Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not a Hater

Because I can be critical of things that need improvement, many people get the impression that I am a hater. For example..."you must hate D2L since you criticize them all the time." Not true: a) I don't criticize them ALL the time, and 2) I still think that they have the best IMS/LMS/CMS platform out there.

However, that doesn't mean that they don't need to continually get better. They do. And telling them that they are great when they aren't is no way to encourage them to get better.

If we were using Blackboard I would hate critcize them five times more than D2L. They deserve it. BlackCT has a huge market share and has been at the game longer and still their product sucks, I mean their products suck. Big time.

If I were a Moodle user I wouldn't be happy. Not yet anyway. To their credit they have made an incredible amount of progress in the past 2-3 years. If they duplicate that in the next couple of years then they might be ready for prime time. By "prime time," I mean that they might be ready to handle a 32 institution system (where each school wants a customizable interface but we all need to be able to share content and students) with over 200,000 student accounts and some of the most demanding users you'll find anywhere. However, they are not ready for that today.

If we were Angel users......well I don't know for sure what the outcome would be. Maybe good, maybe bad. I haven't heard that they have pulled off a huge installation flawlessly, although I think the system works pretty well for smaller installations.

Sakai? My impression as an outsider is that this effort is starting to look like what you would expect to emerge from an LMS built by a committee. I'm not optimistic.

All the others you can just throw into a hat and then throw the hat into the river. None of them are very good and don't seem to be improving very rapidly.

The biggest problem with this whole thing is us. We expect these systems to be all things to all people all the time. They aren't and they can't...at least not yet. The LMS industry is still very much an emerging market...in fact they are in the early stages of being an emerging market. We want them to be a mature market and we expect them to be perfect and do everything that we want even before we know that we want them to do it. Every week another new idea comes along and another potential use comes along and another new technology or app comes along that we MUST HAVE....and all the while they are trying to catch up to what we wanted two years ago.

Yes, I want them to do more. Yes, I think they need to try harder. Yes, i think that's an unrealistic expectation. But that's the way I feel dammit, so deal with it.

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