This afternoon I was putting the "finishing touches" on an assignment that requires students to create an information portal for their classroom using Pageflakes Teachers Edition; at least I was until the site went down for over three hours. I thought at first I simply typed in the wrong address to my Delicious account, then I tried using Firefox instead of IE, finally I started getting flashbacks to summer when the site went down for three days right before the due date of the assignment. Naturally, this is the introductory assignment for the course.
Since I cannot with good conscience require students to use a technology with such a propensity to be unavailable, I determined they needed to have a choice, especially since many of the results for Pageflakes down time mentioned the reliability of Netvibes. I registered for an account this afternoon and duplicated the Pageflakes information portal resources on my Netvibes page.
Now I have two portals.
I did not want to completely abandon the Pageflakes option, I found it simpler to navigate and students last term enjoyed using the site. I did not want to lose the opportunity to provide the more reliable Netvibes for students this term. So ...
My students now have the option to use the 2.0 Internet portal of their choosing. I revised the assignment, added another page of information about the second site, updated the rubric to indicate either would receive full credit, and will create two short video tutorials tomorrow. I am once again ready for the term to begin.
While working between the two sites this evening I noticed a distinct change in Pageflakes Teachers Edition; when you log in to work on your site there is now an advertisement prominently placed on your page.