Laws of communication

FERPA was created to protect privacy and to set forth certain guidelines in case any rule is violated. As a teacher of a traditional classroom, I usually email parents when I am experiencing issues with the students or when adequate progress is not been maintained by the student, but it’s usually to request a conference. I include my contact information at the school only, I don’t disclose cell phone numbers or house numbers and I never have parent conferences outside of the school even in dire situations. 

To prevent violations of any kind, I email parents asking them to call me or contact concerning progress or I simply make a phone call to request a conference or to have the conference during that phone call. 

As far as student personal information, I never disclose that at all to anybody and when verification is needed, I usually let the parent or guardian do it. 

In regards to Copyright, it is a big issue, to prevent infringement, you should make yourself aware of the copyright laws, if you see it in the internet leave it there because most likely it’s already copyrighted, familiarize yourself with terms such trademarks, intellectual property and such because they are too protected by law, be creative with your work, learn about the jurisdiction of public domains in your area, learn about fair use and be aware when writing based on other work. 

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Definition of communication.

Communication is the exchange of information using words, sounds, signs via email, text, letter, notes to share ideas, thoughts or feelings etc… however I prefer communication done via email. I am a teacher of 5 years and I get nervous every time I have to meet with a parent because I have to be witty and on my toes with words, thoughts and ideas and everything that needs to be said, needs to be said at that moment. There is no down time to think like when you are exchanging an email or text or writing a letter. I still have a hard time when conferencing with parents because in my experience after 15 minutes in a conference with a parent for example the information becomes recycled and repetitive. In an email, everything that will be exchanged will be exchanged without missing a word. In a virtual classroom I think communication is vital but I also think that its more relaxed for the students because they can communicate with the teacher more confidently than in the classroom where they might be ridicule by their peers or they might not even ask the question therefore not clearing their confusion in a subject or continuing to have doubts. 

Trend Impact.

I believe technology plays a big role in education right now in every classroom across america and the world in a traditional setting and a virtual classroom. In actuality, schools all over the world already use ipads, laptops, tablets and e readers in the classroom to read, do work or take notes as the teacher lectures. Also open source LMS are also used by teachers in the traditional classroom to conduct discussions in the classrooms of a given topic in a chat room environment and to do and turn in classwork. The only issue that I see with so much technology in the classroom is the assessment of knowledge and the reality of whether the student is really researching and learning or just copying and pasting. 

Tools for deciding on a LMS.

When deciding to bring new technology to a school certain factors need to be considered before any purchases are made or any changes at all are made. Most schools districts are opting for open source LMS rather than commercial ones because funding such programs is always an issue.

Factors that need to be considered before a decision is made are:

  1. Needs analysis- survey numbers, how great is the need, the goals of the new system need to be outlined and detailed, how is the system going to be used.
  2.  Requirements gathering process- everyone that will be involved in the obtaining of the new system need to come together and set requirements for the system such as usage, productivity, quality, quantity and more. Also a goals list needs to be created and deadlines to meet each goal.
  3. Vendor Identification- research of the different systems available needs to be made before a proposal is presented. In the proposal, prices, reviews, examples, features, and overviews for each vendor needs to be outlined in detailed. Also names of contacts need to be included when presenting information for each vendor researched.
  4. Request for information- informational sheets, pamphlets, conferences with the vendors in which they can showcase their products.
  5. Request for proposal- once potential vendors have been identified, proposals from them need to be requested with prices, features that will be included and excluded, if there will technical support, training for all of the stakeholders, and all other pertinent information in regards to the system.

In my research, according to Capterra, for 1000+ users the top 10 LMS are:

  1. Learn Upon
  2. Digital Chalk
  3. Litmos
  4. Inquisiq R3
  5. TOPIX
  6. Administrate
  7. Absorb
  8. Greenlight
  9. Cogentys
  10. Docebo

Top 8 LMS, installed for 1000+ users for education are:

  1. Inquisiq R3
  2. Courseweb.com
  3. Joomla
  4. Learner web
  5. Learning ecosystem
  6. Learning server
  7. TheLMSapp
  8. Virtual learning platform

The LMS Learn Upon was always on top. I decided to research it and see how their platform is. I went to their website and browsed their features. It seemed easy and userfriendly however you only receive a 30 day free trial at which time you would have purchased their product to continue using it or find another LMS more suited for your needs. At first glance however of their platform, it looks simple, easy to use and with easy to read tabs for organization and creation of your course.

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This is how their platform looks like from the courses tab. These are some of the features you can do on this page:

Import your Course Content in Seconds
Word, PowerPoint and PDF Documents
Videos
Audio
Prezi, YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia and Brainshark
Rich Text Editing and Images
SCORM (Articulate, Captivate, iSpringPro, Claro, etc.)
Assignments and Tutor Feedback
As a teacher I would definitely choose Learn Upon because of the ease of usage and I can access the website from anywhere there is internet access.

LMS Reporting

In a learning management system, there are several levels that need to be considered as part of a course or module. Those levels are:

  • Student Level – the students can access the course information such as syllabus. They also have access to quizzes and tests which can be timed or not controlled by the teacher. They also have the capability to try it multiple times. At the student level they also have access to the calendar to keep track of due dates and posts. Students can also post discussion topics at the teacher’s discretion and are able to respond. In addition to this, they are able to join a conference, share ideas in the conferences and even ask questions privately to the teacher during the conference. Students may also post their work and delete it.
  • Teacher Level – the teacher has control of the information posted for each course they are conducting online. The teacher is able to evaluate each course and create material suitable for the students. At this level the teacher can also access each student’s information to evaluate progress and to modify the course for that student if needed by creating differentiation and the proper evaluation. The teacher can also self evaluate the effectiveness of the course and if any changes of modifications need to be made for better understanding and delivery of the material.
  • Course Level – this level is for the modification or improvement of the course in which the information is accessed and evaluated to identify any weaknesses or strengths. With the assistance of the course developer the course can be improved.
  • Program Level – this level could be either helpful or not. This level evaluates the effectiveness of a course however it does not allow for the teacher to either make improvements because of small flaws in the system that can easily be corrected or simply deleted and do a start over. At this level, the information reported might almost be considered a bit biased.

Tools within the LMS.

My chosen website is Canvas because it has many tools that are easy to use and the template itself and platform is very user friendly. Some of the tools it has the announcements section in which I can communicate with the students as well as parents. Another section that it has which I find very useful is the discussion section where collaboration can occur, comments can be made and it’s under my control because I can close discussions when deemed necessary. The grade book is also very easy to use. A grade book can be downloaded if you already have one that you have been using or use the one that Canvas provides which is easy to use as well. Another very useful tool in Canvas is the conference button provided by Big Blue Button. In the conference you can conduct a class by showing your desktop or to a specific region. As a presenter, you can also conduct webinars and meetings. In the conference you can chat as a group or you may choose a viewer to chat with.

Overall Canvas is the easiest to use for the students, teachers and the parents. It has an easy format, it’s well organized and it’s easy to navigate. 

Creation and Investigation into courses quest.

As I explored a few websites, I opened an account with Blackboard but I had a lot of difficulties from the beginning. The setting itself was not bad, as it has a section for comments and announcements, list of courses and assignments. But I was not able to add any announcements easily, in addition to this under the course section, I was not able to add anything and I was not able to add anything to the calendar. Navigation was easy but adding and such was not. 

 

I also explored the website Canvas and it was very user friendly. I was able to add the course easily. I added an assignment and I was also able to write instructions and and enter points. I liked canvas much better. This is the one I would use for the course because it’s easier and a much simpler format and easier to navigate.