I agree with Lisa about the need for colleges and universities to find a way to support novice users with the CMS systems. I know from personal experience that teaching online for the first time can be intimidating when one is used to f2f classrooms, and the way you set-up and interact in them. Also, since I teach in both Moodle and Blackboard, switching from one to the other can be confusing for the novice user. Many of us have had to learn the technology on the fly, and so are often creating online classrooms that are functional, but not always interesting or helpful. It is often hard to keep up with new scholarship in our fields of study and new technology for the online classroom. Jennifer Demski also has some good points about the need for flexibility in the CMS/LMS classroom. Although I like the idea of integrating WordPress blogs, rather than the Bb or Moodle bloging/discussion forums I do now, I do wonder about the means to grade them, and have some privacy in the grading.
As for Ko and Rosen, I agree that you need to communicate clearly and effectively with students. I tend to do both announcements at the beginning of the week, laying out assignments and due dates, as well as any upcoming assignments or exams and changes they need to be aware of, and screencasts for each week, reminding them of the same things. It may seem redundant, but not all students will look at both, or for that matter, either. I also agree that there need to be rules for respectful dialogue in all online classroom communications and assignments. Here is a good reminder of why we often need to think before we hit “send:” http://chronicle.com/article/One-Email-Much-Outrage/145227/?key=SjkhI1NvNCITZHswYThHbjlQPCNkNU97NXIbOS0kbl1XEw==
Group work, as Ko and Rosen suggest, can be a wonderful way to manage loads in a larger class. I have found Google docs to be a good way for students to engage in group work. Also, since you can have them set it to see who edited what, it is a nice way to see if some in the group are not pulling their weight. One of the other things I have found with smaller classrooms is, not only breaking up the lecture to make them more involved in the learning process, but breaking up the discussion board posting, so that the initial post must be made by Wednesday (for example), and by Saturday, they must reply to each other. This means that some, at least, are not waiting until the last minute to do the whole post.
For this week, I looked at Desire2Learn, which is a CMS system I have never used, and am unfamiliar with. Here is the link to their page: http://www.desire2learn.com/solutions/higher-education/. Here also is my screencast of it. I will admit that this is not my best work, it’s a busy week with my daughter’s birthday and family in town.