Tuesday, July 29, 2014

LMS Evaluation: Another Opportunity for Providing Feedback

Our evaluation of learning management systems continues this week and I wanted to make you aware of another opportunity you have to participate and provide feedback.

In order to draw further distinctions between two of the learning management systems that we are evaluating, Canvas and Schoology, we have scheduled follow-up conversations with both providers to which you are both invited and encouraged to attend.  Please note that there are participation options (below) for those who might be unable to attend.

Schoology Session:
Face-to-face on Thursday, July 31, 8:15-9:15, PDC (Rm 605), Max seats: 30, ERO SRN 943141501 (register to secure a seat)
Live, web-based session option
Recorded session option (link will be shared following the session)

Canvas Session:
Face-to-face on Thursday, July 31, 10:00-11:00, PDC (Rm 605), Max seats 30, ERO SRN 943141502 (register to secure a seat)
Live, web-based session option
Recorded session option (link will be shared following the session)

Obviously, if you'd like your feedback from this portion of the evaluative process to be considered, you would need to either attend or watch both (Canvas and Schoology) sessions.  Those that are able to participate in the live session will have the opportunity to ask questions.  Here is a suggested document for taking notes during both sessions.

For those who choose to watch and evaluate the recorded versions, there will be a 5 day window in which you can view the sessions and complete the evaluations.  All evaluations are due by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, August 5.

I know that we are approaching an especially busy time of the summer, with lots of training requirements and professional learning opportunities.  Despite these obligations, I hope that you will participate in this very important process.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluations Underway!

Over the next three weeks, we'll be continuing our evaluation of three learning management systems (Canvas, Blackboard, and Schoology) for purchase and use in our district in the coming years.  The LMS will not only host future online courses, but will also be a platform for professional learning delivery, student ePortfolios, and teacher's classroom resources, notifications, etc.  This trial evaluation period follows earlier investigation that involved a committee of district stakeholders evaluating each LMS based upon each company's on-site demonstration of their product.

I have finalized trial evaluation tasks and wanted to give you an overview of the process so that you can determine whether or not you are willing to participate.

Evaluators will complete a series of identical tasks in each of the three platforms, all the while considering the intuitiveness, navigability, and functionality of each for the end user.  I estimate that it will take roughly one hour for an evaluator to complete the set of tasks in one LMS and complete the evaluation for that system.  Obviously, that estimate might increase for less technology-proficient users or decrease for highly skilled users.  The tasks involve those most typical and likely of uses, from both the learner's vantage point (completing and submitting an assignment, posting to a discussion board, taking a quiz) and from the teacher's (creating an assignment, discussion board, quiz, rubric, etc.).

The window for our evaluations closes on Monday, July 21st.

All three products have impressive strengths and your assistance is vital to our selection of the best system for all our stakeholders.  Please email me at ssimpso4@aisd.net if you would like to participate in the trial evaluations.  Once I hear from you, I will send you more specific instructions.

Best regards,
Steve Simpson