Well, it took us over a year, and with several iterations along the way, but I think UMW Blogs will now be able to provide dead simple aggregation of posts from numerous, distributed blogs with very little work, but a little bit of money for the plugin extension ($50 to be exact). Henri Simeon’s MuTags plugin and the $50 extension we bought from him gave UMW Blogs a RSS feed for each and every site wide tag.
Once sitewide tags have an RSS feed, the whole problem of grabbing each student’s RSS feed, and making sure you have the right URIs becomes irrelevant. The only thing that needs to be done is that the class has to decide upon a unique tag for their posts. After that, any post a student wants to be fed into that course blog must be tagged appropriately. So, for example, if I am teaching a pirate class and I want students to tag posts in their blogs with “pirategroom” (no quotes), then all they have to do is tag the post correctly. On the course blog I just activate the FeedWordPress plugin and put in one very simple URI:
That’s it (you can see the test here). The only caveat being that this site wide tag feed only works for UMW Blogs (or your local WPMu installation). If students are using other services to host their own blogs then this solution won’t work. However, you can throw in a little BDP RSS coupled with Andre Malan’s Add Feed plugin which will provide a quick and elegant solution for solving this—read more about this here.
Wow, we are getting closer and closer, and while the MuTags RSS feeds is choking on images and video (annoying!), we are going to get that straight over the next month and have a full fledged, scalable solution for aggregating posts from numerous student blogs into one, central course blog with no overhead. Yeeeeeeees!!!
BTW: This is my first post on the bava using WPMu 1.5.1—so I can finally get used to and document the new WordPress backend interface.