Who Needs Gamification?! Student-Centered Lesson Design Using Just Your LMS

2011 brought us the buzzword craze of “gamification” in education, or the quest to make learning online more like a video game. Inspired by FourSquare‘s achievement badges as a way of motivating users to check in to location-based services and Mozilla’s promise of outcomes-based badges in lieu of diplomas, we …

Open Source or Proprietary LMS? Your Answer, My Friend, Is Floating In the Cloud

A colleague recently asked me if I could explain the distinction between open source and proprietary learning management systems, especially as it might affect a K-12 school looking at the best kind of LMS to implement today.  She wanted to know how schools assess open source vs. proprietary systems– “So, …

LMS Disruption– Free Web 2.0 Tools Can Co-Exist with the Centralized LMS

[Question from a colleague] It appears that OpenClass has the same mission as Canvas –  OpenClass: “disrupt technology for education”, Canvas:  “disrupting the Learning Management System (LMS) market.” Does this new partnership introduce any concerns about Canvas’ future. Blackboard has to change if it’s going to survive. Canvas too? The …

Good Security Practices Keep You Safe(r) from Hackers when Using Cloud Tools

Friends and colleagues have been expressing doubt about entrusting their data to “The Cloud”, especially in light of the recent high profile attacks on the CIA, the Senate, and Sony (among many others).  As educators are increasingly adopting cloud-based tool in instruction, it’s very important to have a clear idea …

The Blackboard Buyout and the Wisdom of Open Web Standards

As part of our LMS Evaluation, we’ve investigated concerns around Instructure’s viability and longevity as a business. Recent events surrounding Blackboard should lead us to question its viability with equal diligence. First there was last week’s report that Blackboard had retained a financial services firm to help them respond to …

LMS Evaluation: Which Tools do Faculty Really Use? (Updated)

During the process of evaluating Blackboard as our Learning Management System (LMS), we came to a basic and fundamental question: “Which tools do faculty really use?” Although most of the core functions of an online course can be managed with a blog, Learning Management systems come stuffed with loads of bells …

“The Golden Apple”: Showing Students that Their Learning Matters

(This post is part of a series called “The Connected Class Community”). The Golden Apple is the most cryptic and strange of all of these ingredients. Not surprisingly, it’s also difficult to explain. I think the idea will make sense after a couple stories… The Golden Apple is an object …