Making this easy: LMS Evaluations

My brain just did a flashback as my fingers poised over the keyboard ready to begin this post. The song, “War is a Science,” from Pippin has started to syncopate through my skull: the rule that every gen-er-al kno-ws by he-art: it’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart!   I value ‘smart’ (O how I value smart!) but  in my experience we overthink LMS evaluations. It’s not about a Request for Proposal process. It’s not about a comparison of features. It’s not about the best software package out there. It’s not even primarily a decision of … Continue reading Making this easy: LMS Evaluations

Trends in learning management systems

The dots I’m connecting here: Sugata Mitra’s 2008 TEDTalk on the hole in the wall learning experiment, ie, kids without structure or teacher teach themselves. (More on this). Crowdsourcing. A mass of people working on a problem can and usually do find excellent solutions. Why not apply that to learning?  iTunes U now incorporates learning management system features, but not the interactive, collaborative ones. The University of Notre Dame’s LMS has never supported student preferences for how the student wants to be messaged. The University of Notre Dame’s LMS is a repository for copyrighted material and a gathering of FERPA … Continue reading Trends in learning management systems

Pros and Cons of hosting Sakai outside of your institution

The University of Notre Dame is moving from a proprietary LMS we host in our own Data Center to an open source system, Sakai, hosted with rSmart. Two big changes we’re lumping together. Ask yourself … What advantages do you expect to gain when switching from a proprietary system to an open source system? Does outsourcing the system’s management mitigate against those advantages? What we’ve found so far (6 months): Trade-offs   Some Fixes/enhancements: can still be deployed faster than with a proprietary system, but not as fast as we expected … rSmart, or other provider, will still have tested … Continue reading Pros and Cons of hosting Sakai outside of your institution

Bringing Blackboard Vista 8 into the Oracle 11g world..

Just a few notes, probably only of significance to myself, of the work involved when the technology around a software changes even as that software is being brought to an end of life… Blackboard’s CE and Vista product is scheduled to be de-supported in January of 2013. Notre Dame will continue to run it as we come along side it with another system and move our Faculty and Students to it. Meanwhile Oracle has de-supported (as of June 2010) its database software version Oracle 10g, on which many institutions have been running their Bb Vista databases. Meanwhile Oracle has acquired … Continue reading Bringing Blackboard Vista 8 into the Oracle 11g world..

Tufts University, University of South Alabama, Notre Dame and Sakai–a middle way?

Representatives of our three schools, along with Nate Angell of rSmart, began conferencing a few weeks ago in order to discuss their mutual desire to provide multiple methods integrating SunGard Banner and Sakai. As many of you know, to date there are two methods to provision ones LMS or CLE. A. Administratively create course site shells each semester for all, or a majority, of your course offerings. When Instructors login, their course and its enrollments are already in place and managed by the SIS integration. B. Allow (change the verb here depending on your perspective…) Instructors to create their own … Continue reading Tufts University, University of South Alabama, Notre Dame and Sakai–a middle way?