Before creating professional development courses, I analyzed 3 free CMS options that would be a best fit for school counselors. The three CMS platforms I looked at were Schoology, Coursesites by Blackboard, and Haiku.
Schoology is a user friendly platform that was visually appealing. I really liked the mobile app that accompanied this CMS. It included assessments, a gradebook, analytics for tracking time in class, and a discussion forum. I thought this would be the CMS to set up my courses but what I found was that Schoology was slow. I used multiple computers and found it frustrating to wait for pages to load. This happen both as a student and teacher. I would not want my online learners to get frustrated and quit. “According to Meister (2002), 70 percent of adult learners enrolled in a corporate online program did not complete it.” Online learners need certain skills to be successful in an online course. Another area of concern with Schoology is that you could not directly add video into your course. This was only available through the paid package.
Coursesites by Blackboard had the most features offered between the 3 CMS platforms. Coursesites allows 5 free courses and includes assessments, a gradebook, tracking of class, alignment of curriculum objectives, and disscussion forums. Blackboard also had an area to set up rubrics and add video content. Although it had the most features, I found that I would need a lot of time to learn how to set up my courses. I also found that only districts could use the mobile app.
Haiku I found to be the easiest and most user friendly. I felt I could set up my course work quickly and hoped that my online learners would find it easy to maneuver, as well. Haiku offers 5 free courses and includes assessments, a gradebook, statistics for tracking learners, and a discussion forum. I could upload video content very easily. Haiku offers in their paid program an alignment of objectives, rubrics, and an e-portfolio. It was disappointing that the mobile app is only available in apple products.
Among the 3 CMS platforms that I explored, all three had pros and cons to there use in online learning. Haiku seemed to be the best fit in utilizing a CMS as a professional development platform. Here is a chart showing what these 3 CMS platforms have to offer: