A decade ago, the higher education Web experience was segmented into walled gardens -- the public Web site, the course management system, online transactions, alumni communities, events calendars. The legacy of that structure was that our lifelong relationships with the college were interrupted as we students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni moved from system to system.
The next-generation online ecosystem will let us re-organize these experiences, allowing for deepening engagement throughout our lives: from prospective student to elder alum. How will software like WordPress fit in? How can we evaluate, select, and configure systems to support our users' needs, rather than the other way around?