LMS Usage Transparency


I was pretty conflicted whether to post this at all – you may have noted the frequency of posting on anything LMS-related is WAY down on edtechpost, ever since I got born-again, and the vision of learning here seems, well, problematic at least (which is why I removed the title “A Student Feedback Tool That Links CMS Use with Good Grades” from the original link).

But…this is interesting and does deserve some attention both for its steps towards transparency and some of the ways in which transparency is being used to engender positive faculty peer pressure. I can already hear all sorts of howls from every direction – about faculty rights and independence, about the shallowness of this as a ‘ratings’ scheme, of students gaming the system, of… Yeah, I get it.

But if you find yourself charged with supporting and promoting a campus system (and don’t actually feel like answering for yourself the soul destroying question of why you have to sell something if it is actually as valuable as it’s supposed to be) then maybe this will jog some ideas loose. While I will continue to suggest that simply being fully open is ultimately a better way to address many of these issues, until that ideal situation pertains, sometimes we gotta take our ‘openings’ where we can find them. “There is a crack in everything…” – SWL

Making the case for “Fully Open” Content

I’ve asked twitterites a few times but haven’t got much of a reply yet, so I’m hoping readers have a reference or two to throw my way. Here’s the question – I work on a project that helps share educational resources. We currently support two licenses, a Creative Commons license and a regional consortia license called the “BC Commons” which facilitates sharing amongst the public post-secondary institutions in BC. Obviously this latter is not a “fully open” license as it does limit who can see and reuse the content. We’ve always seen it, I think, as an interim step, a way to get people into the habit of sharing their content but in a ‘safe’ way (and a way that the funders, the BC government and taxpayers, could be convinced of the immediate benefits).

Increasingly we are looking to try and increase the use of “fully open” licenses like Creative Commons, but in order to take this step we need to make the case to funders (as well, ultimately, to the content owners) as to why publishing under a fully open license is a better idea, for them, for the funders and ultimately the taxpayers.

So, I am looking for as many good references as I can find to help make the case. I wish it were enough to simply point people at David Wiley’s BCNet talk from 2007 [audio here | video here] (heck, it was given here in BC) because if you ask me, slam dunk!

Unfortunately, I need more, especially actual studies of the benefits or effects of sharing in a fully open way (and especially where a group moved from a more closed to more open model of sharing). Anything that can support or illustrate these kinds of arguments:

  • making resources fully open increases the number of accesses (and reuse) of resources, both within and outside of the original constituency
  • resources that are made fully open will have more improvements made to them, and thus end up as higher quality resources at no cost, then resources that aren’t
  • making resources fully open can provide additional returns for the organizations that do so in the form of increased brand recognition, increased student enrollments, better prepared existing students, etc.
  • making resources fully open leads to increased opportunities for partnership
  • making resources fully open does not substantially impact revenues to the content owner or institution (and indeed may increase it)

Anything is helpful, and I assume there are others trying to make this case in their own jurisdictions. Do you know of any studies that we can cite to substantiate the above propositions? Or indeed other propositions we should be staking the case on? –SWL

My interview with the CogDog


As part of the cogdog’s recent tour down under, he interviewed a number of blog colleagues for quotable quotes. I just found the one I did with him now and listened to it for the first time (what, like this is a revealing admission, from a blogger?)

I must admit I’m actually kind of proud how it turned out – I must have had my coffee that day and been slightly less sleep-deprived than usual, because this is probably as coherent a statement of what I think and what I am interested in right now as I’ve produced. Thanks for the great questions Alan, and for helping me frame these scattered thoughts a little better. – SWL