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Using Learning Management Systems: Practical Tips for TAFE Teachers

Learning Management Systems (“LMS”) refer to online learning tools such as Moodle and Blackboard. The following are practical tips to manage and control the cost of making available teaching materials via an LMS. 

  1.    Access FREE Education Resources

  Problem: Using resources without permission or that are not free
for educational use costs TAFEs $millions per annum
  Solution: Access free for education resource
eg. http://search.creativecommons.org/
  Benefit: Make use of materials designed for teachers and free to use

  2.    Link to Documents/Webpages

  Problem: Downloading and uploading documents to a LMS are time-consuming and costly
  Solution: Copy a link to the document or webpage eg. http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/open-education/open-education-free-for-education/open-education-resources
  Benefit: Linking means students access the most up to date version, is less time consuming and is free
  3.    Spring Clean Your LMS

  Problem: Old material is left on LMS clogging up the system and unnecessarily adding to the  copyright costs
  Solution: At the end of each academic year or end of course/unit clean out materials no longer required for your courses
  Benefit: Your LMS is up-to-date with current documentation and cost-efficient
  4.    Identify Materials Created By You

  Problem: Materials created by staff are not being identified as such
  Solution: Create materials using Institute templates or letterhead and sign off with name of Institute, date, faculty, course and teacher’s name
  Benefit: Attribution creates a more professional look and reduces copyright costs
  5.    Beware Using Images From The Internet

  Problem: Images taken from general internet search and uploaded to LMS add significantly to the copyright costs
  Solution: Use images which are free to use eg. http://www.abelssoft.net/ccfinder.php or from websites which say they give permission to education institutes to use http://wellcomeimages.org/
  Benefit: Avoid worrying whether you are allowed to use an image and save time seeking permission as well as saving costs
 

6.    Avoid Copying Images From Textbooks

  Problem: Images taken from textbooks are not free and result in increased copyright costs
  Solution:

Either ask for permission from the publisher to use the images or source images from creative commons or open education sources eg. http://www.abelssoft.net/ccfinder.php http://www.google.com/imghp

  Benefit:

Make the most of the resources available to teachers without wasting costs

  7.    Check Before Using PowerPoints Provided With Textbooks

  Problem: Using PowerPoints and other supplementary material without permission add significantly to the copyright costs
  Solution: When adopting a book as a prescribed text, seek confirmation from the publisher that you have permission to copy and make available the PowerPoints and other supplementary material to students by emailing the relevant contact person (usually a sales rep) and asking for confirmation that they allow you to copy and make available (on an internal secure password protected system) the PowerPoints and other supplementary material. If emailing is required add in ‘email’ when specifically needed.
  8.    Only Upload Extracts that are absolutely essential

  Problem:

Whole works are being uploaded onto LMS

  Solution:

Only use what your students need and seek permission from publishers before copying entire works

  Benefit:         You keep the LMS relevant to students by only including what they need and you avoid legal problems from copying entire works