Developing “collaboratories” in mathematics thanks to multi-tooled LMS’.

collaboratories-math-LMSToday’s colleges and universities are quickly turning to alternative pathways to traditional teaching and learning approaches, especially for core courses such as developmental mathematics and algebra—and collaboration enabled through modern Learning Management System (LMS) functionality may be one way to accomplish this rejuvenation.

Leveraging today’s key methods and technologies can create collaborative spaces that enhance student learning and outcomes. A teacher can recapture time spent on traditional lecture and create opportunities for exploration of concepts that lead to increased student engagement and mastery level learning—all while accommodating individual student learning pace variations and asynchronous learning.

The technology to help accomplish this form of pedagogy can be brought together in what is being called the “Collaboratory Approach” or simply “Collaboratory.” The term collaboratory is credited to William Wulf for interacting and sharing via software as early as 1989 (Wulf, 1993).

Today, the software is a web-based application commonly known as an LMS. With an appropriate LMS, video delivery, conferencing integration, and white board integration with digital inking capabilities, a teacher can collaborate with colleagues and students through the broadcast of synchronous instruction and learning activities online and in-class. The teacher can facilitate collaborative, shareable, personalized note-taking spaces, as well as track student engagement across multiple sections—class and student level insights that assist the teacher much like intentional formative assessment.

Collaboratory use by student and instructor. Copyright Ohio University.

Collaboratory use by student and instructor. Copyright Ohio University.

At the end of the course, the same data collection can be used in the creation of student portfolios of learning outcomes, which are ideal for course and program improvement, as well as, accreditation.

(Next page: Knowing the goals of a “collaboratory” via an LMS)


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