NEXUS Planning MOOC: A Versal Review



I’ve recently been lucky enough to collaborate with Barbara Schreiner of the Pegasys Institute in creating a course entitled Integrated Water Energy Food Nexus Planning in the Context of Climate Change. Barbara and her team delivered a series of planning workshops in Kenya on Nexus Planning and, as capacity development is central to the institute’s mission, it seemed ideal to put this content in a MOOC  .

We had a number of criteria when choosing a LMS:

  • Accessibility: The purpose of the course is to disseminate courses as widely as possible. It was important to us that the format would be easy for participants to use.
  • Ongoing maintenance requirements: We didn’t want to commit the Institute to ongoing maintenance requirements. We also didn’t want to commit, in perpetuity, to hosting and LMS costs.
  • Ability to collaborate: Barbara wanted to be able to go into the LMS and edit content herself
  • Whitebranded: We didn’t want tonnes of distracting branding all over the place

Versal met all of these requirements well. It’s accessible, has a free option and promotes collaborating. Overall I think that it is an intuitive system that works well. It’s especially easy to structure the course using Versal.

However there are three major drawbacks to using this LMS

  • Limited formatting options: You can’t centre pictures. This is infuriating, and distracts from the overall look
  • It seems a bit clunky
  • Limited learner analytics: And I mean extremely limited. We are going to have to migrate the content to another LMS after testing our BETA version for this very reason.

Overall I’d recommend using Versal to an organisation, like the Institute, which is exploring the possibility of hosting MOOCs. Check out the course here and give me some feedback!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s