Friday, February 29, 2008

Blackboard and facebook Integrator

"CourseFeed phishes for information - CourseFeed is a security breach." Do students want to connect academic and personal social networks? Do Institutions want to connect with a proprietary system that "owns" the data and mines the data? Security breaches, confidentiality ocncerns, data ownership, access to licensed resource material - headaches galore.

Why not create your own centrally maintained social network using a tool like Elgg?

Still, here is what CourseFeed sells...

I'm a little late to the game here - and missed this one. Coursefeed (facebook app site) connects "you with your classmates and connects you to your school's online course content system. Browse your courses, post messages to the class, share notes – all without ever leaving Facebook. CourseFeed (product site) also alerts you when your professor posts announcements, tests, or content to your course. And you’ll get alerts when classmates post to the course wall and share notes."

Without an online content system:
* Course Wall
* File storage for Course Notes, etc.
* Course feed display of what's new posted by others.
* Connect with others in the course.
* Profile display to let friends know when you're in class.

With an online content system:
* See everyone in your course – guaranteed accurate course roster.
* View all online course materials without leaving Facebook
* Course feed shows when professor posts announcements, files, etc. to your course.
* View all announcements, new or old, in the announcements area.
* One-click access into your school's online content system and auto-navigation that takes you right to the item.

Here's who owns CourseFeed...

Coursefeed is a free product from ClassTop, a proprietary content management and communication tool that synchronizes with major learning management systems. ClassTop is “a quick and easy way for instructors who are teaching multiple sections of one course to upload data into those courses all at one time.” With Blackboard, adding items to multiple courses involves logging on repeatedly to add items to each course. With ClassTop, only one login is required; instructors drag and drop files to place them. The files are synchronized with the LMS all at once at the end of the session. teachers can also make changes offline and have them uploaded when they connect online.

Here's one sad story...

"In order for CourseFeed to work with Wesleyan's network to access Blackboard and send notifications over Facebook, it needed user's usernames and passwords. When students added the application to their Facebook profiles, they had to give out this information, which put them in direct violation with Nebraska Wesleyan University policy and compromised their NWU accounts.Not only did CourseFeed use account information to send out Blackboard notifications, but it also accessed Blackboard accounts to send messages in students' names to their classmates, inviting them to add the application as well. It was these email messages and submitted complaints about them that first alerted Computer Services to the dilemma.Students also sent CourseFeed complaints to Facebook who then contacted ClassTop who, in turn, dutifully contacted Computer Services to work with them in finding a solution to the infringement of student accounts. Computer Services first blocked ClassTop's access to Blackboard and ClassTop also blocked students from accessing the CourseFeed application via Facebook. Next, Computer Services collected information on which accounts had been compromised and proceeded to change their passwords. Students were notified of this change through duplicate hard-copy letters sent to their mailboxes and home addresses; they were also informed through a notice that was posted on the NWU website. It is important to note that ClassTop's intent was not to create a malicious program that would infiltrate NWU's network. " But, it did.

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