The tools most needed in an LMS for the students and teachers to function well could start with the Content. Here is where the teacher can post a syllabus, introductory material and the course content itself. This is sort of like the textbook+ in a regular classroom. The content can include images, audio and video. The teacher can have an announcement or news widget that opens on the homepage as the student enters the course. Other widgets can include teacher info and an image, links to learning assets, resources…the list is rather endless.
The teacher can post checklists for one or two weeks or the full term. There is a place for assignments to be submitted, a dropbox. The discussion forum gives the students and teacher a way to exchange ideas with each other right in the course…teacher and student or student and students. The teacher has a class list of students and can email individuals or an entire group from there or the grade book. These are in addition to the email function itself.
Teachers can enter grades in the actual grade book or by assignments in the manage grades area. In manage grades teachers can give valuable feedback to the students. Students are able to see their grades as soon as they are posted. If enabled, parents can have direct access to their students’ grades.
Teachers can keep attendance and use the seating chart to record communications with the students. Teachers can divide students into sections and/or groups. Content, checklists, and news items can be set to release to only certain students if there are needs to differentiate or if students are on different “calendars.” Portfolios and LOR’s enhance the production and storage of information