6 Responses

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  1. Jim Groom February 12, 2010 at 1:06 am |


    I just can;t help but think such a middle-of-the-road approach belies the logic behind the LMS: control. Do we really need an LS for a gradebook? Or an email tool, banner does that for us? There’s the majority of your usage as suggested by Jon Mott’s own stats. And the simple fact is all the money spent on the enterprise purpose of Bb and their ilk are resources diverted from investing people to imagine and work with faculty and students. The LMS has enabled us to routinize edtech to the point where it becomes almost like a factory, or to use an image from gardner Campbell, a feed line for cattle. What is we redirected that money into people thinking about a professional/teaching/learning network online that they can from, cultivate, and manage. An extremely useful, and some would argue urgent, tool for educators and students alike that the LMS continues to preclude through a false sense of elearning. It’s inauthentic in this moment, and I think the more we try and marry peanut butter and chocolate, the worse our online incontinence will become. The LMS is one of the major obstacles in encouraging and pushing faculty and students alike to experiment, it’s eating our resources and has come to represent a “necessary evil”—even though we all know a grade book, email, and quiz feature are the three elements convincing us to remain behind an institutional firewall.

    And while I agree not everything has to be open or closed, I still think it should be our choice to decide which. We don;t have that choice in most LMSs, and quite frankly, if we continue to wait on their rate of innovation, we’ll be sunk. Web 2.0 is over 5 years old, the tools have suggested real possibility and promise for networked learning and online cooperation, why would we still be using LMSs? I just don;t get it, the reasons to stay have never convinced me, and I can;t help but thinking preaching the middle ground right now just promises more of the same for the next five years.

  2. Maryanne February 12, 2010 at 10:28 am |

    Finally joined Twitter and your name popped up when I did an ‘ed/tech’ search, and since I love Richmond….I thought I’d personally introduce myself–a bus/tech teacher in a rural high school in PA. I love tech stuff and am grasping bits at a time. Already use wikis; edmodo; live share; linkdin and now Twitter. Looking forward to reading your tweets.

  3. Jon Mott February 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm |

    I think I’ve officially arrived. The Rev, er Rorschach, has called me out with one of his trademark vids. I’m honestly quite flattered.

    But I do have to say that (a) I intentionally overstated the the possibility of Jim Groom-Michael Chasen harmony for shock value and (b) my argument should not be taken as a defense of the LMS. If you listen to my entire presentation (skipping past the tongue-in-cheek stuff about peanut butter and chocolate, starting with about slide 71), I think it’s quite clear that I am, in fact, advocating a dramatic reordering of things.

    The AND that I’m referring to is the blending of the secure, university network for private, proprietary data (e.g., student records) and the open, read-write Web. I have said (on many occasions) that the days of the LMS paradigm are numbered. I’m certainly not trying to extend them by suggesting that we balance both open and closed learning networks.

  4. Jared Stein February 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm |

    Of course you agree with Jon–both of you guys wear ties!

    Seriously, though, you bring up some good points, while Jim’s argument remains compelling at a level that’s almost frightening. Thus I am still sitting on the fence on this issue. I know I want to see some schools model the LMS-free approach (or maybe allowing this privilege to traditional schools is too much within the scope of control to escape infection from the normalizing, minimizing, identity-reducing, counter-exploratory goals of being free to use and own your own stuff) before I say we have to choose either or. The one sobering fact I deal with day-to-day is this army of faculty who won’t/can’t use or encourage use of open tools, but might use institutionally controlled tools that are in fact aimed at the lowest common denominator. The counter argument that chokes me is that I shouldn’t be worried about the faculty; I should be worried about the students.

    Lots of sorting still to do in my mind…

  5. Ed Webb February 12, 2010 at 9:13 pm |

    I wish to echo and emphasize one of Jim’s points – the choice of open and closed should rest with the educator (FERPA permitting – and it permits quite a lot), not be always already determined by centralized fiat. I use moodle when it seems like the right tool, but I use a free wiki instead where I need openness, because moodle is as walled a garden as Blackboard, albeit a more flexible and friendly one.

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