Ambitious chapter! Ko and Rossen tried to condense in thirty pages what could fit in an entire encyclopedia! I would say that it ended up very informative but also pretty generic. I liked very much the two extras. I honestly did not watch the video, because... I was there. In retrospect, having a little more experience in the online world, I think this week’s video and reading assignments (Mott’s article) are very closely related. In her workshop, Pilar pushes all the limits of a CMS (Blackboard in her case), trying to free her course from the chains of the teacher centered and institutional system. In my opinion, building a community is quite a ‘foreign language’ for a CMS. And even if you can achieve good results with the use of Wimba, discussion boards and forums, they all leave a taste in the mouth of being incarcerated in a vacuum, sterile environment. And they all have quite the same taste. Between a blog and a discussion board the difference is not much more than the layout on a page. And layouts in Blackboard all look alike. This semester I was tempted to use the blog feature in Blackboard 9 for my Italian classes, so I decided to give up my Ning site that I had used the previous two semesters (and I was paying for). Some students voiced their sadness, because a blog run in a Social Network kind of site, where students from all my courses participated, looked much more appealing and more fun than the blog in Blackboard 9, even if the tasks were exactly the same.
I enjoyed reading Mott’s article tremendously. Some weeks ago I said that I was waiting for the next step after the Web 2.0 generation, and this article fed my hunger. It moved the focus on the CMS, and rightfully so. At this point we have an incredible amount of free tools on the internet that allow interconnections; but on the other hand, we have to use a course management system that blocks any attempt of using these connections in the name of security. The middle of the road solution where we have security in the areas we need it, but at the same time we can have flexibility where we can have it, would be a great step forward.