OpenSocial Gadget Contest

Adding new features to Profiles and/or VIVO

Allowing Faculty Member to Add Link(s) to Moodle, TICR, or Other Online Forums or Resources

Proposal Status: 

A growing number of faculty members are teaching online. Might it be helpful to allow them to add, to their profiles, a link to their forums, classrooms, blogs or other resources, as hosted in the Moodle/Collaborative Learning Environment, Training in Clinical Research (TICR) or other sites? In some cases (e.g., some Moodle classrooms), the sites will stay open indefinitely to allow the faculty members to use them as "permanent" repositories for videotaped lectures, articles, texts, PowerPoint presentations, and other course material.

I understand that a profilee can add up to five websites to his/her profile. I wonder if adding a section just for online education links would encourage more faculty members to add those specific links.

We would create an algorithm that asks if the researcher has any online learning resources. If so, a second field would appear in which the profile could input his/her own URL(s). The help text (and the “How Profiles Works” page) would offer suggested links, including those I’ve typed above, among others. The default visibility setting for this field would be “hidden” so as not to discriminate against those faculty members who are non-adopters of online education.

This would be inexpensive (or no-cost) and user-directed. It would allow profilees to share their online learning resources more easily with their students, mentees and alums. More importantly, it would also advertise the expanding role of the University on the leading edge of online education.


Hi - UCSF Profiles already has two open-source gadgets that can serve this purpose. The first, as you note, is the Websites gadget, wherein a profile owner can include any five links they want to present. Profiles also has the Presentations gadget, which uses Slideshare to allow a profile owner to put presentations (or a sample lecture) in their profile.


I believe the need is to educate profile owners/online professors to add links and presentations to their profiles more than to build another gadget. What do you think should trigger the algorithm you suggest?



Thanks for asking. I agree that educating profile owners/online professors would be a crucial step in getting these resources on Profiles. In the interim, might I suggest this method? Please excuse my ignorance of Profiles algorithms and how they work.

Could Profiles integrate with Moodle/the Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) to find profilees who have active “instructor” status in Moodle? Then an algorithm would auto-populate the Profile for any faculty member with that status, with a link(s) to any of his/her Moodle classroom(s). The Moodle classrooms are password secured and already include PPT’s, videotaped lectures, texts, etc. Ryan Brazell, Brian Warling or the other helpful staff at CLE might be good resources.

I propose this method instead of an algorithm that searches by a keyword search using any of these “exact phrases”: online education, online learning, digital learning, e-learning, flipped, MOOC/massively open online course. This is because I could not find online instructors like Bernie Lo, when I searched by those keywords (“No keyword matches found.”). Using some of those exact phrases, I did find via “full text search”, Bernie Lo. But I also found peripherally relevant profilees like Angel Chen and Leslie Floren, who research or work in online education in general.  Integrating with Moodle might be a more direct and precise way to identify online instructors and provide links to the relevant resources.

Great idea Aria, however, I do agree with Brian that it may come down to more comprehensive education on the part of profile owner/acamdemic. It seems like a more succint and targeted location for this information may reside in owners updating their websites and narratives. How can we better educate the profile owner showing the power of the tool?

Thanks for asking! If we haven't already, might we ask UCSF IT (Elazar Harel, Andrew Riley, etc.) to broadcast the benefits of a robust profile, to a listserv targeting departmental IT administrators, for further dissemination? Such a “top-down” message could educate the profilees about the benefits of updates, and traffic (by students, colleagues, collaborators and other visitors), to their sites. This type of message could also explain how a robust profile facilitates identification of, and outreach to, potential collaborators. For example, UCSF has researchers in dynamic fields like ImplementationScience. Researchers working in this field often don't know others who, or even that they themselves, do relevant work. A “top-down” message with this info might help get the word out. Otherwise, a “bottom-up” message from program coordinators like me  to program faculty, might help.

Selected comments from Reviewer(s):

Reviewer 1: "Not clear that this is even needed, since some of the functionality already exists. Need to plug profiles into more departmental websites to push the need to build and maintain a complete."
Reviewer 2: "education campaign needed… to drive academics to update and use the existing resources in Profiles for education and online learning."

On behalf of Clinical and Translational Science Institute at UCSF, thank you for participating in this contest.

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