Thanks Lawrie for the referral to my blog.
Teresa, I think you make a pertinent point that it is entirely about “control and learning behaviour”.
If we see education as a journey then the control(ler) and the learning behaviour should be in constant flux. In an ideal (Sir Ken Robinson style) world we would have an education system that is fully integrated from birth to death. Unfortunately we have a “handover” system where learners are handed over to schools/colleges/universities with little integration between them other than providing exit qualification from one for entry into another. In each case that “place” will have it’s own systems of control which influences learning behaviour. If we had a fully integrated system of education then over the lifetime of a learner we could use the appropriate systems to support them along the journey, shifting the control from the centre to the individual.
Over the period of a 3 year degree all we can try and do is emulate that kind of approach. Shouldn’t we be expecting the “control” of our learning systems to shift from the institution to the individual? I believe that the VLE has an important part to play in supporting learning inside our universities, but that we should also support students to take more control over their choice of technology. Not everyone arrives at university being “WordPress” ready and so for them the VLE is a safe-haven, a place to go that they know will be there and that works (well most of the time). But we also want them to experience what it’s like to own their own domain/data and how to go about achieving that. Universities are in a unique position to give all of our students that experience if we place enough value on it.