Each Friday I am going to reach into 'my archive' and re-post articles. Here is one from October 17, 2006. Conceptually related is an initiative at JISC on e-Portfolios which I just read about.
My Education Space: 'Ed-Space'
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to re-visit some of the projects and papers you wrote in college or recall some of the essays you either wrote or read for books you are now re-reading? If you are like me, you probably don't care about everything you were studying in school but for some of the material it could be fun to experience again the material that is still meaningful to your interests. When we experience life we generally do not take time to gather the detrius that reminds us years later of the experience or enables some recent connection to the earlier experience. As time goes on we often regret not being more careful about some of this stuff. At least I do.
The social networks that My Space, Friendster and others create have not yet reached their potential in terms of the functionality and services that these sites could deliver. One area in particular that I believe we will see more application of the My Space experience is education. In the not too distant future I believe students at universities will have thier own 'Ed-spaces' that will be hosted by their institution and will provide access to all university services, course content, testing and comprehension applications, lecture notes, text material and other ancillary services such as administration modules. Additionally, this 'Ed-space' will also host all the content the student produced - test papers, essays, writing assigments, presentations, etc - during their education. The textbook material will be maintained as an electronic bookshelf which the student can access for as long as they retain the relationship with institution.
The establishment of this university 'Ed-space' will create a long term conpact with the student that will tie the student to the insitution. In effect, the educational institution will become an accessible repository for the student which will in turn support a long term mutually beneficial relationship between the student and the insititution. Perhaps the student maintains some limited functionality or access immediately after graduation but as they age they are able to participate at different levels that enable greater functionality and access to more content and services.
Once the student graduates, this 'Ed-space' will become the basis for all allumni relations, social networks with classmates, job and message boards and the like. For the institution this would become a powerful tool for life-time learning, alumni relations and fund raising. As the student's interests develop and grow over the ensuing years the 'Ed-space' would allow access to educational content, library materials and academic experts provided by the insitution. The student would also benefit from the relationships with other ex-students who were interested in similar subjects. The community would also enable new services that the university could sponsor such as conferences, field trips and webinars particular to alumni interests. All of which would strengthen the relationship with alumni and also generate additional revenues for the institution.
This model would also mean that educational institutions could wrest control of the student away from publishers who are also trying to establish long term relationships with students. Publishers would be able to market their life-long learning materials and perhaps engage in specific community development but it would all be in the confines of the instituional 'Ed-Space' paradigm. Naturally, students would be suspicious of aspects of this model but encouraging a degree of freedom while also serving as their access point for their personal content repository and enabling access to content and a social network would be material benefits to them.
My occasional other posts on educational publishing: Ads in Textbooks, Is the College Store Doomed? and Changes in Educational Publishing .