Atlanta – Georgia, United States
E-learning continues to thrive and erase geographic distances using digital communication and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) for formal and informal learning. This gives people the same leverage regardless of location. Gautam Saha, Instructional Designer at Georgia Institute of Technology, explains why.
The eLearning universe improves learning quality and brings many advantages for everyone including students, instructors, schools, universities, and companies/organizations. Consolidated platforms like Blackboard Open LMS are improving online educational collaboration.
Gautam Saha, an expert in eLearning content creation, administrates Blackboard Open LMS at Georgia Tech Professional Education, an academic division of the Institute that keeps up to date with features, functions, and pedagogical application of new features as version upgrades occur. In conversations with E-Learn Magazine about his experience with learning and teaching technology, Saha explained the challenge of online training, “there is no chance of face to face interaction that can fill the gap of poor instructor training skills. In the online training world, the online training content has to be very well designed and delivered for meaningful impact.”
For that reason, using Blackboard Open LMS, Saha applies pedagogical strategies such as the group function to form smaller learning communities; the Wiki tool to create collaboration spaces, and the workshop tool for students to peer assess each other.
Motivational strategies are also important to effective course and content creation; This is led by providing rich feedback, using rubrics, and voice based audio feedback for assessments; offer encouraging responses on forums, and virtual office hours, use of the messaging and chat tools to reach out to students, and adaptive learning techniques in course content.
Furthermore, new roles are becoming more apparent by displacing and strengthening traditional teaching methods.
Saha researches new community and commercial Moodle plugins, and aligns them to faculty and student needs. He implements and researches various plugin integrations using LTI or server plugins, and pilots, then evaluates and implements cutting edge online proctoring/identity verification system.
Blackboard Open LMS has very powerful conditional release functions to program how content is revealed and accessible to students based on various conditions.
Instructional Designers that use Blackboard Open LMS, can use the “Collapsed Topic Course Format,” a powerful course format. “The Course Completion Block and Progress Block are fantastic to monitor student performance,” Saha compliments.
But, what is a successful student in an online environment?
Saha explains that they should be:
• Organized to manage deadlines.
• Willing to experiment with new ways of collaboration in synchronous and asynchronous mode.
• Actively engaged.
Additionally, successful students should have a basic competence with digital authoring tools for word processing and some graphic software.
Saha makes it clear why education and e-learning is better with Blackboard Open LMS: “It has very powerful conditional release functions to program how content is revealed and accessible to students based on various conditions. It is one of the few platforms that was founded on deep authentic learning theories and based on sound pedagogical research as a result of Martin Dougiamas’s PhD research work. The platform is vibrant, organic, flexible and extensible.”
eLearning is based on its flexibility, accessibility, immediate course content updates, cost reduction, and many others. The roles of teachers and students are redefined in today’s online learning environment. The active worldwide group of users, programmers, and developers are constantly contributing and helping each other.
* Gautam Saha, Instructional Designer, Professional Education, Georgia Institute of Technology.
* AFP Tami Chappell.