Wrapping Up Lesley’s LMS Review

In September 2015, the Digital Experience Committee and Teaching and Learning with Technology Committee (TL Tech) kicked off a review of several learning management systems (LMS). Lesley has been using Blackboard as its LMS since 2005 and we last conducted an LMS review back in 2011. eLearning and the LMS market have changed a lot since then. It seemed worth looking at the available options to see if Blackboard is still meeting the needs of our faculty and students.

After initial conversations and demos with several vendors, test environments were provided for three LMS tools: Desire2Learn/Brightspace, Schoology and Canvas. A smaller team tested each tool from both the faculty and student perspective and reported back to the committees. After careful review, the committees decided to take a closer look at Canvas as it compared to Blackboard.

Blackboard has a lot of built-in functionality that many other LMS’s do not. Faculty have a lot of flexibility on how they present their course content, including a fully customizable course menu and the ability to organize content in folders, modules, or a combination of both. Blackboard features integrated blog, journal and wiki tools for student created content, as well as an anti-plagiarism tool built right into the assignment tool. Blackboard’s robust gradebook provides faculty with a wide range of grading options as well as the ability to create grade columns as needed and calculate weighted grades. However, all those options and features can be overwhelming and unintuitive for some faculty and students.

Canvas is overall very intuitive to use, but at the cost of some functionality that we have come to expect in an LMS. Faculty can easily create content in Canvas, especially when it comes to adding images, documents and links, but are presented with fewer formatting options beyond the basics. Students, however, cannot easily add images or documents to discussion posts or wiki pages unless they are within a group area. Canvas presents content only in paged modules (not folders) and only course tools such as Modules, Discussions, Assignments, etc. can be included in the course menu. Students and faculty who wish to move through content out of sequence, such as revisiting prior content, may find it more click-heavy to navigate. Canvas does not have a native blog or journal tool and the ‘wiki’ is not a true wiki site, but an individual editable page that can be added anywhere in the course. There is also no built-in anti-plagiarism tool. The gradebook is more intuitive than Blackboard’s, but not quite as fully featured. For example, faculty are not able to manually create grade columns but, instead, must create assignments within in a content area, which would automatically be added to the gradebook.  

There were a lot of very good things about Canvas, but, overall, there was no strong faculty support for it. Throughout the demos, testing, and frequent conversations with faculty, there was a great concern about a loss of features if we were to switch to Canvas. Faculty didn’t feel there were enough positives and sufficient gain to warrant the huge endeavor of time, energy and money a transition would require. The decision was made to stay with Blackboard for now. In Fall 2017, we will restart our LMS review and take another look. Perhaps, the LMS landscape will be more interesting.

If you have questions or comments about the LMS Review, please email elis@lesley.edu.

Check Out Atomic Learning!

Are you looking for help using Microsoft products such as Office 365, SharePoint, or OneDrive? Do you need help using Adobe Creative Suite? Are you interested in learning more about designing effective presentations or creating digital portfolios? Want to beef up your time management, critical thinking, or decision making skills? Check out Atomic Learning!

Atomic Learning is a free service available to all Lesley students, faculty and staff featuring hundreds of self-paced video tutorials on popular software tools, online tools, tech integration, mobile devices, college and career readiness, and more. Atomic Learning breaks down each topic into manageable tasks and explains each task through a one-to three-minute tutorial. You can view a tutorial when you have a quick question about a program you’re using or you can view a series of tutorials and master an entire application or topic.

Atomic Learning is available online, 24/7, from on campus or at home. Ready to give it a try? Log in to Atomic Learning with your myLesley username and password at http://atomiclearning.com/login/lesley

Want to learn more about navigating and using the Atomic Learning site? View the Atomic Learning Web Site tutorial.

Fall Technology Bootcamp Recap

Last Thursday, eLIS welcomed over 20 Lesley instructors to our Fall Bootcamp: Teaching and Learning with Technology. We covered a wide array of topics, helping participants think about approaches to integrating technology into their teaching as well as practice using some of the available technology tools.

Designing a Blended Experience
This session provided a guiding framework for creating a blended course by defining and delineating the two interwoven themes of learning design and technology integration.
Designing Blended Learning Experiences

Using myLesley (Blackboard)
A myLesley (Blackboard) course site is available for all Lesley courses, whether held fully online, face-to-face, or somewhere in between. You may use myLesley to post your syllabus, post resources and readings, communicate with your students, collect and grade assignments and much more. Based on participant interest, we had a couple of breakout sessions, covering a variety of topics from basic myLesley navigation and tools to grading.
Using the myLesley Text/Content Editor
Communicating Within Your myLesley Course
Adding Content to Your myLesley Course
Creating and Managing Assignments in myLesley
Grading myLesley Assignments
myLesley Grade Center and Grading

VoiceThread is an asynchronous tool which allows you to place collections of media like images, videos, and presentations at the center of a conversation. People may then be invited to view, comment, and interact with the VoiceThread using any mix of text, audio, and video. In this session we walked through creating and commenting on VoiceThreads.
What is a VoiceThread Anyway?
Creating a VoiceThread
Additional VoiceThread Resources

Adding Video to Your Course with Kaltura Media
Kaltura Media is the university’s media sharing platform, allowing users to share video securely within the myLesley course environment. In this session we walked through recording a webcam video using Kaltura Media.
Recording a Video in myLesley
Webcam Recording Tips
Additional Kaltura Resources

For those that were unable to attend last week’s training, we will be hosting another training on Thursday, September 8th, focusing on using the features of myLesley (Blackboard) most essential for supporting teaching and learning in the classroom. Stay tuned for the official announcement, including a link to register for the event.

Reminder: Goodbye Voice Tools

Blackboard will discontinue the Voice Authoring tools on August 31, 2016.This set of tools includes Voice Authoring, Voice Board, Voice Podcaster, and Voice Email.

You can get all the whats and whys from our previous Goodbye Voice Tools post. Most importantly, if there is any content you wish to save, be sure to export it and save it to your computer before the end date. This tutorial will guide you through the process: Exporting and Importing Voice Authoring Content.

If you need assistance transitioning your content to other tools or archiving your Voice Authoring content, please email elis@lesley.edu. Remember the shut down date is August 31, 2016.

Add Office Mix Presentations to Your myLesley Course

Office Mix is a new add-in for Powerpoint that allows users to create interactive online videos that include images, video, voice, digital annotations, and quizzes. Watch the Mix below and see how to get started. Then check out the Office Mix Gallery to see how others are using Office Mix.


How Can I Get Office Mix?

Office Mix is a free add-in for PowerPoint, but it is PC only. Sorry Mac folks. It also requires Powerpoint 2013 or later.

Download the installer to get started. 


How Do I Add a Mix to My Course?
AddMixToolAdding a Mix to your myLesley course is an easy two-step process.

Start by navigating to an area of your course. Click on the Tools menu and select Office Mix.

Enter a Name for your Mix and an optional Description. Then click Submit


Next, navigate to the Mix at the bottom of the window. Click on the title as if you were going to view it.

Enter the URL for the Mix you want to add and click Find.AddMixURL





Click Yes to confirm this is the Mix you want to add.ConfirmMix





Learn More…

Learn more about creating Office Mix videos with these tutorials: https://mix.office.com/gallery/category/how-to?lcid=1033