Is Google Getting In To the LMS Business?

The new Google CloudCourse project hasn’t gotten that much chatter online.  At first glance around the project page, you can easily see why.  There are only a handful of functions that basically just do what Google employees have found helpful around the office (because apparently the whole thing started as an internal project).  This basically spells “yawn” for most educators. CloudCourse does have a few things going for it:

  • Open-source: we may see more interesting functions arising… if the right people get involved.
  • Part of the Google family: we might see connections to Google Docs, Wave, etc.
  • It already connects to Google Calendars.

Right now, it really is a management system and not much more.  Add in a grade book and the ability to embed or import content from other sites and you pretty much have all you need for an Open Learning Environment.  Connect it with a Google Reader-like system for aggregating tags and RSS feeds, and you have the New Vision ideas we have been kicking around here at EGJ.  Sounds like just a few easy steps, but that will only happen if we have educators jump into the development of the project to wrestle it away from the business training mindsets that seem to rule it now.

Which could also pretty much describe other large LMS programs that shall remain nameless….

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.

4 thoughts on “Is Google Getting In To the LMS Business?

  1. Matt,

    One idea I’m interested in seeing developed within a new approach to an LMS is relating assignment/gradebook items to specific hash tags. I don’t know if you and I have discussed or if it’s something you’ve mentioned previously.

    In addition to learners registering RSS feeds in which their assignments for the course may be posted or found, it would be ideal if I, as the instructor, could associate a specific tag with an assignment. i.e. #ITSC1401-RAM for an assignment in an intro to computers course that requires a post of some sort in which the learner describes their decision-making process when selecting how much RAM their next new computer should have. Any items in any of the feeds they’ve registered that have that tag will be listed as a submission for that assignment when I’m reviewing them.

    I’ve also thought for some time that Google could very easily enter the LMS market if they were to (a) add Blogger to the .EDU apps (b) add an integrated gradebook application and (c) tie a bow on it with all the necessary connections to student enrollment systems. Then imagine the number of Google tools that could be applied: search for plagiarism detection, voice & Talk for voice communication, sites etc.

    That’s not exactly within the mission statement to “Make everything searchable” but I’m sure it could/would benefit the search business in some manner.


  2. Matt Crosslin

    Yeah – hashtags need to make it in to education. I know that you kind of do what you want with Delicious. Students can do whatever they want anywhere and then tag it in Delicious with the class tag. It would take an extra bit of effort to collect and track all of your students user names… ultimately, a system in something like Google that provides the “glue” to connection PLNs together in a logical way in the biggest piece we are missing in EdTech today. Some on Google – get with the program!

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