Sunday, April 3, 2016

LMS Diary 1. Enrollment and Class Rosters

Preface. So, I keep my LMS use to a minimum, which means that I don't expect any really big changes as a result of this shift in LMS systems that is (probably) coming at my school from D2L (which was have had for 10 years or so) to Canvas. At the same time, I am really (REALLY) hoping that this technology change will lead to a lot of discussions about teaching -- our goals, methods, frustrations -- so that we can learn from each other's experiences and improve all our efforts. We have a hashtag for sharing at Twitter (#OU_LMS16), and one thing I am going to try to do in this series of blog posts is to document EXACTLY how I use D2L now in order to get ready for the switch.

LMS Diary 1: Enrollment and Rosters. Since enrollment for classes started last week, I can document my Fall 2016 classes from the very beginning! So, here is how things start:

The system automatically creates course spaces for me; I have two courses: MLLL-3043-995 and MLLL-4993-995, the same two courses every semester. The only curse page that matters to me right now is the Roster page, so I bookmark links to both my roster pages; in D2L those links look like this:

As students enroll, they show up on the roster. Since I need to keep track of lots of student information that is NOT on the Roster (and I cannot add my own data fields to the Roster), I manually transfer the first and last name of each student enrolled in the class to a Google spreadsheet.

Flags. As I copy the student's name to the spreadsheet, I flag the student, so that I can keep track of who I have copied and who I have not copied (as you can see from the greyheads, most students do not ever update their D2L profiles):

I am then able to filter for not-flagged, which shows me exactly which students I need to copy.

Drops. There's also a page called "Enrollment Statistics" which shows me the students who drop (newest first), and I check that when my spreadsheet enrollment does not match the enrollment number in D2L; that mismatch means someone has dropped that I need to remove from my spreadsheet.

LMS v. Spreadsheet. All the rest of the important work I do is in the spreadsheet, not in the D2L site. That's what I mean about keeping my use of D2L to a minimum. If Canvas gives me the option to add fields to the roster (and I have a lot of fields in my spreadsheet!) so that I can keep track of that data in the LMS, I might... or I might not. Google Sheets are really powerful; Canvas would have to give me good reasons to give up my spreadsheet. We'll see!

What's Next? The Roster is the first thing I use in D2L, and for my Fall 2016 classes, that is all I will be using until August when I start actually setting up my classes. That means I won't have another post like this for a while, but I am glad I have this set up so that I can document my Fall 2016 classes from start to finish, week by week, as it all takes place.

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