In the past I have always railed against the “one system to rule them all” approach to classroom eManagement. I have always found ways to use tools outside the mainstream to achieve my goals — it could be a WordPress blog, Drupal for a large class experience, iTunes U for podcasting, or whatever else seemed interesting at the time. I have a feeling as I go forward I will continue to use these spaces to stretch my understanding of the social software space. With that said I am thinking differently about how we need to leverage our enterprise LMS/CMS environment, ANGEL.
Let me put this into perspective, at Penn State there are currently 69,725 students with at least one course in ANGEL. Let me think about that for a minute … yeah, that’s a lot. To me that says that faculty have adopted the platform. I just spent the last two days in Chicago with peer institutions across the CIC listening to what they are doing in the enterprise LMS space and I can tell you that we are doing just fine at PSU.
My team is looking at ways to innovate and change (for the better) how faculty use technology for teaching and learning … for the past year or so we’ve invested a lot of energy in relationships with other (non-ANGEL) venders trying to introduce new technologies into the teaching and learning landscape — think podcasting and blogging in particular.
The other night, Chris Millet and I were talking about the overhead associated with introducing not only a new approach but a whole new tool to support it … we started to think out loud what it would look like if we spent half that energy working with the ANGEL people on the kinds of things we need from their tools. Would that allow us (long-term) to focus more on the actual adoption of the approach and less time on the adoption of the toolset? I’m not at all saying it is time to bail on innovation — what I am saying is that we have a huge uphill battle in getting faculty to try the things we talk about, why create more issues by pushing multiple platforms at them? What I am now thinking about is how do I spend my time helping the conversation move forward.
I have to wonder what people think about this … does it just absolutely laugh in the face of small pieces or is it the right thing to think about? I honestly can’t see us jumping out of anything we are doing, but it sure would be nice to not have to think about running servers, managing accounts, and holding hands through new tools. Looks to me like there are some serious relationship activities on the horizon for me and those around me. I am up for it … any thoughts on using enterprise tools to support innovation?