It’s a pretty compelling idea, even more so given that it was student-developed rather than corporate. Click through if you’d like to learn a bit more.
I’ve asked several times this year (here, here, and here) if the education world really needs another LMS. Regardless of how boring the Blackboard-bashing has become (to me personally at least), the number of new entrants in the LMS field does indicate that folks believe there’s room for competition and improvement. Certainly there is still a strong (and overwhelmingly negative) response to the incumbent players. As such, almost everyone in the learning management system industry now says that they’re rethinking what an LMS should do.
That includes, of course, Coursekit, which is taking a more social approach than administrative approach to the LMS. “Our goal is to turn courses into communities online,” says CEO Cohen. Doing so “transforms the learning experience from something that happens twice a week into a continuous conversation.”
Normally I try to quote little snippets to tease you into clicking-through to some of these resources. I can’t do that here, because the three technologies the author talks about are awesome. Really awesome.
Please, please, please click through. These are some incredible, simple tools that were created by actual students, for actual students. Here’s a quick overview:
Acceledge: Custom-built tool that overlays Moodle. Contains extra customizations so the students only see features they need to see.
Piazza: A Q&A tool for students. Faculty can sign up to create a class, so students can ask questions from other people in the course. Oh, and Android/iOS apps are coming soon.
Coursekit: Created by students at Penn State, Coursekit is designed to be a learning management system that is as dead simple as possible. Oh, and students can start one for their course (the faculty, should they find it, can “claim” the course and start leading it, or the students can go on independently).
Joseph Cohen says he’s fed up with Blackboard. The leading course-management software is overloaded with features and dreadfully designed, making simple tasks difficult, says Mr. Cohen, a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He’s not much kinder to other solutions: “It’s ridiculous,” he says, that some professors still post syllabi as clunky Microsoft Word documents.
Mr. Cohen and a classmate, Dan Getelman, have launched Coursekit, a stripped-down online learning-management system that offers a discussion board, a calendar, a syllabus, and related resources for courses at Penn. Mr. Cohen says he hopes Coursekit’s simple interface and Facebook-inspired tools will help make online discussions in a course as social as the course itself.
“It’s the classic example of a bloated and bad industry,” he says, “and we think it’s about time that it ends.”
TH-ROWS THA HAMMA DOWN!
No, but seriously. How long until Blackboard buys or sues them? Repeat after me: Competition is good.