The Ethics of Choosing a CMS

Composition and the Future of the CMS

If my argument holds and the single-solution CMS that is so often found in our universities does represent a real challenge to our presenting students will the best possible digital learning environment, then something must be done. If we understand the challenge that those solutions pose as they alter and challenge our pedagogy as we attempt to use them, then we must act if we are to stand by our commitment to our students and their learning. It is, at its heart, an ethical issue for us as teachers.

In this article, I've offered what I believe to be a potential solution to the CMS problem that we face in our classrooms. Is it the only solution? No. Is it the best? Only time can really tell us that. But, at the very least I hope I've been able to demonstrate how much can be done to offer our own challenge and critique to the university-wide CMS systems that so many of us have to deal with.

The work demonstrated in this article came from a single year of bumbling along and learning as I went with the open source CMS Drupal. Just imagine what would be possible of those of us with much better skills at HTML, CSS, and heaven forbid actual coding ability in PHP and other languages, were to collaborate on some shared solutions. There is real interest in this type of solution in our field, as our conference proceedings and publications show. What we can do with that interest, we've yet to see, but I'm very hopeful. Let's start collaborating.

Sepember 31, 2011
by adam r pope (apope at purdue dot edu)