Why would you pay for a Course Management System?
I had a good conversation with Jeff Young who was writing an article for the Chronicle about the use of Web Conferencing tools in Higher Ed. Specific to that topic it was interesting to find out from our students that they are actually using web conferencing tools such as Skype, iChat, and various Google tools for academics, however, not on their own accord. They use these tools when prompted to do so by a professor, but they are not using them on their own for assistance with academic assignments. However, they are using the tools on their own for personal interaction.
The conversation with Jeff quickly shifted to feedback I was able to give him on Google’s Wave. As soon as I started talking about how Wave could redefine course management along with redefining email as we know it, he steered his article toward one based on Google Wave. His article “Could Google Wave Replace Course-Management Systems?” touched on some of my comments, but I’m not sure replacing Course-Management is the question. I think course management is already watered down by the availability of “free” flexible web conferencing and collaboration applications. Many options are available that can replace a Course Management System; Google Sites, Apps and now Wave definitely could. So is the question “Replace Course Management” even valid any longer, it has replacements. Now we move back to letting pedagogy define how we want to manage a course. The real question is: Why would you pay for a Course Management System?