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D'Arcy Norman

With something like the Organic Groups module, your Drupal site can support user-created or institution-created groups as well. Want a podcast to be visible only to a class? Create a group and have all students enrolled in it... There must be a way to tie users and groups into your central user base so you don't have to reproduce things.

Eric Aitala

I find that 'build your own' solutions seem to work best in a smaller, more flexible environment than Penn State's. It's too big - you have various groups each doing their own thing and they overlap and conflict.

There is also the issue of blindspots. While it might be nice to be able to develop exactly the app you want, you run the risk of missing bugs, security issues, etc. Not to mention having to pass that app from developer to developer as time goes on.

Eric Aitala


I really like the emphasis on "supporting the appropriate use of technology for teaching and learning" and your vision for Podcasts at Penn State. The community of practice is especially appealing for me -- my inspiration for trying new approaches often comes from interacting with colleagues around problems of practice. Having an involved community -- a committed group of faculty collaborating around an initiative -- is a powerful mechanism for influencing meaningful change at a big place like Penn State. Looking forward to seeing where all of this goes. As always, your leadership and foresight are appreciated.

Obadiah Greenberg

Great post, great question. At UC Berkeley we do both. But our local podcast/webcast system (webcast.berkeley.edu) has been running for 5 years so it's a well-established project. I can appreciate you concern about YAS (btw, here we call it NAP: Not Another Project) at this early stage. If we didn't already have our local site would be bother building one? Possibly not. iTunes U provides a major leg-up. Look what it's done for Stanford and the other pilot schools.

My opinion is that if you can afford the resources it's worth having a local site as well. It allows for experimentation and innovation. You don't rely on the release cycle of an external party. Some folks might feel more comfortable hosting/mirroring content on a local server. YOu have flexibility to integrate with other systems. Politically some might appreciate your being vendor or format agnostic (a minority perhaps, but vocal). Then there's the self-reliance factor: not waiting on release cycles (though a great excuse to faculty and clients!) and what if, heaven forbid, the service goes away?

Your local site has a darned good start, imo. It's about having options. And room to play. Yeah, that's it... play.

Speaking of, dead-on about how it galvanizes a campus. Our iTunes site has created the "media gateway" we've always wanted. Technology aside, the iTunes platform is darned cool. Here's another reason it's nice to have both, they can be symbiotic.

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