In looking to write my blog post this week, I started reflecting on my use of a LMS both as a DL teacher and a graduate student, and the use of non-LMS as a graduate student.
I began thinking about my own practice as a teacher. Presently access to my PE courses is online in the LMS Blackboard, but I also give students, during the intake meeting, either a paper based or electronic course package. Students are encouraged to submit their assignments in Blackboard, but may also submit through email or fax, or paper based in the drop box in my classroom. Students also may present the reflection portion of their assignments orally; this has so far been done face to face. My philosophy is to meet the learning styles of my students, while not decreasing the expectations of the courses, in this way I have seen a large percentage of my students meet with success.
In looking to online learning we have, as graduate students, had the opportunity to submit assignments in D2L and during the student led seminars in Blackboard. We have also submitted assignments in the class wiki, in our own websites/blogs, and during the student led seminars in a group wiki and through email.
What I have found as a teacher, is keeping track and on top of the different submission formats can at times be a juggling act. As a student, I have enjoyed the opportunity to submit assignments in a variety of locations both LMS and non-LMS. I can see this format, combining the use of LMS and non-LMS, being manageable in a cohort group of 20-30 students. I am not so sure about managing this when you have over 200 students, whether they are all at the same point or at different places in a course, at any given time. What may work best, is a central location for submission of assignments and the links to assignments, whether this is in an LMS or non-LMS is the question. I hope to get a better sense of this, through my exploration of non-LMS over the next two weeks.
I really wonder, in looking to the new 20th Century Learning Initiative, if the plan is to have students continue to be in a bricks and mortar classroom working in cohort groups, but with the focus being full integration of technology, such as we have seen in our OLTD courses. If this is the case, then the ministry better be prepared to supply the funding needed to purchase up to date technology, for all schools. All students will need to be taught the necessary skills, so they can successfully use the ever changing technology. Teachers will need to be willing to adapt to the needs of students who find online learning does not meet their learning style, which is already evident for some of us online teachers.
Whatever the direction education is taking, the continued focus needs to be, how can we best meet the needs of all our students and prepare them for an ever changing world.