Faculty Share: Dr. Stein at CSU Northridge

Today, we hear from Mary-Pat Stein as part of our Faculty Share series. Dr. Stein is Associate Professor/Associate Chair, Biology at CSU Northridge.

Please speak to the importance of the LMS in your teaching.
The LMS is absolutely critical to our delivery of information to students.  Here at CSUN, in our large lecture courses (>100, sometimes > 150 students), the LMS gives us a way to manage our pedagogy and to provide a quality educational experience for our students.  The LMS allows me to give frequent low stakes quizzes, provide educational tutorial materials to students and to reach out to students at risk in ways that would not be possible without this resource.  Learning and understanding how to use the LMS to your advantage is critical if faculty want to become adept and competent educators.

How do you use the LMS?  What are the LMS features you use and find crucial?
I use the LMS to provide content to students, including providing lecture materials in written and video formats.  I also use the LMS to give exams and quizzes and to collect in-class assignments to ensure that students are receiving materials in an active learning environment.  I use the LMS to provide students with current, real-time events that are occurring in the biological world so that they can begin to link their classroom learning to the bigger picture of life in the “real” world.  And finally, I use the LMS to identify and contact students that may be at risk for poor performance using the metrics and tools available on the LMS.

Do you use the LMS to teach all your courses, or a few?
I use the LMS, Moodle, in all the courses I teach and would hope that all faculty would consider making this the norm.

Do you access the LMS using a mobile device? If so, for what purposes?
I access the LMS using many different mobile devices, including iPhone, tablet and laptop.  The ease of accessing the LMS allows me to provide real-time feedback and to help students when they need it.  I post important information about opportunities on and off campus for students to enhance their learning, I post extra assignments to keep students engaged and learning at all hours of the day and I use my mobile devices to access the LMS outside of the campus so that I can constantly provide feedback should students need it.

To your knowledge, do your students access your LMS course(s) on a mobile device? Do you have a sense of how that is working for them?
Yes, my students absolutely access our LMS on their mobile devices.  Our myCSUNtablet courses have students using tablets, phones and laptops in class to take quizzes, upload assignments and takes exams, all through the LMS.  I have received emails from students through the LMS that are from the students’ iphones or other mobile devices.  Our students are using mobile devices more frequently than any other devices to access their LMS.

Have you tried using the gradebook in any way other than keeping grades? Are there other features for which you find new uses?
I use the Gradebook to manage a large number of assignments.  However, I am not sure how I would use the gradebook in other ways.  I can use the gradebook to examine attendance, but that still requires me to have an in-class assignment that students upload and then I can give credit for being their and trying.  I also use the gradebook to provide feedback to students and to personalize their learning.

Is there a particular use of the LMS you’re personally proud of?
I use the LMS to create a rich learning environment that breaks down each lecture into the materials that are most important for students to grasp.  I try to make the blocks visually appealing to students by providing relevant images for that day’s material.  I am proud of the all encompassing uses for the LMS and that students can get everything they need in one spot to be very successful students, including extra materials that may peak students interests beyond the classroom.

Category: Faculty

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Article by: Mary-Pat Stein