Thursday, August 20, 2009

Update on iGoogle and the LMS

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about using iGoogle as a course portal instead of using an LMS. Since I'm teaching this fall I thought I'd investigate further. Briefly, here is what I found.

For any tab of iGoogle that you have created, there is a little menu triangle to right. If you click on that triangle you get a few items, one of which is Share My Tab. Click on that and you get a form that should have checked already all the gadgets that are on the Tab. Then, unchecked just below that, is a checkbox for sharing your personal settings. I don't believe that was there two years ago. In my little bit of experimentation, I checked that. Then I sent my settings to a different Google account that I have.

On this particular Tab I had a gadget for Google Reader, another for Google Calendar, and a third for Google Docs. In Google Reader I had made certain items shared. In Google Calendar I had made a calendar publicly available. Those both came through perfectly to the other account. I could see verbatim what showed up in the original account.

Google Docs, however, seems to function differently. There is no way to share a document so it is publicly available. You can make the Web page for the document publicly available, but the Web page doesn't show up in the list of documents. The document itself you can only share with other individuals. So in the gadget for Google Docs, what appears is the persons own Google Docs, not those docs of the person who created the Tab.

This is really too bad. If the Google Docs widget worked the same way so documents could be made publicly readable in document view, we'd really have something. Right now I'd characterize this as close but no cigar.

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