EDTC 604

EDTC 604 – Advanced Web Development

Reflection

The four artifacts chosen were part of a rather illuminating section in class where we discussed the use of open source vs. paid content management systems, or CMS. These systems, which can be found both in and outside of the educational setting, are more commonly known as learning management systems, and tie together many of the tools teachers use in their day to day work life, such as grade books, attendance, and homework management. In the last decade, as computers have become an integral part of the classroom, companies have emerged which sell and maintain these tools, while others have worked collectively to create similar tools which are free. What I found is that while there is a dramatic price difference between many of these tools, the functionality was about the same.

The free tools, such as Moodle, are supported by an active and vibrant community of testers and programmers. Being a programmer myself, I found that I could actually dig through the code and get a better understanding of what it took to create such a tool. What I also liked was that bugs and exploits of the open source tools were more rapidly discovered and fixed that their paid counterparts. This is because there are more eyes on the code, and more people involved in the process. After this course I actually went on to recommend to my current school that we look at moving over to something like Moodle in the future. We currently use a rather complex and difficult to use management system called Denbigh.  In addition to this we use an online homework tool called Showmyhomework and a few other services on Office365. What I found was that we didn’t really need a lot of what Denbigh has to offer, or that its rather slow and cumbersome interface could done away with by streamlining things with a few tools created explicitly for the things we need. It also had the issue of only being available at work, while with Moodle, we could do the reporting and recordkeeping in a more timely manner, as well as do it from both home and work.

While, this lesson made me a bigger fan of open source it also let me see the rapidly changing face of educational technology. I came across dozens of companies that I’d never heard of before, most touting some variation of an LMS that sold a subscription service. The pay-as-you-go services can help schools by keeping all the hardware and data storage issues offsite, which makes maintenance and onsite hardware costs significantly lower. The issue that I found was what to do if one of these companies goes under or has a data breach? Is the school or the company libel for loss of data relating to studwents, such as photos, addresses and phone numbers? These tradeoffs have kept a lot of schools from adopting these online-based pay services for those which are serviced locally by the IT department, even if they tend to not be as reliable.

Artifact(s)

CMS/LMS Discussion

Paid vs. Open Source Options

Evaluating LMS/CMS Choices

Issues with LMS and CMS

Research

Illot, M. (n.d.). Open Source vs Proprietary CMS. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.bloomtools.com/articles/open-source-vs-proprietary-cms.html

This resource is nothing more than a brief overview of the differences between open source and proprietary LMS software. It gives a nice bullet list breakdown of each and then a quick summary of the two.

Shannon, M. (2009). OPEN SOURCE VS PROPRIETARY CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (CMS). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://mainpath.com/open-source-vs-proprietary-content-management-systems-cms/

This article takes a look at the tradeoffs between open source and proprietary CMS software. It looks at the benefits of user support that one can get from a paid service, vs. the need for a more able tech staff with open source. No one solution is a fit for everyone, and each situation needs to be looked at in order to ensure that the best choices are being made for the primary users, whether that be teachers or students.

Mattelin, G. (2015, September 15). Are The Hidden Costs Of The Open Source LMS Worth Making? Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://elearningindustry.com/open-source-lms-hidden-costs

This article takes a look at the financial difficulties that one might encounter with an open source LMS. It assumes that the user will buy their own hardware, and that they will need to hire staff to keep it all up and running. They then note that in purchasing a solution, a school can actually save money.

Curran, T. (2011, November 8). Open Source or Proprietary LMS? Your Answer, My Friend, Is Floating In the Cloud. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://tedcurran.net/2011/11/08/open-source-or-proprietary-lms-your-answer-my-friend-is-floating-in-the-cloud/

If a school has chosen offsite hosting then open source solutions are available which have all the benefits of a paid app. These hosting sites set up Moodle platforms and have tech support just like any similar paid site would.

Standards – NETS Standards and 21st Century Skills

The NETS Standards for Teachers addressed in this artifact are:

– Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning

– Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations

Advertisements