Student Views on CMSs

Interesting articles (lost the referrer, sorry) today, A Student View of CMS by Ryan Tansey.

As it happens yesterday I was on the ground participating in a research study regarding our CMS. I interviewed 30 students (90% undergrad and all on campus) and the overwhelming response I got was not dissimilar to the views expressed in this article.

In the article Tansey says:

“a few of my friends are in classes where the professors are using more and more of the features. In some ways these students have a big advantage in those classes because they can tap all the resources the professor has posted.”

Which pretty much reflects many of the conversations I had yesterday, which went like this:

Me: So what does [CMS} mean to you and how is it used in your course for teaching?

Student: Oh, it’s all about lecture notes and resources and it’s really good. Yeh I can get all those resources and then sometimes around assignment time I can talk to people about that. Yeh, it’s great, keep it up.

Which raises some pretty serious issues with me, none of which I can deal with properly at the moment but which are there anyway:

– Pretty much every student knows about our CMS
– Every student is very or moreorless happy with our CMS (bar technical performance issues)
– Virtually nobody (undergraduate) uses it to communicate for anything more than occasional, assignment or administration focussed stuff

So, what’s the problem, why does every discussion board I encounter fill me with depression and why do I want to grab a hammer after a few minutes working with this system, after all the ‘clients’ (ick) are happy, no?

And it’s probably worth adding that from the many conversations I have around campus many teachers are also happy(ish) with this state of affairs and most certainly not keen to kick off communication online in a particularly big way.

And it’s also interesting that the results from a recent survey which included off campus students (we’re 40% + distance) pretty much came up with the same findings that I experienced yesterday.


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