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24 February 2016

Why Facebook Is Better than Your Learning Management System

Facebook Groups are better than your institution's learning management system (LMS) (e.g. Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, D2L, Canvas, etc.). Here are just three reasons why:
  1. Your students are already on it. Yes, Facebook is losing cred with the kids, but the kids are still on it. If some other social media site replaces Facebook in the future, that platform will likely be better than your institution's LMS, too.
  2. Your students already know how to use it. There is no learning curve. LMS's, on the other hand, take time to figure out and are not a part of post-collegiate life.
  3. You likely are already on it and know how to use it. Loss of productivity is death by a thousand paper cuts. There is rarely one major time-suck to blame; instead, little bits of our time are eaten away by small, seemingly innocuous requirements, for example, having to teach oneself how to use a new LMS whenever they are regularly upgraded, when outside consultants convince your administrators to sign a contract for a competing system, or when one changes institutional affiliation.
"But, Facebook doesn't have the functionality that my institution's LMS does," you might be saying at this point. That's true, but let me offer a few workarounds.
  • Upload spreadsheets to share assignment scores and grades. You can easily maintain anonymity and mind FERPA by having your students assign themselves PIN's at the start of the semester.
  • Use Google Forms for quizzes and tests as necessary. Even better, don't give quizzes and tests.
  • Use FB Polls to informally gauge student knowledge and comprehension. It's quick, it's interactive, and frankly, it's fun.
Of course, the mileage you get may vary.

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