As the first of a three-part series, I’ll be facilitating a webinar sponsored by OpenLMS on university/workplace partnerships on Wednesday, November 2nd at 1 PM EDT.
I’m excited about this series for a few reasons. First, it fits well with my new themes for e-Literate. Second, I really like and respect the OpenLMS folks, so that will make the conversations more interesting and fun. And third, for those of you that don’t know OpenLMS, it has an interesting Moodle story. I know Moodle has dropped off the radar in many US colleges and universities but it continues to thrive and evolve in the rest of the world, in both educational and workplace settings. I’m curious to revisit it in light of my interest in workplace and international trends.
Why the OpenLMS folks are interesting to me
Some of the key executives at OpenLMS, including CEO Phill Miller, cut their teeth at Angel Learning under Ray Henderson. For those who are too young to remember, Angel was widely regarded as one of the most interesting and ethically run companies in the LMS space. Ray was legendary—and still is among grizzled veterans—for his ethical, community-minded leadership and attention to customer service.
I first met Phill in 2005 when we both participated in a panel on ePortfolios at SUNY Brockport. He’s a solid guy with broad knowledge of the EdTech landscape and the kind of curiosity and engagement that I have come to expect from Angel veterans. While he is technically a panelist in the series, I expect he’ll be raising as many questions as he will be answering, somewhat in the style of my Blursday Social conversations. I’m pretty careful about how I approach sponsored webinars; I don’t do paid commercials. Having Phill as a panelist throughout the series was my idea because I’ve known him for 17 years and have confidence that he’ll have substantially more to offer than just the sponsoring CEO’s perspective.
As a company, OpenLMS has an odd origin story that started when Blackboard decided to acquire Moodle hosting companies. Predictably, this triggered some concerns and politics, leading to Blackboard exiting the partnership program run by Moodle Pty and losing the right to use the Moodle trademark. I’ve written about these events elsewhere. I’m ethically comfortable working with today’s OpenLMS, which is no longer owned by Blackboard. The main reason I’m mentioning the history here is to be clear that the core of the OpenLMS product line is Moodle.
The company has a strong global presence across six continents in both higher education and workplace learning. People forget that while the major commercial LMSs have been picking up steam internationally, Moodle still has an incredibly strong presence worldwide.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that Moodle is currently the second most widely used LMS in US and Canadian higher education, with 21% market share, according to my old friends at ListEdTech. And I suspect it has had significantly more success crossing over into the workplace market, although I don’t have data on that point. Their ability to straddle these two markets puts them in an interesting place to talk about the overlap and connections. And it also presents them with some interesting challenges regarding how to bring these two customer bases under one roof, which is a topic I’m interested in exploring.
All of this is to say that the company is an interesting source of perspective for a variety of reasons.
I’ll be facilitating three webinars. The first one, as mentioned, will be on connections between higher education and workplace needs. The second, which will be held on December 7th at 1 PM EDT, will be on international higher education and, in particular, the connection between US universities and international students. In the last one, on December 18th, I’ll be exploring the current state of OpenLMS, informed by the previous two conversations. (Stay tuned for more details on the 2nd and 3rd webinars, including registration information.)
My goal for all three webinars is to talk about the major trends while exploring OpenLMS’s perspectives and insights based on their particular place in the market.
It should be fun.