Putting All Your Educational Eggs In One Basket

I started using Eduspaces when it was called Elgg. It was about the same time that Tim and I were starting out with Moodle (late 2005) and starting Serendipity35. It was self-described as the "world's largest social networking site dedicated to education and educational technology. With forums moderated by the leading experts in this field, this service exists to promote the use of cutting edge technologies within education."

This past weekend, Eduspaces users received this mail:

Hi All,
We would like to inform all users of EduSpaces that we will be shutting down the service on Jan 10th, 2008.
We have provided a mechanism for you to export all your blog posts in either an RSS format or HTML. To do this, go to your blog and select the submenu option you require. For those of you with files, you might want to download those as well.Thank you to everyone who has supported EduSpaces over the last three years.
Best regards,
The EduSpaces team

I can't say I'm fall-on-the-floor shocked by Eduspaces' (so far unexplained) end.

The original guys behind it (Dave and Ben) moved out of Eduspaces a while back (though Elgg is still active at http://elgg.org for now). Some bloggers I read - like Chris Sessums - seemed to go inactive around mid-November.

I basically abandoned my own Eduspaces blog because I couldn't keep up both blogs sites on ed tech. I had an RSS feed pull Serendipity35 into my Eduspaces site for a time. I thought it might bring new readers to my writing, but ultimately I think it just diluted and divided the audience. I won't be moving my old Eduspaces blog to the new location.

There is discussion about all this by users on the site. Where to go, how to get all your existing posts, how to move them - many questions.

Exporting your posts may work, but think of all the lost and broken connections and links that have been established by search engines and other blogs and sites to your work at Eduspaces.

When I started having my own students create blogs for my course, I chose Blogger. My thought was that Google wasn't going away soon and it would be at the edge of whatever software and crossovers blogging would take. I still feel that way. I've had my own Blogger site on poetry since October 2005 and have never had any problems with it.

I'm also thinking here beyond blogging to all the other software we rely upon in our schools.

The first thing that comes to mind from my instructional technology time is a course management system. Faculty, support staff and (to a lesser extent) students know the pain of moving from one platform to another.

Whether that's WebCT CE 4 to CE 6, or to Blackboard, or from any of those to Moodle, Angel, Desire2Learn or whatever. Files that don't translate, recreating forums and discussions, new tools, new user interfaces - it's a long list. Faculty don't want to do it. If they must do it, they want it to be seamless, or to have someone else do the grunt work. And that makes a certain sense. Their job is to teach and do research, not to deal with JavaScript errors and such.

Putting all your educational eggs in any one basket is dangerous.


UPDATED 2/26/08
Dear eduspaces.net member:
As you know, TakingITGlobal will continue to host the eduspaces.net community. You will explicitly need to state if you would like to have your account transferred to its new home at educatorcentral.org. This message is a final reminder to state your preference at eduspaces.net - if you say no or do nothing your account will get removed (you will need to be logged in to fill in the form). Please use this final opportunity to have your account migrated to educatorcentral.org, After February 27th this option will no longer be available. Final migration will take place in the second week of March of which you'll receive notification.


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