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Archive for April, 2010

On Choosing an LMS

Posted in Teaching, Technology on April 28th, 2010 by darcusb – 10 Comments

So long story short is that I’ve been a part of a suddenly rushed process to decide if and when to ditch Blackboard for an alternative LMS. I’m part of one group of mostly faculty who are taking a look at this issue from our perspectives, and we now have to come up with our conclusions. I’m strongly in favor of ditching Blackboard, but still feel I don’t have enough information or time to assess the differences between Moodle and Sakai. If anyone has any useful experiences or links that address this in general, or some of my specific questions below, please leave a comment.

  1. How easy is it to reuse content (quizzes, assignments, etc.) across courses (both term-to-term, as well as sharing among different instructors)?
  2. How do the details of the assessment modules in both Moodle and Sakai compare? I have the vague sense they’re broadly comparable (though with perhaps the nod going to Moodle with its ability to tie assessment to outcomes, and then have reporting based on this; not sure Sakai has this), but would like to explore this more.
  3. How integrated is TurnItIn? Both claim the feature, but I would like to know, in particular, if grades from TurnItIn can populate to their respective gradebooks (as happens now with Blackboard, though not very reliably).
  4. inbound and outbound SMS integration?

SMS in the Classroom

Posted in Technology on April 28th, 2010 by darcusb – 7 Comments

So there was an interesting note on NPR yesterday about a professor at Georgia State University named Dave McDonald who has developed a system to integrate SMS text messaging into the classroom. I emailed Dave and subsequently had a chat with him to understand the details. Dave’s argument is that an SMS-based system that exploits existing cell phones is more flexible and convenient for both students and faculty than dated dedicated hardware-based solution like Clickers that seem all the rage. Basically, they have an SMS server tied into SharePoint in some way I don’t entirely understand, but which can then marshal out student questions or comments to courses based on a course keyword. In addition, it generates a course-specific RSS feed, for integration wherever.

It would seem quite obvious and natural for this to be integrated into LMS solutions. Searching around briefly suggests there’s some movement on this within Moodle and Sakai. But as is typical, it’s really hard to assess where these efforts are in comparison. Anyone know anything more on this?