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Concentrating Community Minds

December 22nd, 2007 by Graham Attwell

One last post on the Eduspaces story and then it is time to move on. Much good has come form the whole event – howerver difficult it has been. Mark Pearson sums it up best in this post on the Eduspaces forum:

“We should look on the threat of Eduspaces closure as a gift. It has concentrated minds and made us focus on what we would like to give and receive from a close online community (in the narrow and broad sense). Managing an open system like Eduspaces is a thankless task at the best of times (think of all the postings where you see “I want” and a list of demands…) and I think that this resurrection will lead to a stronger and perhaps more united community spirit. The TakingITGlobal organisation are to be commended for stepping in and providing the means to continue this unique service.”

Sadly my posts seem to have upset Dave Tosh. I am sorry for that. One reason the discussion has been so difficult is the respect Dave, Misje and Ben have in the educational technology community. Curverider is not just another remote software company. Rightly or wrongly we regard then as part of our own and are proud of their achievements. Elgg remains important for all those wanting to experiment with new forms of learning using social software. I think many of us feel some guilt that we have not contributed more to the development of elgg and to the stewardship of the Eduspaces community. It has become clear that supporting and sustaining a community like Eduspaces involves a lot more that just hosting an instance of elgg or a similar platform.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the Eduspaces debate. We have to find new models for community development and sustainability. We have to find ways for communities to work together with developers to mutual benefit and understanding. We need better understandings of the interaction between global communities and local activities. And so on….

The discussions on the Eduspaces forum are addressing these issues. Hopefully they will not die down just because an immediate answer has been found to continuing with Eduspaces.

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One Response to “Concentrating Community Minds”

  1. This whole experience is like having to learn to “take your own medicine”. the implementation of Elgg at our institution for a variety of purposes has forced me to learn about the models for community development and sustainability. Yet I haven’t learned enough to be able to put them into practice for the communities I am part of, like Eduspaces. There is a responsibility that comes with being a member of a community. By becoming a member I am to accept that responsibility and recognize that it has implications and expectations of me. So what is the model for Eduspaces? What are those membership responsibilities? What ultimately is the maintenance and moderation responsibilities of TakingIT Global? The model has to involve sharing, reflect openness, and be devoted to involved non-profit cooperation. And it is up to the members of the community to establish and sustain the model.

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