Thursday, December 07, 2006

WebCT - Pseudo Blog

Tama’s eLearning Blog This an older posting I just found but pertinent nonetheless. WebCT/Blackboard continue to "advance" their product into the social software sphere that students want and demand - but are they succceeding? Can you make an enclosed space, a walled graden into a social space?

"Mark Hallam from WebCT spoke at the Annual Teaching & Learning Forum held at the University of Western Australia. Mark previewed a number of WebCT’s next steps including ePortfolio tools and blogs. However, on close questioning, Mark admitted that WebCT’s blogs aren’t really blogs at all because…
1. They are locked behind WebCT’s password protection.
2. They cannot be made publicly visible (there is a complex workaround whereby students could copy there WebCT-blog entries to their ePortfolio and then allow anonymous access via a guest password, but WebCT cannot bypass the password stage).
3. Comments can only be made by internal WebCT users using the same installation of WebCT.
4. The “blogs” don’t have RSS feeds."

Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a blog, yet claims the name. Perhaps they should stop trying to recreate what already exists - maybe just allow a link into Elgg. That would be social, personal, amd not institutional centric and not tied to a course, a semester, or to a licensed, closed environment. Now that sounds social. Now that is also added value - but alas, not added profit. (Unless Blackboard/WebCT buys Elgg)

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