Monday, February 2, 2009

Ning versus the Campus Portal

I came across this Educause North Atlantic conference presentation file relatively recently. As someone who has created a Ning social Network for one program (and helped develop a Ning network for another), I thought this presentation was interesting. I really wish there were an associated podcast with this powerpoint file because the powerpoint alone does this presentation little justice

One of the common reasons people (IT folk) don't like Ning, at least on my campus, is that it's not something they control, and they claim that they subscribe to similar functions in blackboard. As someone who's working on his third and fourth Master's degree, I have never seen this implemented for any of my studies, and it's something that is useful to the student and the alumni population!

So what is wrong with portals (asks the slide?)
Portals = enterprise technology; central control

Web 2.0 = open source; distributed management

A dirty secret – portals are supposed to offer more levels of distributed management and open source content, but few are using them that way

It's the distributed management that really pushed me toward Ning. While I am the overall manager of the site (having created it), there is an ability to make other people managers of different areas, and let many people work toward the maintenance of the site. In contrast with a campus portal, since it is single-sign-on base, once you graduate you can no longer log in, and you have other people in charge of your network. For me, as a student/alumni association officer, it's more important to know that there is continuity and ease of use so that when I do 'retire' from my role as an officer others can easily pick up the baton.
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