Image credit: bionicteaching’s “Edupunking your CMS”
Maybe it’s just cause I live in a particular bubble on the internet, but over the past six months or a year there has been what seems to me like some serious momentum towards thinking through WordPress (and/or WPMu) as a serious alternative to Learning Management Systems. And posts like this interview with Kyle Jones as well as Joe Ugoretz’s tour-de-force two part series on how he is putting the idea of WordPress as a LMS into action are pretty badass. This is some amazing stuff, and I really think Kyle Jones nails what the appeal of WP as an LMS is for many with this quote from his interview at wpmu.org:
But [offering faculty and students a hands-on approach to designing their learning] is what makes using WordPress MU wonderful as a LMS: We’ve modified and tweaked it at the students’ request, making their learning space what they need it to be – not what some company says it should be.
And, on top of that, Kyle captures the engine that is driving this emerging cooperation amongst and between a distributed group of faculty, students, and technologist all over the world:
We learn from each other, we steal from each other, in the end we try to give back to those who have helped us.
That really sums up what this vision of openness is as we work through our issues, tinker with the tools, think through the implications, and share back what we’ve learned. I might be crazy, but I still have faith that through this kind of process we can take back the means of imagining our own spaces for teaching and learning from the expedients of institutional efficiency, cause it’s exactly the imagination of these spaces that is a necessary and integral part of the teaching and learning process as Joe Ugoretz’s posts make all too clear. I may be biased, but I can;t help but think what we are seeing in the educational community working with WordPress, is just one part of a larger momentum of people using a variety of tools to escape the prison house of learning that is the LMS. And that brings me to a bigger point, I really don’t think we are simply using WordPress to ape the LMS, but rather to re-imagine the ideas that under gird this design: give students ownership of their work, control over the design, and the ability to seamlessly integrate a wide variety of other tools they already use to network online. More than that, the bigger push is to put students in a pace they own and share back what they choose, an expectation that they take ownership of their work and identities online.
Paternity leave is over, and the bava is back!!!
You, Kyle and Joe don’t seem so much to me as if you are upending the relationship between the S’s and the M’s, as introducing a series of ‘safe words’ that ensure naughty online play happens in a loving, consensual way.
Those of us who don’t see ‘rough stuff’ and ‘caring relationships’ as conflicting desires could not be more grateful to you all. It’s like being tied down with silken ribbons, we are so excited to begin.
It’s you again, I’ve missed you so. Tie me up in ribbons you little freak you!
Yeaaaa…. Joel, so what safe words have I introduced into our vocabulary that you don’t agree with?
Thanks, Rev., for the write up.
Hey, you can add Keene State to that list. We made some effort back in 2008 (as you remember) and got a number of classes up. But I got promoted away from the nuts and bolts after that, then went to OCWC, and momentum died.
In any case, now I’m back. Since we want to jumpstart this *fast* I am going to try to a combo approach:
1) Get as many classes as we can to try using WP for traditional LMS/LCMS functions, though this is likely to be a small number at this point. We just haven’t laid the groundwork yet.
2) Convince as many professors as possible to use it as a tool to share course materials with other professors — and hopefully some of these professors will form the “bench” for expansion of WP use. It will form our “low-threshold” option.
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There is a Building Block for Blackboard that connects to WordPress MU and automatically creates blogs for every class. It also does single sign on and will setup media wiki. Here is a link http://bit.ly/chJrPN
You could use it to build some momentum towards more open blogging by staff and students. I suppose the next thing would be to write a WP plugin that sent something back to Bb. I was thinking perhaps a grading widget. Thoughts?
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