Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some solutions for your community, anyone?

There is a lot of chatter today about the announcement by NING that they will no longer offer a free hosting option. In fact, if you do a twitter search on 'ning' you'll see many, MANY new updates waiting for a page refresh within a fraction of a second of accessing the page. Aside from sympathy for the employees at NING who were laid off, and also for those who have invested a lot of energy into their NING communities without realizing that they can't move their content elsewhere, I'm feeling indifferent about this move. I've never warmed up to NING as a platform, and got a little bored checking out all the new communities popping up that sounded interesting, but alas, fizzled very quickly. Perhaps a fee-based service will help to reduce the number of inactive spaces.

In any case, the real reason for this blog post is to point to something fantastic that is happening RIGHT NOW as a result of this announcement from NING. Alec Couros fired up an Alternative to Ning Google Doc that took off like wild fire. He posted this to Twitter:

There was such a rush to collaborate on this project that many people were getting error messages when trying to access the document. I fired up Jing to record the the first few minutes of editing in progress. It's cool to watch! I also added a snippet about SCoPE, since we'll gladly offer Moodle SIG space for educational practitioners and researchers.

This project could develop into quite the useful toolkit for community stewards!


  1. Man, when Alec tweets people go! I tried to access the page but was one of the many who got the "there are too many people editing this document" error. Never seen that before in GDocs.

    Ironic thing for me is that I have just been warming to Ning in the past year, am part of a couple of communities, and administer 2. A year ago I would have shared your ambivalence. Today I am now looking for a new home for some of the communities I administer. The upside of the Ning thing is that when these types of events happen, it serves as a reminder of the risks of using free, hosted services.

    Okay, I am off to back up my Netvibes, Posterous, Flickr eduBlog, PBWorks and Wikispaces data.

  2. @Clint, love that list! It gets quite long, doesn't it! :-) I'd be interested in finding out more about the nature of your communities and the "new home" part. Seems if we work together on this in BC (and beyond) we could come up with some excellent solutions.

  3. That's a great video, Sylvia. What did you use to capture it?

  4. @Heather, I used Jing -- I find the Jing interface works well for quickly grabbing stuff as it happens. It's accessible from the top right of my monitor so when I see something I want to record the process is just a couple clicks away. I've used it a few times lately for capturing real time collaboration in text chats, Etherpad, Wave, etc. I seem to be developing a fascination for watching ideas evolve in real time!

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