4
$\begingroup$

I am supervising a team that is currently trying to build an online competitive programming course/school for a collection of high-schools in Turkey that all belong to a certain private educational institution.

As a former graduate of one of these high-schools, having competed in physics Olympiad and currently studying CS I have been offered this job along with other college students studying CS, some of whom have won medals in national and international Olympiad in informatics.

Our team has already made an outline for a curriculum and started teaching to a group of c. 80 students over Zoom. Although we are confident in how and what to teach, we are unsure which platform to use as an LMS for uploading, sharing and organizing course material like presentations, assignments, etc. As a provisional solution we are currently using Discord but are aware that in the long run Discord is not optimal as an LMS, as there is no way to share and organize course material in a structured manner. We are considering a better and more professional solutions but having very little experience in this area we are unsure which option to choose. Following have been considered:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Moodle or a similar LMS
  • A custom build website

I have been told that moodle is difficult to set up and is an overkill. Developing a custom web-site seems not very practical too. Do you think microsoft Teams can be suitably used as course/learning management system, where course material and assignments can be managed in a structured way? Do you have any other suggestions?

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

My first instinct is that any LMS is overkill. LMSs manage classrooms, it's true, but they also are designed to help manage schools, and most of the administrative end (and most of the features outside of the literal classroom aspects, and even many of the features within the classrooms) of any LMS would be completely useless to you. Busing, medical designations, learning disability plans, school lunch designations, guidance counselor assignments, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, are all beyond what you need for such a small program.

I'm assuming that most of what you're looking for is a way to distribute and receive assignments. If this is, indeed, the case, I actually recommend using GitHub.

At the start, kids can simply use your repo as a way to download files through the web interface, and can submit early assignments through Discord, just as you've already done. After they're comfortable with the GitHub interface for downloading, you can start having them fork projects. Introduce git functionality slowly, and keep supporting them with Discord in the meantime.

You'll get two big big benefits out of this approach:

  1. You don't have to get into anything nearly as heavyweight as an LMS.
  2. The students will slowly become familiar and comfortable with basic git actions.
$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ Github is an interesting suggestion. I have considered github-pages to host a web site to display general info about the course, s. a. announcements, schedule and individual sections for each self-contained subject with corresponding course material. But instead, just using a bare bone github interface could be simpler solution. But I am still waiting for an opinion on Microsoft Teams and weather it can serve both as communication & collaboration tool and a as a platform to organize course material thus potentially replacing Discord + Web-site (or github). $\endgroup$ Dec 3 '20 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ Also there is a prospect to expand this project nation-wide to encompass all high-shools. What we are doing now can be seen as a prototype and proof of concept for that bigger project. Of course, for such a ambitious undertaking actual professional educators will (must) take over, but that's actually why I have been considering an LMS because there is this long-term goal in mind. $\endgroup$ Dec 3 '20 at 15:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @steakexchange I don't really know Microsoft Teams, so I can't comment on it. Something like that or Google Classroom might be useful, since it scales, and might not require you to do all of the school-level stuff that you don't need. (I'm sorry that I don't know more about them!) $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Dec 3 '20 at 15:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ no problem at all, your suggestions and remarks have are very useful. I will be considering github seriously because I like the idea of familiarizing young students with github early on. $\endgroup$ Dec 3 '20 at 15:54
3
$\begingroup$

Google Classroom is a clean and feature light interface for managing the distribution and collection of course materials of a wide media variety. I teach about 100 students across five courses each semester using this platform. If you need a grade book that is integrated as well.

I link to repl.it and let students fork my code in the cloud for some assignments and demos. I may link to and collect GitHub links as well.

Repl classroom has unit testing built in for some languages. This might be helpful depending on the problem solving you are teaching . I list a number of activities per day on google classroom that I have listed over on Repl with unit testing.

Unless the school you are partnering with has GSuite setup for their organization you may eventually run into some storage restrictions with google drive.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.