As we approach one year on Quercus, we’ve begun to look at the other (other than the LMS) teaching and learning tools in use at our school.
My colleague, Vahideh Rahnama, the project control analyst on our team, has been doing some research – looking at what other universities are doing (particularly other schools who have adopted Canvas). Her methodology is to look on the publicly-visible websites of other schools, to see if she can compile a list of officially supported third-party applications and LMS integrations. There are two reasons for this approach – one, we didn’t want to bother our colleagues for this informal environmental scan, and two, if the information is not publicly available, it raises questions about how much a school really wants to support the use of that tool.
We are happy to share some initial observation’s from Vahideh’s investigations (as of this writing – 30 schools). Her main finding, more than 250 different tools across those 30 schools, but there are really less than a dozen or so tools that are very common. For me, this seems to indicate that we are often subject to the individual aspirations of limited numbers of instructors or departments looking for specific tools that may not have such universal appeal, even within our own institutions. Alternatively, it may speak to certain marketing strategies of product vendors, who picth directly to instructors, who then bring ideas of limited scope forward within their institutions.
Of course, these are only hypotheses, which would require much more (and formal) research to answer.
For now, however, here are the ‘biggies’ that she’s found so far: