Techniques for Unleashing Student Work from Learning Management Systems
the fundamental problem is that learning management systems are ultimately about serving the needs of institutions, not individual students.
In his manifesto on Connectivism, George Siemens writes that in Connectivist learning environments, the “pipes” of a course are more important than what flows through those pipes. The networks that students build are durable structures of lifelong learning, and they are more important
by having students own their learning spaces and democratize the means of production. Rather than forcing students to log in to an institutional LMS, I asked them to create their own websites, blogs, Twitter accounts and spaces on the open Web. In these spaces, students could curate links and connections and share their evolving ideas. Whatever they create is owned and maintained by them, not by me or by Harvard. They can keep their content for three months, three years, or the rest of their lives, so long as they continue to curate and move their published content as platforms change.
so, it is back what i claimed at the turn of the century: LMS were claimed to be invented to make the instructor’s life “easier”: instead of learning HTML, use LMS. My argument was that by the time one learns the interface of WebCT, one can learn HTML and HTML will be remain for the rest of their professional life, whereas WebCT got replaced by D2L and D2L will be replaced by another interface. I was labeled as “D2L hater” for such an opinion.
Now to the argument that LMS was a waste of instructors’ time, is added the new argument that it is also a waste of students’ time.
The way that Connected Courses deal with this challenge is by aggregation, sometimes also called syndication. All of the content produced on student blogs, websites, Twitter accounts and other social media accounts is syndicated to a single website. On the Flow page, every piece of content created by students, myself and teaching staff was aggregated into one place. We also had Blog and Twitter Hubs that displayed only long-form writing from blogs or microposts from Twitter. A Spotlight page highlighted some of the best writings from students.
This online learning environment had three important advantages. First, students owned their means of production. They weren’t writing in discussion forums in order to get 2 points for posting to the weekly prompt. They wrote to communicate with audiences within the class and beyond. Second, everyone’s thinking could be found in the same place, by looking at hashtags and our syndication engines on t509massive.org. Finally, this design allows our learning to be permeable to the outside world. Students could write for audiences they cared about: fellow librarians or English teachers or education technologists working in developing countries. And as our networks grew, colleagues form outside our classroom could share with us, by posting links or thoughts to the #t509massive hashtag.