Messaging (3.0) – a case study in “off the shelf” vs “in house” technology

A very quick post to say I have just been talking to staff about messaging 3.0, when we as an institution we are not even up to speed with support Facebook and Twitter (assuming they count as Messaging 2.0!;-)

Messaging is a great case in point in thinking about what tech to use.  In theory, its such a simple application – in practice there are so many issues, not limited to:

  • delivering the right basic functionality
  • getting user (student/staff) buy-in
  • getting people to use the same tech in the same way
  • tech usefulness vs usability
  • longevity
  • ownership
  • … and so much more

Its interesting to see that our VLE has built in messaging – and has done for (at least 10?) years. But very few people use it, it is not integrated into their daily routines, and it doesn’t work well on modern devices – lacking what now counts as basic features such as simple sharing of multi-media content, or mobile alerts.

Twitter seems like a nice alternative, but given they trashed the integration with our VLE at least once in the past (through dropping support for RSS access to twitter feeds) it will be interesting to see what kind of tech gets chosen in future.  As a relatively small organisation, its unlikely that our one institution would have much clout as a “strategic” business partner.

While supporting diversity of tech can be good, it can also be a pain to manage and keep up with.  It has been interesting to see how #ocTEL has done this over the last 6 weeks but would also be interesting to see if people appreciate this or think it increases the overhead of engaging in discussions.


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