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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Student posts and podcasts don't mix

Following up on some size limit issues that came up with my class podcast, I decided to limit the blog posts only to student blog assignments and lecture recordings. There are two problems that still resulted from this:

1) Since students were encouraged to find articles to support their assignment, they sometimes linked directly to a PDF file, which automatically got incorporated as an enclosure by Feedburner. This is not a very bad thing - just that students subscribed to the class podcast might be confused by these additional files showing up in iTunes.

2) This is much worse: it seems that students like to write their assignments in a program like Word first then paste them into the Compose mode of Blogger. This carries all kinds of nasty formatting elements that actually can break the RSS podcast feed coming out of Feedburner.

In response to this problem I have created a new blog for my students to post their assignments. If they do break that one, at least the podcast will be unaffected.

A good way to avoid this problem is to paste the text in the Blogger Edit HTML mode. That will strip out the formatting.

Or simply write in Blogger itself, making use of the Draft option to avoid premature publication.


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