Key concepts

By elearning, we mean the tools & technologies that facilitate teaching & learning at Duke. More specifically, we are focusing on the networked technologies used by faculty in the process of building and delivering courses and by students while engaged in course activities and interactions.

Learning management systems (like Duke’s current Blackboard system) are web-based systems that facilitate access to learning content and administration tools for courses. The scope of our review of tools includes formal learning management systems as well as functions they support and what other tools are available to meet those same needs. Both commercial (e.g. Blackboard, Desire2Learn, ANGEL) and open source (e.g. Sakai, Moodle, .LRN) systems are in use by institutions of higher education.

In the context of elearning tools, Open Source refers to a tool whose source code is availalbe for use or modification by any developer.  These tools have arisen through both small scale grassroots development as well as large scale institutional collaborations.

Cloud computing refers to the use of computing applications and services online or “in the cloud”. Included in this concept are peer-to-peer network applications such as Skype as well as hosted services such as YouTube or Google Maps.

In the context of our group’s work, guiding principles refer to those general principles in one or more areas that we want to abide by as we evaluate the fit of different technology solutions to meet elearning and strategic needs. These might include one or more of the following: the need to interoperate with student information systems; the ability to access via mobile devices; the ability to facilitate participation and collaboration with participants who are both at Duke and outside of Duke, etc. The guiding principles specific to our process in 2009-2010 will be derived from the many conversations we are having in Fall 2009 to determine campus needs and the best fit of multiple technology options.

Interesting Readings

Campbell, Gardner. “A Personal Cyberinfrasturcture.” EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, no. 5 (September/October 2009): 58–59

Lane, Lisa. “Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teachingFirst Monday [Online], Volume 14 Number 10 (27 September 2009)

Goldstein, Philip J. Alternative IT Sourcing Strategies: From the Campus to the Cloud (Research Study, Vol. 5) (Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2009). [Key findings]

The Committee for Economic Development. Harnessing Openness to Improve Research, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. [Summary] [Full Report (PDF, 100 pgs)]

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