explorations in the ed tech world

same sounds-different meanings

Showcase wrap up–Extended LMS

We’re really happy with how the online course showcase went last week–there was great attendance, interesting discussion, and fabulous presentations.  Karen and I were pretty strong task masters and still managed to be behind schedule pretty much the whole day, but strangely we finished 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

The amazing Leva Lee of ETUG fame diligently took notes on the presentations in the PB wiki which provides a nice summary of the presentations and some of the discussions. Scott Leslie from BCCampus set up some of the presenters to have their sessions screencasted, which will be made available on the BCCampus site at some point.  The second of two panel discussions was recorded, and hopefully we can make that available too.

Tony Bates has already done a really nice reflection on the showcase over on his blog and it was my intention to pull some threads together between the two categories of submissions:  extended LMS and instructional design. Here are some notes that I jotted down for the extended LMS category (instructional design to follow in another post):

Themes from extended LMS category:

1. There are some risks and challenges in moving beyond the LMS.  The four presenters in this category all seemed to have a certain amount of technical knowledge that allowed them to set up their systems, stretch them, and innovate.  How feasible is this if you don’t know what to do with Drupal, WordPress, or Mediawiki on your own server or how to get it on there?  My guess is that a great relationship with your IT department is required to make this a feasible option for some instructional developers.

2.  The four presenters in this category had a genuine desire to be relevant to students and social network systems they use.  So, this wasn’t just about technical tinkering…they are passionate instructors who were looking for creative solutions to instructional problems.  At times this discussion threatened to go off into “they’re all net gens and need and want this stuff” territory, but ultimately it really did seem to be more about the educational value vs. the cultural/generational value, despite the acknowledgement that these don’t necessarily need to be polarized.

3.  Extended LMS leads to discussions about the value of openness, the challenges of openness and how this is negotiated on the continuum of public and private spaces.  This applies to student assignments in addition to content, with the presenters representing various levels of openness in both areas.  It was very thought provoking to hear  the rationales for openness, perhaps highlighting the contextual differences in our institutions.

4. Going beyond the LMS allows for creative options but also challenges.  However, I was left with the impression that extending the LMS is critically important when the instructional/learning context requires it.  There are also some real opportunities to be explored as a result of the affordances of extending the LMS.  Therefore, in my mind it’s no longer a question of “should we?”, so much as “when should we?”, or “when is it the better option?”.




  1. Tannis, first off I love how you have taken care to ensure that you capture and document the day, and that you have made such an effort to make the event live on in artifacts like this post. Kudos.

    I also love that you put together this session. I think the final point you raise in #4 is an important one, and perfectly aligned with how we rationalize the use of any technology tool in education. What is the most appropriate tool for the task at hand? However, unless we begin to use these tools and explore the possibilites of what are the actual affordances of technologies beyond the LMS, we will never be able to answer that question. So good on you for finding and presenting some excellent “real life” examples for others to begin to build on.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and for your nice comments, Clint. It can be a struggle for small institutions to explore some of the emerging tech options, including tools that allow us to go beyond the LMS. An LMS promises to be a ‘can-do-everything’ option and in some cases it’s enough. But increasingly I don’t see how we can ignore non-LMS tools as viable options for some of our educational challenges, and I’d go as far as saying that in some cases (such as the JIBC presentation on http://www.myemresources.com/ ) it is the only option.

  3. I think this is they way of the future for education, it is a way to bring the info closer to students throughout the day,take ipods for example, if you listen to stuff in spanish all day, it is like going to Mexico a few hours a day to learn, it is so convenient! I think the key is finding creative ways to engage students, and make their lives easier. great post I will share it on facebook

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