Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Continuing debate on loosely coupled vs. integrated VLE's

Martin Weller's claim that "The VLE/LMS is dead", has started an interesting discussion that continues to rage (especially within the walls of the British Open University, with Niall Sclater and Grainne Conole chipping in - read more about it here, here, here, here and here).
In my view the intermediate conclusion is formulated by Martin as follows:

I guess what I'm suggesting is a kind of middle ground between the institutional, one size fits all VLE and the complete anarchy of a PLE. We allow educators to use tools available elsewhere, while making recommendations, and concentrate on providing a framework to use these within (both technical and pedagogic).

I don't expect this to happen quickly, but I do get a sense we are approaching the tipping point. This will be realised through a range of tools which are easy to use and familiarity amongst educators and students.

In my view, some of the critical applications will be centrally managed within an institutional VLE, while others will be "out there". In the end, it does relate to the trade-off between control and freedom. Why not put some of that trade-off in the hands of the individual teacher / student?

Your space or mine?
Just previous to the previous statement, Martin suggested:
If universities are using third party systems I don't think students will care particularly, as long as they are getting the best experience they can.
Interestingly, in his next post - where do you find the time, Martin? - he goes on to quote the Guardian article "Students tell universities: Get out of MySpace", based on a JISC study. On the basis of this study one might argue that students do care about using third-party systems that they want to use for private purposes.

Makes you wonder, no? Do universities invade their students' personal spaces when they suggest using publicly available tools such as Facebook? We briefly touched upon that discussion in the OUNL as well last week. Is it smart to start mixing up one's different social networks? I'm not sure. My Facebook 'friends' consist of relatives, real-life friends, colleagues, study friends, ex-colleagues, and even complete strangers that know me through a friend-of-a-friend.
On the whole - if one chooses to - the barriers between the different niches in our lives can be blurred. Others may choose a much stricter policy regarding the individuals they allow as friends. I read that Facebook will make it possible in the future to "Sort out ones friends":
We’ll let you organize that long list of friends into groups so you can decide more specifically who sees what.
Would be good if they can extend these roles to the applications as well. That way, my friends would know that I'm interested in comic books and astrology, and my colleagues would know wich events I want to attend and in which e-learning groups I participate. Is that a task for Facebook 2.0?

1 comment:

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