Aligning Instructor-Built Learning Management Systems with the Principles of Online Writing Instruction

3.0 - Logo
Paamsongre Courseware

The name “Paamsongre'' is a bimorphemic word in Mooré, a West African language primarily spoken in Burkina Faso, meaning “Get Help.” The LMS was named this way to reflect its ultimate goal to ‘help’ student users. Paamsongre Courseware can be thought of as ‘the learning management system, textbook, and classroom instruction merged and re-imagined.’ On the platform homepage, it is described to students as “the single place you go to access all course-related materials: syllabus, calendar, readings, lectures, course assignments, homework, sample student papers, and assignment submission pages.”

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3.1 -Course Registration
Course Registration Interface

Each course in Paamsongre Courseware is listed as an e-text with different lessons. The e-text title may be different from the course title as in Ethnography: Research and Writing for a theme-based first-year composition course.

When student users land on the cover page/course registration page, they can see the titles of the different lessons, as well as a brief description of each lesson by clicking on the arrow next to it to expand it. While the cover page is ‘public,’ only registered student users can access the course content by signing up. If students are being charged a fee to access the course content, it is while they are signing up that they get to pay those fees. It is also during the sign-up phase that students are asked to read the LMS privacy policy and check the box confirming their agreement prior to completing the registration process. The sign-up setting options also let the instructor decide how long student users will have access to the course content.

The course registration and account creation enable tracking student course activities by linking usage data to associated profiles. Not having this component makes it virtually impossible to know who is doing what on the LMS. The e-Commerce function of the platform is what makes the e-texts/courses listing, registration, and account creation possible.

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3.2 - Homepage
Course Homepage Interface

After signing-up, student users are redirected to the homepage. The beauty of building one’s own LMS is the ability to design the homepage or other pages to taste. On Paamsongre Courseware, the homepage for every course has the following elements: the e-text title as in Ethnography: Research & Writing, the course calendar, which displays the day by day course events for student users, the syllabus, and the course lessons.

For a portfolio-based course, the lessons can be ordered to reflect the progression of the assignments. For a course with writing assignments that are not directly related to one another or assignments that students can complete in their own chosen order, a circular display of the lessons may be more appropriate.

Other elements on the homepage are the Paamsongre Logo, the icons indexing multiple modes of content delivery, the chatbox, and the “all rights reserved” copyright disclaimer.

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3.3 - Lesson Interface
Lesson Interface

Each lesson in Paamsongre Courseware centers on an assignment, i.e., in every lesson, student users work towards a paper. The lesson is designed as a timeline of different segments, mirroring the writing process.

Each lesson starts with a “lesson overview” segment, followed by an invention segment generally consisting of generating information for the paper through reading activities, brainstorming activities, primary or secondary research activities, text analysis activities, etc. The invention segment is generally followed by a genre segment, which details the genre requirements, structure, and conventions of the paper to be written and submitted at the end of the lesson. The genre segment is generally followed by a revision segment, which consists of revision activities such as using targeted writing techniques to revise the paper, peer-reviews, rubric-based revisions, etc. Each lesson ends with the assignment segment, consisting of the assignment sheet, examples of the paper, and the assignment submission page.

Each segment is divided into different pages that student users navigate either using the side arrows or the bottom menu.

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3.4 - Segment Interface
3.5 - Calendar
Course Calendar

PaamSongre Courseware incorporates an interactive course calendar, accessible via the calendar icon at the top left corner of each page, next to the homepage icon. This calendar comes with different viewing options, and course events appear under specific dates. Student users can click on those dates to get a more detailed description of their tasks that day. The details include the exact time at which students are to complete a task, the description of the task, the location of the task, etc.

Whenever student users land on the calendar, they do not have to scroll up and down searching for the day’s date as the calendar is automatically set to show upcoming events, not all events. If students want to see past events, they also have the option to do so. Just like an online calendar, student users can, with a click, add the course calendar to their own calendar and receive automatic daily notifications and reminders about course events.

At a time when students’ phones are their primary outlet to the world, being able to send course reminders and notifications directly to their phone is a great way to keep them on track. The course calendar can be set to automatically adjust itself based on different time zones.

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3.6 - Chat Box
Chat Box

Besides the ability to directly email the instructor from the platform, Paamsongre Courseware
also offers the possibility to chat with the instructor from any of its pages.

On the frontend, students can click on the chat icon to open the chat box. If the instructor is
online, it will be indicated by their status. If they are offline, a different status message such
as “Ask your question here! I typically reply within a few hours!” will be displayed.

On the backend, the instructor has the ability to customize the messages that display when
they are online or offline, set up quick messages to reply to frequently asked questions,
define their operating hours, add additional operators such as teaching assistants or student
workers to increase their online presence and quickly answer student questions, stimulate
students to ask questions when they come online, etc.

The chat feature is a handy tool that prompts students to ask questions, given its
conversational rather than formal nature. It spares them from always having to write formal
emails to have their questions answered.

Look at the lower right corner of your page to explore Paamsongre's Chat feature!

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