Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: Nominclature Cleanup
I think there are probably several answers to your question "Why isn't a class a community". Here's mine: classes are associated with subjects, departments and terms. Communities aren't. For example, you don't think of the term (2002 - 2003) when talking about the Running Club, and it's not associated with any department - it just exists, and members come and go. I think making classes and communities two separate group types was deemed to be the easiest way of supporting this.
I'm only guessing, of course - but it seems somewhat logical to me, at least if you accept that term/dept/subject is the right way to categorize classes.
(btw, when I say "group type" I don't mean that's how they're implemented - I just couldn't think of a better way to describe them)
What I am suggesting is making class "unequal" to group and making both class and group "equal" to community.
A class may be associated with terms, subjects, and departments, but that does not prevent it from being a community (I am looking at this from a user's perspective). I feel much more comfortable calling classes "learning communities" than "learning groups" (which the interface now implies).
I agree that the "Running Club" is not a "Class", yet a "Running Club" is both a group and a community.
For me the word "community" has broader implications than "group" and I would like to see this reflected in dotLRN, but this is something that the "dotLRN Group/Community" must decide
From Marriam-Webster Online (where the borders are grey as well - some definitions omitted [...] to help increase contrast):
1 : two or more figures forming a complete unit in a composition 2 a : a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship b : an assemblage of objects regarded as a unit c (1) : a military unit consisting of a headquarters and attached battalions (2) : a unit of the U.S. Air Force higher than a squadron and lower than a wingCOMMUNITY
1 : a unified body of individuals: as a : STATE, COMMONWEALTH b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community> c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location [...] g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
This inconsistency was clearly a problem when introducing dotLRN to translators here in Heidelberg (these sessions have turned out to be useful dotLRN "usability" tests - where the users are untainted by SloanSpace).
I bring this up now because we will eventually need added levels of hierarchy in dotLRN 1.1 (seeing that we are going for a university wide deployment) and I have problems posting about it without having a solid foundation to work from.
P.S. In the process I suggest that we drop occurrences of "Clubs" in general ("Groups" covers that base and if someone wants to change the pretty_name to "Club" using the UI all the power to them). "Clubs" is just too specific.