Why ask students to use Microsoft SkyDrive & WordPress..?
Within the recent past ECSU agreed to use Microsoft’s "free" live.edu service to host the ECSU student email system on their free live.com service. Beginning last year, summer of 2010, all student email accounts were migrated to live.com accounts (firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition to email, the service provides each student with 25gigs of archive storage space, the SkyDrive.
The service includes several methods for sharing documents and media with individuals and or select groups of people. One method is to use the SkyDrive by creating multiple folders for storage and for public display. Within the SkyDrive a user sets the permissions to private or public for individual folders in the root directory; to share documents they must be located in a public folder.
Last June the official Microsoft tool for indexing links to the documents a user would like to share was called “Spaces”; “Spaces” was a web page “blog” with limited controls for design and making lists of links.
The “Spaces” platform was first introduced to ECSU students by David Stoloff for his classes regarding ePortfolio building; several of his students used “Spaces” for their ePortfolios in the April 2010 ePortfolio competition. Ten of my students participated in the competition using the ECSU www2 platform to serve their ePortfolios.
In May 2010 I responded to David Stoloff's call for faculty to include ePortfolio instruction within course curriculum. During the summer I designed a lesson for this purpose and included a model “Spaces” page that showed suggested layout logic and directions for connecting links to SkyDrive artifact content. This lesson was introduced in the first weeks of the fall 2010 semester.
September 27th Microsoft announced that they would no longer support “Spaces” and would be taking it down in 6 months. They also announced that existing “Spaces” could be migrated to their new partner WordPress by the individual users. As you can imagine this was rather disruptive of the lessons I had designed, especially for the highly motivated students who had embraced the project immediately.
Never having used WordPress it took a few days to redesign the project using WordPress. The following week I reintroduced the assignment with an instructional model built on WordPress.