The LMS and its Ecosystem

So, I promise to get back on track with my student blog network posts next time, but as a follow-up to the Canvas training course post from earlier this morning, there’s something I really need to write about. The Canvas trainer unlocked the locked board, so I posted my intro, and I saw that another person in the course had a question about loading up lots of big image files into Canvas for course content. The Canvas trainer recommended that she use OUMyMedia which I had thought was just for video (???). The question was not about video but about image files, so I added a response about using OU Create which is where I am hosting all the images that I use for my Canvas Widgets. I also commented that I was surprised how there had been no mention of OU Create as part of the Canvas training (or, for that matter, in any of the Canvas marketing I received all last semester). And the Canvas trainer responded: “we would like faculty to focus on the core features and start building their courses.”

In other words: we aren’t going to present Canvas as part of a RANGE of options that faculty have so that they can decide what tool is best for their purposes. You know, maybe having some kind of chart which at least alerts faculty to the pluses and minuses of likely tools they might use. Nope. We are going to get them to just use the LMS regardless of any other considerations. Then, at some unspecified date in the future, the faculty might find out (not clear how) that there are options like OUMyMedia or OUCreate which they could use for content development. Or other content management tools, including tools that are fully supported by our campus IT like Microsoft OneNote (which has good Canvas integration), etc.

But here’s the thing: after faculty have already loaded all their content into the LMS, are they really going to want to “unload” that content and redesign their course using a different tool or tools…?

I don’t think so.

The result: people are going to load their content into Canvas, just as they loaded all their content into D2L, and they are going to leave the content in Canvas for 10 years until we make them move it to the next LMS (or however long we stay with Canvas; we stayed 10 years with D2L).

Are there reasons to have your content in the LMS? Sure, there are some reasons.

Are there reasons NOT to have your content in the LMS? Yes! There are many reasons to use other tools, and it depends on each person’s goals/needs.

So, what faculty need is some help, up front, in deciding which option(s) will be the best for them. Telling them just to put their content in the LMS and then explore other options later seems like a good way to make sure they won’t be exploring those other options. Not if it means having to redesign their course all over again.

And so, even though we have a new LMS, it seems like we are still stuck in the same old LMS culture from which we will never achieve escape velocity.

Wake me when it’s over. But I fear it will never be over.