Following my chat with Andrew again a week last Friday, I finally got around to looking at Community Equity (CEQ), which plugs into Confluence quite nicely. I wrote a bit about my ideal VLE before and this post is about thinking whether CEQ could fit some of those requirements.
I detect a growing consensus that group-based activity and the dialogue it promotes is gaining ground at many levels of education (I've been reading Littleton and Howe's book about educational dialogue).
When the group has divided up its work and separated, how can their activity be measured? Networked learning is about 'promoting connections' and this needs to happen in the minds and lives of people, not just by designing engaging learning materials, or even a highly relevant and stimulating learning activity. CEQ can incentivise social network activity by making that activity transparent. Contributions to a wiki in terms of edits, comments, bookmarks, ratings, etc., can paint a fine-grained picture of a person's online effort towards the group endeavour.
Perhaps that's enough. Perhaps awarding marks towards a degree classification may only distort the learner's focus, reducing them to a special case of myspace/facebook piracy. There's work to be done on defining performance levels, even if adopting the simple 'pass or fail' system, where a certain level of activity would get students over the finishing line. Hopefully, by then, they'd have become networked learners.
Of course, this is still very formative. I have no idea if we can bring CEQ together with automated 'space' creation/population, based on student information system data... but I'm warming to the idea of a pilot.
The other thing that slightly chills me is the whole development lifecycle of open source software.... but that's for another post...
Here's a video about CEQ...
See also http://kenai.com/projects/community-equity