Features that contribute to easy of use and student success:
My Syllabus - Includes a list of hyperlinks to actions the student must take and dates the actions have been allotted. For instance, a course might include a link to view a lecture and answer a quiz, then a link to a reading assignment, then a link to upload a project, and so on. In this way, the student knows exactly what she has to do at any particular point in time, and when she has to do it. This tool enables the student to management their time.
My Lessons - Students access course content through one simple interface called My Lessons. The interface supports lectures, lessons, and quizzes. Lectures enable the student to listen to the professor speaking while watching an animated screen displaying lecture notes, images, graphics, hyperlinks, etc. Lessons feature animated text, graphics, images, hyperlinks, even interactives. Lessons may be used to supplement the professor’s lectures. Both lectures and lessons may also include assessments that feature both multiple choice and open ended questions.
Live Instruction - The home page features a list of all courses the student has access to, with links to a live instructor. Grade Results enables two kinds of live instruction – “office hours” with the professor, or one-to-one live instruction with a tutor: For each course, the professor logs on at specific dates and times to provide support to any of their students. The student simply clicks a button to connect to the instructor. The student then enters a virtual classroom featuring an interactive whiteboard, chat, and (at the professor’s choosing) audio and/or video streaming. The professor can talk to any number of students in this environment – and (if the professor chooses to) the students can talk to each other.
When the professor is not holding office hours, the student can click on a button to connect to a live tutor. The tutor has a graduate degree in the subject the student is taking, and can go over assignments, do homework help, or more significantly, actually re-teach any parts of the course to ensure student understanding. Interactions with the tutor are in the same virtual classroom as described above, with the same features. Any live session a student has with either her professor or a tutor is stored on the student’s homepage for easy access to review.
My Submissions - This part of the homepage enables the student to submit a file for review by an instructor. The file is typically a Word document – an essay, for instance. But it can also support Excel, PowerPoint, audio and even video files. This enables the professor to assign oral reports for a speech course, or student dialogues for a language course, and so on. All the student’s uploads are listed and easily accessible in the My Submissions section of the homepage. In this way, My Submissions becomes the online portfolio of work the student has done over the semester. The professor reviews each of these submissions, comments on it and grades it, and enters that information into the platform for the student to see and the platform to generate overall grades at the end of the course.
My Forum - The “My Forum” feature allows the student to submit posts and discuss them with the instructors and with their fellow students. Students can post comments, even upload files to the Forum for the other students to see and comment on. In addition, the instructor can grade each post and provide a comment to a post only that specific student can see.
Assessments & Grading - As outlined above, students can be assessed through quizzes in My Lessons, essays and other projects uploaded to My Submissions, and My Forum posts. In addition, the platform also offers more formal tests as well. The platform takes all these various assessments and even adds addition variables the professor can define, and compiles all of it into a simple page the instructor can use to generate final grades.