A Hole in the LMS

hole-in-the-LMSDoes your LMS have a hole?  It’s not a leak.  It’s a necessary feature.

In our online class at Royal Roads University this week, Learning Management Systems are under the microscope.  To the question about a favourite LMS, I’m going to say “Any LMS + Open Web”.  Below is what I posted in the closed Moodle forum.

“Learning Management Systems may be unavoidable in institutions, but inevitable does not mean a single story.   I strongly favor the practice of linking outside the LMS for features that are richer than the LMS can provide.  Anything I put into the LMS effectively dies when access is closed, if it isn’t erased outright by the Admin.  But if we discuss a burning issue on my blog, I can keep the conversation for future reference years from now.  And if you or I link it on Facebook, others outside the class can join in giving us an even richer diversity of perspectives.  So I’m going to practice what I preach and copy this to my blog.   For the sake of click-analytics that affect your grade, do comment here of course, but come over to www.wayupnorth.ca/blog and paste your response into a comment there too.  I’d love to have you disagree with me or take the vision farther than I could have imagined it.”

Besides blog discussions, we could talk about preserving images on Flickr, audio recordings on SoundCloud, videos on YouTube, etc.  I’m conflating sharing with preservation.  Those are sharing services, of course, not reliable cloud storage, but for the purpose of escaping from a mandatory LMS, they illustrate my point.

About Jim

Community Adult Educator & Adult Literacy Instructor
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2 Responses to A Hole in the LMS

  1. Jim, I love that you took this convo outside the LMS and to your blog. You make an important point when you say “Anything I put into the LMS effectively dies when access is closed, if it isn’t erased outright by the Admin.”

    In your experience, do you think that there is a hesitancy by learners to post their thoughts and opinions on the open web? It is one thing to be vulnerable with your learning within the confines of your class, but can be quite another to be asked to bring your thoughts and opinions out onto the open web. You clearly practice open networked learning yourself. Did you find it awkward/uncomfortable when you started? If so, how did you overcome it and embrace this form of learning?

    • Jim says:

      I can’t overstate the transforming impact PLENK2010 (Personal Learning Environments, Networks, and Knowledge with Siemens, Downes, and Cormier), followed immediately by the birth of Jim Groom’s DS106, had on me in terms of embracing open learning. Yes, I felt extremely awkward at first, like I was a rustic voice among academics, but the desire to connect, to be part of the conversations that were opening the world around me, was greater than my self-consciousness. I had no illusions anyone would read my stuff, but determined to participate for the exercise in reflection – and laboured hours over a paragraph or two to avoid being trite. Getting a first response was a heady drug. Someone thought my contribution had value! I have seen similar reactions in students when I convinced them to publish themselves. Conversation in a global diversity of opinions and worldviews intrigues me and keeps me dipping back in as time permits.
      I think you are right though, about a hesitancy to post on the open web. Most of my students decline to post their learning, feeling like it makes them targets for pretending to know something – although the same hesitancy apparently doesn’t apply to personal rants. I know I edit myself more carefully in my blog (as I’m doing now) than in the LMS where my writing is merely graded. I still take an inordinate amount of time to make sure I’m saying something significant, not just being trite and ordinary. So many unpublished blog post starters… So yes I embrace open as a principle, but contribute less than my enthusiasm for it suggests I should.

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