More LMS review

After the great Moodle breakdown last semester, I had to scramble to find something to replace it that did not require me to do the upkeep. The one-click options that remained with my host were not going to work. Canvas has changed its terms. I’m probably doing too much for an edublog to satisfy me anymore. So, with great regret I started filling my university-provided Blackboard 9.1 course sites with content. I would finally have the benefit of student familiarity with the LMS and the habit of checking it.

Now that I am all but done with course prep, I find that Wikispaces is now split into a educational build and an enterprise build. The Wikispaces Classroom is free and looks like a modest LMS. I had more than a moment of regret that I hadn’t found this sooner. In the end though, I’m not even sure I’m going to use it for the reason that I searched for it–to use for a course-long project where students build a series of wikis to hierarchically write and organize notes for the different novels, novellas, and short stories they will be reading in my science fiction class. I started with the Blackboard wiki module, but decided that if I didn’t have the patience to make it do what I want, it was highly unlikely that my students would follow through without a high level of frustration. I decided on Prezi instead, which acts like a very visual wiki with good templates. I think the way the Wikispace looks like a LMS will confuse students with all the options. I really just needed a wiki and a plain old wiki is not possible, I could one-click MediaWiki software into a new subdomain on my web space. I’ve used MediaWiki before of course, but feel that it is overkill for this. The Collaborative Notes project is more ephemeral. We will not be building for the ages here.

I won’t use Wikispaces this time unless I get a sudden burst of energy once I’ve updated the rest of the assignments. What I will do though, is save this idea and the knowledge that I set up an account for when I teach ENG 704: Teaching Writing Online. This could be a great solution for prospective online writing teachers who need more than WordPress yet less than Blackboard.

 

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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