Coursekit

Categories: news

Coursekit is another new LMS, this one developed by students at U. of Pennsylvania who found Blackboard to be “overloaded” and “badly designed” (see: Wired Campus > U. of Pennsylvania Students Build Course-Management Software).

Currently anyone can create an account and can add at least some classes by searching by course number.  I joined MATH 104 (Calculus I), just to see if I could (and I could).  Course sites seem to consist of 4 sections, Overview, Calendar, Syllabus and Resources.  The Overview section of a course site lists upcoming items including lectures, assignments and exams.

There are a lot similarities between this platform and Middlebury’s Course Hub including:

  • Personal dashboard of recent activity across classes
  • Syllabus section
  • Resource section

Coursekit also includes a Calendar section and a Class Wall where class participants can post comments.  Clearly the UI is influenced by Facebook.  For other earlier reviews of this new platform, see:

 

Canvas LMS

Categories: news

Canvas is a new LMS that just went open source last week created by Instructure, Inc, a company “founded in 2008 with the purpose of disrupting the Learning Management System (LMS) market by setting a new, open standard for education technology.” See
http://www.instructure.com/about-us

Instructure posted  a series of screencasts last week on YouTube, see:
http://www.youtube.com/user/CanvasLMS).

The Chronicle quotes Josh Coates, Instructure’s chief executive, describing Moodle as “kind of kludgy” and Sakai as “off in left field a little bit” (see: Upstart Course-Management Provider Goes Open Source).  Dr. Chuck, the chief architect of Sakai, posted an open letter to Instructure on his blog, urging the company to infiltrate campuses virally.  Michael Feldstein was astonished by the completeness of its features.  Inside Higher Ed gave is 7 cheers and 7 critiques.  eLearners.com praises it ease of use and excellent design.

Seems to me that Canvas focuses on what it most important in an LMS, assignments and grading and has a well designed workflow for these activities.