- Pennsylvania State University has developed a platform that should allow less tech-savvy instructors to build their own courses online.
- The HAX (Headless Authoring Experience) was developed by the university’s Office of Digital Learning after officials decided professors needed a quicker, easier way to produce online courses, and the university needed to put content on a campus-wide system to improve standardization and collaboration.
- The developers are still tinkering with ways to allow the platform to handle external content among other issues, but hope that it will soon be an “accessible, scalable and empowering” tool for users.
An expert in online learning recently suggested that colleges need to avoid the “shiny new object syndrome” when it comes to learning management systems. Sasha Thackaberry, assistant vice president for academic technology and new course models at Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Online and Continuing Education, argues that there is a middle ground between the “bulky, either feature bloated or feature wanting” systems that she says higher education has come to “collectively love to hate,” and an “apptopia” that makes it all easy.
She also says such systems can be developed incrementally and should have five characteristics: interoperability and integration; personalization; analytics, advising and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design.
Another report says the need for LMS in higher education has reached a tipping point, with a survey showing that 42% of faculty members have taught a fully online course for credit, up three points from last year and nine from 2013. It also reported that 30% of students at U.S. universities enrolled in at least one online course, and nearly half of them were learning entirely online. (That article in PC Magazine also reviewed the best higher education learning management systems.)
Instructors' level of usage of LMS varies considerably, but some experts say demand is increasing, and users want the systems to be convenient and easy to use.