In this interview by Steve Hargedon (Tuesday, August 10th, 2010), Charles Fadel "review[s] the basic mechanisms [of learning] (physiological and cognitive) ... [and] address[es] understanding (the 5 C's: Context, Caring, Construction, Competence, Community). He ... also cover[s] issues of plasticity, timeliness, interdependence of dualities and various socio-cultural differences, as well as applications to multimodal learning, and how to evaluate interactivity" (Detail[ed] Description, ¶1, retrieved 2010.08.18).\n \n
it would be folly for educators having suffered inconvenience at best, data loss at worst, to commit their content yet again to a potentially unreliable cloud provider. Alec Couros sees this kind of thing happening more and more in the crystal ball future and suggests that schools and educators would be better off investing in self-hosting using FOSS, free and open source software (Couros, 2010).
As suggested above, the only reliable alternative to Ning is to host your community yourself, or at a trusted institution, where you do your own regular backups, and your content is safe behind a firewall, with a UPS power source in case of power outages, and perhaps some sort of RAID system to keep you running through system crashes.