Class Management

Class Management

Chao Lee (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-376-0.ch007
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In the previous chapter, we discussed the issues related to the database which is used to store student information and course information. After the network, server, and database have been set up properly, our next task is to develop a learning management system to support class management. In this chapter, we will examine the open source tools used for class management. Learning Management System (LMS) software is commonly used to support course setup, management, and assessment. The first part of this chapter will focus on various open source learning management systems. Some commonly used open source LMS software packages will be introduced. We will investigate how these LMS software packages can be used to manage classes and course materials.
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An online teaching/learning system usually supports a large numbers of classes. It needs enterprise-level learning management system software to schedule, track, and report information of online courses. A learning management system (LMS) software package is designed to handle these tasks. The topics related to using learning management system software have been widely studied. As a general introduction, Horton and Horton (2003) discussed strategies on selecting an LMS and the alternatives to the LMS. Itmazi and Megías (2005) discussed the major LMS products such as WebCT, Blackborad, and so on. Cole’s (2005) book covers a great amount of detail about Moodle as an open source learning management system. It illustrates how Moodle works and how to use the powerful tools such as assignments, forums, journals, quizzes, surveys, chat rooms, and workshops. It also provides some tips on online teaching with Moodle and Moodle administration.

Due to the fact that LMS plays a major role in supporting online teaching and learning, LMS has been studied in-depth in various academic fields. Numerous papers have discussed it. Briefly, we can group these papers into three categories, teaching with LMS, LMS management, and developing LMS enrichment tools.

In the area of teaching with LMS, we can find many papers published in recent years. To name a few, Marko and Honkaranta (2007) investigated how the LMS tools and computer skills affect teaching at the university level. Their survey revealed mixed results on using the advanced tools offered by LMS. There is another report on using adaptive LMS with augmented reality by Lim, Xu, and Jin (2005). By combining the virtual reality with LMS, they created a virtual learning environment.

As for LMS administration, Lassila and Pöyry (2007) discussed the use of the Software and a Service (SaaS) environment to support online teaching and learning. Such a service can help students and instructors to take advantage of LMS supported online teaching and learning. From their case study, they discovered that e-learning is more efficient if a service-centered approach is adopted by both developers and universities.

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