My job is to think about how technology impacts teaching and learning and then actually do something about it. I have to manage people, teams, and keep track of all of the details associated with the 50 or so projects currently going on. Trust me, I'm not complaining, I really enjoy doing what I do but keeping track of the amount of information is brutal. Its gotten worse in the last couple of years for one simple reason -- we are all producing tons of content in so many different locations.
Right now if I want to know everything about a single project I may have to log into our BaseCamp project management software, check the members of the team's individual blogs, sift through google docs, spreadsheets, review the project briefing presentation, watch for Twitter traffic, check the project wiki, and search for relevant emails. It has really gotten out of hand. There is a great reason we use so many different tools and it is because they all do certain things really well -- but that doesn't change the complexity of gathering information together.
In my parent organization we are looking at Sharepoint, but it nearly kills me to think we have to go from the agility of the tools I mentioned above to an old-school document centric model predicated on storing physical (digital) versions of documents in a file system. To edit them you have to check them out and re upload ... in every single way it is counter to my overall workflow and philosophy. I only use Office when I absolutely have to and nearly every single document I receive gets instantly uploaded and converted to a Google Doc of one flavor or another. Dealing with version control is worse than looking in multiple places to get at information.
I've been looking closely at the Google Apps for Edu suite and have become very impressed with Google Sites. It is a drop dead simple cloud based environment that can be used for all sorts of things. We've toyed with it for project management sites and haven't yet jumped, but with the release of new pre-built templates Google is going right after Microsoft's jugular. I've never seen an environment more easy to setup and deploy to manage all sorts of information. What I really like about the template idea is not that they are pre-built, it is that they give you a killer model to use to envision how you would go about using Sites. I think that is the smartest thing they've done ... prior to this upgrade you had to really think about architecture and envision how you'd insert all the relevant content. Not anymore ... this morning I built a new site and the first thing it asked me to do was choose a template set.
Choosing the project wiki template instantly built a site that invited me to click to substitute my own content for their placeholder materials. I can not only link documents into it, I can actually insert the full content of docs, spreadsheet, forms, presentations, and google gadgets into the site. I'm going to kick the tires and see what happens, but if it is this easy to wrangle large amounts of content for complex projects imagine how easy it will be to manage the same kinds of things for individual courses. Lots to discover and investigate.