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!!!