Sunday, March 1, 2015

3.1.1 LMS Tool Categories

From an online language teacher's perspective, the most relevant features offered in a Learning Management System (LMS) are those that provide more opportunities for students to interact and demonstrate their mastery of the target language. One of those tools are blogs. I utilize blog tools to provide students a mechanism to create journals as well as post reflections and long-form responses. Students greatly benefit from using an online journal to communicate with their classmates using the target language. Blogs also have great academic potential in second language instruction. They can be used to integrate content vocabulary in a meaningful way when analyzing facts, summarizing events, and expressing opinions.

Discussion forums have also many benefits as an interactive way of assessing students' level of understanding. This formative assessment helps me guide and differentiate my instruction according to students' needs. Often times, the discussion tool allows me to identify what students might benefit from specific remediation activities, and what students could deepen their knowledge through enrichment opportunities.

Another LMS tool that can contribute to increase the effectiveness of online instruction is the calendar. Calendar tools are mainly used to communicate upcoming dates and timelines for course events. However, I also have my students utilize the calendar as a virtual agenda to help them complete their assignments by the due date. This tool can help them greatly as they work on their organizational skills as well as their time management skills.

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