I just received an email from Garnor Morantes at Ning informing me that Ning has changed the blog moderation setting in the Ning Mini plan to be an option, rather than a requirement. You can read the Ning announcement here.
Since Ning shifted from free to premium services about a year ago, Pearson has stepped up and funded the cost of Ning Minis (the basic plan) for educators in North America. I have been one educator who has taken advantage of this generous offer from Pearson and, despite my endless searching, I can’t find a better environment that fosters peer-to-peer learning through blogging and integrates media (images, video, and html) easily and seamlessly with privacy options.
The one gripe I’ve had about the Ning Mini is the fact that it has required a network creator to approve each and every blog post before it would appear within a network. This may be a preferred setting for some network creators, but when you’re a teacher who has set up a private network and has already ensured that members are comprised of only her students, then the moderation requirement fragments the flow of the community building and also places an unnecessary work burden on the instructor. To build community effectively, students really need to be empowered to make contributions independently and the added ‘approval’ process undercuts my interest in establishing a flat learning environment in which all contributions are equally valued and encouraged. The blog moderation has felt like a rude intrusion of the traditional hierarchy between professor and student that I try to resculpt into a more nuanced relationship based upon trust and support.
I am happy to see this change be made. And I appreciate the efforts of Ning to reach out and communicate this update with me personally.