Flash Drive LMS – No Big Deal

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on using a Flash Drive as an offline extension of an LMS:

Soon, online students at Thomas Edison State College won’t even have to be online to complete their course work.

Beginning this fall, students at the Trenton-based distance-education institution will have the option of using a 2GB flash drive instead of a course-management system to prepare for and complete their classes.

…[T]he college hopes to install technology that will allow the flash drive to automatically connect to a folder hosted by the college, so students can submit assignments whenever the flash drive detects an Internet connection.

This is not an especially compelling extension of the LMS.  IT simply allows the student to work with course materials and assignments when an online connection is not convenient.  Student interaction and rich-and-rapid feedback still have to wait for internet access.  Auto-submission of assignments on reconnection is not a big deal.

More compelling would be a system like Groove (or whatever Microsoft is calling it now), which provides for what might be termed a “nearline” collaboration space.  People can work online or offline.  When people working offline reconnect, their local version of the space and the shared version are re-synchronized.  This would encourage collaborative learning, even when an internet connection is not always present.

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