To make or not to make?

This is a common dilemma. On one shoulder: “go on get coding you know you will get exactly what you want”, on the other “some one must have done this already go and find their solution”. The tricky part is deciding on which shoulder the angel and demon are perched. It inevitably involves a bunch of things, the project, my ability, the tech I have to hand and my perception (or google’s) of how likely a suitable solution can be found promptly on the web. Scale is also an important consideration. If I want a one off hack for me or something I want others to engage with? When the project had drawn to a conclusion and hindsight is plentiful it is obvious but on the out set its not often as clear.

I’m currently scoping out a project that will use tech to enable lecturers and students to leverage tech in flexible learning and assessment. From a tech point of view this will most likely involve sharing video content in a institutionally contained fashion. With the usual ensemble of features to create a community around this content (comments, number of views, recommendations, up and down voting etc). From a less technical point of view the themes of the project are likely to be: From Facebooker to the digital professional, media literacy and peer supported learning. We are keen to put our students in the driving seat and have a mix of staff and student content from a range of disciplines to explore cross discipline learning opportunities.

So to make or not to make, there are good arguments on both sides here. We have a fairly mature system written in rails that allows a lot of the functionality we are likely to need. Scaling this may however be tricky and require architectural changes not to mention resources. If we place our focus on the practice based research an array of open tools may allow us to engage a wider audience and gain richer insights. What video sharing tools do you use and what do you consider to be the risk ad benefits of open content on vimeo and youtube?

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