Tag Archives: LMS

BigBlueButton: adding video conferencing for teachers and students

schoology big blue button 2Look for a big blue button in the bottom left corner of your screen the next time you log in to Schoology. This is a real thing: BigBlueButton is an online conferencing system that lets teachers host audio conferences and video conferences with their students.

During a conference, teachers can moderate the flow of the conversation by “calling” on a student which allows them to speak to the group, and students can even take control of the presentation. Students can also participate in a side conversation using the chat box. Documents can be uploaded and users can annotate on them live during the conference.

An interactive white board is also available where students can see what their teacher is writing on the screen and hear the teacher explaining the lesson in real time. Afterwards teachers can post a recording of the conference session to the class page so students can review it at a later time.

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Learn more from Schoology on how to install BigBlueButton, an enterprise feature within Schoology’s learning management system.

You can also go to BigBueButton’s website to view tutorial videos to find help with video conferencing with your class.

Use Your LMS Profile As Your Staff Information Website

underconstructionIt is fairly common that in any given school 50% of teachers have not updated their staff profile web page in the last six months.  When parents are trying to find you on the school web site your information should be current and look good! Instead, links are often broken, information is no longer valid, or the overall look is just plain dated. Is there anything worse than seeing the “under construction” sign on a web page?  It’s like finding an AOL disc in a desk drawer – it’s telling you that it’s time to clean up your profile.

Your profile page should consist of three things: accurate information about you and your classroom; links that take the user to even more resources and information; and it should be so easy to keep current that it practically updates itself.  The best place to find all three of those is to look for the online profile that you use the most. If you are big into Twitter then you can consider linking your school info page to your Twitter profile. Do you use Google+ every day? Consider using your Google+ profile.  For most teachers, though, the profile you use should be the one tied to something you use with your students every day. That would be your LMS. It doesn’t matter if you use Schoology, Blackboard, Course Sites, Haiku, Canvas, Edmodo, Moodle, or any other LMS – whatever you use with your students already comes with a profile page, and that page will be accurate and current.

I am a huge fan of Schoology, and all of the professional development courses I have created or taught are stored in Schoology. I even have a Schoology page for my freshman lacrosse team. Since I use Schoology every day, it’s only natural to use the Schoology profile page as my official school web page.

The directions below will show you how to update and link your Schoology profile as your official school web page. If you use a different LMS the directions will be similar and should still be able to help you. Let’s get started.

Start by logging in to Schoology. Click on your name in the top right of the page. This will take you to your profile page.schoology1

Most of the information that parents are interested in seeing is in the Info section of your profile. Click on the Info button in the menu on the left side of your profile.

schoology 8You are now viewing your profile page. Some information you will need to enter once and rarely update unless your teaching assignment changes. Subject taught, grade(s) taught, teaching position, contact email , and school phone number probably will not change very often. Only add information you feel comfortable with the whole world seeing! This is going to be linked to the school web page, after all.

Other information will update automatically, and that’s why your profile on Schoology (or some other LMS) works so well for you. The courses you teach, the groups you belong to, and the professional development badges you have earned will not only be displayed but they will update automatically each time something new is added. See the example of my Schoology profile page below.schoology 2

After you edit your information and save it, view your profile page again to review it for accuracy. Once you are satisfied with it, go up into the URL (the Internet address bar) and copy the entire address. It should end with the word “info”. If the URL ends in something else like “updates” then all you have to do is click on the Info button in the left hand menu of your profile like you did earlier to go back to your Info page. Copy the Schoology URL and send it to your school webmaster and tell him/ her that you would like to link it to your school profile page.

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Your Schoology profile page looks very clean, the course and school information is always accurate, and you can add other links to take users to other pages like your Twitter page or class Google Calendar.

At a minimum, go to your school’s website and find your name. Click on the link and see where it goes. If you don’t like it you have two options: update your page, or link it to a different profile page. Whether it’s your Schoology, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram profile page just make sure that it is accurate, professional, and it is a good representation of you as an educator.

Go to the article on editing your profile settings to give yourself even more control over what people can see on your profile page. You have many options to help protect your privacy.