I’d like to believe that lots of what this article has to say is true; that, putting to the side for a moments complaints about the nature of CMS systems themselves, giving faculty an ‘integrated’ environment saves them (and the students) from the duplication of lots of dull, administrative tasks and frees up time to spend on the more critical tasks of teaching and learning. That was, after all, supposed to be one of the initial drivers behind this approach in the first place.
But this piece is just so anecdotal (“I recently did an informal survey of faculty members by email” or “One faculty member responded,” etc.) that it almost reads like a surreptitious piece of WebCT marketing. Indeed, I found it via an agent I have monitoring WebCT’s pages for news announcements.
So, make of it what you will. Studies on this topic ARE important – a large amount of time and effort has been poured into system integration efforts, standards, architectures and the like, on the assumption that removing duplication and increasing seemless integration is a “Good Thing™.” But not enough actual studies have similarly happened to determine if these efforts do increase usage, decrease barriers, decrease costs, and so on. And unfortunately, this piece isn’t one of them either. – SWL