School Librarian Experiences of Learning Management Implementation

School Librarian Experiences of Learning Management Implementation

Michelle Kowalsky (Rowan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9034-7.ch008

Abstract

This case will describe a school librarian's experiences in assisting the faculty and staff of a public high school as they attempted to adopt school-wide learning management system. A compelling example of change management, this initiative describes solutions to challenges common to many types of schools and libraries. This installation served as a local and early solution in developing teachers' skill in online learning management and asynchronous communication with students outside of school hours. Details include the conditions and procedures of the Moodle implementation, the leadership philosophies which facilitated collaboration, and the change dynamics at the school which led to a successful outcome.
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Background

Moodle is an open-source learning management system, installed on remote servers and accessed through a traditional web browser. It allows teachers to assign homework to specific groups of students via an asynchronous web portal, as well as to collect student work and grade it in an online-only environment. Like other learning management software, Moodle also allows teachers to create class web pages with announcements and files to share, and it provides a discussion forum for teachers and students to exchange messages on a series of both predetermined and spontaneously generated topics. Managed logins help to keep each course’s content private among only those in each class or section.

Minimal literature exists on the adoption or implementation of Moodle or other open-source content management systems for this purpose, nor about the effects of Moodle in professional development of teachers’ skills in these areas. Hepburn and Buley (2006) explain that many schools employ open-source packages for their customization features and cost savings only once awareness efforts have succeeded. They exhort that patience is required while open-source initiatives take hold slowly in places like public schools.

Despite its age, Moodle is still a viable free online learning platform, according to a variety of studies worldwide. Yildiz, Tezer, & Uzunboylu (2018) found via a valid and reliable student review that Moodle was a desirable learning platform even beside Blackboard and Canvas. Studies in the U.K. also explain that secondary schools’ main motivation for testing and using open source tools was the cost savings (BECTA, 2005); positive results were sustained over time in this review as well. Ureda and Nakamura (2016) also found that robust performance was possible in a limited-budget environment using Moodle in Japan.

Likewise, the affordances of open source software for learning and website management are well-documented (Kumar & Sharma, 2016; Abbitt & Davis, 2010; Liang, Ward, & Xiao, 2008; Pfaffman, 2008). Many believe that open-source solutions will become increasingly more prevalent in public institutions in the coming years (Baumgartner, et al., 2007). The continuation of learning management use in college after high school is also becoming a common feature of students’ experiences (Dolch & Zawacki-Richter, 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Management System: An online, networked curriculum delivery tool which can be accessed by students and teachers simultaneously via the Internet, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Online Learning: The activity by which students access materials for their studies and homework online, usually in an asynchronous environment which is set up by one or more their teachers, and accessed largely outside of the traditional school day.

School Administrators: The decision-making authorities from the school district; in this instance, officially titled positions such as executives (superintendents), managers (principals), directors (assistant principals), or department heads (usually teachers who take on additional responsibilities for peers in their subject areas.

Professional Development: The often formal and sometimes informal process by which teachers learn new skills, procedures, or information related to job duties and/or improvement of job performance.

Teachers: The users of the learning management system; in other words, the high school instructors in this case who needed to adapt their teaching styles and course delivery to include online asynchronous components offered by Moodle.

Leadership: Any school employee who influences decisions and activities; usually a school administrator, but often a teacher or librarian who does not have a formal administrative titles but who has unique or significant job responsibilities or knowledge for the initiative or project at hand.

Change Management: The process by which leaders manage emotions, artifacts, and processes in implementing a new initiative or project.

Moodle: A freely available, open source learning management system used by some schools in the United States and abroad to hold course documents, facilitate online discussion forums, and share information among specified students and their teachers.

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