Sunday, November 3, 2013

JETS eCOM Learning Community -- November Focus on Learning Management Systems

Throughout the month of October the JETS eCOM community of Jewish elearning educators focused on various options for introducing interactive games and other types of online activities into their curriculum. eCOM grew out of the perceived need within the Jewish educational community for a unified approach that would allow both experienced online educators and novice elearning teachers to enhance their knowledge of the available tools so that distance learning in the Jewish classroom will continue to evolve and flourish.

Twenty influential Jewish educators from around the world gathered in a web conference call in September 2013. They wanted to review where online education is today in Jewish day schools and afternoon schools and consider how to advance elearning in the coming years. eLearning has become increasingly important in Jewish schools throughout the world but many teachers are only vaguely aware of the possibilities that the system offers while others need more guidance to successfully implement it as an integral part of their daily curriculum.

The year-long asynchronouscourse is progressing according to the participants' interests and needs. October was devoted to ways to incorporate games and other interactive elearning tools into the classrooms and the topic for November involves how a distance learning educator can make the most effective use of a Learning Management System.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are software applications which allow an educator to administer, document, track, report and evaluate an online course. The facilitator presents a lesson, either by a frontal method of by posting the material on the LMS platform. Then the teacher posts all of the assignments for the lesson. The students can view each other's work and, as part of the assignment, may even comment on each other's work and use a team approach to complete assignments.  

The eCom course is actually based on the Haiku LMS so the course participants will learn about the system as they navigate it as part of their course studies. The November course includes an overview of LMSs and a discussion, a discussion of how LMSs change the way that students learn and teachers teach, instructions in using an LMS, a survey of the different LMS options and options for including other online learning tools within the LMS platform.

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