While using an LMS has benefits, what if your school doesn’t use one or the LMS used requires specific software to run? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that lets you create online content regardless of what LMS or lack thereof exists? Ah, but there is, and that brings us to this week’s tech snack!
Today’s tech snack can be found at the following url: https://versal.com/education
What is it and how can I use it in my class room?
Versal is a free online platform that lets you create online courses that are interactive and engaging. Versal does offer additional services that require paid subscriptions, but for this blog entry, I will concentrate on the free features (to see the differences in plans see the chart below).
**Note: If you click on publish course without clicking on the finish button, you will still get a url to share your course-however, you will get a page that says the page is forbidden. So, remember click on finish first before you share!***
More Nitty Gritty….
If you share your course via url, your students will click on the link and then they will need to create a versal account in order to access your course. If you choose to embed your course into your website, blog or lms, students will have access to your course WITHOUT having to create a versal account. Using only the free features of versal, students can provide feedback/responses to questions but you will not be able to see their feedback unless you subscribe to one of the paid plans. (So for example, if you insert a quiz gadget into your course, students will be able to choose their answers for the quiz and they will be told which answers they got correct. You as the teacher, however, will not see their responses with the free plan.)
**Total disclaimer: Viewing and completing a published course can occur on any Internet enabled device including tablets, iPads and smartphones, though some gadgets don’t work as well in Internet Explorer. (When I tested them out using Internet Explorer some of the gadgets didn’t show up in my course. This may be due to the fact Internet Explorer is being phased out due to Microsoft move to the browser Edge-which is a feature of Windows 10). While you can view a course on any device, creating a course, however, requires a laptop or desktop. You cannot create a course on a smartphone but you can create a course using an iPad if you use the browser Puffin only. Creating a course on an iPad will not work on Safari.
This is an excellent resource to use to create a blended learning or flipped classroom environment. Students can access the courses from home and then discuss the content in class. One of the best things about this tool is that is easy and versatile, so it can be used with a variety of student audiences. With this tool, students can move through content at their own pace, which makes learning more individualized. You can also share content without having to deal with creating separate websites for different units/lessons.