Brad Choate mentioned the Open Source CMS site, which offers a way to take a look at a variety of open source PHP and MySQL CMS and LMS systems without having to install them yourself first. Some of these strike me as viable alternatives or supplements for WebCT and Blackboard. I’m especially intrigued by Moodle.
First, I’ve found a provocative definition of a wiki that I rather like, though this one works well too, as does this one. I’m still looking for my first Wiki system to install. So far, PhpWiki appeals the most. There’s a pre-Panther MacDev Center article by Giles Turnball “Installing a Wiki on Your iBooK” which sounds painstaking but doable. PhpWiki is what the Wikipedia uses.
Right now, I’m thinking of a web-based wiki, since I’m interesting in the potential of a wiki as a collaborative writing environment, but I also see lots of uses for a “personal wiki,” a wiki that is largely intended to be the data depository of a single person or household. There are some Mac OS X applications designed to create local wiki-like databases. Harald Scheirich’s PersonalWiki is one, Voodoo Pad is another.
I blame David Chess, who made a passing reference to the Wiki Pedia in his Log. I’ve looked at Wikis before, of course, and even posted about them, but the Wiki Pedia is the first time I really got to participate. The part that I find most fascinating about Wikis is the way the community aspect works. The fact that any one can edit it pretty much anything in most wikis is intriguing. And I can see how they have enormous use in development, for internal “knowledge management,” or sharing and accreting tribal knowledge. But I’d like to try using them for teaching too (there’s a lot of potential for using a wiki for student writing projects), and for managing my own data. I’m very keen to try a wiki in terms of my own dissertation research, both for the dissertation proper, and as a way of keeping track of the extraneous and tangential branching that my research often leads to. I really want something set up locally on my Mac’s hard drive, or possibly on my ISP/site host’s server, but in the meantime I’ve been playing around with Seed Wiki. You can see what I’ve done so far (not much) here.
Six Apart has provided a fix for a potential Spam vulnerability in MovableType’s “Email this to a friend” feature. You can read about the fix, and download it, here.
If you haven’t already installed Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist anti-comment spam plug-in, go here and install it at the same time as the MovableType fix.
I’ve been experimenting, off and on, with both Live Journal, a free (with increased options for paying users) “journal” style blogging system with built in tools for community involvement and communication between other Live Journalers, and with Fotolog.net, a free (but limited) photo blogging systems, with increased options for pay. Both systems are intriguing, with easy to use interfaces and potential for instructional use. I’m particularly struck by the possibilities for foreign language instruction, in part because of the extensive multi-lingual communities both systems have.