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Has Your LMS Been Moonlighting?

Bowen Drewes (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
Additional Authors
Shawn Pennell (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
Rod Case (UNR, USA)
David Crowther (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
Jacque Ewing-Taylor (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2015 - 10:10am
Institutional Leadership & Strategy
Areas of Special Interest: 
Institutional Initiatives
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Governor's Square 15
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Concurrent Session 5
Virtual Session

How do you enable non-university members to get access to university-hosted content? We did it!

Extended Abstract

The third time this week! Bowen remembered thinking. It was the third time an unusual request for an unconventional non-teaching use of the University of Nevada, Renos online course delivery system _ and it was only Tuesday. "Its not really even unusual anymore _ there is absolutely no putting this back in the bottle now," he thought. Requests for special non-catalog content to be hosted in the Learning Management System (LMS) were not unheard of, but ever since UNRs Instructional Design Team began testing the waters with the new Blackboard Community Engagement module, non-traditional, creative, innovative and wholly unexpected ideas and requests for uses of the system flowed in as if a dam had broken. How long had these people and entities been waiting for something like this, and why didnt they come to us before? Bowen wondered.

By pushing the limits of the current Blackboard LMS both technologically and institutionally, UNR broke away from the paradigm of restricting the system to purely academic content and began to find ways to serve the needs of multiple entities, directly and indirectly affiliated with the university. While this brought about some tension between a purist view of what is appropriate content to host in the LMS, and the entire student-life, administrative function and outreach-side of the university, the benefits soon became clear. Users are the greatest innovators and a valuable partnership was formed between the Instructional Design Team and the greater campus. As the Community Engagement initiative grew, many ideas for non-academic LMS use fell flat _ technologically feasible but too resource heavy to be realized. Many more were, and remain to this day, successful. The Northern Nevada English Learning initiative (NNELI) program had been looking for a way to deliver academic content to both credit-seeking and non-university affiliated students for a grant-funded program. The Instructional Design Team leveraged a way to deliver course content to both groups of people with little to no hassle.

Join Shawn Pennell and Bowen Drewes as they tell the story of how the LMS was leveraged into what became known as Community at UNR. You will learn about how it was conceived, born and raised; the woes and limitations; and how clever, creative and innovative people re-purpose it with every new idea they bring to the table. The NNELI program is a great example of how the mother of innovation _ desperate need _ made a way. In this session, Shawn and Bowen will pose questions to the audience for their feedback as the narrative of Community comes alive. Before the session is over, LMS administrators, innovators, and others looking for a unified technology to host their important content, will have a model from which to pull suggestions and experience. They will have some hope that their existing LMS can become a platform for providing service to everyone.

Lead Presenter

Bowen is an Instructional Technologist/WebCampus Administrator at the University of Nevada Reno.