Blackboard have set the cat amongst the pigeons with their announcement today that they have acquired both Moodlerooms and Netspot to help run a new business to support and host open source learning management systems.
Both George Siemens and Audrey Watters have already posted their initial views on this and both provide an interesting and sceptical take on Blackboard’s motivations. I agree with their scepticism but I disagree with George’s analysis of the Blackboard’s motivations. I actually think Blackboard are making a play to position themselves as the cloud provider of LMS solutions. Here are my reasons:
I’ve been working on educational technology strategy and implementation for what feels like as long as I can remember but one thing I have always intended to do was to develop a visualisation of educational technologies in the form of a ‘map’. There are a number of such maps around already. Some of these are very good but they were never quite what I wanted. Specifically they focussed on the product rather than the tool or technology. So you would get a map that nearly always showed the LMS/VLE product at the centre with an eportfolio, some streaming media and some other technologies around the edge. I wanted something that showed the tools but also showed where they fitted in the landscape. Whether they were learning tools or management tools and whether the tools were focussed on the student or the staff member etc. I also wanted to get away from the LMS being at the centre of the tool map becuase the LMS is basically a collection of tools in one product that combine some management and some educational functionality. This isn’t because I am against the LMS as a concept but because I wanted to show that there are alternatives and that not everything needs to fit within an LMS. Continue reading →
Does your university have a minimum online presence policy (MOPP)? Is it successful?
I have a bit of a problem with MOPPs. I don’t think they work and, in fact, I think they are counterproductive. Here are my reasons:
1. Command and control
Let’s face it universities aren’t corporations and never have been despite what proponents of university corporatisation would have us believe. Universities are based on a collegiate model in which command and control does not work very well. Simply put, the academy don’t like being told what to do and many will passively resist in reaction. This includes being told that they must use the institution LMS as part of a MOPP. Continue reading →
I came across this useful tool this morning thanks to watching Anne Marie Cunningham’s interesting presentation on using Web 2.0 technologies in BlackBoard. The tool is called Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice (SNAPP) and it is defined on the SNAPP site as:
SNAPP is a software tool that allows users to visualize the network of interactions resulting from discussion forum posts and replies.
Well it’s the end of the decade and the new one has just started. I thought that, in the name of a harmless bit of fun, I would stick my neck out and make a few predictions about where we might be going with edtech in universities over the next decade. I’ve kept it brief because to explain each one in detail would make this post unbearably long and each subject probably deserves a more detailed post to fully explain my thinking. They also aren’t in any particular order. Let’s see if you agree or not. Continue reading →
Well it’s been a week since I was kindly sent an invitation to Google Wave. I have to admit that at first I was a little underwhelmed but since then, as I have started to add contacts, I I have started to see it’s potential. Before I talk a bit about it’s positives I would like to try and answer what I think it actually is in one sentence.
I have just read Lisa Lane’s article in First Monday entitled “Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems impact teaching”. I really liked her paper, not least because it raised some issues that I hadn’t considered before regarding default settings in an LMS and the idea of opt in and opt out learning management systems. It also described the way many academics use (or don’t use) the web in their work or play and how this effects their ability to use some of the more ‘advanced’ features of an LMS that go beyond an instructivist model of delivery. Perhaps most importantly of all it discusses the importance of emphasising pedagogy before ‘features and tools’ when working with web novices.
Many universities are currently, or have recently, reviewed their enterprise LMS including my own employer. Unfortunately we haven’t made our review process public but many universities have been generous enough to provide information about their reviews. The following list are some of the publicly available LMS reviews that I have found. These were really useful in developing and informing our own review and I hope that by bringing them together in one place it will be useful for others. Continue reading →