology solution is to create a “feature matrix” which lists all the features required and numerical rates or weights each solution’s implementation of that feature.  The best solution is then that one with the highest “score.”

For a good critique of this strategy see: CMS Selection – Death to the Features Matrix.  This article suggests another approach, that of listing “doubts” regarding the importance of features or a solution’s implementation of a feature.

Research: Support for Unicode, Diacritics and non-Latin-based character sets

For updates on this research topic, see:
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Which of our current web applications or apps we are considering support Unicode, diacritics and non-latin based characters sets.

I know Segue supports all of these.  I think Moodle does as well.  Not sure about MediaWiki, Google Apps, WordPress and Drupal….

Research: Web-based capture

What technologies are available for web-based capture.  By this I mean tools for recording audio and/or video from a web browser.  Ideally, such tools would be widgets that can be embedded in any web page or any content management systems via a plugin or module.

It used to be that Horizon Wimba was only reliable way to do this and even this solution was fraught with bugs.  More recently the Adobe Flash Media Server (for which we have a license) and its open source counterpart Red5 have the capability to handle media streams from a browser.  Pioneering work with these flash technologies for capture include Michegan State University’s ViewPoint and UOC’s LANGblog plugins for WordPress.

I’ve downloaded LANGblog and have set up on our development server, but need help from ETI folks like Adam or Ian to configure to use our FMS…

Research: Surveys at Middlebury

What’s that latest on surveys at Middlebury?  I know we have been having some problems with KeySurvey, and that Ian set up a testing instance of Lime Survey.  Would be great if someone could find this out and report back to the group.

As well, is it worthwhile to consider WordPress plugins for surveys.  In particular, the PollDaddy plugin looks interesting.  I suspect we’ll want to be cautious about these sort of plugins especially given the problems we’ve had with cForms as an obstacle to updating WordPress

Research: What is the best podcasting plugin for WordPress?

The Audio player plugin currently installed on Midd WordPress is pretty good.  I believe Adam made some modifications to it so that the audio file it uses is included in the post’s RSS enclosure tag so that RSS readers will download the audio files for that post.  For example, see James Morrison’s blog for his International Political Economy course

However there are probably better WordPress plugins for podcasting.  Would be curious to know what’s out there and reviews.  Best place to start for this sort of research is WordPress Plugin Directory

Research: WordPress Plugin for Displaying Google Docs

Wouldn’t it be great if Google Docs could be displayed in a blog or other content management system.  That way, a bunch of people could collaborate on a text which could be displayed on a blog for others to comment upon.  The comments on the blog could help inform the editing of the text.

Is there a WordPress plugin for displaying Google Docs?  If so how well does it work?  Is it well supported.

Knowledge Exchange

Sites devoted to knowledge exchange are common in information technology.  One particularly good one is stackoverflow.com.  This particular site is exceptional for the following reasons:

  1. Anybody can ask a question or answer a question.
  2. Logged in users of the site can build a reputation by asking good questions or giving good answers
  3. Users with high reputations can do more on the site
  4. Any user (with moderate reputation) can rate an existing question or answer
  5. Any user (with moderate reputation) can edit an existing question or answer to make either better
  6. Best rated answers get pushed to the top

We could try to do something similar on this blog.  I know I have a bunch of questions I need to find answers too.  Some of these questions require a bit of expertise to find answers to, but others probably can be answered with a few google searches.