Saturday, April 2, 2011

Which platform for online course

This year I am creating an online course for my Year 11 French class and I am hoping to see the course happen in the whole New Zealand.

The course itself is on its way, so I am very happy :-)

But I have a huge concern and I need your help to solve it.

I would love to see the students taking part in this course to use a platform to discuss and/or solve their problems/questions. I know there are zillion of great platforms and I have a giant choice, but my concern is about accessibility.

Let’s say that I create a Facebook group for the course. The platform is free and user friendly and most of the kids in NZ have access to Facebook. The issue is that most of the school block the access to Facebook to their students. So if I chose Facebook, the students will not be able to access it when they are at school. They will be able to access it only when they are at home if their parents let them access Facebook (some of my students are not allowed by their parents to have a Facebook account). One other good point about Facebook is that if the students have a NZ Telecom Mobile phone they can access it for free, but most of the schools do not let their pupils use their mobile phone during school hours.

So I would like to use a platform that it is free, most likely not blocked by schools and user friendly !!!!

I need your help !!!!! Can you give me any suggestions ??? What do you use and why??

Thanks heaps

source photo:


  1. Why not use Posterous? It's an easy blog and the kids can post as contributors by email.

  2. Hey,

    Have you tried Edmodo? Free, 'safe', has an iphone app, and is not blocked at my school.

    You sign up as a teacher and you are given a code that your kids use when you sign up. You can create groups within groups and post links assignments etc. I use it in a primary school context so it might be a bit 'uncool' for your kids who are probably of facebook age.

    You can link other kids in from other schools by inviting them and giving them your code (so long as they are signed up to Edmodo too). As a teacher you have the 'right' to delete accounts and reset passwords (my kids always forget them!)

    Tara TJ x

  3. You can easily install your own forum / discussion software. For instance, phpBB is a popular one:

    Long lists of forum / discussions software

    It also depends on whether you want the discussion to happen in the context of a lesson or not. If yes, then you can use LMS software like Moodle or wikis like dokuwiki -

  4. It looks like there are some free online services as well (no setup of any kind required) -

  5. It really depends what you are hoping to achieve. Still another option is to embed a chat widget (conversations ala skype) into the a wikispaces page itself:

  6. Have you seen
    Like Facebook, but for schools (full privacy)


  7. Thank you everybody for your comments.

    The French course is on a Wikispace and we use Myportfolio to put the kids' work.
    I had heard and used Edmodo in the past but the kids did not like it. it is very hard to make teenagers use something they already do not use. It is why I thought Facebook would be the best platfom as the kids already use it and check it.

    I had thought about a Google Group, but my students said to me they don't check their emails, ever !!!

    For this year the french course will only be for my school so I could ask to facebook unblocked for those students, but if the course is good and go nation wide then I cannot ask every single schools in NZ to unblock facebook.

    I am going to look at all the ideas from @widged and let you know :-)

  8. You could use Ning, which is a more professional version of FB, but sadly, there is a charge to use it these days.

  9. This link may help:

  10. Thanks heaps to you all. After a meeting with the parents we decided to use the forum feature in myportfolio and facebook.

  11. I have used Edmodo successfully in a Secondary setting. It is being upgraded all the time so may be worth another try if your solution doesn't work.