This is intended for school administrators and decision-makers but also for the faculty so that they understand the platform and can manoeuvre easily in the system.
Success in online teaching will depend on how well a teacher can master the school’s learning management system (LMS). Some teachers, myself included, will find the LMS platform easier than normal face to face teaching!
To implement online classroom education, the first thing a school needs is an LMS. LMS is a digital platform containing the basic elements for teaching courses online. Usually designed for college courses, LMS can be adapted to high school K-7 to K-12 courses. Lower grades, however, may need more meticulous and highly specific adaptation!
A high-quality LMS integrates the entire list of students; their grades per subject and per semester or quarter; course offerings and a way to register for the course and class.
Most schools would use a unique student ID number to eliminate duplications and avoid mistakes; the LMS usually provides for this. Additionally, an LMS may offer ways to measure student performance as compared to classmates, for example by displaying class grades on a bar graph.
For some schools, this digital registration may be all that is required for both the semester registration and the recording of grades.
If so integrated, the LMS platform also becomes the school’s registration and grading system. It can be stored both on the LMS platform and on the school’s own filing system (as a back-up file and principal resource).
An LMS makes provision for assignments and exams; resource materials (including written texts and researches, photos, videos and PowerPoint presentations); possibilities for using games as exercises or contests. In a word, an LMS is the school’s entire learning system online for teacher and student, as well as for monitoring and evaluation by school administrators, since they can be given administrator clearance to see all courses, faculty and students actions.
A flexible LMS should enable a school to integrate its own library resources into the system so that its already existing materials can be easily accessed. The LMS might also be able to integrate other library systems as well, and even some key textbooks, thus increasing the school’s intellectual resources. This will provide significant savings for students, faculty and the library in their purchase of books.
It is also beneficial if an LMS can allow schools to develop their own adaptations. For example, one LMS enables a school to incorporate online interaction programs such as Skype, Google Meet or Zoom.
This then allows both teachers and learners to have face-to-face dialogue in addition to consulting PowerPoint and research files. And it allows switching from one to the other. It also ensures a closed environment for faculty and their classes with no interference from outside sources.
A good LMS would also have an integrated method for scoring tests and recording grades. In other words, as a student takes a quiz, for example, his responses are recorded and graded, like the many challenging online fun quizzes you find on the Internet today. This would relieve teachers from a lot of the tedious end-term stress of computing the grades of their 40, 50 or over a hundred students!
As for costs, a high-quality LMS might charge from Php120 to Php160 per student per semester regardless of how many courses are online. This seems fairly reasonable.
For private schools, this cost would normally be pro-rated in the student bill. In public schools under the Department of Education, the costs would normally be borne by the school or shared with students or corporate sponsors, since for schools of 800 to 1,000 or more, this could be a fairly heavy additional burden.
More than anything, it is wise to select an LMS that is highly developed and widely in use already.
The digital platform NEO offers is one of the most complete learning management systems and adapts well to K–12 and college courses.
It is already being used by several schools in the country and in sever-al provinces. NEO (neolms.com/philippines) offers free use of its platform to schools with an enrolment of less than 400,000 students. For small schools this is a very good way to get into the system.