Personal Learning Environments: blurring the edges of formal and informal learning. An experiment with Anthologize.

After Deconstructing the Book: The Drumbeat series as a Pliego, here comes another experiment on open content and self-publishing.

I am preparing a support material for a conference on Personal Learning Environments due in Barcelona next February 2011. The material is going to be based on a series of writings I recently made on the topic of the Personal Learning Environment and, more specifically, on the Hybrid Institutional Personal Learning Environment as a bridge between educational institutions and online informal/social learning.

That was the perfect excuse to test the possibilities of Anthologize with a practical exercise.

At first sight, Anthologize just saves you some of the old copy-and-paste by making it easier to merge several (WordPress) blog posts into one. After working with it, what it really does is making really easy to engage in a simple but real editorial process, which includes selecting the appropriate articles, make changes in them (without altering the originals!), and seeing how they best fit together by selecting their order or grouping them into sections or chapters. If you’re not happy with the result, the output can be exported to an RTF file which you can afterwords thoroughly edit in any text editor. Simple as it sounds, it’s an awesome and very useful tool for quickly making deliverables out of your blog.

Here’s what came out of my experiment:

This final version was deeply edited after the Anthologize process was over. It was, nevertheless, a very personal decision and there was actually not a real need for it but a matter of taste.

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Personal Learning Environments: blurring the edges of formal and informal learning. An experiment with Anthologize.” In ICTlogy, #86, November 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3602

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4 Comments to “Personal Learning Environments: blurring the edges of formal and informal learning. An experiment with Anthologize.” »

  1. Thanks for giving Anthologize a whirl — it looks great, and it’s fantastic to see this kind of real-world output.

    I’d be curious to hear more about the editing choice you made after the Anthologize output came out. I can spot where things aren’t produced by Anthologize, and would like to hear more about it, since that’s part of the development route. If we (or others!) can produce additional outputs to personalize things more without needing to do manual editing, that will be great for everyone.

    As we work on bugfixes, that’s also something we are starting to build up. I’ve written up some more of the thinking and testing about 3rd party Anthologize outputs.

    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Patrick,

    Nice you stepped by :)

    I did two kind of edits.

    The first one was a “hardcore” one and implied changing the code of class-pdf.php (under templates/pdf). I basically removed excessive (to my taste) page breaks and changed headers, footers and how some metadata (e.g. rights) were presented.

    But templating the whole thing would have been a never ending story. Besides, after the “hardcore” changes had been made, it’s easier to work on styles with the text editor and not in PHP/HTML (at least that time: if I’m to use Anthologize several times a day, I’ll think it over ;)

    So, second editing was a “soft” one, an implied some styling of headers and paragraphs (font type and size, aligning, etc.), better image positioning and caption, and, maybe the most important one, fixing some broken issues with links (orphan letters left out of the links they belonged to, underlining of links, etc.).

    So, summing up, the only thing I really “fixed” was (a) excessive page breaks and almost blank pages (i.e. featuring only the title of the section) and (b) how some links were rendered.

    On the other hand, I had problems exporting directly to RTF, so I ended up exporting to PDF and then saving as RTF. Odd, but worked quite good enough to me.

    And… thank you :)

    i.

  3. Pingback: links for 2010-11-05 | MYAM's Blog

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