In a perfect world, what would we want in a CMS?

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I was invited to attend the ICMS focus group on 5/24/12 with learning designers, technical and programming gurus, and faculty from across the university.  We discussed current systems, resource needs, our ideas about ideal future systems, and various challenges to moving to our ideal future system.  

After listening and participating for the day, it seems that a diverse group of people, colleges, and programs from across the university with a variety of needs seek access and accessibility:
  • to resources (people, software, hardware, etc),
  • to support,
  • to courses (especially if we move to offering more open course content beyond the PSU community),
  • to information and knowledge, and
  • for all platforms, browsers, and devices.
Another definite need is to break away from so many silos to a more networked community willing to leverage its assets.  I once saw a picture of a cart that had square wheels being pushed by a number of people who were exerting great force.  Inside the cart, there was a pile of round wheels.  (I haven't published the picture for fear of copyright infringement).  I believe that we have everything we need at Penn State - we just need to look at what's right in front of us and use it.  I feel we really benefit from engaging in a collaborative process and I'm grateful for the conversations around the table on Thursday.  We also benefit from leadership, vision and a strategic plan and I'm grateful for those on the committee who have stepped up to lead this process.

Whatever we do or decide, we must consider system sustainability.  However, having said that, I also hope this process doesn't get bogged down by trying to please everyone, knowing that one size won't fit all.  As they say on clothing tags, "one size fits most."  We have to start somewhere, chewing on this elephant one bite at a time, knowing that we will need to adapt and adjust along the way - trying to fit the needs of most.  Flexibility is key.  

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