Back when the Blackboard patent and lawsuit first surfaced in July of 2006, social software was still a pretty new thing. There was a fair bit of surprise in the community when the Wikipedia page on the History of the Virtual Learning Environment, created in large part to gather prior art for the suit, generated 160 entries in just a couple of weeks. As of this writing, there are 160 members of the Fans of D2L Million$Mission Facebook group just a few days after its creation.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook impacts the voice that ordinary teachers and students have in this drama. The barrier to entry is certainly lower that it was with the Wikipedia page; you don’t have to know wiki markup and you don’t have to have historical content to contribute in order to participate. Many more people are involved in social networks now, and the viral nature of Facebook is very different than that of Wikipedia. And finally, the people who sign up for the group on Facebook have names and profiles attached to them. It’s much less anonymous. So we’ll know more about who is voicing support than we did in 2006.
What we won’t necessarily know is why. That’s why I have created a discussion thread in the group asking people to post their reasons. If you joined (or will join) this group, please take a minute on that thread to explain why you are supporting the Million$Mission.