By Nancy Pitts
Assistant Dean, International
Associate Professor, Analytical Food Chemistry
Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University
They say hindsight is 20/20. Here is some of my ‘hindsight wisdom’ which I offer hoping it helps other colleagues prepare for their initial use of BrightSpace.
Having adopted and used 4 different LMS (webct, Moodle, Blackboard, BrightSpace) in the last half decade, many of us at the Faculty of Agriculture have a certain level of ‘experience’ in adopting a new LMS.
- My personal number 1 is to gain access to a “sandbox” and just ‘play around’ until you develop an intuitive sense of capability and function. (Unfortunately ‘sandboxes’ were not initially available in the summer of 2015 as we were approaching the move to BrightSpace. I understand that these are available from the outset for the next Faculties to transition.)
- Number 2: Take the 2-3 hour Foundations training session. Have your computer with you, scribble notes to remind you months later of ‘nuggets’, and play around in your sandbox. (It sounds simplistic, but the time I spent exploring in my sandbox was time that paid back as I started to work on my course.)
- Number 3: Recognize that the widget system and menu organization still results in a linear presentation of course information (oh, for icon-based LMS that are more student-click compatible and intuitive for them; oh, for the days of webct!)
- Number 4: Having fondly remembered webct, nevertheless, I state without reservation that BrightSpace is the next most instructor and student-friendly LMS I have experienced. I hope you find that too as you adopt it.
- Number 5: I learned quickly to use the widgets and prefer the widget selection list organized by Name and not Category (the categories did not resonate with me).
- Number 6: From previous experiences adopting a new LMS, I reminded myself to start realistically and don’t try to re-vamp the total course design the first year of adoption. Slow and easy; be ready yourself for the first day in front of the students. Be real and admit that you are learning alongside of the class! (Next year is time to take advantage of different capability of the LMS.)
- Number 7: Migration – I opted to have just my files and folders moved into BrightSpace and I chose to design my own Course Content menu and front page. That decision was founded on my emerging level of comfort and confidence (yeah, sandbox!).
- Number 8: Loving Widgets; Wishing for Gnomes…. But that is the next blog entry!