2015 week 21 in review


A short week, with Victoria Day and an added vacation day to make an extra-long long weekend. Still, a busy week with lots of little things like working on Pearson integration with D2L in a couple of places, working with D2L to see what options are available for a better mobile experience, and some work on our EDU strategic plan – more on that soon.


We tend not to see education technology as ideological. (No doubt, we largely fail to scrutinize the ideology of education as well.) We do not recognize the ways in which education technology can, as Selwyn notes, “accommodate all these agendas (from the countercultural to the commercial) with little sense of incompatibility or conflict.” How does a push for “self-directed learning” feed a libertarian anti-institutionalism? How does the mantra “everyone needs to learn to code” serve the interests of global capitalism? How much of the “Maker Movement” is venture-backed consumerism? What does it say that this profitable version of “making” dovetails so neatly with some visions of progressive education?

  • via Jason Kottke: Mining the internet for time lapses. Holy. Between this, automated facial recognition, automated tagging of content, geolocation,  and automated stitching of panos from photos, there is some seriously science fiction level stuff possible with the billions of photos already helpfully posted online.
  • Mark Drechsler: How I lost my faith in the LMS (or ‘my journey towards LMS nihilism’). And a response by Phil Hill.  Personally, I don’t think nihilism is the way to go. There will always be a place for an LMS (or whatever we wind up calling it) – even if just to take on the boring administrative details that have to be taken care of when teaching a course. If an LMS doesn’t do it, something else will have to adapt to take that stuff on. Best to let LMSes do that so other things don’t need to worry about the boring stuff.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your LMS.

– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio (adapted)


We did the relatively easy hike up the Grassi Lakes Trail on Victoria Day. Had a great day.

And, I got out for a short-ish bike ride out to Cochrane and back. Almost at 100km so far this year. So far, about 1400km behind a normal year for me. Sigh.

But, we’re putting in a patio / firepit in the back yard, so lots of activity around home.

2 thoughts on “2015 week 21 in review”

  1. Hey D’Arcy,

    I might have taken the whole ‘nihilism’ thing a bit far, and if I didn’t then Phil Hill certainly did it for me 🙂

    My points were more as follows:

    • Yes, the LMS is still a necessary piece of kit for many organisations;
    • While the current crop of ‘leading’ LMS environments may not be a commodity in terms of features, they might as well be in terms of making a difference to student learning outcomes in comparison to the skill of the educators using them; and
    • Swapping from LMS A to LMS B within the current crop of LMS platforms takes a huge amount of effort, and unless it is done as part of a broader change strategy around improving teaching practice then it is very probably not worth it.

    Thanks for the mention – it has helped me distil the points I was trying to make in what was an admittedly rambling blog post!


    1. Agreed, Mark. We’ve recently finished a large-scale transition from LMS B to LMS D (which then renamed itself to LMS B). After 2 years of work, we’re basically at the “ok. we’ve replaced the same functionality we had before, but now everything mostly works” stage. Needed to be done, but my mind boggles at what we could have done with the resources (both money and manpower) over the same period to actually improve the learning experience rather than simply deploying some software.

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