Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LMS as Walled Garden: Observations, recommendations, insights from Ilene Frank via email to Steve Gilbert April 14, 2014

Thanks to Ilene Frank for getting us started!!!!! and connecting us to phrase “a walled garden.” According to Webopedia, On the Internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls the information and Web sites the user is able to access. (Accessed 4/15/14, http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/walled_garden.html)

" Just jotted down some ideas while I'm at the reference desk

The walled garden - hard to get people in - hard to get stuff out - very limited options to share student work with the public

  • Usually streamlines at least SOME processes like getting your students INTO the course. No tracking down or maintaining a list of email addresses!
  • ...can probably... email all the students in your course with one click.
  • May integrate with grading system
  • May integrate with other services like Turnitin or the Library
  • May integrate with synchronous services like Collaborate or WebEx or Adobe Connect
  • May have the ability to create formative assessments and have the results pop into the gradebook without you having to enter anything!
  • Setting up your course might be easy (or it might be difficult) <-- I think this is a toss-up!
  • If something goes wrong with the system, most often it's not your fault! Your institution probably provides IT support for you AND for your students!
  • Harmonizes YOUR course with other courses on campus - which may be stifling your creativity, but may be great for your students since they'll know how to get around. (This might make it easier come accreditation time.)
  • If your course material and the student work is inside your school's LMS, you may have access to learning analytics that can help you assess your course.
  • May be difficult to incorporate various media and Web tools into your course.  Or maybe not.
  • Accessibility - might be ok - might not be ok.  (However most companies seem to be concerned with ADA requirements.) (How about all those Web tools you want to use instead? Are THEY accessible??)
It's my experience that no matter what platform you use to offer your course, something will break down in the middle of the semester. There will an extraordinary weather condition like a snowstorm or a hurricane. There will be a major outage on the electrical grid. IE will update itself into something useless with your current course.  Java will get an upgrade and nothing will work ever again.  
Always have a plan B.  

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