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Module Seven: Interactive Course Management System Tools

The rapid rise of online learning and related technologies presents a tremendous opportunity for educators to design courses that engage students through the use of course management system (CMS) tools. Conventional wisdom suggests that engaged and relational learning is far more likely to grow out of a learner-centered (rather than a teacher-centered) instructional environment; thus, online learning environments should be designed to facilitate social activities that allow exploration of individual histories and values (Moule 2006). CMS supported tools that promote learner-centered engagement and peer interaction include discussion boards, chat sessions, blogs, wikis, group tasks, and peer assessment.

When used appropriately, CMS tools can foster student engagement in the learning process, which many students find beneficial and research has shown to decrease attrition, enhance learning outcomes, and improve student satisfaction. In fact, research suggests some of the benefits of integrating technology for active learning include:

Course performance is higher for students who actively participate in threaded discussions; as shown in Promoting student's online engagement with communication tools.
Chat rooms, voice over IP, and whiteboards, can enhance online interaction and the development of critical thinking skills; as shown in Fostering Students' Participation In Online Environments: Focus On Interaction, Communication and Problem Solving.
Summary of Interactive Course Management System Tools
 
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Discussion Boards

Chat Sessions

Blogs

Wikis

Group Tasks

Peer Assessment
 
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