LearningStudio has a new option for your course home page (the page that individuals first see upon entering your specific course shell): Social Course Home. Social Course Home offers a more interactive and networked experience, designed to boost student engagement and build class community. Social Course Home is currently available at TCU for Beta testers, by request only, so for most users, your course home will remain the same for the time being.
Course shells with Social Course Home have all the same functions as other LearningStudio course shells, plus a few additional features. Pearson’s website explains the Social Learning tools as “Pearson LearningStudio integrates the latest features students need to engage peers and instructors: social profiles, avatars, chat, groups, remarks, activity feed, and fully-integrated Skype functionality for real-time discussion.” In the center of the Social Course Home, beneath the Course Introduction, users will see an activity feed. This activity feed identifies course participants by their name and avatar and reports their status updates in real-time; students can also write on the course’s wall to share brief posts with the whole class. The activity feed will also display interaction in Threaded Discussions. Social Course Home also displays which users are currently online, useful information since there is also a chat feature. There is also a sidebar on the right side of the screen that displays announcements and upcoming course events. Faculty view will also include items for review, such as dropbox submissions.
Here are some Social Course Home best practices developed by our staff, designed to help you and your students make the most of the integrated, networked features:
Create Announcements in your Course. You can date-drive these to appear and disappear in a specific time frame.
Select the “People Tab” and Edit your Profile. You can upload a photo of yourself, and add some bio information. Ask your Students to do the same!
Create a Course Home Introduction. This will introduce your Course and tell students how to get started!
- Activity: This has a limit of 140 characters, so it is meant for short updates. The ONLY place to see remarks or activity is in this area of the course. Larger entries are only available IF you use Threaded Discussions in your course.
As of April 2012, Social Course Home is still in beta. As with most software in beta development, there is a possibility you might experience some hiccups, such as slow loading of the content on Course Home. For more information on Social Course Home, and to read about known issues, please view our Social Course home beta page on our website.
If you’re interested in trying out the Social Course Home in one of your course shells, and you are TCU faculty, please contact the eLearning team. We’re recruiting testers, and we are really interested in your feedback.