As I've mentioned here before, I have traditionally had my students keep a written lab notebook of all the actions they take as they set up and administer their machines. This year, I'd like to have them keep their notebooks online in a blog. That enables me to keep up with what their writing in an aggregator rather than everyone passing bulky written notebooks around.
I've got a few options:
- Have the students use Radio. Pros: its easy Cons: it costs money and they won't necessarily have there own windows box to run it on (the lab machines will be running Linux).
- Have the students install something on their lab machine like Slash or Monoraul Jerk. Pros: they control it and its free. Cons: they won't be sophisticated enough for these installations until a month into the class (although its a great exercise).
- Use the Slashcode Journal system that I already have running on the class site. Pros: its easy. Cons: no possibility for multiple channels or RSS.
Turns out that the pleasant surprise is that the Slash journal system does do RSS. I was thinking, "OK, I could modify journal.pl to output RSS." There's already a "op=display" parameter. Lo and behold, if you change the "display" to "rss" you get RSS. Pretty cool.
I will need to modify journal.pl a little. It doesn't put the journal writers name in the title, but in the description field which many aggregators doesn't display. Having 40-50 sites show up in my aggregator all labeled "CS462, Enterprise Computing Journals" wouldn't work. [Update: I made the change easily in just a few minutes.]