LMS Governance Report – a summary and reflection

It’s that time in my thesis work (trawling through references for the lit review) when I have finally come back to the “LMS Governance report” written by Lisa Wise and James Quealy. This went through the blogosphere a while back. You can access the PDF of the report and a MediaWiki based annotated bibliography from this blog post.

The following is my attempt at a summary and a bit of reflection (the reflection may be very light)

The first paragraph in the foreword seems to give a good summary

This report represents our best effort to provide a review of current LMS governance with some usable recommendations (which was the primary focus of the project brief) while at the same time presenting an alternative viewpoint in which the potential of “Elearning 2.0â€? would obviate the need for a central LMS as the main focus of an elearning strategy. The tension between the need to address LMS Governance and our own view that the educational significance of LMS is largely overemphasised and misunderstood is evident throughout the report.

And I particular like these sentiments

Existing problems must be made visible, so that they can be discussed and worked through, so that the skills and professionalism of the people that make up the university can be applied to the ongoing series of solutions, experiments and evaluations that will keep educational technology supporting new applications of the university’s work. As it has always done, the university must adapt, using technologies and models of understanding, in this case to reconcile teaching, research, IT, a changing environment, financial accountability and managerial models.

The report covers the following

  • A finding that LMS implementation did not include many of the standard expected components for organisational information system implementation.
  • Suggests 7 recommendations related to good governance practice
  • Talks about elearning 2.0 as an alternate model for elearning that does not need the LMS
  • Propose recommendations to ensure that universities are ready to evaluate and integrate new technologies than occured with LMSs.

The objectives of the LMS Governance Project are listed as

  1. To better align the policy, procedures and governance structures involving the LMS with institutional strategic directions on teaching and learning.
  2. To develop a community of practice to enable the sharing of experiences, ideas and resources relating to migration, implementation and governance.
  3. To provide a theoretical basis and a coherent research framework for the ongoing use of an LMS and to generate transferable governance models and processes in order to demonstrate organisational value.

All of which seems to resonate with my nascent and developing ideas around “REACT”.

Of course, I wonder how possible it is to have “institutional strategic directions on teaching and learning” given the diversity of L&T, plus a range of other factors.

The use of “adaptive cybernetic networks for regenerative organisational change” as a theoretical framework for understanding online learning governance is also of interest.


Relevant categories of governance to LMS design

  • corporate governance
    Including alignment of corporate activities with strategic direction, provision of reliable and salient information for executive action and enable management and board decision-making and accountability.
  • IT project and service governance
  • university governance

Best practice

The report includes the best paragraph that I’ve seen so far that explains my reservations around best practice

‘Best practice’ as a concept originates from the scientific management perspective of management articulated in the work of Taylor and Munsterberg (see Haslam, 2004). This approach assumes that efficiency is the most desirable aspect of work practice, and that there is ultimately a single “best possible manâ€?, “best possible workâ€? and “best possible effectâ€? towards which we should all strive. Best practice, even in domains where it could meaningfully be identified and applied, has a different aetiology from innovative practice and is in fact largely inimical to it as discussed elsewhere in this report. Best practice for LMS governance assumes that a single underlying model of LMS governance could capture the entire domain of LMS and we did not find this to be a readily supportable contention.

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