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The LMS as Portal - Digital Pedagogy Lab-Cairo


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The Learning Management System is ubiquitous across education. But is it really a worthwhile pedagogical tool? This presentation, offered at the Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute in Cairo, looks at ways to work within the limitations of the LMS to build courses that adhere to the tenets of critical digital pedagogy.

Published in: Education

The LMS as Portal - Digital Pedagogy Lab-Cairo

  1. 1. The Learning Management System as Portal Sean Michael Morris @slamteacher
  2. 2. There’s nothing wrong with Blackboard, except in the way that there’s something wrong with all of it.
  3. 3. The invention of the LMS (Learning Management System) was a mistake.
  4. 4. Pedagogy has at its core timeliness, mindfulness, and improvisation. Pedagogy concerns itself with the instantaneous, momentary, vital exchange that takes place in order for learning to happen.
  5. 5. The LMS is meant to help us think about teaching, not to do the teaching, or to tell us what teaching needs to occur. The LMS is not the course; it’s the launching pad for the course.
  6. 6. 6 Principles of Critical Pedagogical Course Design • Content is #1 • Narrative Structure • Open-ended Questions • Actual Work, No Busy • No Assessments • Business Casual
  7. 7. Content does not equate to learning, but should instead form the foundation for inquiry, discussion, dissension, and the production of knowledge.
  8. 8. An online course cannot be a series of handouts followed by a quiz. The course should begin one place and end someplace decidedly elsewhere… someplace learner and teacher mutually discover. The best courses are as engaging as the best stories, and they don’t neglect aesthetic considerations.
  9. 9. Yes or no questions are for computers, not people. If we are truly curious about what learners think, then we need to leave lots of room for their reasoning, musing, and questioning. And sometimes the best answers are questions.
  10. 10. Activity in a course should never be empty.
  11. 11. A course should be challenging enough that just getting through it is an accomplishment (and compelling enough that learners want to get to the end of the story).
  12. 12. Most teachers sound nothing like themselves when they write online; and yet voice sets the tone in an online course. Perfect grammar shakes no one’s hand, gives no hugs.
  13. 13. Pushing through the LMS • Choose one aspect of the LMS (discussion fora, video lecture, quiz, grade book, content, etc.) • Talk with your neighbor about how you have used this piece of the LMS in the past. • Together, collaborate on some way to hack at least that one part of the LMS to better serve your pedagogical purposes, student agency, or the idea of not-yetness. • Take some time to consider other digital tools that could support your effort.
  14. 14. The digital pedagogue looks at the options, refuses the limitations of the LMS, invites her students to participate in — indeed, create — networked learning.
  15. 15. • What tools are available for me and my students to play with? • How can improvisation occur online to reinforce learning? • Does digital learning end when the course ends, or is it sustained perpetually by the online learning environment (aka, the Internet)? • Do disciplines matter online? Do canons exist? What is the point of rote memorization when everything is available online all the time? • Where is my authority now that all authority is a Google search away? • And most importantly: What happens when learning is removed from the classroom and exposed to the entirety of the digital landscape? Questions that the Digital Pedagogue Asks:
  16. 16. For the digital pedagogue, teaching begins with inquiry. And that’s why digital pedagogy is so important. It reminds us that the new landscape of learning is mysterious and worth exploring.