Thursday, September 16, 2010

PLENK2010 - random comments

I'm going for incoherent and random comments on my wanderings around the PLENK2010 course site today:

I read through some of the discussions on all the abbreviations: PLE, PLN, VLE, LMS.

LMS... I don't exactly understand what seems to be resentment against the idea of an LMS. I started teaching online courses via email before there was any such thing as an LMS. These were for-credit courses and the university collected tuition. I needed to account for students work. Just the sheer amount of time managing student email addresses, making up distribution lists, saving student work, recording grades for their work... I don't particularly want to go back to doing all those chores when there's an LMS that can help!

LMS and standardization: Some standardization seems like a good idea to me! If students can find some basic documents like the syllabus, that's useful. I've worked with one LMS that has very few options - and faculty are still able to be creative enough to confuse their students! It is actually quite remarkable!

I recently monitored a course that used Angel. Inexplicably the syllabus was under a tab with a label other than "syllabus". This was not a problem intrinsic to the LMS. It is possible to change label names for tabs. This was a policy decision.

One complaint seems to be that students can't access a course installed in an LMS after the course is over. Isn't this just another policy decision?

Guest access to LMS courses: Hmmm.. you've got me there. Even though I know one school that has provided some easier ways to allow for guest access to courses should instructors choose to do that. However... there might be a limit to generousity. I know that the school is concerned about FIRPA requirements.

Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiments TED Talk
People learn if they are curious. I wonder if this is the opposite: If we have a mandated curriculum, we can't wait for students to get curious? Not necessarily according to Mitra's experience. Leave children alone to organize their own learning. In some experiements, he set the question. Why did the dinosaurs die out? In some cases he left tools available - an arithmetic game - with no instructions.

A friend mentioned she was going to keep an eye on Alec Couris' course on Social Media and Open Education, so I'm going to try to do that as well.

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