As much as I have disagreed with the concept of living in flat world (because the world is truly not flat or anywhere close) – I still think that we need to have a flat world goal when looking forward in anything – especially in Instructional Design and the future of the Learning Management System. Not only do we need to find ways to turn the LMS into a hub of collecting student work, but we also need to find ways to get the program to intuitively seek out related content and pull it together for us.
Let’s look at blog commenting for example. You post a blog entry, and then people comment on it. Pretty simple – right? How that be improved? Here’s one thought. You have probably seen this happening: someone will quote your blog in their blog, usually by creating their own blog entry for commentary instead of directly commenting on your blog (two examples are here and here – not the first time I have been called Mark). When someone does this, they should leave a trackback link or comment on yours. However, so many trackback functions have to be turned off because of spammers (or they are just confusing to figure out). But most people that quote your blog tend to forget to let you know that. They do link to you, of course – and that is all they should need to do.
This is why I use the Google Alerts service to let me know when someone has posted a link to EGJ. It catches some interesting commentary and discussions on our ideas that I would never have known were occurring. With this in mind, my question is: why does it have to matter where comments are made on your blog entries (or any other content you create for that matter)? Wouldn’t it be great if any comment made anywhere about something you posted would automatically be pulled in as a comment on your blog? And if you replied to that collected comment – it wouldn’t just post on your blog, but the other blog as well? There are some solutions already being worked on out there, and thanks to RSS feeds, tags, Google Alerts, etc, etc – stuff like this can happen. We need something like this in education. But there is no one “killer” system that accomplishes this totally, and then there is that pesky Spam problem.
Come to think of it – there is just so much progress that is hindered because of spammers. I guess it is not cool to suggest the death penalty for anyone, even annoying spamming, huh? Maybe we can just find a deserted island somewhere and the global penalty for spamming would be to cast them on this island – with no electricity or computers. Then they will be begging for the death penalty. Hey – one can dream….
Anyway, there could be some great benefits to education if a system like this could be created. Think of the discussions you could have with other classes at other universities anywhere in the world, and not even have to set anything up officially. Or if you do set something up officially, all you have to say is “go to this blog and comment on their post, making sure you include a link to the post – the program will take care of the rest!” The LMS makes all of the connections for you. You just log in to your blog or wiki or whatever to moderate the comments and then respond where needed and everything goes where it should.
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.