29. May 2015 · Comments Off on OLTD 504 – Special Topics – Learning Systems · Categories: OLTD 504 Reflections


Evidence: Final project submission (Prezi presentation and Reflection piece) (April 9, 2014)

OLTD 504 Learning Outcome addressed: Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of LMS and non-LMS environments.


Reflection to Support Evidence:

As a final project for OLTD 504, students were asked to consider the following critical question:

How can Learning Management Systems (LMS and/or non-LMS) help me develop courses where students learn in the best way for them, while providing me with the tools I require for efficient and efficacious presentation, moderation, support and assessment (for, as, and of learning)?

I chose to create a visual representation of my answer, and reflected upon my presentation in a short written document.

To fully answer this question, I had to become more familiar with non-LMS tools.  I have been very LMS-centric, and was nervous about going outside the walls of my LMS.  Inclusion of non-LMS tools in my course design shows a change in attitude and knowledge towards web tools.  I now appreciate the power a web tool can offer, as they are usually designed for specific tasks and do that job well.  My teaching style has typically relied on behaviourist, cognitive and constructivist learning theories.  But after seeing how I can blend LMS and non-LMS tools to help students learn, I am also interested in exploring connectivism.

To create a Prezi presentation, I had to first learn the software.  As I became more comfortable with the environment, I was able to consider how I might use this tool with my students.  I was able to identify some strengths (e.g., visual appeal and ‘drag-and-click’ features) and challenges (e.g., uploading of PowerPoint movies) as I worked through my project.  Knowing more about this Web 2.0 tool helps me decide if it would be an effective tool for students on specific projects.

I believe the visual aspect of my presentation is one it’s strengths.  I have placed my LMS firmly in the centre of my diagram, with non-LMS tools surrounding the core.  The connections between the LMS and non-LMS pieces flow in both directions, with students starting from their home-base (LMS), reaching out to Web 2.0 tools for research, collaboration and exploration, and then bringing this new information back to the LMS.  I have identified the components of the LMS that I feel are its strengths, and highlighted how I would use them in my course.  I chose Web 2.0 tools based on their strengths and how they would work for the group of learners being considered.  These tools can easily be changed for other learning situations or groups of learners.

Planning learning opportunities that suit the strengths and challenges of LMS and non-LMS environments is important.  Students could easily become disengaged when asked to complete tasks using tools that are inappropriate for the job or are so complicated that more time is spent learning the tool than learning with the tool.  As I work on developing my online courses, I need to carefully consider my learners, what learning is required and what tool may be best for the job.  The right tool may not be the same for every student within a class, nor will it always be the same for every class.

Prezi Presentation

Reflection on Final Project

Evidence: Recording of my presentation on Desire2Learn content tools (synchronous Collaborate session March 15, 2014)

OLTD 504 Learning Outcome addressed: Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within a variety of LMS and non-LMS environments and tools.


Reflection to Support Evidence:

Our cohort participated in a Jigsaw activity in order to learn about Learning Management Systems (LMSs).  We were divided into teaching teams and assigned a LMS (Desire2Learn, Moodle or Canvas) based on our choice.  Each team then met as a group and members chose which tool(s) they would become an expert in and then teach the LMS group during a synchronous Blackboard Collaborate session.  I chose to work with Desire2Learn, as it is the LMS in use at VIU, where I currently teach.

LMSs can be challenging to learn on your own, as they often contain many tools.  Working together as a team to learn how to use D2L is an effective (and efficient) way to gain basic competency with the tools needed for design and implementation of the LMS.  Even though I have used D2L for two years, I still found it very helpful to listen and participate as my team walked me through features that I had never used, or had not used enough to be proficient.  For example, I have never used the Gradebook feature, but after seeing how it works, and hearing how useful it is from team members that already use it, I will be using this feature in my upcoming courses.

Another way this evidence addresses the outcome is in the presentation piece itself.  In order to present successfully, I had to be familiar with the non-LMS environment, Blackboard Collaborate.  To prepare for my piece of the Jigsaw presentation, I met with other team members in the Collaborate room to practice screen sharing, uploading of PowerPoint slides, and a quick run-through of my presentation.  This helped with my confidence during the actual session.

Basic competency with design and implementation within a variety of LMS and non-LMS environments and tools is important. Understanding how a tool works and what it offers is a critical first step in deciding whether the tool meets the learning needs of your students as well as meeting your teaching needs.  Using a combination of LMS and non-LMS tools may be an effective way to approach the design of your course.  As I move forward, I intend to explore more non-LMS tools and include them in my course design to enhance my student’s learning.

Jigsaw for LMS – Desire2Learn (video link to VIUTube)