6 responses

  1. Michael Feldstein
    September 21, 2011

    I agree, and would add that the fact that so many schools are looking around now due to the ending of WebCT and ANGEL means that we are at an inflection point. While the market will never be what anyone would call fluid due to the challenges of migration, the next couple of years will set a new target in terms of the grounds upon which LMS vendors compete going forward. If the upstarts make a real dent in the market, then the established players will respond. That may be small comfort if you’re at a school that just signed a three-year contract, but it doesn’t mean that the market as a whole will stand still.

  2. Music for Deckchairs
    September 21, 2011

    I agree too, there’s an important distinction that needs to be maintained between the broad market horizon, and the much narrower view of future opportunities from the perspective of a single institution that’s just signed a contract. Your thorough take on why this distinction matters is really appreciated. One thought in return: I’m not sure we’re right to characterise a higher education institution as a single client, capable of having a single unifying “aha” moment. The gulf between the higher ed CTO and average academic user is really wide, so even at institutions where the level of ambivalence about the campus-wide solution is rising to a shriek, senior decision-makers can remain entirely unaware that there’s a problem–or, conversely, an aha-type opportunity. This is also something within higher ed that needs to change, if we’re going to respond nimbly to the way the market might be opening up.

  3. Phil Hill
    September 22, 2011

    Point well made about institutions not being a single client. One hallmark of an effective LMS (or any ed tech) selection process is to understand and capture the needs of academic users – ranging from non-user of ed tech, novice user, average user, and power user. An effective process will ensure that these needs are a critical part of an institutional decision. (Disclaimer – this is a large part of what I do for a living, leading processes like this, so I’m biased).

    Having said that, I think you’re right that is a gulf and that many CTO / CIOs are not aware of there being a problem. Not all, but many. I also agree that bridging this gap is “something within higher ed that needs to change”.

    One item I need to explore more, prompted by your posts, is addressing whether or not vendors are addressing academic client needs as well as institutional needs.

  4. Music for Deckchairs
    September 23, 2011

    On my recent experience, vendors’ estimation of the practicalities of academic needs is somewhat out of step with the reality of higher education work. My sense is that vendors understand somewhat better the nature of work done by academics who have already transitioned to blended or distance education, who are perhaps those also attending industry conferences and blogging etc, but are less clear on what it is that the majority of academics in traditional higher ed, still working primarily in face to face modes, actually do. For me, this hinges on two things: the rise and rise of analytics, and the assumptions about workflow. I’ll be very interested to read your thoughts on this.

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