A When teaching online it is very important to have a good way of collecting materials so that students can easily access them. Ideally the platform would allow for the inclusion of videos, Google docs or Word documents, slides, websites, pdfs, ways to present interactive materials, discussions, collecting assignments, email, grading, and testing. To get a complete system you will probably need to get a subscription to one that best meets your needs.
One subscription system that I have worked with for several years and been very pleased with is its learning. It has the capability for multiple teachers to have access to a class. Students can be set up in groups that can change as classes and working groups change. The course can handle all kinds of formats and there are many ways to interact with students. They have been very responsive to requests from my district.
Examview questions can be uploaded and it is possible to have a pool of questions that the students draw on so that no two quizzes or tests are alike. I used this feature to set up weekly quizzes of 12 questions with pools of new and review content of over 50 questions. I allowed unlimited tries over a three day period. The students loved this format because it removed the pressure from testing and I knew that they had to learn the content in order to pass.
It is possible to email individuals or various groups as needed. There is a reminder email feature for all assignments and tests. Students can email each other and their teachers within the LMS.
A weakness is that while the parents have their own access to the LMS they don’t see what the teachers or students can see. There are columns in the planner and on the class homepage that parents can’t see. At first, teachers weren’t aware of this problem and would post information thinking that parents could also see it. Several years later it is still a problem and, as a district, we have dealt with the problem by not using some of the features that parents can’t see.
Another curating system that I have used since I started teaching online is LessonPaths. I started out with the year they started when they were called MentorMob. When it was determined that a large part of their users were teachers they broke off the education lessons and named it LessonPaths. I have been using them happily for about 7 years. They answer questions quickly and are still a fairly small core group and so are eager to hear what users want. Best of all, they’re free and there are many paths already designed that anyone is free to use.
This is a way to collect websites, videos, blogs, and internet activities together into a path that students follow. There has been, in the last two years or so, the added capability to have students take a teacher designed quiz after a step.
LessonPaths doesn’t do everything a subscription system does but it does do a tremendous amount to help teachers organize internet resources. I generally have a path cover the information that I would like my students to cover in a day or two. I am very careful to keep anything that I have paid for out of this site and behind a password. It is important to remember that, while you can upload your own papers, PowerPoints and pdfs, you don’t upload anything that you have bought with rights for your classroom use only.