I had a great chat with Brian Lamb yesterday. He and his team are working to use WordPress to support learning communities at UBC. In case anyone else is sick of WebCT, Blackboard or the boring Moodle interface this could provide an interesting replacement.
Anyway, as we were talking it made me realize that it would be helpful if we could connect everyone working in this space so that we can share ideas and collaborate. My first thought was to use Prologue a Twitter like WordPress Template. I think the template provides an interesting way to keep track of what people are up to. However, in thinking more about this I really don’t want yet another site to go to.
How do we fulfill both goals? How do I share ideas, but escape creating another website that I will forget to go to? Bits are cheap and don’t fill up landfills. How about a disposable community? What if I could go online to say WordPress.com and click a few buttons to create a new community? Then I send out an email invite to anyone that I want to have join me. They click the link in the email and instead of creating an account they add their blog. Now when they go to post they see a widget in their sidebar that says ‘Communities’. Whenever you post just click the community you want your ramblings to be delivered to. When you want to read the latest from your new found group of friends you just have a page on your blog that pulls in all that data from the community. Comments would show up on the blog posts. Interesting stories could be sent to a wiki that is part of the community or stored in a group bookmark account on the community site, or on delicious, or on magnolia, then distributed out to the member who could then decide if they wanted the links sent out to their delicious account (or magnolia or wherever).
When the group is done with their activity they can shut down the group or leave it up for archive purposes. All of the discussion relevant to each individual would be archived in their personal blog anyway since all the content is delivered to their space on their internet. Throw a Google custom search on top of that and you have a way to keep track of the goings on in your life and across all the communities you belong to without ever leaving the safety of your own blog.