eLCC Day 1: “Kill the LMS”

This week, I’m spending a few days at the eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) conference. I’ll be posting items I find interesting during the conference.

At the conference, I had the honor of facilitating a discussion session on the vocation of teaching online. We went through many parts of the job of online teaching. As we neared the end of the session, I wanted to get instructors thinking about their teaching and where they may like to take it. So, I asked the question, “If you were 100% in charge of your course, what’s the one thing you would change?” That’s when an instructor from Arapahoe said, “Kill the LMS.”

After the initial shock, I asked why. She honestly replied back that the design of the LMS along with the rules of the college make her feel confined. As an LMS administrator, I wish this was a point of view that haven’t heard before. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been much in the way of development in the LMS in the last 20 years when it comes to teaching tools. Yes, they’ve improved the data collection, the user interface and workflows, but where are the new tools for learning? D2L has an idea exchange with thousands of ideas, but let’s face it, accommodating all of their clients’ wants and desires and fitting them onto the code-base is an impossible task.

The irony is, as much as this instructor and the other advanced instructors around the world feel boxed in, most of the users I interact with are struggling to just get the basics of D2L work. Every semester, during PDW, the most common question eLearning gets from faculty is how to set up a gradebook. While wonky at times, the D2L grades tool isn’t an advanced tool.

How can we serve both the instructor that feels limited by the LMS while at the same time serving the users overwhelmed by the LMS? I can argue the same thing applies to students. For all users, this is one of the major challenges we face.

What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing comments from both those who feel limited by the LMS as well as those who feel overwelmed. Feel free to comment below or drop me an email.

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