DIGI[cation] is a very clean and simple looking online learning site that focuses on creating learning communities through e-portfolios. And hey, it’s got lower case words and crazy [brackets] in its name so it must be good, right?

I’ve been thinking again lately about the feature-set and usability we need to see in learning management or course management systems, and how relevant the old paradigm of course delivery is in the collaborative context we’re all immersed in. I even set up a permanent page on this blog about all that HERE

Certainly, Blackboard looks a bit old and tired now to many people, and its corporate-ness, it’s institution-ness was never attractive even to those who liked its robust-ness and ease of use. Moodle has been an open-source contender but doesn’t seem to have gained much traction. And, or course, these systems tend to leap-frog each other in feature sets, so that you can easily get caught vacillating from platform to platform, feature dazzled, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. And the danger there is teacher fatigue too; one school I know has changed their online learning platform three times in five years, and no-one liked that.

I said to someone flippantly last week that developing a flexible class record-keeping program that accommodated teacher planning and administration, that could accommodate maths teachers with columns of % grades for each test as well as English teachers who wanted to write comments on everything was the holy grail of educational software. Something with a clean, customisable web 2.0 interface that looked more like Filemaker than Access and finally sent the old dead tree diaries to the recycling bins.

But maybe, the perfect online learning platform or course management system is the real holy grail, and maybe they’re really the same thing?

Anyway, they say about DIGI[cation]

The Digication online classroom provides a suite of collaboration and communications tools that allows students to access class materials, participate in discussions, set up calendar events, and archive classes. Content now can be exported to e-Portfolio to display their work and publish highlights from classes.

“Digication, by enabling students to view and comment on each other’s work through portfolios and online discussion, has provided me with a powerful and easy-to-use way to inject my praxis with socially mediated ways of learning,” said Brian Beard, English teacher at Bellaire High School in Houston, TX. “When I used to announce a writing project, the first question from my students would be: How long does it have to be? Now the first question is: Will it be published on our website? Students are enthusiastic about the opportunity to share their work for their peers to see. Digication has made a direct impact on the motivation level of my students and the overall quality of work submitted.”
Some of the features include:

  • Collaborative editing of e-portfolios;
  • Administrator/educator approval for content to be published;
  • RSS support;
  • Tagging and public/private commenting;
  • Up to 3 GB of storage provided free for 1,000 users, with additional storage available for $50 per year per GB;
  • Threaded discussions;
  • Collaborative learning tools;
  • A gradebook feature for grading assignments;
  • Calendars for course, community, and private events; and
  • The ability to export to e-Portfolio.

Digication is free for 1,000 users at any U.S. accredited school. Users can sign up at the company’s website to create unlimited e-Portfolios, courses, and online communities. An admin tool is also available, starting at $20 per year.

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