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MLX: Critical Mass or Wide Load?

It’s been our belief that it would take time for our Maricopa Learning eXchange (MLX) to reach that magical tipping point, critical mass- when it contained enough content, resources, objects, ideas that our users could easily find something useful for themselves that they would be self-compelled to add their own stuff. I had MERLOT-ian aspirations.

Are we there? How would you know? As our fall semester approaches, we are nearing the 1000 package milestone. Some of the late increases are a result of using our online reporting of our office’s Learning Grants that automatically file the results of these grants into the ML. This is the first year also that faculty recipients of professional growth summer projects will use an online report form, again that will feed the MLX. Our 6 month Great Package Races bring in flurries of items too.

But less encouraging is some data analysis I was working on last week for our annual report. One of our colleges has crotributed a grand total of zero items, and 2 others were under 10. I remain flabbergasted that our faculty developers and other staff we directly support, the folks that sit through our demos, from colleges with lots of technology and 70-100 FT faculty have such a piddling amount they have shared. We have gone over board trying to show them how our personal, college, topical syndication is information they can sanely leverage in their own web contexts.

On the flip side, some isolated (and odd to me) feedback indicated a few out there actually think we have too much content in the MLX as they “cannot easily find things they can use”. We have gone to extraordinary effort to create a simple search mechanism, and the front entrace of the MLX has things nicely organized by academic discipline and topical collections.

So I guess the expectation is that I will personally visit each person in our system and hand walk them through the 1-2-3 basics that we think are the technological literacy basics everyone ought to have NOW. That is navigating information, performing simple queries, and analyzing/critically thinking about results.

It did not go into my report, but I might have written

We have at the same time too much content and not enough content in the MLX

or the alternative:

You cannot please all the people all of the time

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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