ANGEL at MSU–Who tossed out the IA?

I’m listening to the second edition of the podcast, “the digital paper chase—education, technology, and life in the academy,” in which the intrepid hosts, Steve & Troy, talk about being tech-newbies all over again. The discussion revolves somewhat around the concepts of blogging as a Web site and podcasting.

Anyway, at some point Steve made an observation that because the blog becomes the Web site, the design shifted from designing a Web site to designing the information. He didn’t use those words, but that’s what I heard.

Which then made me think about how putting ANGEL, the online course management system, into the works at Michigan State University has enabled course authors (generally faculty at MSU) to not have to worry about designing a Web site. Within the confines of the ANGEL system, they are put into the position of having to then design the information that they deliver.

This is information design and information architecture.

It happens in every course by sheer fact that the course exists. However, I’ve had this nagging suspicion that not many course designers are actually thinking seriously enough about the information architecture of their courses.

They, generally, do have experience in designing courses. This is great. However, what happens when designing course content intersects with designing information for Web sites?

This phenomenon distributed content authoring has left people with little formal experience in designing and structuring information for the Web in the position of having to design information for the Web.

How unfortunate. What shall we do?