The learning management system has a direct impact on the online teaching efficiency of online adjunct faculty. Most faculty veterans are well versed in a variety of learning management systems and, through trial and error, have discovered ways that navigation can both help and hinder efficiencies. Learning management systems need to offer flexibility yet maintain simplicity.
Online adjunct faculty are used to operating in multiple learning management systems. Through habit and practice, they have built routines that help to maximize online teaching efficiency. An online instructor, especially one with a number of classes each term, operates at the highest of efficiencies. An online instructor’s responsibilities can include participating in discussion, posting announcements, updating calendars and due dates, and providing feedback. This takes time.
Veterans in this profession know the short cuts in a learning management system and have mastered the art of speeding through the fluff to get to the time intensive and critical work of student interaction, providing feedback, etc. Online faculty typically have high speed connections and multiple computers and devices; they intuitively know how to navigate through a variety of platforms.
Even so, it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Navigation within the learning management system can be one of the greatest efficiencies or greatest detriments to even veteran instructors. One example of this is the number of mouse clicks it takes to perform one function. Frustration can set in when an unnecessary number of clicks are required to perform a specific task. Simplicity is critical in maintaining efficiency. Some learning management platforms require 10 clicks to even begin to post a grade (multiply this by 20 students). Even on a high-speed connection, this can be tedious.
Ease of use and simplicity of a learning management system make a difference with online teaching efficiency. By paying attention to the simple things (like number of clicks) and focusing on core requirements for education, designers of learning management systems can help make an instructor’s job easier so that they can focus on the important things like spending time with learners or reviewing submissions.