I'm not sure what I think about Ning in general, though. I tend to prefer Elgg, as while both allow you to create a community, in Elgg, you have a single blog that belongs to you. There can be a lot of granularity in who can see particular posts to your blog etc. It's also easy to create a composite blog of those posts your friends have made to their blogs, any communities you're a member of etc.
In Ning, while in some ways its good in that you can have total separation between you in communities a/b, it's much harder to get an overall of your own involvement in all communities. And you seem to have to login each time to view your communities. If you're a member of several communities & don't like to save cookies, it's a pain to have to login several times on what's essentially the same site, with the same ID.
The best way I can see to explain the differences to myself, is that Elgg (and, I think, MySpace/ Facebook) are essentially user centric, where Ning puts the focus on the community(ies) that you're a member of.
I wonder what the ideal would be?
To me, it would be something that would allow me to see all my activity at a glance (as I can in a Facebook profile), but to be able to very easily have different views of a profile in different communities. (Not sure that any SNS that I've seen really lets you do that in the way that I see it. Most seem to let you offer particular bits of information to friends only [e.g. AIM id], but none seem to let you have the different info in that same field [e.g. if you have two AIM ids - one work related & one social].
Some of the community features in Ning are nice (e.g. the sub-groups within the network), and if you could have a different profile for each community that would be good.
From an educational point of view, I'm not sure. One of the reasons that I try to encourage students to keep blogs, is that many of them find it hard to see the links between different units that they're studying. I would worry with Ning, that were we to set up communities for the different units, that would help to delineate them. With other systems, the student could have a single, central blog, and also see all the communities for the different units they're studying.
It's not just Ning that has that limitation. So does WebCT - It's also not possible for students to easily see blogs/ discussion boards for all their units in a single place, which makes integrating their subjects difficult.
Sometimes, I agree, it's nice to have the separation (though even with Ning, I see that others can see the communities I'm a member of. Not sure if I can hide things, were I to want to).
I chose the design group I did because the one with a membership of two said they were for online designers and many designers work in print, online, televised, training and classroom design.
I'm not sure I totally understand the issue about different units. In Ning , the instructor can set up discussions on specific units ahead of time. Students can write blogs on a specific topic and chose to share the blog with friends or with the entire community as an assignment. The instructor can set up assigned groups and forums (or have students volunteer); then re-form the groups for different assignments. Only members of the group can see these postings, although there is no way to stop someone joining a group, I'm not sure this would be an issue in a class. (Group, forum and discussion are different types of tools for those not familiar with Ning.)
I've never used Elgg. I like Ning for groups because it is more community-focused than Facebook. Students can upload video, pictures, music and one button shares this with friends or the community as a whole. In Facebook, I have to go to each group and add my content. I find Facebook groups have less interaction than a Ning community.
Sylvia: Yikes, what browser are you using?
p.s. Deirdre, the last problem you reported -- that you weren't able to upload files to SCoPE -- was because your role had changed from moderator. You had full editing access while facilitating the Active Learning seminar. But! I'm just working on turning on some of these features for everyone. Since the upgrade we have much more flexibility with assigning privileges to different roles, but getting through all these itty bitty configurations is time-consuming, and a little mind-bending!
I was using FireFox. I see I don't have the same problem in Explorer. It would be nice if participants could upload images as well as facilitators.
Oh, and just to clarify, anyone can upload and attach images to a forum post. It's the ability to upload and insert an image in the body of a message that goes along with facilitator access. I'll see what I can set up.
Thanks, Deirdre. I'll check out Firefox on Windows to see if I can duplicate that copy/paste problem.
I've just done the above copy/paste with Flock (which is Firefox based). Is that what you meant you couldn't do? I know that I've never (either this version of Scope) or the older one, been able to do that when I'm in this screen (i.e. with the message above & me writing my comments), but I've been able to do it from the view when you can see all the messages. I guess that's because you might want to quote from "Fred" while replying to "jane". However, it does mean that if you hit "reply" to Fred's message & then want to quote him, with the appropriate citation at the top (so as to make it clear for those who read messages sorted by date, rather than threaded), you have to go back to the previous screen.
It would be really nice if you could get the citation when you copy from the message list, or in the reply mode.
From memory, to activate it in the first place, you have to click ctrl+s, or something. Can't quite remember now
To activate smart copy open up a discussion thread (i.e. not in reply mode) then hit shift-ctrl-s This brings the context info with the clipping. The annotation tool doesn't work in reply mode either. I think it all has something to do with having to highlight text or copy from a static web page. I'm not 100% sure -- I may be confusing this why it doesn't work in wikis. (Okay, bad memory AND confused. Diagnosis anyone? )
I usually pop up the discussion I'm reading in a new tab or window while composing. That also helps me to get the full context instead of just the one message that appears when I click reply.
To activate smart copy open up a discussion thread (i.e. not in reply mode) then hit shift-ctrl-s
This is very weird. As I said, I'm using Flock - which is Firefox based. When I wrote the previous message, I quoted you and in this reply window it said "From Re: blah blah blah and then the message.
I've just noticed now that the message I wrote has the quote from you (the message that I sent as 12.28 & starts out Thanks, Deirdre - which is what you'd already say). Anyway, it's got the quote, but not the fact that you said it.
I hit "reply" to say that I thought I'd seen the information before I wrote it.
When I'd hit reply & got to see my message, there was the "From blah, blah".
I went back to the discussion view, and the from blah blah had gone.
I'm now replying to this one. Right at the top, it's saying "From...". I've a sneaking suspicion that when I post it, suddenly the "from" will disappear.
P.S. It has.
(Edited by Sylvia Currie - original submission Monday, 3 December 2007, 09:57 AM)
p.s. Emma, thanks so much for finding this little weird thing! I've reported it to the SFU tech folks and the solution will probably be quite clear to them. Cheers! Sylvia
Just testing ... that's the usage data for Orkut - yet another SNS. I've got it in Flickr, and I'm using Flock as my browser, so I just had to drag it in here & it automatically embeds a thumbnail, which is a link to a fuller sized image.
(Getting images into Flickr with Flock's pretty easy too, it's just a case of browsing, selecting [multiple] and then uploading)
P.S. - It wrote this for me, I generally delete it, but figured it could be of use, as Flock is very useful in terms of integrating with quite a few social sites.
Shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser