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/ log / 12th Oct, 2011

eduCloud or just another social network?

  1. Wed, 12th Oct 2011
  2. 0 Comment
  3. LMS
  4. learning management system
<p>iversity logo</p>

iversity logo

When we started eLearning Bauphysik (eLBau) we used metacoon as our learning management system (LMS). Since then we have ‚lived‘ with this system and its advantages and disadvantages. And because it is also the LMS of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar there was no need of adaption to use it in face-to-face courses as well. I think these synergies are the reason why we have never looked out for other LMS’ since the beginning of the e-learning project. Though I have the impression that todays LMS’ never have caught up to contemporary web and user interfaces. Because of the bunch of different services they usually combine it is no wonder they cannot reach the heights of their specialized counterparts.

Well, today I stumbled upon another kind of LMS: iversity.org‚The collaboration network for academia‘. But I am somehow ambivalent about the goals of the project. iversity wants to be an inter-university tool to ‚organize courses, research groups and conferences‘. Using a ‚cloud-based, cutting-edge infrastructure‘ it wants to offer an alternative to the established systems. But my first thought was just

„Nice interface but, please, not another social network tool with a profile to maintain. And another account to manage and a password to memorize.“

Within the university it is already quite confusing for new students to keep the overview about the different services and information systems. I think even most of the university staff does not have an overview about these partly redundant structures. And despite of the growing possibilities of an Internet-wide single-login (e.g. With OpenID, Google, Facebook, etc.) it is still annoying to maintain mostly redundant profiles. What about the existing social, professional or academic networks (Facebook, Google+, Xing, LinkedIn, Mendeley, etc.). I really like the idea of a personal learning environment: A central in your hands to maintain your profile and manage the input and output to different channels/platforms.

But let’s see how iversity is going to evolve. I think it already represents a promising base for further development. I was immediately impressed by the simplicity of the interface and the platform’s structure. At once I felt at home although it still has its pitfalls.

To try iversity in practice this semester it is already too late. Courses have already started and a new tool has to be tested before. And I think the additional account is an obstacle one must not underestimate. For our distance students this may not be the case but I think that the platform does not yet have the flexibility and functions to implement a complete curriculum like eLBau. Nevertheless I could imagine iversity causes some movement on the established market of learning management systems. Especially because it is free.


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