5 LMS Features I Don’t Use

  1. Automated Attendance Many LMSs permit automated attendance checking for synchronous sessions, and have features that permit it to be a percentage of the final grade. This also applies to tardy students. Seating charts can be created as well. In my experience, these features are often buggy and not recommended. Even when implemented, privacy concerns should make you hesitate.
  2. Live Chats Allowing online students and instructors to run a group text chat can have several benefits, such as increasing instructor presence. But, without a constant monitor, this can also be a source for bullying and inappropriate behavior, so this feature should be used with care.
  3. Force Completion I almost never use this, as it requires students to complete work in one, uninterrupted sitting. Students frequently have Internet hiccups that disconnect them from the server and require my intervention to re-enable access or supply them with a new assignment. If one-third of my students have hiccups, then that is easily 40 manual assignment interventions. Often this feature is not worth implementing.
  4. Grade distribution Teachers may choose to allow students to see the grade distribution as graphs of grades for a given assignment. Use with caution, as clever students can use this to figure out each other’s grades and then you’ll have violated FERPA.
  5. Set Timer Teachers can time students, allowing students to see how long they have been working on an assignment. Teachers can also set timers, and force submission of the work when the timer goes off—or, alternatively, give the student the option to continue after the timer marks their spot. Students with special education needs often require extra time on assignments, which this feature should permit. In my experience, I’m more concerned with students getting it done than I am them getting it done in a limited time block.

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