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Module 5/Blackboard


Overview Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are software packages that provide


comprehensive sets of tools for course authorship and content building, student evaluation and assessment, peer collaboration, and general course management. There are currently over 90 available Learning Management Systems, including Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and eCollege, to name a few. This module will focus on Blackboard, though many of the tools discussed here (blogs, discussion boards, grade books, group tools, journals, wikis) are tools that are typically part of many LMS packages. Many, if not most, colleges and universities now utilize a Learning Management System for both face to face classroom support and e-learning. With the emergence of free open source LMSs like Moodle and Sakai, even institutions with budgetary concerns can experiment with Learning Management Systems. As a platform for collaborative writing, Learning Management Systems can


effectively promote writing as process. Because there are multiple entry points for authorship (both individual and group) located under the umbrella of one LMS, a platform like Blackboard can support the progression of the writing process. Students can move an idea from an individual personal journal reflection, to a discussion board conversation, to a collaboratively authored wiki page or to a more formal individual researched response. Learning Management Systems can also aid in creating a student-centered


course because of the opportunities for student contributions outside of class meeting times. LMSs typically offer more than just text based methods of communication, so students can vary or complement their textual interactions with one another with audio, images, or even multimedia. Students who may be more inclined to utilize images or audio to convey a message can effectually participate in the collaboration. LMSs also provide opportunities for student- initiated discussions, posts, and collaborations, thereby offering chances for students to control their participation. Permitting student initiated authorship (without a student having to ―raise a hand‖) coupled with providing student choice about which tools or instruments to use veritably puts the student ―in the


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