Showing posts with label online course management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online course management. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Three Good Options for Building a Course Website

Twice this week I have had readers ask me for recommendations for platforms building course resource pages or full course course websites. Both readers were looking for options that had more flexibility than Google Classroom and systems like it. Everyone's situation requires different features, but there are three options I generally recommend.

Weebly
Weebly for Education makes it easy for anyone to build a great-looking website. You can choose from a large selection of templates that you can then customize to meet your needs. I've never bumped up against a file storage limit on Weebly for Education. The service supports embedding media and supports hosting files that your visitors can download. The best part of Weebly for Education is that you can create and manage student accounts. You can find a video tutorial on Weebly for Education right here.

And if you're looking to create a website for selling things or you just want to use your own domain, Weebly has some inexpensive options here (affiliate link). Take a look at Tom Richey's website for an example of what can be done with one of Weebly's commercial plans.

Google Sites
Google Sites can be a good choice for teachers who are working in a G Suite for Education domain. For everyone else, I'd go with Weebly or a self-hosted WordPress site (more about that below). Google Sites is good if you already are locked into using the G Suite ecosystem. By that I mean you already have a lot of videos, slides, documents, and other files stored in Google Drive. Google Sites makes it easy to import items into your website from your Google Drive. There are two downsides to Google Sites that I always acknowledge. First, the web addresses that are automatically generated by Google Sites are ridiculously long and hard to remember. Second, while Google has started to allow more media to be embedded from third party sources Google Sites still prevents a lot of embeds.

Self-hosted WordPress Site
Creating a self-hosted WordPress site will give you the ultimate in design, function, and privacy flexibility. WordPress is the open-source software that powers some of the world's leading blogs and is the most popular blog software in the world. You can use WordPress to build a blog, to build a course website, or to do both in one place as I am doing with PracticalEdTech.com. I'm currently using a WordPress plug-in called Learn Dash to build courses within my Practical Ed Tech blog. Creating a course website in this way is more time-consuming than using either Weebly or Google Sites, but my customization options are limitless.

If you think you're ready to build a course website on a self-hosted WordPress site, I have step-by-step directions for getting started right here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Create, Share, and Find Online Courses on Versal

Disclosure: Versal is currently running an advertising campaign on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Versal is service that you can use to create online classes that are bit more robust than your average flipped lessons. On Versal you can build online courses that incorporate text documents, images, videos, maps, slideshows, and more. When you build a course in Versal you build it lesson-by-lesson in an easy-to-follow outline. To build a lesson you drag content widgets onto a blank canvas. The content widgets include all of the previously mentioned media plus a whiteboard for drawing (perfect for math lessons), GeoGebra animations, timelines, and quizzes. When you add a quiz to your lesson you can require that students meet a minimum percentage in order to advance to the next lesson in your course. You can invite students to take your course and or embed your course into your blog or website. You can track the progress of invited students.

If you don't have the time to create a course from scratch or if you're looking to take a course yourself, jump into Versal's public course catalog. These courses can be embedded into your blog or website. Unless you upgrade to a premium account, you won't be able to track your students' progress on courses that you didn't create.

Applications for Education
What makes Versal an appealing option for developing online courses is the wide variety of content types that you can add to your courses. Versal's whiteboard, Desmos, and GeoGebra gadgets are perfect for developing online mathematics courses. The option to require students to complete a quiz with a minimum score before moving into the next lesson is perfect for ensuring that students don't rush through your course.

On Wednesday at 7pm Eastern Time Versal is hosting a free webinar on using their service.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Easyclass - A Free Multilingual Online Course Management System

Easyclass is a newer entry into the online course management market. When it comes to user interface, Easyclass lives up to its name by being quite easy to use. I was able to create a course in Easyclass in less than five minutes and at no point in that time was I wondering what to do next.

On Easyclass you can host classroom discussions, post assignments, post resources for students, and deliver online quizzes to your students. To get started on Easyclass you create a class and either invite members or tell all of your students to visit the site and enter a class ID code. As you are viewing your class in Easyclass select "discussions," "quizzes," or "assignments" to share with your students.

Easyclass discussions and assignments allow you to post notes to the whole class. Assignment notes include due dates. Discussion notes don't include due dates. Both types of notes can include file attachments and links.

Through the quizzes option in Easyclass, you can create multiple choice, true/ false, or essay quizzes. Pictures can be included with your quiz questions. You can make instant feedback available to students at the end of the quiz (except for essay questions). Quiz scores can be sent directly to your Easyclass gradebook.


Applications for Education
If you don't currently have your course materials online and or don't have an online discussion component to your courses, give Easyclass a try. I'm particularly impressed by the ease of use for first-time users.

Easyclass is available in six languages; English, French, Turkish, Italian, Romanian, and Arabic. I spoke to one of the developers at BETT this week and asked him about the translations. He said that they are not using the Google Translate API to offer Easyclass in six languages. Rather they are having six versions of the service coded by native speakers.

The video below provides an overview of some of the best features for teachers and students.