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eCoach or Open Source?
By Barbara Bray    March 19, 2007 -- 03:28 PM

Some of you love Moodle as your learning management system (LMS) and thatís great. My eCoach can complement Moodle or Bb but some are finding that eCoach does the same and much more. eCoach was not created to replace any LMS - it was created to support, supplement, and enhance face-to-face programs. We encourage blending f2f with online - that is not always possible - so some people are trying to find a solution for online only.

In my opinion - this is very difficult to do. You can set up a course in Moodle or Bb or even eCoach and find that maybe 50% participate.

Do you ever feel like you have to constantly knock on these peopleís virtual door? call them? go to their house and knock down their real door?

This can happen with any online program if it is used alone. Also you have to consider your audience and the purpose of your program. If you want teachers or administrators to collaborate, you cannot all of a sudden bring in an online program and expect collaboration if they never collaborated face-to-face. Too difficult. Never going to happen. (IMHO)

My eCoach was designed to support coaching and mentoring programs - and that is really evident with new teacher programs. Something interesting is happening now that the Universal builder was launched.
I was discussing this with several eCoaches who really believe that My eCoach is more effective than Moodle or other Open Source programs. Why?

Hereís what some shared with me:
  • My eCoach has all the tools you need all in one place.
  • Moodle resides on your server and needs someone to install and maintain it.
  • An eCoach can set up and manage their own team in eCoach with very little training and money.
  • Moodle is Open Source so if you need help, you check the forums or hire someone to help you who understands how to code.
  • My eCoach has a team of people available to support you including your own eCoaches and the tools are easy to use and template driven.
  • Moodle is a learning management system.
  • eCoach is an online learning community.
  • Your LMS stands alone where your eCoach team is part of a larger eCoach community.
There are tools that eCoach does not have that Moodle and Bb offer. We are constantly building new features like the surveys and universal builder. Many eCoaches are telling me that the personal touch, the ability to align to standards, and share resources from other teams makes eCoach a better system for them to use.

What do you think?


Categories: "Open Source" "My Ecoach"



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Comments:
By small Ken Bakken      March 19, 2007 -- 05:21 PM
I have used some of the Open Source products discussed above and have found that there is no one tool that can do it all. My eCoach along with face-to-face training has worked for me. The eCoach team continually improves and enhances its tools. The launching of the Universal Builder was a significant improvement that allows much more creativity and flexibility to building projects/activities. Rather than creating a PowerPoint presentation to discuss the advantages of My eCoach with decision makers, I made a website for my presentation ( Why My eCoach? ) to demonstrate the versatility of My eCoach.

Ken


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By Hilary      March 20, 2007 -- 07:39 AM
"If you want teachers or administrators to collaborate, you cannot all of a sudden bring in an online program and expect collaboration if they never collaborated face-to-face. Too difficult. Never going to happen."

I think it's important to emphasize that what you say is completely and absolutely true and yet it seems that every day more and more people haven't learned that basic lesson. I see it in the nonprofits I work with - "let's create an online [whatever] where our clients and/or supporters/donors will happily interact with each other...work on projects together... create policy papers....whatever etc." And it doesn't happen. 50% is optimistic in my experience. As an Amnesty International volunteer I experience it from the receiving side - set up a forum, or an "internet space" is the term they like, to discuss human rights violations in xx country and develop strategies and tactics to combat them. What happens? Someone posts news items every week or so and nothing more. Because none of these folks have met f2f to develop a reason to work together online. Pretty sad!

The unique contribution that eCoach makes to this huge mix of online get-togethers is that it *extends* f2f programs and offers non-profits and schools much more than discussion threads or blogs. It has all the tools plus real people giving support and advice. That's the big difference between a learning system and a learning community.


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By small Donna Blanton      March 20, 2007 -- 08:43 PM
I am not sure how My eCoach has changed, or should I say enhanced my teaching. Right here in the class room. Before eCoach lessons were hand written, well, typed up and printed to follow. Classroom website took time to build and I was able to tell what was happening, show a few pictures, and give some links. And hoped that someone went on it to look at it. But After eCoach my technology level has increased. Now I donít have to print my lessons, I just pull them up on the screen and it is interactive, parents and students can view and perform tasks from my lessons. Classroom website... the limits are endless, it takes no time at all, changes are instant, I donít have to follow a template to only put in one spot an active link. I can put it anywhere. Showcase students work with podcasting, talking to students via blogs and pondering on what was learned in school at home and just how they are doing is wonderful. Parents can ask questions at their fingertips. Surveys are available for parents and teachers, and even students. As I said the possibilites are endless and the best thing is that it is all in one place and extremely user friendly.

Collaboration, you donít have to be in the same room to do your planning. Your entire team can be anywhere and log on and talk via eCoach, plan, and manipulate through the lesson plans.

Each subject I face now I am seeing beyond the boundaries of my classroom. I ask myself what can I bring to the children that will keep them entertained and on top of education, creating that love for learning, that life long learning that we as teachers try to instill in our students. Not too long ago I read on a documentary that we are teaching students now for jobs that donít even exist yet. Technology changes daily and needs to be incorporated into the students education life. My eCoach brings it to them!


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By small Sarah Zykanov      March 26, 2007 -- 10:55 AM

  This is exciting.  I have not even used ecoach with the teachers I support, YET, but I can see why it would be more valuable than Moodle or Bb.  I do teach classes using Bb, and have found that without a f2f component, I do have to eharrass students to get them into the Online discussions.

I am in an ED.D class at USF with Kevin (?) he is a big Moodle guy, I think he just published a book about it.  I have been telling him we need to sit down for a chat.  I think I'll talk to him about ecoach.

I'm pretty overwhelmed right now with all the possibilities that this new Web 2.0 world has placed in front of me.  I think it's time to harness those tools to communicate with the teachers and credential candidates that I currently support f2f.

Thanks all for your willingness, even eagerness to share.



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