It has been a while since my blog post on Coursekit First Impressions. I have continued to play around with it and have concluded that it is indeed an LMS worth trying out. I have to confess that after my first few familiarising sessions with coursekit, I was actually asking myself if I should just stick to Facebook groups since the added value of coursekit did not seem enough to warrant switching platforms. But upon further experimentation, I am convinced coursekit is the way to go. The following are my reasons.
As can be seen by the screenshot on the right, at the top of the coursekit page lies a simple calendar of events. I like it that it chooses only to reveal the next 3 upcoming events rather then showing a calendar month. Furthermore, important deadlines are shown in read to further emphasize its urgency.
Clicking on the blue coloured “more” link will allow the students to see all the events lined up for the course. For instructors, there is the option to make it an event a repeated one so you do not need to repeatedly input the same event into different dates.
Student Activity Log
The instructor can click on the profile on each student to call up information about his/her rate of participation on coursekit. As can be seen on the left, the instructor can tell how many initial posts, comments, answers etc the student has contributed to the coursekit online community. The activity log gives the initial few words of the postings the student has made on coursekit.
This is very useful to instructors who make class participation a part of the final grade or for instructors who just want to get a sense of how participative the student is. For grading purposes, it would be even better if the activity log not only records the first few words of initial posts but the entire post plus comments as well. This is so that the instructor can know at a glance the level of sophistication that this student brings to the course community.
Note, Link, Media, File, Question, Blog
Students can post in a variety of ways on coursekit as can be seen in the screenshot above.
- Note – Allows simply text posts
- Link – Shows the hyperlinked website title plus some text and a “cover” picture
- Media – Allows students to upload media or paste video URLs.
- File – Allows students to upload their word document or pdf file. This is certainly very useful for an educational setting.
- Question – Responses to a “Question” will be classified as an “answer” instead of “comment” and every student can vote for their preferred answer as well as post a seperate answer. This is similiar to the poll function on facebook.
- Blog – Allows simple word processing such as ordered/unordered lists, italics, bold, underscore and hyperlinks. This is good for longer more sophisticated posts.
Excellent admin support
The admin support of coursekit has been top notch so far. After you write your feedback on the chatbox on the right, it takes less than 24 hours for you to receive an email response and the tone of the email is that of a person who is willing to establish a relationship with you. The support staff assigned to me even had an email conversation about why it is that some people could have set up coursekit courses but abandoned them without using it for classes. This is very active support compared to other LMSes and would surely shorten the learning curve for people new to coursekit.
As this is only a mock course, there are many functions like submissions and gradebook which I have not fully grasped. These will probably only be fully explored once I operate an actual course. My journey of discovery is not over and I look forward to sharing more of my experiences on this blog. If you have any questions, please few free to leave a comment and I will answer as best as I can.