The Drupal Alternative to Proprietary Courseware

Charlie Lowe at Cyberdash has a presentation available on Teaching Writing, Collaboration, and Engagement in Global Contexts, using the Drupal CMS. According to the presentation (which I reviewed in OOo Impress 2.0 beta), a traditional LMS "Privileges course administration and content management over class community interaction, configuration flexibility, and usability", whereas students and educators need systems that integrate with the Internet and allow more collaborative learning that reflects life outside of academia.

Two slides on user needs provide an excellent synthesis of why proprietary LMS’s do not meet the needs of higher education.

Students & Educators Need:

  • Online platforms that better enable social constructionist principles of collaborative learning.
  • Students need an early opportunity to learn professional communication using real world software systems.
  • Better integration of current and cutting edge Internet communication technologies such as weblogs and RSS.
  • Increased flexibilty through more extensive customization and configuration options.
  • The choice of whether to make the class space private or public.

Institutions Need:

  • Web application platforms that can be used for a wider variety of purposes.
  • Increased opportunity to adapt the online course component to the institutions’ needs.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership would be nice.
  • No vendor lock-in.
  • Reallocation of funds from site licensing fees into learning opportunities for students. [I like this one!]

This presentation is a good review for anyone in education looking at their technology options. It is more a review of proprietary versus open source, with specific Drupal examples. The argument is clear, and there are a lot of screenshots from sample sites.

Update: Charlie follows up with some suggestions on how to use the money that is saved on license fees.

One Response to “The Drupal Alternative to Proprietary Courseware”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)