For all the passion and back-and-forth about whose LMS is ‘it’ —a particularly North American hobby—, it might seem as if teachers on either LMS make for sworn enemy factions. Reality could not differ any further. Moodle HQ and Instructure may have different, if not competing interests, strategies and philosophies. But the tech-empowered teacher only wants what benefits their students the most.
At MoodleNews, only recently we’ve become aware of a long-standing fact: The questions, concerns, insight and advice shared by both Moodlers and, I want to say… ‘Canvassers’? show a large intersection. And not because of the significant number of users who use both. The evolution and growth of one system should be seen as a positive for users of the other. This has been for the most part the case with Blackboard. While Moodlerooms was a point of convergence, the relationship extended beyond that. Efforts by Blackboard not directly linked to Moodlerooms have proven useful for Moodlers, one of the most exemplary the Data Science team led by John Whitmer, who even participated in previous MoodleMoots. Hopefully, the symbiotic relationship will continue despite the melodramatic falling out between the higher-ups.
The truth is that, like Blackboard, Canvas LMS has a privileged view of the learning markets, at least in the United States. Millions of dollars in funding have led to the recruitment of seasoned industry veterans, 7 “Ivy League” schools, and a growing number of organizations that could be considered innovative or experimental, are choosing Canvas. Increasingly, the company has been willing to share some of its findings. On Extra Credit, the corporate blog, a few case studies and outcomes start to appear. A notable one, “How tech can revolutionize learning – but not how we expect,” guest author Alex Beard offers a broad and informative landscape of technology in learning. After weeding out the “revolutionary” ideas that just didn’t pan out (MOOC, tablets, social media), he still remains optimistic for the EdTech that seems to do: Intelligent software for STEM learning, or a self-guided 3-year coding curriculum. It pays to get a global view.
Canvas Nation Launches
If there’s a couple of marketing lessons Moodle is better off listening to Canvas, the opposite is true in terms of community building. Earlier this month the Salt Lake City-headquartered company launched “Canvas Nation,” an initiative looking to consolidate regional user chapters. A cute-looking map shows user concentration by state. Naturally, California and Texas, but also Florida, are the only states with more than 1 million users. Visit canvaslms.com/canvas-nation. ■