Flip it Good!


Flipping the LMS with an
Open and Collaborative Web Platform



Paul D Hibbitts

Every story has a beginning...

Challenges for
(Even) a Tech-Savyy Instuctor

  • Unmet pedagogical goals due to LMS constraints
  • Limited access, sharing and collaboration possibilities
  • Less than ideal user experience for students and instructors

What is a Flipped LMS?

A flipped LMS approach is where an open platform,
in the control of course participants,
serves as an alternative front-end to the institutional LMS.

Why “Flip” the 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...)

What to “Flip” the LMS With?


An open and collaborative platform!

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 less (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.)

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?

  • 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

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 just better, but significantly better
  • Students should only need one URL for the course!

Time for Questions

  •  What we’ve covered so far
    • What is a flipped-LMS?
    • Why flip the LMS?
    • What to flip the LMS with?
    • Grav CMS, as an open and collaborative platform
    • CMPT 363 Fall 2015 Grav Course Hub   

Fall 2015 CMPT 363 Course Hub


Under the Hood


So, what would updating this course hub site actually look like?


How long would that
update take?

~ 30 Seconds
(your mileage may vary)

Open Source Course Hub

To help other instructors use Grav CMS for flipping their LMS


Downloads and tutorials:

Online demo:

Multi-device Friendly

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

Want more details? github.com/hibbitts-design

What Skills are Required?

  • Intended for 'Tech-savvy' educators:

    • Text file editing

    • Markdown or simple HTML formatting

    • Web server access (i.e. FTP)



Thank you! Questions?


Flip it Good! Flipping the LMS with an Open and Collaborative Platform

By Paul Hibbitts

Flip it Good! Flipping the LMS with an Open and Collaborative Platform

In this presentation, Paul will share his flipped-LMS approach using an open and collaborative platform and introduce his ready-to-run open source course hub for use by other educators.

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