It’s All About Planning
Several school districts are moving into a variety of learning management systems (LMS) for the upcoming school year. Whether your district will be using Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, or some other platform, you will want to be in a position to continue teaching your students should there be a quick move away from physical classrooms.
Planning now can prevent a significant headache later, even if students continue to attend school in physical spaces for the entire year. It doesn’t matter if your district is 1:1, BYOD, or some combination of devices used by students and teachers. Have a plan.
Organize the LMS
Organize your LMS course like you would organize your physical classroom. Break your course into units of learning or weekly outlines of what you would be teaching your students. Include brief notes or links to websites that support your lesson. Create assignments and list the due date. Add quizzes that students can take multiple times. Upload or link to any Docs that can be used by students.
Be consistent in how your course looks. Use your district template, if one is provided, to help your students know where they are supposed to go and where to get information. This is important – if every teacher has a different setup and uses the LMS in a different manner, students will struggle to locate those things you need them to find.
Use Your Resources
Work with your district instructional technologist, they will have ideas and be able to support you as you develop your classroom content in the LMS. Ask questions as you have them, don’t wait. You should check with your instructional technologist about third-party apps that integrate with your district supported LMS. Several different platforms have the ability to easily integrate, some don’t, be sure to check.
Use the calendar feature, put a date on every single assignment. This will add the date to the student calendar making deadlines more visible. Once you create your unit or week of learning, put dates in the title of that unit/week.
Tips for LMS Navigation
Whether you use your LMS to teach students from a distance or to organize your course for the physical classroom, include some of the following items. A reminder: It will be extremely helpful for your students if your entire school follows a very similar structure:
- Create a welcome video that welcomes students to your class and basic information on navigating in the LMS.
- Share a video orientation to the course that shows students specific details on how they can navigate the course in your LMS.
- Links on your “homepage” to key areas of your online classroom: assignments, content, videos, quizzes, modules, etc.
- Include specific instructions on every single assignment. Include links or files that help students better understand the assignment.
- Add dates to any assignment that you create.