ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.

com/

Understanding an LMS
Whether one is teaching an online course or some sort of blended class, it is important to understand the learning management system [LMS] that one’s higher education institution is using. The reason for this understanding is to envision what one is allowed to do within the VLE platform to help students achieve the course learning goals and objectives. Furthermore, our understanding of the LMS can also help us decide on the Web 2.0 tools that can be also used within or outside the platform to boost student acquisition and application of knowledge. At Universidad Latina in Costa Rica, for instance, we currently use a Moodle platform “christened” Campus Virtual. Although it is still on “beta stage,” faculty members can perform a lot of different learning tasks with students. Among the Campus’ features, it allows professors to keep track of student

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

attendance, grades, and homework submission. For these “tasks” teachers have a great number of tools that have been added to the Moodle platform, such as forums, chats, surveys, wikis, and the like. The only one inconvenience is that there are no ongoing training sessions to empower faculty in the use, virtues, and potentials of the LMS. As a consequence, the Moodle platform is –from my point of view- underused. Universidad Latina’s LMS is intended to help our students to achieve their learning goals satisfactorily with their professors’ assistance. From my personal pool of experiences with the system, the Moodle platform has been used to boost student critical thinking and autonomous learning, something that at times does not fully happen in class. In the F2F environment, students refrain themselves from expressing their ideas or concerns. However, within the LMS learners are able to mull over the class content, reflect upon learning tasks, and finally produce some sort of discussion, assignment, or reflection connected to the course content and objectives. For me, this is one of the greatest pluses the system offers users. With this system students have regained their voices that cannot be usually heard in class time. When one thinks of the Web 2.0 tools that can best fit one’s current teaching conditions, it is necessary to bear in mind what the purpose is and the technology trend students are in. In my case, with ELT students, we have come to use Twitter to create a “community of practice” especially aiming at those who are in their teaching practicum or taking the last

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

courses in the major. Additionally, to be much more updated with trend and the current development in ELT, I have encouraged students to use www.delicious.com to keep track of Websites that can be used in or for their teaching. Besides, www.scoop.it is another sort of booking marking service where faculty and learners can curate a topic by adding themerelated links which are nicely displayed, better than a regular wiki. And www.paper.li is another option in my particular teaching ELT scenario. This other site allows students and professors to create a “newspaper”-like site that can collect filtered ELT, ESL, EFL or educational information via social media, such as facebook or Twitter. To sum up, a thorough comprehension of one’s educational institution’s LMS can provide faculty members a clear vision of what a blended or 100% online course requires to fully allow learners to fulfill knowledge-acquiring tasks. No LMS is perfect, but its understanding can empower instructors to modify his/her teaching to create memorable learning experiences for students that will have a long-lasting effect on them.

 To fully develop and comprehend this teaching issue, it’s advisable to research and expand these areas:

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

1 2 3 4 5

Types of LMS Web 2.0 tools for learning Assessing LMS’s features Uses of LMS’s features for learning Faculty’s LMS empowerment

Professor Jonathan Acuña-Solano ELT Instructor & Trainer based in Costa Rica NCTE - Costa Rica Affiliate Resource Teacher at CCCN Senior ELT Professor at Universidad Latina Freelance ELT Consultant four OUP in Central America For further comments or suggestions, reach me at: @jonacuso – Twitter jonacuso@gmail.com – Gmail Other blogs and sites I often write for my students at the university are: 1. Pronunciation 1 3. Pronunciation 2 2. Readding Skills 1 4. Computering Applications in Education

ELT article published by Prof. Jonathan Acuña at http://reflective-online-teaching.blogspot.com/

Get new ELT material and ideas by visiting my curated topics on http://paper.li/ and http://scoop.it/
TEFL Daily ELT Daily English Language Teaching Journal Phonemics Daily

The Linguists: Linguistics News

Published on September 18, 2013

Batson, Trent (04/15/2009) Why is Web 2.0 Important to Higher

Education? Retrieved from
http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2009/04/15/Why-Web-2.0-isImportant-to-Higher-Education.aspx?Page=1

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