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While not seeing it beyond previews and reviews, the movie When God left the building reviews an intreging concept: that people who leave the christian church are just leaving the building and pursuing God in ways that connect better with them. I bring this idea up because I see parallels with instructors and the building provided for them, the learning management system. As someone who works on the side of building tools to escape the monotony; I can see both sides. Staff, instructional or otherwise, tend to want people to use the same thing. This helps from a support perspective; I mean, it's hard to support people in lots of tools, especially those unknown to the support staff. Faculty on the other hand, at times, want control and the freedom to use whatever they want in order to properly teach the subject in question. How best to reach these people? If we just funnel more functionality into a learning management system, they aren't coming back. Sometimes it's far more than just the fact that the LMS doesn't provide the capabilities they need; it's a fundamental distrust of a system who's three letter acronym invokes feelings of rage in many. It is also, even if unknowingly, a stand against authoritan system integrations (huh?). When a solution, any solution, is promoted by an organization as the one source of truth; some will naturally have an affinity towards literally anything else. The positioning of the system as the one and only, is a pure authoritarian stance; we must have control of this transaction (even if just in perception). Academia is built on the principle of exploration, academic freedom, and diversity. It has many libertarian and socialist leanings just in its positioning in society (education for all, freedom to explore and expand thought). These two forces; the deployment of centralized, singular solutions, is by default antithetical to the institutions which they are deployed within. So what to do? Well, this is where I can confuse many at times since I'm perceived as having my own LMS (it's not but that's ok). Speaks directly to faculty: I want you to use whatever makes the most sense for you, that teaches your subject matter in the way that makes the most impact, and that doesn't cripple you financially or grading wise to utilize. Maximum freedom; what we produce or otherwise. However; where this stance differs is this: While the Church of LMS wants you to come back and retain membership as the one pathway to educational success. ELMS:LN spins off technologies into spheres outside of the traditional LMS church in order to meet you where it made sense for you. You want to have your own content outside of any system? There's a project for that, and we'll make it easy to integrate afterwards. YOU are in control, we adapted to you. It's just a small part of why we build software completely outside of an LMS context which can build up the educational prowess of other solutions. Take our latest content authoring experience we've been working on - HAX. This is ELMS:LN's next generation authoring solution.... built entirely outside of ELMS; in fact at the moment, it's not talking to anything it's just a static website. Why? Let's cover just a few of the "targets" this can then radically transform into educational technology:

  • Any CMS that integrates HAX (which currently Drupal 7, Drupal 8, Backdrop, and GravCMS are all on the roadmap)
  • Static webpages / single page demonstrations which can be identical in every way to the real thing
  • Desktop publishing to do everything completely offline or via local development
  • any LMS that wants to have an authoring experience second to none
  • any tool that doesn't fit into those buckets or other solution that needs a flexible editor
  • ELMS:LN By creating an authoring experience for the production of educational materials or otherwise (It's a really nice website builder at minimum), we can reduce the cost of producing a high quality webpage (it's doing 3D rendering in the browser w/ VR I mean come on now!) and can also hook it up with all kind of meta-data that education needs (ala OERSchema). We can improve the quality of production, decrease cost of production, and do it in a uniform method no matter where it's been deployed. This is bringing church to people. It's connecting with them in the way they need because they have unique needs (snokeflake logo). It's the complete opposite stance of the LMS which says "Integrate with me, I am the one great source of truth". Because much like the emptying buildings in the film, it's not that Educators left education, they just will start teaching and educating in other ways and in other places. Because when everything can be a learning experience, we no longer need a dedicated building to provide it to us.
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Crazy, abrasive, caring, dreaming the world into existance we need, not the one we have.

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