Where Would Content Come From in an LMS-Free Future?

Despite my last rant, I know that most people in education know that we still need instructors of some sort.  We all know that the “sage on the stage” concept has never proven to be effective. Technology is finally giving us a way to do something more effective… if not a swift kick in the pants. The big question is: how can an instructor avoid being a long-winded talking head by taking advantage of experts on the social web, but also contribute something to their student’s educational endeavors?

Harriet and I were meeting with our uber-boss Pete Smith the other day (who will probably read this and “comment” on it by walking past my office and telling me his comment :) to discuss our “New Vision for the LMS” concept. When you get Pete talking about cutting edge stuff, he will truly make your head spin. He was envisioning the role of an educator taking on more of mentoring slant… but wondering how that can work with online asynchronous courses.  His idea was to use something like Google Reader to guide students through weekly readings by sharing what you think students in a particular class should be reading (out of all of the vast amounts of data out there).

An interesting idea. Maybe there are people out there doing this already? The basic idea is that students would follow a instructors on a service  – something that operates like Digg or Google Reader, where you share certain things you read and then tag them with a class tag (#engl101).  That would then be the students “content” for the week. Their projects and blog posts would have to reflect that they read this week’s shared content.

The interesting thing about this idea is that it allows the instructor to take advantage of many sites, many experts, and many voices… while still contributing overall to class learning.  In fact, instructors could still keep their own blog and add content to the stream of shared content. Or add notes to what they are sharing (at least in Google Reader).

I don’t think there is a tool out there that would be as robust as it would need to be for educational purposes – without creating multiple accounts. Students will just need to see the content for their class – so if a teacher has multiple classes, most sharing tools would require some kind of separate account to handle all classes without confusion.  It would be nice to have a function that works like Digg or Delicious with browser plug-ins. But once you “digg” something, you have the ability to tag it with a class tag and that sends it to every student in that class. If you see something else for another class, then you tag it with that class and then only those students see it.

Other features that would be nice would be the ability to add notes to your “diggs” as well as the ability to turn a specific digg in to a class discussion.  One of those discussions I blogged about last week that is not contained in the LMS box.

Just one of many new ideas we are working in to the NEW “New Vision for the LMS” concept….

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

One thought on “Where Would Content Come From in an LMS-Free Future?

  1. You could use something like WordPressMU (one blog per class) with a plugin like FeedWordPress to pull in third-party content via RSS.

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