A Roadmap to Success: How to Introduce an LMS to Your Class

December 9, 2014 Peter Baron

From setting expectations and providing training to making sure you solicit feedback from your students, there are a number of key items to keep in mind as you’re introducing an LMS into the classroom experience.

In our latest interview, Ray Cirmo from Cheshire Academy, provides a roadmap for how he successfully introduced our Learning Management Solution (LMS), onCampus, to his students.  You’ll learn some of Ray’s favorite approaches on how to earn buy-in from your class.

Our thanks to Ray for sharing so many fantastic ideas!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Raymond Cirmo.  I am a Physics instructor at Cheshire Academy.

At the beginning of the year, how did you set the expectation that a LMS was going to be a vital part of your classroom experience?

My one expectation was that it would get the students engaged in their own education. This would include:

  • Learning about the course (Syllabus, course description)
  • Learning about course expectations (Rubrics, report formats, safety, etc)
  • Tracking what assignments are due and when
  • Planning ahead as assignments are in place for the entire year
  • Learning through the use of topic pages, website links, etc.
  • Monitoring grades
  • Communicating through messages and official notes
  • Understanding that everyone in the class plus family and school can see the same information

Did you have to do a training session to introduce the kids to onCampus?

Yes.

How have you kept your students engaged over the course of the year? What approaches have you found effective?

The simple answer to this is to keep them motivated.  Part of this happens naturally on an LMS because they are all part of the digital age.  I try to make using the LMS as part of their daily routine when using their phone, tablet and computer.  Links to websites with tutorials, demonstrations and lectures are the best.  While producing some of my own content along these lines is good, they like exposure to other content as well. Online assessments as ungraded learning tools also work very well.

What kind of feedback have you received from your students? What do they like?

Students like being in charge of figuring out what they are doing next.  They can monitor their own schedules and decide when they need to work ahead due to other commitments or just use the system to review what they have already learned.  They also like not having to worry about carrying around and potentially losing handouts.

What’s piece of advice or best practice tips would you offer a teacher who’s just getting started using an LMS?

  • Tackle the LMS one step at a time
  • Set up the basic course
  • Add a course description and syllabus
  • Post expectations (rubrics, etc)
  • Build assignments
  • Build topic pages
  • Remember it’s not a planning tool.  You need to have your course planned before you can sit in front of the LMS.

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