A learning management system (LMS) is an online platform that holds high quantities of digital teaching and learning materials. With an easy-to-use interface, an effective LMS offers a space for faculty to streamline their work, from managing content to automating tasks.
Knowing how jam-packed faculty schedules can become, having a reliable and user-friendly LMS can help faculty and staff better organize their courses. Choosing the right LMS can free up some much-needed time in their calendars.
It’s important to note that not all LMSs are built the same. While some features may vary within each system, here are seven tips on how to use an LMS to support busy faculty.
One LMS characteristic that saves faculty time is having accessibility features built directly into the system.
Some of these features include automatic closed captioning for videos and a built-in text-to-speech function. By knowing these features are already taken care of, faculty don’t have to spend time doing it on their own and can rest easy knowing their students’ needs are being accommodated.
Some LMSs can automate tasks to further reduce the time faculty spend ensuring their students are on the right track. If a student hasn’t logged in to the system for a while, it can prompt an automated reminder to reengage them.
Users can create customized learning paths using automation. Based on a learner’s achievements, they can automatically be served enriching or remedial content to further their learning.
Instead of spending time analyzing student data and sending individual content to complement their learning, students still receive the same level of individualized attention through their automated learning path.
Once these learning paths have been created, they can be replicated and used again where applicable in future courses.
3. Data Collection and Analysis
An effective LMS will support faculty by collecting, storing and even sometimes analyzing data.
Users can track and compare class and individual learner performance data. Faculty can see performance indicators in one place, removing the need to visit multiple locations to gather important data.
An LMS like D2L Brightspace can also monitor student progress and flag students who may be at risk. If a student isn’t logging in to the LMS or their grades start to slip, professors and admin can be notified and step in if necessary.
4. Communication With Students
Whether bulk emailing an entire class or providing an easy way for students to connect with their prof, an LMS can do both.
Class lists—including enrollment details—can be easily accessible and editable with an LMS. Need to send out a bulk email? No problem. A student has a quick question? They can send an instant message. Want to share an exciting announcement? Post it on the main dashboard.
By providing more avenues of communication in one place, it’s easier for faculty and students to make connections while also limiting the amount of time faculty need to support their learners.
5. Easy Content Creation
Templates available in many LMSs make it easy to create content. By choosing an existing template, faculty can ensure content is engaging and accessible while still leaving room for customization to make the content relevant semester to semester.
Templates are another great tool to create quizzes. Whether using an existing template from a library or importing another file, faculty can easily create and copy quizzes for utilization in multiple courses year over year.
6. Professional Development and Training
Just as an LMS is used to teach students, it can be used to help faculty grow their skills as well. If a new LMS is being introduced, training can be done right within the system itself. Not only does this help faculty get familiar with the LMS, but it also allows them to gain the perspective of their students who will be using it. Faculty and staff will be better able to answer technical questions and provide assistance to their students.
Similarly, professional development courses can be set up within the LMS for use by faculty and staff. Whether it’s a self-paced course or a live webinar among peers from across the globe, the ability to centralize information in one familiar location will help save faculty time.
Brightspace makes it easy to discover and enroll in learning opportunities that align with learning goals and that are sourced from a curated learning library.
Users can deliver a guided learning experience with Learning Paths, which group multiple courses into a logical, easy-to-follow path. Instructors and staff can chart their progress and see what they need to work on next in order to achieve their learning goals at their own pace.
7. Services Available Through LMS Provider
While a great LMS will be able to stand on its own, many companies that provide the system will also have additional time-saving services.
Depending on the needs and wants of the institution, the services provided can be as hands-on or hands-off as desired. To start, the LMS provider’s support staff can take a look at existing courses and help make suggestions for improvements.
If faculty are feeling very strapped for time, support services can help design courses from scratch. From analyzing student data to better understand student personas to actually having course developers and instructional designers build out a plan, there are a variety of ways to save time.
Using Your LMS for Faculty Support
While using an LMS is a necessity in higher education, finding and choosing one that works well with your institution is an important decision.
Take a critical look at your LMS and make sure it’s working for you. Your LMS should be able to help make the lives of your faculty and staff easier. Your system should always be improving and iterating on how it’s delivering content.
After all, faculty who are saving time will be less likely to feel burned out and instead be able to spend more time on themselves and their students’ success.
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