Ilse's weblog of random thoughts


Will Google Wave kill learning management systems?

Lately, everyone is buzzing with excitement about Google Wave. Some are enjoying testing it, others are desperately hoping that someone tosses them an invite (including me *waves her arms at anyone who can invite*). Google Wave is said to be a mail killer, but these last days, people are even suggesting it could also replace learning management systems.

Google Wave combines instant messaging with wiki and document sharing functionalities.And since many institutions are already using Google mail and docs on campus, it’s not hard to imagine seeing them take an extra step by using Google Wave in their classrooms. However, The Wired Campus’ journalist Jeff Young still thinks most institutions will continue to use Blackboard or some other LMS as a core system.

Other bloggers are also hesitant about the immediate integration of Goog Wave on campuses. David Middleton writes: ‘From my experience working with Faculty on online course development, as well as with technology for its purposeful uses in the classroom and for hybrid and online learning, it seems to me that this is a few years off. Strategies for best practices, management, support, training and then managing the culture shift for faculty and students alike will need to be planned, piloted and investigated before we dub Google Wave a “Course Management System” killer.

I agree with Cole Camplese, who argues that although Google Wave sure has some potentials, it seems to lack many features teachers rely upon in an LMS, like roster management, group pages, assignment tool or dropbox functionality. On the other hand, our current course management systems are not the strongest in the field of real time collaboration and open publishing space, unlike Google and other web 2.0 tools.

Want to make up your own mind about Google Wave but haven’t got an invite (yet)? Have a look at this one-hour demo!


Change or adapt – the VLE dilemma in an economic crisis

The last months, numerous messages have circulated on the Blackboard mailing lists, posted by educational staff, mostly from the United States, whose funding have been seriously declined due to the economic crisis, and who desperately need to save money.  One of the first things that management often tries to cut down on are the huge software license bills, and the Blackboard licence fee is certainly no exception to that. It seems there are two ways to react to these funding issues. Continue reading this entry »


I want to study at Stanford (and I want an iPhone)

Students at Stanford university are getting pampered. Through iStanford 2.0, an application for their iPhones, they can look up anyone in the uni’s directory, locate themselves and/or a building on a map, and look for specifics regarding a certain course or event.

But of course, since it was created by an American university, there is also the option ‘Athletics’. Want to know the latest news about a basketball team, or even better, the current score of a game? Than get out your iPhone and have a look. The application proved a big hit at Stanford. They ran a commercial during a football game and within the span of that game, got 5000 extra downloads.

I must admit that all these iPhone apps are sure looking good, now we only need cheaper iPhones and connection rates here in Belgium, so our students (and I) can actually buy and use one without facing huge bills!


Teachers, leave my Facebook alone!

Lately, I have seen various blogposts and suggestions by teachers to use Facebook as a learning platform. At the CLT, the Centre of Languages where I studied Spanish, staff members are wondering if they could bypass the fact that they don’t have a proper learning platform by using Facebook with their students. From one of the teachers’ comments on Facebook itself, it seems that the students are not so keen on this idea. For them, Facebook is personal, and shouldn’t be used in the classroom. Continue reading this entry »