A news engine is a kind of Content Management System or portalware. Administrators can organize contents into different topics (subject areas) and decide who can post news, look at news, annotate news, moderate news, etc.
Usually, a news engine is a part of a portal that offers multiple services. In a C3MS the news engine is usually displayed as default application when users connect and it displays the trailers of the last stories received. Users usually can submit news (editors with special rights can approve it), display the news on the index page, browse through the topics (click on "topic icons" associated with each story), search through all the contents, annotate contents (i.e. each story has an associated forum). This is a core module of most portals, for some portals there exist also some 3rd party ones with special features. Functions : Submit, comment, edit, delete, rate, search, browse, moderate.
See also weblogs which are based on similar principles.
News engines also can replace forums. In particular, it is preferrable to use this technology for argumentation/discussion scenarios, since modern forums are "boxed" and don't display hierarchical threads.
Here is a short list of pedagogical activities that a news engine will scaffold:
- Interact by providing new information (to start a story, a project, an activity)
- comment information made by others (e.g. student work or articles found on the web),
- organize asynchronous debates,
- present an expert's view on a theme.
A news engine also can act as a central "announcement" tool in a project-oriented learning design. E.g. teacher annonces "tasks" and provides general feedback on student productions.