S.11 – Web Platforms


Session11: Web Supported Course Sites: Platforms of Participation?

Session Overview

The learning management system (LMS) has seen significant development and use over the past decade as tools like Blackboard, Canvas and Moodle have become common features of the course experience in colleges and universities. These systems have grown to serve a variety of functions including: synchronous and asynchronous communication, content development and delivery, formative and summative assessment, as well as course and user management. The adoption of LMS technology has been uncharacteristically swift and widespread, with over 37,000 education institutions in more than 60 countries using Blackboard alone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard_Inc.).

So what is it about the LMS that has led to its broad appeal and acceptance in higher education?  Do these technologies increase teaching efficiency and enhance learning?  Not all agree…a recent blog post titled “How the Web Was Ghettoized for Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed” suggested the problem was “learning management systems.”   Can a platform of participation facilitate learning?

This class session will provide us with the opportunity to critically examine and reflect upon the nature and functionality of web platforms from both the student and teacher perspectives. In addition, we’ll debate the possibility of using them in meaningful ways to support teaching and learning. Ultimately, we hope to make informed decisions about how to control and manage class websites to suit our own educational goals as opposed to the reverse.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session you should be able to…

  • Identify examples of web-based platforms of participation
  • Recognize and describe way in which LMS technology is not pedagogically neutral.
  • Think critically about LMS technology, and identify applications that can support use as a platform of participation
  • Identify web-based alternatives to the enterprise LMS that can be used to support teaching and learning.

Key Questions

  • What factors are driving the adoption of LMS technology across the higher education landscape?
  • To what extent do LMSs have an implied pedagogy built into their design and functionality?
  • What are the potential impacts of LMS technology on teaching and learning in universities?
  • What are student perspectives of the course-based use of LMS technology?


1)    Warm up: Web based communities

  1. Knitters – http://www.ravelry.com/groups/all-you-knit-is-love
  2. Pinterest
  3. Fandom – http://justinbieberfansite.blogspot.com/
  4. What distinguishes a “vibrant” web community?

2)    ds106 ………………………. GRAD 602

  1. Review ds 106
  2. Review GRAD 602

– Content / Student Generated Work / Communication / Collaboration

– Assessment  /  Scale  /  Class Management

3) Pedagogical Implications

  • 7 Principles
  •  [un}packing the default pedagogy?
  • Functionality of the LMS
  • Spaces to support learning…should class sites be platforms of participation?

4) Faculty and student perspectives of value of LMS

  • Is there a shared perspective?
  • Group brainstorm and poster creation (discussion)


1) Complete assigned readings.

2) Synthesize ideas from readings and class discussion and post to your Learning Journal.


A Personal Cyber-infrastructure


Mind Over Matter