Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Blogs in a Learning Management System

Helen also linked to an interesting paper last week that explored the benefits of using blogs in higher education. I agree with the potential and was mostly nodding right through the second-last sentence:
"In short, blogs have the potential, at least, to be a truly transformational technology in that they provide students with a high level of autonomy while simultaneously providing opportunity for greater interaction with peers."
Hard to disagree with that, right? Anyone who has been blogging for a while can tell you how valuable it is to reflect on your learning and develop a network of likeminded folks. But then I really cringed when I hit the conluding sentence: "A blogging tool would be a valuable addition, therefore, to any LMS." No, no, no, no, NO.

In spirit, blogs are the opposite of a Learning Management System like WebCT. If you lock personal publishing away inside an LMS, it's the equivalent of yet another crappy discussion board in a course. Blogs work because people are engaged in their own interests and can find their network from the entire world. An LMS constrains the topic, assignments and partipants, closing off any potential for authentic outside interaction and personal engagement. It was only a matter of time, I suppose.

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