Grav Course Hub Project @ BCIT

 

Using an Open and Collaborative Platform
as an Alternative front-end to the LMS

 

EDUCATOR AND EXPERIENCE DESIGN CONSULTANT

Paul D Hibbitts

What is a flat-file (no database) CMS?

What is a flat-file (no database) CMS?

A flat-file CMS is where all content is stored as files and folders, rather than in a database like traditional CMSs and LMSs

Some Key Benefits
of Flat-file CMSs for Educators

  • No database means little (or no) IT involvement needed
  • Increased portability, as moving a site now only requires simply copying files to another location
  • Takes full advantage of the collaborative ecosystem now available (i.e. GitHub, GitLab, etc.)

A flipped LMS approach empowers instructors
with an open + collaborative platform while still using
the existing institutional LMS.

Why “Flip” Your LMS?

Why “Flip” Your LMS?

 
  • To support pedagogical goals unmet by the current LMS

Why “Flip” Your LMS?

 
  • To support pedagogical goals unmet by the current LMS
  • To deliver a better student (and facilitator) experience

Why “Flip” Your LMS?

  • To support pedagogical goals unmet by the current LMS
  • To deliver a better student (and facilitator) experience
  • To increase capability of access, sharing and collaboration

Experience Design Goals

  • For Students

    • Engaging

    • Organized

    • Relevant

    • Convenient

    • Enjoyable

  • For Facilitator(s)

    • Controllable (i.e. manageable)

    • Pliable (i.e. flexible)

    • Efficient

    • Enjoyable (hey, instructors are people too...)

So, Why Grav Specifically?

  • Excellent conceptual/design model
  • Markdown/Twig/YAML usage
  • Self-contained Skeleton format
  • Inherited themes
  • Multiple open-source themes suitable for my needs
  • Powerful modular content support
  • Custom content type definitions
  • File editing and/or fully-featured Web editor (which was planned for Grav 1.0)
  • Documentation quality (bonus points: it’s built with Grav learn.grav.org)
  • Level of community support/engagement
  • Example GitHub integration (which also supports my current preferred workflow)

Fall 2015 CMPT 363
Course Companion Hub

 

Flipped-LMS approach using Grav CMS as an open and collaborative platform, along with the Canvas LMS

 

But What Did the Students Think?

 

But What Did the Students Think?

 
  • When asked if they would like to see the overall Course Hub
    design used for other courses:
    • 81.5% indicated 'yes'
    • 12.5% indicated 'no' (they would prefer everything in Canvas)
    • 6 % were undecided

 

What to learn more? View my CMPT-363 Student Feedback Storify

Three Critical Design Issues When “Flipping” the LMS

 
  • Transition between alternative front-end and LMS must be as frictionless as possible
  • Overall student and instructor experience must be not be just better, but significantly better
  • Students should only need one URL for the course!

So, what did updating this
course hub site look like
for the instructor (i.e. me)?

 

How long would that
update take?

How long would that
update take?

~ 30 Seconds
(your mileage may vary)

Open Source Grav Course Hub

To help other instructors use Grav CMS for flipping their LMS

 

Downloads and tutorials:
hibbittsdesign.org/blog/

Online demo:
demo.hibbittsdesign.org

Multi-device Friendly

BCIT Theme (bit.ly/1NEk9ST)

Course Hub Highlights

 
  • A complete ready-to-run Grav Skeleton Package (open source)
  • Blog-format, with 'featured' (sticky) posts
  • Important reminders & class preparations areas
  • Additional site pages can be easily added
  • Image header area above site navbar
  • Sidebar is a simple markdown file, which can also contain HTML
  • URL flag to only display page content (for display within LMS )
  • External links are automatically opened in a new Tab/Window
  • Built-in support for entire site to be maintained on GitHub
  • Since everything is built with Grav it can be entirely customized

What Skills are Required?

  • Intended for 'Tech-savvy' educators:

    • Code editor usage (e.g. Atom or Brackets)

    • Markdown or HTML basics

    • Understanding folder hierarchies (i.e. relative links)

    • Web server access

    • GitHub working knowledge (recommended)

Thank you! More Questions?

 

Grav Course Hub Project @ BCIT: Flipping the LMS with an Open and Collaborative Platform

By Paul Hibbitts

Grav Course Hub Project @ BCIT: Flipping the LMS with an Open and Collaborative Platform

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