There are a lot of course management tools available for educators, including Blackboard and PowerSchool, that allow educators to do attendance, grading, post and organize resources and lessons, and interact with students. Many of them cost money. Moodle is free, but you have to pay to host it somewhere, or host it yourself. There are some great, free alternatives available. Here’s a list, in no particular order.
Engrade – Engrade is a web-based, free gradebook that is very powerful, full featured, and easy to use. I used it for many years until our school got a new SIS with an integrated gradebook. Students and parents can even have view access to see their grades at any time. It’s even expanded with more features. In addition to the gradebook and attendance, you can create online quizzes that self grade, message students, set up flashcards, wikis, discussion groups, and more.
Schoology -Schoology is a free course management system for educators that allows them to manage their lessons, post resources and assignments, create quizzes, link to additional resources, conduct online courses, provide one-on-one help sessions and host discussions.
Edmodo – Edmodo is a tool that many teachers already use and more are discovering every day. Edmodo is a free social learning network for teachers, students and schools, providing a way to connect and collaborate, share content, access homework and grades, and much more.
My Big Campus – My Big Campus allows schools and teachers to create a virtual classroom to use with their students. There is a resource library with videos, web sites, wiki’s and more. You can create groups and blogs and use the messaging system. Teachers can create a classroom calendar and even create, assign, and grade student assignments. The teacher can keep up with what the students are doing through the notification system too. Teachers can upload files to share with their students.
Coursekit – Coursekit combines a variety of tools for educators to use for extending their classroom or even creating an online course. Discussion groups, assignments with grading, resource sharing, a class calendar, and a community forum are just some of the tools available. Educators can post links, videos, and other files, hold online discussions, and even write a blog post.
You can also use Blogs, Web sites, and Wiki’s to organize and share lesson materials, have discussions, and create assignments. My district uses PowerSchool for attendance and gradebook, but I use classroom blogs, a class website, and Google resources to share resources, post information, and communicate with my students.
What course management system do you use? Why do you like/dislike it? What would be your perfect course management system?