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Ed Webb

Social Media is Killing the LMS Star - A Bootleg of Bryan Alexander's Lost Presentation... - 0 views

  • Note that this isn’t just a technological alternate history. It also describes a different set of social and cultural practices.
  • CMSes lumber along like radio, still playing into the air as they continue to gradually shift ever farther away on the margins. In comparison, Web 2.0 is like movies and tv combined, plus printed books and magazines. That’s where the sheer scale, creative ferment, and wife-ranging influence reside. This is the necessary background for discussing how to integrate learning and the digital world.
  • These virtual classes are like musical practice rooms, small chambers where one may try out the instrument in silent isolation. It is not connectivism but disconnectivism.
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  • Another argument in favor of CMSes over Web 2.0 concerns the latter’s open nature. It is too open, goes the thought, constituting a “Wild West” experience of unfettered information flow and unpleasant forms of access. Campuses should run CMSes to create shielded environments, iPhone-style walled gardens that protect the learning process from the Lovecraftian chaos without.
  • those curious about teaching with social media have easy access to a growing, accessible community of experienced staff by means of those very media. A meta-community of Web 2.0 academic practitioners is now too vast to catalogue. Academics in every discipline blog about their work. Wikis record their efforts and thoughts, as do podcasts. The reverse is true of the CMS, the very architecture of which forbids such peer-to-peer information sharing. For example, the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies (RCCS) has for many years maintained a descriptive listing of courses about digital culture across the disciplines. During the 1990s that number grew with each semester. But after the explosive growth of CMSes that number dwindled. Not the number of classes taught, but the number of classes which could even be described. According to the RCCS’ founder, David Silver (University of San Francisco), this is due to the isolation of class content in CMS containers.
  • unless we consider the CMS environment to be a sort of corporate intranet simulation, the CMS set of community skills is unusual, rarely applicable to post-graduation examples. In other words, while a CMS might help privacy concerns, it is at best a partial, not sufficient solution, and can even be inappropriate for already online students.
  • That experiential, teachable moment of selecting one’s copyright stance is eliminated by the CMS.
  • CMSes shift from being merely retrograde to being actively regressive if we consider the broader, subtler changes in the digital teaching landscape. Web 2.0 has rapidly grown an enormous amount of content through what Yochai Benkler calls “peer-based commons production.” One effect of this has been to grow a large area for informal learning, which students (and staff) access without our benign interference. Students (and staff) also contribute to this peering world; more on this later. For now, we can observe that as teachers we grapple with this mechanism of change through many means, but the CMS in its silo’d isolation is not a useful tool.
  • social sifting, information literacy, using the wisdom of crowds, and others. Such strategies are widely discussed, easily accessed, and continually revised and honed.
  • at present, radio CMS is the Clear Channel of online learning.
  • For now, the CMS landsape is a multi-institutional dark Web, an invisible, unsearchable, un-mash-up-able archipelago of hidden learning content.
  • Can the practice of using a CMS prepare either teacher or student to think critically about this new shape for information literacy? Moreover, can we use the traditional CMS to share thoughts and practices about this topic?
  • The internet of things refers to a vastly more challenging concept, the association of digital information with the physical world. It covers such diverse instances as RFID chips attached to books or shipping pallets, connecting a product’s scanned UPC code to a Web-based database, assigning unique digital identifiers to physical locations, and the broader enterprise of augmented reality. It includes problems as varied as building search that covers both the World Wide Web and one’s mobile device, revising copyright to include digital content associated with private locations, and trying to salvage what’s left of privacy.

    How does this connect with our topic? Consider a recent article by Tim O’Reilly and John Battle, where they argue that the internet of things is actually growing knowledge about itself. The combination of people, networks, and objects is building descriptions about objects, largely in folksonomic form. That is, people are tagging the world, and sharing those tags. It’s worth quoting a passage in full:

    “It’s also possible to give structure to what appears to be unstructured data by teaching an application how to recognize the connection between the two. For example, You R Here, an iPhone app, neatly combines these two approaches. You use your iPhone camera to take a photo of a map that contains details not found on generic mapping applications such as Google maps – say a trailhead map in a park, or another hiking map. Use the phone’s GPS to set your current location on the map. Walk a distance away, and set a second point. Now your iPhone can track your position on that custom map image as easily as it can on Google maps.”


    What world is better placed to connect academia productively with such projects, the open social Web or the CMS?

  • imagine the CMS function of every class much like class email, a necessary feature, but not by any means the broadest technological element. Similarly the e-reserves function is of immense practical value. There may be no better way to share copyrighted academic materials with a class, at this point. These logistical functions could well play on.
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