Bring ScholarPress into BuddyPress

During the last #wordpress-gsoc chat, we were kidding around how 90’s is Moodle compared to WordPress, and how cool would be to enhance BuddyPress with some learning tools that can beat Moodle.

Jane pointed me to the ScholarPress, a community of WordPress plugins developers that are writing code to make WordPress useful in education. Their plugin, Courseware is built for WordPress and currently offers the following features:

  • manage schedules
  • manage bibliography
  • manage assignments
  • manage general course information

From what I heard the plugin also works with BuddyPress, but making it depends on WordPress (shortcodes, wp-admin) isn’t exactly a perfect integration. The idea what came is to port ScholarPress to BuddyPress. In detail, to make SP aware of BP groups, and treat them as classes of students. Assign schedules per group, add bibliography to scheduled courses, so on for assignments. From the upstream TODO list, I also saw the need of a grade-book and I would also add a notification system (send a private message if a course is upcoming or a new grade was posted).

More on the internal part…

It will require changes like, split the courses part from schedules. Because SP will be groups aware, it will be more logical to create courses and link bibliographies and assignments to them, after what publish them in a schedule. Also I would consider adding an upload option for the courses that require annexes or attachments (later, you can bundle those with Google Docs viewer or psview).
About the gradebook, I liked the idea used for kb-gradebook, and I think it’s the bare minimal implementation of grades assignment I can consider as a starting point (read the csv file, and assign group members to marks).

About users…

In most of the education centers students are managed using a LDAP system or ActiveDirectory. So bringing some core functionality into such a plugin also should be considered. I know you’ll jump that there are plenty of plugins that offer LDAP integration, but hey, none of them (afaik) will offer you options to integrate two baseDN’s into the same instance (this can be really useful for role mappings also, divide students from teachers).

I’m a student and at our university I had the opportunity to play a little with Moodle, so the above idea is based on my experience. It would be nice to hear some opinions from persons who are really involved into teaching process and what would they like to see in such a new ScholarPress.

There’s also a thread started on wp-edu.