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Handling Site Settings, Report Generation, and the Front/Home Page – An Interview with Michael Lanius:

As promised in my last post on LMS administration, I have a second set of interview clips to share from my chat with Michael Lanius about his perspective on an LMS Administrator’s role. In this second part of a two-part interview, we discuss generating reports, managing courses, course development, site settings, the importance of the front page (home page), front page administration and monitoring, common issues with the front page, and the skills that a good LMS Administrator needs to successfully manage the front page.

Michael is a senior support staffer at Web Courseworks who has played all the roles related to being a Learning Management Systems (LMS) Administrator.  Much of his day is dedicated to administrating the Web Courseworks LMS platform, as well as helping other LMS Administrators do the same with their local company LMS platforms.  In addition, Michael is responsible for software quality assurance.  This means that he handles and has a great depth of knowledge in both the overall LMS Administrator tasks, as well as in the very technical software and internet components of administrating an LMS.

An LMS (Learning Management System) is essentially a database that launches courses for users and tracks the achievements of the learning process.  This tracking is necessary both for the users as well as for administrators and executives who monitor the results of the system.   An important function of the learning management system, therefore, is generating reports for administrators and executives to make sure that the system is helping the end users achieve the desired objectives of the course or training.   I asked Michael how much time an LMS Administrator spends in generating reports.  Here’s what he said:

I asked Michael if he often has to assist customers in handling reporting functions of the LMS, in terms of generating reports and furnishing reports to them, and if he could give me an example.  Here’s his response:

Michael, let’s talk about course development.  Some businesses have a separate course development group or person in charge of developing courses.  That person has permission to upload those courses into the company LMS system.  But in smaller organizations, the LMS Administrator needs to understand and perhaps perform these varied functions him or herself.  How does an LMS Administrator manage courses?

Michael, you mentioned the importance of site settings and course settings, and said that an example of a course setting might be something like the LMS Administrator setting grade parameters so that the users get certificates.  Could you give me a few examples of what site settings are, and tell me what some of the most common site settings might be?

Let’s move now from course and site settings to front page administration.  I asked Michael, “Is front page administration (also referred to as home page administration) a common thing that an LMS Administrator needs to worry about?”

I asked Michael what skill sets a LMS Administrator needs to have to successfully manage their front page (home page).  In this clip, Michael gives an excellent overview of the elements that are most helpful for the LMS Administrator to implement on the front page, and which elements hinder the readability of the front page.  He also covers the skills and characteristics that the LMS Administrator needs to possess to be optimally effective, including what technical skills are important, and why they are important in editing and formatting the front page.

Because the front page is such a visible part of the LMS platform, it is important for the front page to both look great and be very functional and user friendly.  I asked Michael about the most common issues that can happen with the front page, and about tools that can be used to update the front page.

In conclusion, I asked Michael about the most important skills that a good LMS Administrator needs to have to optimally do their job.  Here’s his response:

In this two-part interview, Michael has given some detailed information about report generation, course and site settings, the front/home page, skills needed to adequately administer the front page, as well as skills necessary to be a good LMS Administrator.  If you have questions about how your association or organization could benefit from an LMS, please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

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