Private Web Spaces

Over on James Farmer's incorporated subversion, there is a discussion going on about using weblog/journaling tools that are closed to the general public/web. Some discussion suggesting you might as well use a word processor or email. I tend to disagree. For a number of reasons we can't and don't want to publish everything a 4th grade student writes to the web. It is about conversations, but teaching students how to converse in a connected environment is a learning process. Having an environment where individuals such as a teacher, principal, counselor, classmate or parent can read and respond to student work is part of this process.

Tools such as Drupal are great for this type of thing. In the comments, D'Arcy Norman of the University of Calgary notes their use of Drupal with student teachers. He notes they are using:

Drupal with the Organic Groups module to do this exact thing - student teachers write their “journal” entries, and select the group(s) that can read it. Then, their teachers/partners/mentors can see the posts, but Google can’t, and other students and teachers in the program can’t.

This replaces a really dysfunctional paper-based process, where students would write their entries in a blue binder, and hand that in to their prof or mentor for review. But, they can’t write any more entries until they get the book back. And the prof and mentor would have to physically share the binder to review it…

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