When we teach online, the classrooms around which many of us are used to centering our courses are gone. So where do we go? Decades ago, some of the first people to ask this question created an answer that has largely stuck: Get ye to the Learning Management System (more about the history of the LMS)! A learning management system (LMS) is a platform from which teachers can stage, deliver, and manage our courses; Blackboard Learn, Moodle and Canvas are all LMSs. As with classrooms, each LMS has affordances and drawbacks. This week, we’ll be looking at what an LMS can and can’t do for you, and what your options are for teaching online outside the walls of the LMS.

Read + Discuss

  • Beyond the LMS, a keynote turned blog post from Audrey Watters.
  • Hybrid Platforms, Tools, and Resources, an academic article from Kathryn Linder, Linda Bruenjes, and Sarah Smith that discusses platforms and openness (you’ll need to login to UAF’s library database to access this one)

This week, we’ll be using these articles to begin asking questions that will get us thinking about which LMS will be appropriate for our own course. Do these articles make you question any practices you’ve used in the past? Which factors do you think are the most important to consider when choosing where/how to stage your online course? Post your thoughts and reactions in the Slack #reading-group channel.

Build Something:

Choose one of the options below, create in or upload your work to our Team Drive, and share a link in our Slack #build channel for feedback.

OPTION 1: Identify content and interaction needs and any other requirements in your course that may influence your choice of LMS. Check out this bank of questions that our instructional designers have been working on to help you make this kind of decision. Write down your needs either as a brief narrative or visualize them in a drawing/diagram. 

OPTION 2: If you already have an LMS in mind, take the next step and plan your course navigation. How will you organize your course content so that it is clear and consistent throughout the semester? What resources will your students need access? How can you plan your course menu so that it is concise and intuitive? Consider characteristics of good course design as you plan your course navigation. Share your navigation plan and get feedback.