Charlie Lowe at cyberdash picks up the thread where John Kruper left of on the viability of blogs as course management replacements. I agree here with Charlie; blogging is interesting, has many educational applications and commercial CMS can learn a lot from watching them, but the real challenge could instead come from one of the existing open source *content* management systems. While some of them have a ways to go, a few of them (Charlie points to Drupal and Postnuke as strong contenders) are emerging as broad platforms on which a variety of applications, not just content management, can be built. And after a while a lot of what is done with a typically C(ourse)MS does start to look a bit like fairly straightahead content management, sadly.
But what may ultimately shut down this conversation within institutions is not the lack of choices; it’s a growing sense of exasperation (at least this is what I sense) with how unstable the field ‘still’ feels and the continued churn of choices and approaches within the field that will cause institutions to just ‘settle.’ It’s not a bad thing that such choices and diveristy of approaches abound (we are still very early in this experiment when compared against anything but the most frenetic timescales) but the early adopters are now entering their second (in some cases even third) round of evaluation and adoption, and there are fewer and fewer laggards to be found. Even if we haven’t seen it yet, we’ll start to see more consolidation in this sector (though perhaps not as much as in the training-focused LMS sector as reported here), and more expectation for these to become just another part of the educational enterprise system. And once that happens, trying to change to something else becomes an order of magnitude more difficult. – SWL