In a recent meeting, when looking through some notes taken during a learning management system (LMS) backup, a colleague noted that the faculty at my institution could be using the LMS more effectively. Another colleague suggested that we should message our faculty with helpful hints like “Five reasons you should use the LMS more!” (Credit goes to @TeachItRalph for that idea.) I couldn’t put that idea away so here is a brief list that explains why you should use a learning management system when you teach.
Five Reasons To Use A Learning Management System When You Teach
- You should use your learning management system because it is secure. Everyone (instructors and students) and everything (rosters, assignments, information) is protected. Secured with username and password and tied to a roster, outsiders can’t get to your content without permission. Your students’ comments, grades, and submissions may even be encrypted (depending on the LMS). (FYI: Many accrediting bodies, such as SACSCOC, require a secure username and password for proper validation of identity in an online course.)
- Your should use your learning management system because it automatically organizes your content. Even if you build your class poorly the LMS generates some organization for your content. For those who are looking for a place to put course documents, you can create an organization scheme to the course simply by sequentially posting your content or by posting by topic or week.
- Your course content has a home at your school’s LMS. Whenever that student (you know the one) comes to you and asks for another copy of the syllabus, you can tell your student that the file is on the LMS and have full confidence that it will be there.
- A learning management system can help your class to become paperless. From a sustainable practices vantage, this is an easy practice to help “green” higher ed. As the point of forestry sustainability becomes stressed through the use of digital submission, you teach the lesson of “waste not, want not”. The immediate practicality of electronic coursework appears when you recognize that you’re not packing tons of papers home to be graded or having mounds of papers on your desk.
- When you use a learning management system for a course, that course can be improved upon. Let’s say I teach a course, any course, using the learning management system. I can continue to roll course content forward into subsequent sections of the course. Through my own thoughts, notes, and student reviews I can make changes for improvements to the course at each new offering.
You Really Should Use a Learning Management System
If you can’t tell, I’m a fan of learning management systems. No LMS is perfect, but they serve a great role in enabling everyone in your classes. I’m convinced that use of the LMS will be promoted more heavily as big data finds its way to even the smaller campuses of higher ed.
Are there better tools than the LMS? That probably varies by instructor and delivery style. If you’ve got a better tool or want to share some reasons to use an LMS (or not), please leave those down below in the comments!