What is a Learning Management System and is it Easy to Use?

Prior to pursuing the Brian Lamb School of Communications Master of Science in Communication online program, I had never taken a single online class. How did I know I was prepared for this endeavor, you ask? Regardless of whether you have taken an online class before, any and all previous school, work, and daily life experiences you may have had in the digital world has prepared you for this momentous leap in furthering your education. Some examples of learning management systems are online homework portals such as Blackboard of Catalyst, assignment submissions, Facebook groups for class projects, Google drive/apps sharing and collaborating, workplace computing systems, and our email/instant messaging and social media culture, all of these experiences have prepared you for this online degree, whether you have realized it or not!

With any new system, there will always be a learning curve. But with that being said, I was able to expertly navigate through Purdue’s Engage Learning Management System within the first week of classes. The platform’s clean user interface, intuitive action buttons, mobile-friendly site, and interactive features will make your life as a student that much simpler and will allow you to focus your attention on the course materials, and not worry about how to use the learning management system.

Since being in this communication masters online program allows us students to be anywhere in the world in any time zone, and still be able to customize our own schoolwork schedules, almost every one of your classmates will be online at different times. There are times where you will be online with eight other classmates, and times where you will be the only one, but with the fantastic tools within Engage, you will be able to stay connected with each other as well as the instructors.

Every class will have a “student lounge” where you can post just about anything in regards to class, topics related to the field, or even just a fun video that you found and want to share!

The “ask your instructor” virtual bulletin will allow you to pose any questions or clarifications that you think may concern the entire class.

All of these tools are there to set you up for success!

While the Master of Science in Communication online program provides you with the utmost flexibility to cater the program to your already busy lives, this also means that you will have to stay on top of your schedule and be more proactive and self-initiating than you ever have. The learning management system, Engage, is here to assist you in your higher education journey every step of the way, and I truly believe anyone can learn it and use it to their advantage.
 
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Amanda Tran is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Amanda Tran is in her second year of the Master of Science in Communication online program through the Brian Lamb School of Communication. The Seattle native completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in 2013 with BA in Anthropology - Medical Anthropology & Global Health, and a minor in music. She currently works at the UW as the office support supervisor in the Student Activities Office, is a founder and director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit music education organization, the Contemporary A Cappella Musicians' Institute, reviews and photographs concerts for local music blogs, and performs with her nationally ranked a cappella group, SeaNote. Amanda is ecstatic to share her insights and experiences of working on a masters degree while also balancing work and life.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.