Friday, 23 January 2015

LMS and Google Drive

The learning management system (LMS) that is a feature of the software package used at my school incorporates four different types of "learning objects":
  • Resource
  • Question
  • Online Test
  • Activity
Each learning object has different characteristics that are geared toward particular uses, however, today's post is about Resources.


Resource learning objects, once assigned to a group or a class, are available to students at all times during a reporting period. Resources assigned to a Question, Online Test or Activity learning object requires those respective learning objects to be assigned to a group or a class before being accessible. 

Despite the title, Resources are not actually resources, but placeholders or containers that reference a document, image, url, flash, audio or video object. Understanding that a 'resource' (according to the LMS) isn't actually the resource (the document, image, etc.) is crucial to establishing a workflow that takes into account the manner in which you can manipulate various elements that make up a 'resource'.

These are my workflows for the three main resource types I have used over the past couple of years.

Document: Create document > Export as PDF > Create the Resource in the LMS (including uploading the document).

Image: Create / Save image > Create the Resource in the LMS (including uploading the image).

URL: Create the Resource in the LMS, referencing the URL

Once a Resource is created, it can then be assigned to a class or group or added to one of the three remaining learning object categories as, unsurprisingly, a resource.

Once a resource is created, it is possible to edit it. As you can see from the workflows above, this means different things for different types of resources.

If you are the create of a URL resource, then editing the target of the URL is reflected automatically when a student follows the link from the LMS. The only reason you would need to edit a URL resource within the LMS would be if the URL changed.

Document and image edits both require an original file to be edited before being uploaded to the LMS resource as a replacement file.

As our school makes use of Google Apps for Education (GAFE), it is my intention this year to streamline the delivery of resources available via the LMS to be primarily URL based, as this will negate the need for double handling (editing and uploading replacement files) should edits be required in the resources I create.

By creating my resources in Google Drive and using the publish option available for a variety of object types, I can create URL resources within the LMS that will reference published objects in Google Drive allowing me to make changes to the original without having to worry about manually 'editing' the object within the LMS.

What do you think? It would be great to get some feedback on my proposed course of action. Feel free to comment below.