MyNotes - Pepperdine Univ Embraces Sakai and Collab. Tech

The following includes excerpts on why Pepperdine Universivity switched from their current LMS (it would be nice to know what that one was...probably Blackboard based on this document) to Sakai. Although I've only played with Sakai myself, I found some of the findings mentioned below quite intriguing, especially the section in italics.

It is an argument that has been made by others...that new collaborative technologies have usurped the LMS's placement as the center of the galaxy. It is interesting to see this point shared by a university. What are the implications for schools moving to swiftly adopt solutions like Moodle but excluding the collaborative technologies?

Source: Why We Switched to Sakai -- Campus Technology:

"Pepperdine University has made the decision to adopt Sakai as the single, university-wide learning management system (LMS), effective Jan. 1, 2011. This decision is the culmination of a yearlong engagement with our faculty and studentsDiscontent with our current LMS is only part of the story, however. What we have learned is that software designed by higher education, built by higher education, and supported by higher education is more in tune with the needs of our faculty and students.

Five findings led to our decision:

The LMS is important, but is no longer transformative . Our research suggests that the potential of the LMS to transform teaching and learning is diminishing quickly. Rather, it is the mash-up of different types of collaborative technologies, such as blogs, tweets, wikis, social networking sites, online media, and document sharing systems, together with the LMS, that appears to have the greater potential to transform our technology and learning practices.

What we need is an LMS that lends itself to more effective integration into diverse ecosystems through an open architecture, extensible and accessible programming interfaces, and a broad community for support. In this regard, Sakai has proved to be a superior match for our needs.Students prefer SakaiGreater numbers of student respondents preferred Sakai over our current LMS when comparing the following features: announcements, assignments, gradebooks, resources (course materials), forums, calendars, quizzes and tests, dropboxes, and blogs.

When responding to the question 'Would you recommend that Pepperdine discontinue the use of its current LMS and adopt Sakai?' 75 percent of the 264 students answered with 'yes' or 'yes, with comments.'So do our faculty .Faculty respondents preferred Sakai to our current LMS when comparing the following features: assignments, gradebooks, resources (course materials), forums, calendars, and dropboxes. When responding to the question 'Would you recommend that Pepperdine discontinue the use of its current LMS and adopt Sakai?' 91 percent of the 35 faculty members answered with 'yes' or 'yes, with comments.'

Our IT staff members find Sakai much easier to support . Our strategy presumes that the LMS is just one part of a larger toolbox provided to faculty for use in teaching and learning activities. The financial savings is equivalent to the salaries of two faculty members .

Because Sakai is designed, developed, and supported on an open-source basis by the higher education community, our costs for Sakai are a fraction of those incurred for our current LMS. In the 'new normal,' cost effectiveness has taken on a new sense of urgency, particularly for commodity services that are important but not necessarily strategic.

We have less need for a monolithic LMS that attempts to include every possible new technological bell and whistle with every major or minor software update.we have learned that even the toughest change initiatives can be accomplished when we work together, communicate openly and transparently, and confidently engage the prospects that arise. Through prudent and inclusive planning, IT organizations can boldly confront opportunities at the heart of the educational enterprise.

About the Author
Dr. Timothy M. Chester is chief information officer and vice provost for academic administration at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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