Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation


Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation
1. Central to our investigation of eLearning Technologies and Methods is gaining an understanding of Learning Management Systems (LMS) sometimes also called Course Management System (CMS) software. Chapter 1 of our text discusses the functionality of typical LMS/CMS, identifying four major categories. What are those categories?

As discussed in chapter 1 of our text, the four major categories in the functionality of the typical LMS/CMS are:
1. Distribution of course information and web access,
2. Electronic communications,
3. Interaction with content and web access,
4. And online testing and grading.

2. Use the Internet to find three different course management systems. Provide the name, a URL and a brief discussion of what you can find out about the similarities and differences between the three that you find.

Three different course management systems that I found on the internet were:
1. Accord LMS http://www.accordlms.com/
a. This program addressed more of being able to sell things and connect it through the site. Social networking was also a big part that played in to this website as well as reports and their delivery methods being addressed.
2. Moodle https://moodle.org/
a. It seemed more teacher friendly in my eyes. It was just easy to understand and follow directions because there wasn’t so much going on that it becomes overwhelming. I saw that you were able to see the forums and download documents and that information was not hiding elsewhere, it was just front and center.
3. And MIT Course Management System http://stellar.mit.edu/
a. It was well laid out and had everything in sight such as calendar, course, communication devices and very easy to navigate.

3. If you were going to create an online class right now, what LMS/CMS software would you use? Explain what you know about your system’s functionality in each of the four areas identified by the book. (If you don’t have access to LMS/CMS software just use Blackboard for your discussion in this area.)

I have always enjoyed blackboard because I have used it for my B.A. program, my Bilingual Credential program, and my Masters program. If I were going to create an online class right now I think I would use a system like blackboard, initially because of my familiarity to it. There are four areas of functionality that were identified in our book and they are:
1. Distribution of course information and web access,
a. This is present through announcements regarding the course, the syllabus, notes that professors may want us to have, and course documents that are needed for homework, important information, and quiz reviews.
2. Electronic communications,
a. This is present through the discussion board as well as having access to email/communicate with our peers through different avenues.
3. Interaction with content and web access,
a. This is present through the web based resources.
4. And online testing and grading.
a. This is present on blackboard because there are tabs for both the grade book and posting or taking tests/final exams.

4. Chapter 1 of our text identifies six steps for getting started with eLearning. Discuss each step and use each step as a springboard for discussing what you want to do with eLearning either now or in the future.

The six steps for getting started are:
1. Step one: ask yourself why,
a. What I would do with eLearning with this step would be to really consider how this can be a useful tool to incorporate in my future class.
2. Step two: make a commitment,
a. I think this is the biggest step because I have to be committed to what I want to do and not just rush into a new way of doing things just because others are doing them. I have to be committed to the system and the online way of doing things.
3. Step three: develop a new vision for your course and how you teach,
a. The good thing about being a new upcoming teacher is that I do not have ways of doing or conducting a class yet. This is good because I get to incorporate a new vision on how I teach. I can use things that were never used when I was in school, things that the students of today enjoy best.
4. Step four: determine the resources available to you,
a. Of course, this too is important. I cannot over extend myself and want to plan such great things to do in my class and then end up having to scale it back because I end up not having the resources. It is better to start off on the right track and add things if more resources come in.
5. Step five: acquire new technology skills and develop new instructional methods,
a. This course is actually a new acquired technology skill. Some of the sites and materials we are using, I have never used before in my life. Some of the students that I volunteer with most likely know more about blogs than I do.
6. And Step six: plan.
a. Planning and teaching should go hand in hand. Whether it is an online course or a face-to-face course, it needs to have a clear plan in place so that you are not rushed when teaching. With more experience comes an efficient way of running the class whether it is one year from now or beyond.

5. Chapter 4 of our text discusses the functionality of specific LMS/CMS tools in terms of being for one-way communication, two-way communication or for organization. Explain the key differences between one-way and two-way communication and identify the tools your LMS/CMS provides for each type of communication.

One-way communication pertains to:
a. Announcements and documents created using the LMS,
b. Files created using other software,
c. Grade books,
d. Email,
e. Calendars,
f. Homepages,
g. And External links.
h. Blackboard is very good for one-way communication because it contains all of these categories. I have used and seen these my whole college career and I enjoy having access to these types of LMS.
Two-way communication pertains to:
a. Discussions,
b. Whiteboards,
c. Online tests,
d. And Private storage space.
e. These are all provided for under blackboard with the exception of the private storage space and the whiteboards. Either I have never seen them before, have never used them, or I just do not know how to access them. There are discussions that take place as well as online tests.
Organizational tools pertain to:
a. Granting special privileges,
b. And Organizing course resources.
c. The way that I see granting special privileges for blackboard is getting access to the class and materials. I know when I have added late to a class, I cannot see what they have done until the professor grants me access to the class, meaning I am registered or have obtain permission to be in the class. The organizing course resources is something that I do not have access to because I am a student but I am assuming that as the professor you are able to organizing quizzes, course material, etc. based on the week we are in. The professor organizing everything can have the option of having all 10 week material up or go week by week.

6. Consider how a CMS/LMS supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) that were discussed in the first session 1 presentation. Specifically, list all of the tools or features that your CMS (as discussed in question 3 above) offers. Then identify each type of interaction that each tool would support. Finally, explain what you know about the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to support the type of interaction you identify for it.

My CMS would offer:
One-way communication:
i. Announcements and documents created using the LMS,
j. Files created using other software,
k. Grade books,
l. Email,
m. Calendars,
n. Homepages,
o. And External links.
p. Blackboard is very good for one-way communication because it contains all of these categories. I have used and seen these my whole college career and I enjoy having access to these types of CMS. These would work great with the student-content section and the student-instructor. However, the weakness would be that it does not quite work with student-student communication and I do not think I want to know that someone is doing better than I am on a project that I worked so hard on.
Two-way communication:
f. Discussions,
g. And Online tests.
h. There are discussions that take place as well as online tests. Discussions work great with all three categories of communication, which are the student-content, student-student, and student-instructor. The weakness is that the online test is only you and the content. The professor later grades your test but you cannot really ask for help from your professor during the test. I know I have had questions about questions that are not really clear but unfortunately I am unable to ask the professor for clarification.
Organizational tools pertain to:
d. Granting special privileges,
e. And Organizing course resources.
f. These two are present under blackboard and some professors are great at making everything easy to find and understand. These two categories fall great under the student-content and the student-instructor because the instructor gives you the access you need to get to something.

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3 thoughts on “Focus Questions for Chapter 1 and 4 (Waterhouse, S. A. The power of eLearning) and CMS/LMS Investigation

  1. Amy,
    I really like the different CMS software that you found. I would like to know did you find those off the internet or were these sites that you have had prior knowledge about?

  2. Amy,
    I enjoyed your CMS/LMS Review. In response to step 3 of “Getting Started” concerning developing a new mission, you said, “This is good because I get to incorporate a new vision on how I teach. I can use things that were never used when I was in school, things that the students of today enjoy best.” I hope you are able to share some of the ideas and “vision” that you feel would help connect with today’s learners. I’m not a digital native so my vision can be somewhat limited in terms of the students of today. Our book mentions “One of the most frequent mistakes made by instructors new to elearning is to post course materials on the web without thinking enough about how students will use these materials” (p.24). I know from my own experience as a CTE teacher that the result I expected from a lesson I designed does not always align with the actual outcomes.
    Thanks for your blog.
    Bruce
    Reference
    Waterhouse, Shirley. The Power of eLearnin: The Essential Guide for Teaching in the Digital Age. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. 2005. Print.

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