Just when I thought a LMS was a good thing I read Audrey Watters “Beyond the LMS”…….

Before I get to the actual blog prompt I need to reflect a little on the readings.  This week I ended the required readings with Audrey Watters “Beyond the LMS”… I had one of those “Ah ha” moments where I thought awe crap perhaps I should have saved everything I have created and marked on my own computer. I have been teaching Nursing for a number of years and started with Blackboard. I had never really thought of it as a “management” system. I just thought it was a neat way of keeping things organized online for students and instructors.


I do however remember being extremely frustrated that I lost access to all my great comments and feedback (you know the ones that take hours to write) when I changed employment institutions.  I had no way of getting anything back or having access to any assignments or papers that I had marked or created. I never once thought about the student who also lost access to his/her marked papers/assignments if not printed prior to the end of a course.

According to Watters (2014), “The learning management system reflects the technological desires of administrators — it’s right there in the phrase. “Management.” It does not reflect the needs of teachers and learners.”

I am now a grad student and  I recently went to print a marked paper for my portfolio only to find I no longer had access to that course on UR courses. So now because of the reading I am thinking “why does administration have the right to keep my work”. And why are we writing papers that a prof is the only person that ever sees.

Although this reading was eye-opening our group is torn about what platform to use for our assignment. An open-web does sound appealing but if we want to use this in our nursing courses in future we might have to go with the tried and tested that our program will support. I am not sure if the program would support our students assignments being open for the “world to see”. Our group was initially going to use D2L but has decided to go with Moodle. We have made this decision because as our roles expand in the program so does our responsibility to create and coordinate courses. I have used UR courses as a student and instructor but as primarily a clinical instructor I have not developed a course from the beginning. I found this video helpful and also this link that Alec and Katia posted.


These are some reasons why we have looked further into this platform.



Author: Stephanie Grand

Mature Student, Mom, Nurse Educator, Newbie to Blogging and learning educational technology!

10 thoughts on “Just when I thought a LMS was a good thing I read Audrey Watters “Beyond the LMS”…….”

  1. As an insider note on the UR Courses thing, the wiping of courses is totally an administrative decision. U of S, in contrast, lets students retain access to their course after it ends. They just make a new copy for the next semester. So students do not lose it until they leave the institution and can’t log in anymore. At U of R, even administrators don’t really retain access to that paper. It’s backed up in a file that is kept for 6 months in case you appeal. After that, the file is deleted. Some of it is an extension of how face-to-face is viewed. Discussion forums are obviously (not really, but this is how it is seen) an extension of classroom discussion. You can’t back that up and take it with you so why should you want discussion forums? It is possible to copy and paste all of what you wrote in a discussion forum but it isn’t easy and it is messy and comes without any context of who you replied to, etc. Ongoing frustration for our unit because we agree with Alec that students should be able to easily take their work with them.

    Something you said deserves way more attention though: “And why are we writing papers that a prof is the only person that ever sees.” YES. This is the crux of why things like Moodle are designed the way they are. Assignments are viewed as artificial things that are between prof and student and have no value outside the class. Maybe they get recommended for publication and get edited for that, but otherwise the paper isn’t authentic. When you focus on authentic learning, the problems with the LMS become much more obvious. My learning should be a real product that is useful. I have been able to do that in almost all of Alec’s courses with projects and any of my other learning has been blogged or was directly relevant to something else I was doing (the course I’m developing now, my daily practice as an instructional designer, etc). As a working professional, writing a paper for an artificial audience (because my instructor has to be somehow knowledgeable enough to give me a grade) irritates me. It is a waste of my time. Moreover, the literature on this also points out why papers handed into instructors are not as good as they could be: An artificial audience and a paper that everyone knows has no real value beyond a mark only gets so much time and energy from the person writing it. When the work has actual value beyond a grade, or at the very least has a real audience of people who would learn from it or benefit from it, the work produced is more likely to be higher quality. Even if we use an LMS for various reasons, we need to think about that. I’ve seen assignments that are intended to create something that can be used by future students (the database tool is great for that since the instructor can download and re-upload it and give new students access to past work). Glossaries can be developed by students. Work can be built that IS shared publicly in some way aside from assessment that needs to be private also: For example, create an infographic to go with a paper and make it available on the web, post a video of a presentation openly on YouTube, make a Prezi viewable, contribute to Wikipedia. Some things to think about! I have a million assignment ideas for this although it is hard to narrow it down to what works within certain constraints sometimes.

    But I look forward to seeing how your group gets creative with Moodle to hack it and make it work for you.


  2. Stephanie – I really enjoyed your post this week and you totally hit a few points that stuck out to me as well with the Audrey Waters post.

    I also think that it’s nice to have a decision made in regards to which platform you will be using, as (at least to me) it’s helpful to focus the planning when you have a ‘template’ to put all of the foundation into!


  3. Hey Stephanie, great post. I agree with you that even though an open web would be better its not always the most appropriate due to your profession or what you have access to. It really is picking what best suits you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no! The link to the Audrey Watters post looks broken!!
    Beyond that, this post and the Watter’s post really got me thinking, so for that, thank you!! It’s nice to have challenges to how we view things we take for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Stephanie. I completely agree – content should not be deleted after a course. I remember during my first masters class, it was a mad dash to copy every link that was shared during the course because at the end of the semester, all the information would be lost. So frustrating! I can imagine this would be equally frustrating for my students when they worked on so many things and yet lost them afterwards. Furthermore, you are absolutely right that assignments shouldn’t be artificial and merely for the teacher – that is the beauty of blogging and that is why I want to incorporate it into my courses as well. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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