Thursday, August 23

Selecting LMS & Evaluating the Quality of Online Courses (Clayton R. Wright)

Author: Dr. Clayton R. Wright

Selecting an Open-Source Online Course Development and Delivery Platform: An Academic Perspective (presented at PCF4)
"(Abstract) Increasingly, educators are implementing course development and delivery platforms to place their distance courses online in order to expand accessibility to educational opportunities, make use of multimedia capabilities, and provide effective management of the teaching and learning experience. These platforms are also referred to as course management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), learning portals, or e-learning platforms. They are integrated, comprehensive software packages that support the development, delivery, evaluation, and administration of online courses and can be used in both traditional face-to-face instruction and in an online environment. The decision to obtain such software is frequently made by administrators and computer managers. However, academics should play a significant role in this decision process, as they must create and manage an enticing, interactive learning environment that is easy for the instructors and learners to use. This paper focuses primarily on the instructor and learner perspectives of online course management systems, but also considers administrative factors such as student record keeping, technical requirements, and the cost of ownership. It is intended to meet the needs of educators who are contemplating the acquisition of this type of software or want to change from one platform to another ...more "

(This article also identifies an excellent LMS Evaluation Tool, which can be downloaded and is in spreadsheet or Excel format. So, now we can use EduTools or this tool to select and evaluate LMS (for free). The learning adventure is about to get fun!)

Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Online Courses
"(Overview) The criteria presented in this guide are based on the national and international experiences of staff in the Instructional Media and Design department at Grant MacEwan College. Although they were developed to assist educators in evaluating the effectiveness of online courses, they may also be used as guidelines for course developers. Initially, the evaluation criteria may seem overwhelming, but each item was selected because it identifies specific course components, qualities, or procedures proven to be helpful to learners and/or instructors. When using this list, focus first on the major question or questions under each heading. Then, as you review or develop a course, refer to the bulleted items to ensure that these criteria have been met. As you become more familiar with the items on the list, you will need to refer to it less frequently. Many courses are evaluated by internal and external reviewers. Consider asking each reviewer to evaluate a specific aspect of the online course by focusing on the list of specifications under one heading ...more". Also, you are recommended to explore his excellent article on Adapting Learning Materials for Distance Learning (PDF).

In addition to these three very useful and helpful articles, I strongly recommend that you explore Dr. Wright's comprehensive list of Educational Technology and Related Educational Conferences (developed on a voluntary basis). Although, I have known about his world famous list of conferences for a while, I am thrilled to discover these three articles today, too. Actually, had I not e-mailed him to promote my blog (Shameless Self-Promotion, which is something I have learned indirectly from Chris Pirillo), I would probably have ignored three very important resources, which can assist us to make better decisions regarding selecting an LMS, evaluating the quality of online courses and adapting learning materials for distance learning. In short, SHARING KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! The more you share knowledge with others, the more likely they will want to share knowledge with you. Yes, it is that simple :)

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