Authenticity and Engagement in Blended Learning: ‘Authentic’ Learning Management Systems

Abstract for paper presented at ‘New Technologies and the Future of the Humanities’ (City University of Hong Kong, May 2014).

This paper will outline the rationale for moving to an ‘Authentic Learning Management System’ (ALMS), a digital learning environment that can be found naturally, or ‘authentically’, in the integrative use of consumer software including Dropbox, WordPress, Evernote, and Twitter. Drawing upon a recent pilot project at City University of Hong Kong, this paper will argue that the use of digital media in the classroom can create a positive sense of ‘realness’ for students, but only when it is embedded systematically in curriculum design. Because proprietary LMS such as Blackboard are used only in educational contexts, students leave them behind following graduation having had minimal exposure to the tools that will be most relevant in their lives after university. The findings from this project suggest that the ALMS model moves blended learning into a context that is more authentic to students while seamlessly integrating digital literacy education into traditional subject areas.

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