How the new online classroom can help you
University of Phoenix is upgrading its online classroom for the first time in more than a decade.
The “New Classroom” incorporates elements of social media and reflects the contemporary online experience students are used to elsewhere on the web, says Jeremy Wood, MBA, project director for the new online learning platform. Launched in May 2013 for all graduate students, the platform will be available throughout the University’s master’s programs by the end of 2014.
“You can find everything you need for each assignment all in one place,” points out Wood, who also holds a Project Management Professional credential. Here, he shares what this innovative classroom can help you do:
You won’t have to shift among multiple tabs searching for assignments and class materials. “The class syllabus, reading materials, multimedia materials and class discussions are … all on the same page,” Wood explains.
Keep on track.
A task function helps students visually monitor class assignments and due dates.
“You can see a timeline with what tasks there are for each week — class messages, learning activities and assignments — right when you log in,” Wood says, noting that you also can filter the syllabus bar by individual week. You can check off tasks as you complete them, he explains.
Learn in a personalized way.
“The New Classroom is getting away from just using text-only materials and allows students to choose, share and discuss the content that really resonates with them,” Wood points out.
For instance, he notes, visual learners can choose videos and graphics, auditory learners can select podcasts, and all students can discuss the types of content that best fit their personal learning styles in a way that encourages deep thinking and analysis.
Wood says the New Classroom has a feed similar to the Facebook® platform and other social media sites. “It allows you to leverage many of the different types of materials that are out there today,” he explains.
Connect more with classmates.
The system upgrade also spurs more student collaboration, Wood points out. “Discussion happens around each of the learning objects in the class — chapters, multimedia, articles and so on,” he explains, “unlike the old OLS [online learning system] that had a separate tab for discussions and relied on the instructor to post discussion questions.
“The feedback we’ve gotten from students is they really appreciate being able to discuss what they want, when they want, right in the classroom,” he says.
The discussion function also integrates students’ PhoenixConnect® academic social network profile and photo.
Know where you stand.
It’s easier than ever to track how you’re doing in each course, thanks to the New Classroom’s grading function, Wood notes. “In the OLS, you had to hunt down your grades and scores,” he says, “but now you’ll see how many points you’ve gotten in the class so far right when you log in.” The interface also allows you to view scores and feedback for individual assignments, he adds.
Stay connected on the go.
The New Classroom works on smartphones, Wood says, adding that the mobile app is currently in beta format but is expected to be released later this year in the Google Play™ store and the Apple App StoreSM marketplace.
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