From time to time, someone higher ranking than myself at my seminary comes to me and says - other people are using (fill in the blank) - should we? The latest two things are podcasting (which I was glad to see people demoing at the conference) and clickers. There are the obvious questions about cost and whether our tech group and infrastructure can support the new technology. But I'm always wondering about things like - do professors like it and use it? Do students like it and use it? Is it really that much better than what we have now that it's worth the extra effort? Did someone try one type/brand and find out that there were problems, but another type/brand worked? Does it work for both PCs and Macs? How many seminaries are using it? Is it standard, cutting edge, or bleeding edge? Are there hidden costs? What about intellectual property rights? I'd like to have a place where I can ask questions about new technologies and find out what people have to say about their experiences at a seminary. I'm guessing that all of us are ahead on some technologies and behind on others.
While I find this incredibly helpful and a good way to network with other schools who are doing distance theological education in varous forms, I'm also frustrated by my school's web filter which recognizes Ning as a social networking site (which it is) and blocks my access during peak usage. Perhaps this is just my school's way of cutting off our nose to spite our face, but if this group plans to continue past these initial postings and webinar I would suggest that a more formal space be provided... perhaps hosted on the Association of Theological Schools' website? - MT