Advice for Digital Immigrants
by Doug Bowen-Bailey
It’s been a busy start to fall for me. In addition to my new work with St. Catherine University on the Graduation to Certification (GTC) program, I have also started graduate school at the same institution with the MA in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity (MAISCE) program. This is an online program and has given me some perspective of being on the student end of online courses, rather than being the one designing them.
For my work with GTC, I had explored a variety of learning management systems to determine relative merits of each for our post-graduate program. (For more on GTC elsewhere in the newsletter, click here.) I ended up focusing on three specific choices before we selected which one to use.
Canvas is an open-source software that as “Free for Teacher” accounts. It is relatively intuitive for design. One feature that we appreciated was that in Discussion Boards, it has a tool that you can access your web cam and record directly in ASL. We used this platform for hold our online Think Tank (which Suzanne Ehrlich, Christine Monikowksi, and Betsy Winston write about in other places in the newsletter.)
D2L is the learning management system for St. Catherine University. My understanding that part of the reason SCU selected D2L was because of its accessibility features for all students. The configuration that SCU has, however, does not include all of the capacity of D2L related to video. (They use other applications for doing video.) So, I don’t know that I have a full understanding of how D2L could really function with video discussion with fully implemented.
Moodle is a free, open-source software that you can install yourself. The CATIE Center used Moodle for almost 10 years in providing online workshops. As we moved into these new grant projects, we decided that the need to maintain the MOodle site took more time and energy than we could afford. Some institutions use Moodle as their LMS. For example, Western Oregon University which houses the National DeafBlind Interpreting Training & Resource Center, uses Moodle and thus, the DBI project will use Moodle for its online offerings. With the appropriate support, Moodle is a very robust option.
One of our GTC advisory board members, Betti Bonni, suggested that Google Classroom is another option worth considering. It had been only available for institutions with a GSuite account. That has now changed and it is open to anyone. If you are interested, you can see an article about different parts of Google Classroom to be aware of as a teacher.