Thursday, August 16, 2007

This is not a Facebook post...

Not wanting to break my observance of Facebook Free Week, I'm declaring up front that this is not a Facebook post. This has nothing to do with Facebook, but everything to do with a philosophy of putting the learner in the center of a Learning Management System. It is more learner-centered to take the content to the learner than the learner to the content: Roll your own LMS with Facebook

Getting tired of the Learning Management System on your campus? Ever look to see how infrequently your students actually log in to see their assignments etc? Let me tell you, it’s pretty darn infrequently. So why not create a course site on a social network where they already live? Facebook now has several apps that make a near perfect course management system. Use “Courses”, a file sharing app, and a chat app and you’ve got every tool in Blackboard on a site that doesn’t go down, isn’t so bland that it puts you and your students asleep, and actually offers collaborative resources that BB can’t provide (oh and you’re not supporting a company which caters to administrators rather than instructors and students but that’s my personal grudge).

This makes too much sense, and I'm surprised more faculty aren't jumping all over this strategy. The only thing that would make this better is if these learning opportunities were being made available in something like Elgg. We desperately need neutral systems where the content is not owned by the application provider.

4 comments:

Bill Fitzgerald said...

Read Facebook's terms of Service. When you put content there, you give them extensive rights over your work.

The types of functionality you describe are available within a few open source applications, including, but not limited to, Drupal, Moodle, or Wordpress, or WPMU.

Ben Werdmuller said...

Bill's very much right. There are serious data ownership issues, not to mention the fact that Facebook reserves the right to sell information about its users to anyone. I don't think that's an ethical approach for an institution.

As for Elgg ... serious developments are afoot there, which will make it more adaptable to vastly different kinds of applications.

Mitch Owen said...

This is an issue that continues to haunt us.. proprietary environments only seek to standardize when it is profitable to them.. or to build market share. Once they have market share.. they stop. and even retreat.

Kevin is hitting on a major idea hear.. but I differ in one part.. most of what he is talking about is a learning system.. there is no management in it! And before I get corrected.. I need to stress.. there is such a thing as a structure managed environment that is learner centered! The very man who much of this is based on (Malcolm Knowles) required learning contracts in his classes.. but allowed the student to define the learning system! He created a structure that ensured he knew if the student was in progressing, he had rules,.. he managed them to the extent "they" needed him too..

That said.. we have to move to looking at more comprehensive and standard systems that allow us to use all sorts of learning systems. An instructor should be able to use any tool in a learning management system if the structure is setup right and managed effectively.. Blackboard is a poor benchmark.. it doesn't even come close to the systems used in industry.. we are way behind.

Kevin Gamble said...

Thank you for all of your comments. I've been traveling and not as responsive as I should have been.

I think Elgg is going to rock. It just makes too much sense to put the learner in the center of this, and NO ON is going to trust a commercial entity to do the right thing with something as personal as their learning. That's a given.

The issue Mitchell revolves around who manages the learning? I'm arguing that it should be in the control of the learner.