Optimizing the Learners’ LMS eLearning Experience

The first eLearning course I enrolled in in the year 2000 was a nightmare because I couldn’t find all the required pieces of the course on the website. Granted, LMS (learning management systems) were in their infancy at that point, and I honestly don’t recall which, if any, LMS was use. Nonetheless, the course left such a horrible impression on me that it took many years before I attempted another online course.

I always remember that experience when I design my courses. I’ve worked primarily in Moodle and Blackboard, and each have their pros and cons, but no matter which LMS is used, making the course as learner friendly as possible is always at the forefront of my layout.

In the Blackboard example used here, the site is laid out by module. The Course Documents page contains all documents the learners will use, including the course syllabus and assignments, in addition to links to useful sites. These documents are added to the modules in which the topics are addressed and assignments “handed out.” The multiple postings allow learners to quickly find what they are looking for.

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Tracking Time Saves Time Revisited

New time sheetAs the end of the year draws near I update, review, and reflect on my many projects. One mini-project (I always have a number of these on the go) is keeping track of my projects. This is done, if you recall, with a time tracking spreadsheet.

The time sheet is now six months old and, yes, I am using it every time I sit down to work on a project.  It serves its purpose well because I review where my time is spent both weekly and monthly.

I believe it has helped me become much more aware of my time and how to spend it more productively. For example, I aim to work seven hours per day for a 35-hour workweek. It does not matter to me if this includes weekends, or if I achieve my goal in four days. I may find that by mid-week I have not averaged enough hours per days to meet my goal if I continue to work at the same pace. This, then, spurs me on to put more hours in for that given week.

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Tracking Time Saves Time

Photo by Janet Symmons

Distillery District clock
Toronto, Ontario
Photo by Janet Symmons

Time is something we all wish we had more of, and yet we let so much of it slip away from us.

This became very apparent to me as I made my annual cross-country summer trip. I had time to reflect on my progress towards completing my dissertation. With nine days and nights to reflect, it soon became obvious that my PhD progress was far below my expectations.

I needed a solution to get me back on track.

I needed to know what I spending my time on and quickly saw the similarities between creating a money budget and a time budget.

I felt I was spending hours sitting at my computer, but I was churning out papers quick enough, my lit review had holes in it, one proposal was incomplete, and a job application was also sitting on my desktop. Why couldn’t get all this done?

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Qualitative Study of Twitter Use in a Canadian University

This video is based on my presentation I gave to the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education in May 2014. This study was part of a larger, mixed methods research project. Future videos will delve into the quantitative study.

Video music “Funkorama” written and performed by Kevin MacLeod

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