This is a very short extract from an excellent presentation by Bryan Alexander from the Open Education Conference and produced in full on his blog
It certainly provides many of us working in education with much food for thought.
Another argument in favor of CMSes over Web 2.0 concerns the latter’s open nature. It is too open, goes the thought, constituting a “Wild West” experience of unfettered information flow and unpleasant forms of access. Campuses should run CMSes to create shielded environments, iPhone-style walled gardens that protect the learning process from the Lovecraftian chaos without. Yet does this argument seem familiar, somehow? It was made during the 1990s, once the first Web ballooned, and new forms of information anxiety appeared. Mentioning this historicity is not intended as a point of style, but to remind the audience that, since this is an old problem, we have been steadily evolving solutions. Indeed, ever since the 20th century we can point to practices – out in the open, wild Web! – which help users cope with informational chaos. These include social sifting, information literacy, using the wisdom of crowds, and others. Such strategies are widely discussed, easily accessed, and continually revised and honed. Most of these skills are not well suited to the walled garden environment, but can be discussed there, of course. Without undue risk of exposure.
Put another way, we can sum up the CMS alternative to Web 2.0’s established and evolving pedagogies as a sort of corporate model. This doesn’t refer to the fact that the leading CMS is a business product, produced by a fairly energetic marketplace player. No, the architecture of CMSes recapitulates several aspects of modern business. It enforces copyright compliance. It resembles an intranet, akin to those run by many enterprises. It protects users from external challenges, in true walled garden style. Indeed, at present, radio CMS is the Clear Channel of online learning.
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