Leaving the LMS to Make Course Remixing Possible

peanut butter truffle

A recurring favorite topic for ProfHacker writers over the years has been alternatives to, or ways to dispense altogether with, learning management systems. No one likes them, no one likes the idea of “managing” learning, and the whole affair feels like a Skinner box designed to teach us the truth of Audrey Watters’s claim that ed tech is basically here to destroy education from within.

A few of us have recently taken a shine to Jekyll, a still-newish way to generate static websites. (In addition to Alex’s excellent 3-part introduction, Eddie Smith has written a helpful post explaining some reasons why one might try Jekyll, especially if you like to write in Markdown.)

This week, Adam Croom combined these topics, showing how to use Jekyll as an LMS replacement. The post is remarkably clear-eyed about the advantages of such a step–for example, it loads faster, it’s easier to update, and because it’s based on GitHub it’s built for sharing and redevelopment–as well as the costs (mostly, the tech savvy needed to do such a thing). And it’s not totally LMS-free: there are still quizzes and a gradebook, both of which are linked to an LMS. (But he was able to make the homepage of his LMS the Jekyll page, which is pretty cool.)

Despite the challenges, he argues that if we’re serious about opening up educational resources, we need to do more to make sharing easy:

To me, this is what OER for the web should start to reflect. It won’t just be a CC bumper sticker in your website footer. Those really don’t make much more than the text really remixable. We need the web to also be portable.

Are you making your course materials actively shareable or extendable or adaptable (or all 3)? How so? Let us know in comments!

Photo “Peanut Butter Truffle” by Flickr user Nick Harris / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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