Yesterday I noticed (thanks to tweets from Jeff McClurken and Martha Burtis) that EDUCAUSE’s “7 Things You Should Know About Personal Learning Environments” features the University of Mary Washington as one of the schools experimenting and fostering PLEs on a larger, campus-wide scale. In particular, they feature the possibilities for creating a personal learning environment through UMW Blogs. It’s odd, but I’ve never really thought of UMW Blogs as a PLE or PLN—and this is probably because I try and avoid these acronyms because the language seems so dessicated to me. However, I think there is some real truth to thinking about a blog space on UMW Blogs (or anywhere else) as an easy and supported way for entering into the larger conceptual idea of how the personal web can be traced, supported, and visualized from within an institution.
The biggest concern, however, is keeping it personal, and allowing folks to share what they are doing in their own spaces wherever they are, and intelligently feeding it back into the syndication bus. Leave the multitudinous options open, and don’t lock them into a singular campus platform. Rather, use the classroom as a space to explore and learn through these tools, while resisting the urge to get comfortable with an “enterprise solution” for teaching and learning technologies. All that said, I was pretty excited to see UMW Blogs come up in the discussion, and I think the “Domain of One’s Own” discussion we have been having here at UMW lately will really take this idea to another level for both the individual and the institutions (but particularly for the institutions—for they will be asked to let go of an outdated way of thinking that is fueled by the anachronistic logic of the LMS!).