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It was announced yesterday that Wetpaint would no longer provide an ad-free version of their SNS Wiki site for education users.
They cited the high demand and the cost to them of manually dealing with requests from users.
Understandable in the present economic climate, but is likely to lose them a lot of customers – my first reaction was that I need to re-scan the SNS Wiki scene for alternatives.
I prefer the presentation of Wetpaint to Ning or pbworks, but I’ll look again at those. I’ll also revisit Moodle and Bodington to see what’s going on there.

The intention of the project to define Open, Distance, Drop-in and e-Learning for funding purposes, was to base the conclusions drawn about funding on the true costs of delivery.
Activity-based costing is the approach being taken, but the method, if applied fully, would be complex, time-consuming and costly. Furthermore, the methods of distance education delivery vary enormously between institutions and it is doubtful if a meaningful costing could be arrived at that would apply across the delivery spectrum.
The solution being sought, therefore, is one that identifies common cost drivers in both conventional and distance delivery (ie: tutor time) and eliminates them from the cost analysis. This will be done by assuming that the conventional costs have been properly assessed for funding purposes and that the same figures can be applied.
The approach, in other words, is comparative; identifying the elements in distance education that are different to those in conventional education and applying activity based costing in order to judge the overall differences in delivery costs.

When considering the four different delivery methods to be defined for funding purposes in this project, it became immediately obvious that they were inextricably linked and that a means needed to be found that would allow the individual characteristics to be evaluated and scoped.

It then became equally apparent that¬† we weren’t comparing like with like anyway:

Distance Learning is a Mode of delivery; Drop-in learning is a Component of delivery; e-Learning is a Means of delivery and Open Learning is a delivery Philosophy.

There’s an argument for basing the whole exercise around a definition of distance learning and treating the other aspects as variations on that. Hmm…

This blog will be used for comments and dialogue relating to the Welsh Assembly Government exercise to define distance, open, drop-in and e-learning.

I will be posting reflective comments as the work progresses and the project team and advisory group are invited to respond and contribute.

Following a start-up meeting with Julie James and Geoff Hicks at WAG on 9th Jan, the project has now begun with the setting up of the website and the Delivery Mode Definitions pages. The pages will represent ‘work in progress’ and contain draft documents concerning the general principles of definition formation on this page and the specific mode definitions on those pages.