Exploring how we might use Discourse as an LMS

Hi! I believe online learning is growing in tango and will keep growing. I have the sense that lots of tango teachers/organizers would appreciate/benefit from/use a free, simple, easy-to-use LMS that’s not bloated with extra features and cost. I’m wondering if Discourse might provide this.

This post provides an outline. Essentially, as I understand it:

  • Categories = courses
  • Topics = lessons, in a fixed order with no replies
  • Groups = cohorts
  • Subgroups = cohort-specific content where conversation happens and topics are submitted as assignments

I’m curious what you think! Both about the premise (online tango learning will grow) as well as this possible execution. Mitra

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Online tango courses are bound to proliferate. One benefit of the COVID pandemic was learning how much we could do online, with it benefits of allowing us to shift time and space. More economical. Easier to approach for those who are shy. Access to world class teachers from wherever we are.

Using the Discourse (or any) discussion forum as an LMS is an interesting idea. The main feature of a bare-bones LMS is a listing of lessons with a way to mark the ones completed. For the course that I am developing I chose DokuWiki, a primarily text-based wiki that allows embedding video. I commissioned a programmer to create an LMS plugin for it, and we’ve released that to the public for free.

I don’t really know. If you are thinking of providing video lectures, you still need to host the videos somewhere. That somewhere needs loads of space for storage and fast delivery.

Discourse could offer the conversation around these video lectures, and possibly access control, cohort management and maybe badges/gamification. But the main issue of hosting videos will need to take place elsewhere – and that elsewhere will occur costs in any way.

Miles ran his own version of a LMS with access control via a Wordpress installation: definitely for free, since server/storage/bandwidth needed were not cheap at all.

I guess there’s a version of Youtube (maybe?) or Vimeo (certainly) that offers this (Video storage, professional review tools, and more | Vimeo PRO) for 15 USD/month-ish for basic features, or more.

Actually, now that I am thinking of it: there is ONE place that I have always wanted to dig deeper on:

That’s THE place for @mitramartin : it IS a LMS, and it has very nice features at a probably acceptable price: 99 USD/month, with all the bells and whistles: social features, Zoom integration, and even a mobile App.
Maybe a few teachers should join forces and offer their courses on one platform, and share the costs. This could even be it’s own “tango online learning cooperative”.