Curriculum and Instruction
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Here is some information about our decision making around the Learning Management System:
Learning Management System Rationale and Expectations 2020-2021
WCUUSD Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Reopening Task Force
What is a Learning Management System?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform that supports teaching and learning. It is designed to support curriculum, instruction, assessment, scoring, and communication practices, especially, but not exclusively, during times of remote learning. It also enhances collaboration and the sharing of resources both within schools and across the district.
Further, a LMS integrates with other resources and systems so that teachers can create rich learning experiences for students, leveraging both resources that they have used successfully in past classes and integrating new materials into classes.
Why are we adopting a Learning Management System?
As a result of our recent experience with remote teaching and learning this past spring, it became clear that a Learning Management System (LMS) would be a great asset for our return to school this fall. A good LMS provides many useful capabilities for both in-person and hybrid or remote learning scenarios. Further, a good LMS allows for and enhances teacher collaboration and streamlines communication for students, caregivers, and educators and we all work together to support student learning.
The results of the remote learning survey that we administered at the end of the school year indicate that students, caregivers, and staff members want and need a more systematized and streamlined approach to teaching and learning as we look ahead to 2020-2021.
Using a consistent LMS across all classes and grade levels PreK-Graduation is a student-centered, family-centered, and staff-centered practice that will support our students’ path to proficiency in our Student Learning Outcomes.
How was the decision to adopt a LMS made?
The Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (CIA) reopening task force evaluated several potential Learning Management Systems over the course of the past few weeks. The evaluation process included online research, vendor demonstrations, cost comparisons, and an analysis of the features provided by each system.
After careful consideration, the CIA reopening task force recommended that the district move forward with the purchase of Canvas for all grade levels. Students, families, teachers, and paraeducators will access this platform across the district to support teaching and learning.
In selecting and evaluating LMS’s for consideration, the CIA reopening task force prioritized systems that:
Allow WCUUSD to use our own standards, performance indicators, rubrics, and learning scales.
Allow WCUUSD teachers to set prerequisite assignments that must be completed before a student can move forward to the next lesson or activity.
Provide accommodations and modifications for all users as well as opportunities to provide student specific feedback, and create personalized learning paths.
Provide analytics that let teachers and administrators know how the system is being used and by whom and monitor student progress.
Integrate with Google Suite and Infinite Campus (IC).
Are customizable so that teachers can set up developmentally appropriate interfaces that serve a range of learners.
Other factors that the CIA reopening task force considered include the capacity to:
Curate and share instructional resources within and across schools;
Provide greater clarity regarding assignment due dates for students and families;
Create a consistent user dashboard across the district;
Embed videos directly into the platform;
Integrate with other resources that were widely and successfully used last spring such as Seesaw and Google Classroom; and
Support users throughout their experience by offering professional development opportunities and robust technical support.
As a result, the CIA reopening task force recommends that this system be used by all teachers and paras across the district to deliver and support instruction and assessment regardless of whether we are in school or operating under a hybrid or remote learning structure. Purchasing Canvas and using it across the school system will allow us to customize it for WCUUSD and meet the needs of all of our learners.
How is Canvas different from Infinite Campus?
Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS). Infinite Campus (IC) is a Student Information System (SIS).
As described above, a Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform that is designed to support teaching and learning and all practices related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
A Student Information System (SIS) is designed to manage student data. Infinite Campus (IC) allows us to register students in classes, build schedules, create reports, track student attendance, and manage food service accounts. These functions are essential to supporting our students’ school experiences in general.
In recent years, we have worked very hard to attempt to use IC, our SIS, as a LMS. Despite our best and most diligent efforts, IC is a clunky tool when it comes to supporting teaching and learning. Because it is a SIS, its primary function, and the foundation of its design, is to manage student data, not support teaching and learning.
Canvas and IC serve different purposes and perform different functions; using both is not redundant. Going forward, we will use both Canvas and IC to successfully support and manage our students’ total school experience.