I had a good Skype chat today with two academics in the Netherlands who are interested in the Open University's Open Content project.
During the discussion one of them pointed me at Netvibes. This is great, it's an individual portal tool. What I really like about it is the way it blends tools and information feeds. This is what web 2.0 is all about! It also takes us one step closer to a really service oriented approach to VLEs. In this future the VLE ceases to exist, and one can view it as simply a portal to a set of tools, which may be provided by the institution or the individual. I have created my own portal in netvibes and have sent some evangelising emails to colleagues.
I am advising on the portal project at the OU, and I think netvibes will be a good way to show people what is possible with portals. One of the problems with these kind of projects is that you can't really do consultation because people don't know what they want from such a tool, so you have to take something to them initially that they can react to. The same thing applies to the Learning Design project I'm working on.