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Mike Briggs

We are experimenting with a smart search interface as the user entry point. We have "n" collections of data - websites, document repositories, etc. We've developed an auto tagging module that will pull (recommended tags) out of html/word/staroffice documents that a user can edit upon submission. We also have a companion rating service.

Basically a user can search sets of collections. They can optionally save their collection preferences in a profile. The cool part is that we are reading the various meta data (tags, ratings) as we post process the search results. We can then present categories of things, top rated documents, people involved, and of course a tag cloud.

Doug Worsham

It is so true that internal communication often doesn't get the attention it should. A little over a year ago, one of our graduate student TAs came to us with a simple, but very compelling idea: a social networking site built for creating and sharing lesson plans.

We were setting up all sorts interesting online tools to facilitate teacher-student and student-student interaction, but up to that point, we hadn't really devoted much attention to teacher-teacher interaction. As we talked more about the idea, it was clear that improving internal communication between teachers would have a huge impact on instruction.

Those discussions led to LS LessonShare, an online tool built on Drupal that helps communities of instructors share, organize, and collaboratively improve their teaching materials.

We're piloting LessonShare with two departments this Fall, and we look forward to learning more about how facilitating internal dialog between teachers can lead to a richer set of instructional materials. We're already running into the "local-larger" challenge you mention - each department has very particular organizational and workflow requirements. At the same time, we're getting requests for a "commons" area to house teaching materials that cross departments and disciplines.

Joel Galbraith

You're ahead of us already...even with what you've currently got. But thank you for your transparent approach to this challenge and for sharing the discussion. I, for one, am keenly interested in both your process and progress on this particular issue.
While we continue to improve here at WC, I am proud of our efforts here, and (I think) our appropriate use of an ever-growing wiki and blog to record and publish our collective discoveries, official policies and grassroots knowledge-from-the-trenches within the IDD group. I arrived with the systems already in place, but have been a thankful consumer of the collective wisdom, and a fairly active contributor.
-Joel G.

Cole Camplese

Mike, how does SUN manage local content for the smaller units within the larger organization? What I mean is that at PSU, we are trying to build a space that supports all the people within the parent organization while still allowing for protected areas for each individual work unit. Does that make sense? I would love to hear how a balance can be constructed between serving the needs of smaller work groups while meeting the needs of the total organization.

Anyone else have any thoughts on that one?

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