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The Computer Managed Learning System

Steven Smith
Dynamic Computer Solutions

The Computer Managed Learning System is a suite of computer programs for MS-DOS computers that has been developed by Dynamic Computer Solutions in Adelaide. It provides educators with state of the art tools to personalise, control and monitor each student's learning program.

The CMLS controls and monitors the software installed on a computer or network and tracks the use of that software by each student. Educators can allocate software to students individually or en masse and monitor their progress. The software can be of any type: MS-DOS, Windows or CD-ROM. Educators, instructors etc. can write their own assessment/ assignment tasks using the CMLS's multimedia Assessment Module - naturally the computer marks it and provides a detailed analysis. Whatever software is being used, the CMLS monitors and reports on who is using the computer, when and for how long. Entire learning programs, combining off the shelf curriculum software with assessment tasks created by the teacher can be created for each student.

The CMLS provides a tamper proof Windows environment and can be used on standalone or networked computers. The extensive online help and accompanying manual make it the most user friendly interface between technology and education available today.

At Dynamic Computer Solutions we have applied our considerable human and physical resources to developing the Computer Managed Learning System. A system that provides the ultimate in student centred learning environments.

The Computer Managed Learning System operating in conjunction with Microsoft Windows, transforms the computer into a powerful teaching tool. The various modules that make up the CMLS give teachers unprecedented power to manage each student's learning program.

Until now, teachers have had very little control over the programs students accessed through Windows because, once installed, a program is available to everyone. Windows in its native state affords no security whatsoever. The CMLS changes all of that.

The software installation system within the CMLS is especially designed to enable all software -- CD-ROM, MS-DOS and Windows - to be installed and run through windows. When installing software, teachers can nominate the suitable age or grade range of each title, so that each one can easily be allocated to the appropriate students.

The software allocation process allows teachers to establish and maintain each student's 'diet' of programs. This means that students only have access to appropriate software. Through their unique Personal Menu, students can be given access to software selected to support and enhance a given curriculum area, while at the same time be given access to remedial and/or extension software especially chosen for them.

Not only is student access to software controlled. but the CMLS has in built control features that are student proof and teacher friendly. Students will not be able to alter Windows settings or access programs that have not been allocated to them.

When students login to the computer they are directed to their personal menu of programs, or in the case of teachers, to the system's administration section.

Students see the usual Windows Program Manager screen and, apart from the tamper proofing restrictions, Windows behaves normally. However, the system "secretly" records the program that has been accessed and keeps track of the time spent on it, thus building the student's activity log.

Teachers can, at any time, login and obtain reports from the CMLS. The information contained in the reports, and the teacher's own professional judgement of the student's progress, will determine what new programs are to be allocated to the student.

Indeed, teachers have a vital role to play in the initial and on going assessment of the programs that each student should use. That initial choice will be based on a teacher's judgement of the needs of each student. Later, programs can be removed and added to a student's allocated programs based on data collected by the computer and the teacher's CMLS judgement of the student's progress.

Because the system maintains a continuous history of each student's learning activities, teachers from year to year can easily see what software each student has used in previous years.

For the system to be an effective teaching tool, periodic editing and updating of system information is necessary - eg. new students added, those who have left the school deleted and any change in class or year group recorded. In addition, new programs will need to be added to the system and some removed. But perhaps the most important maintenance task is the timely review and updating of each student's personal software menu.

You see, computer managed learning is not about throwing as many programs at students as financially feasible and hoping that some good comes of it. It is based on the notion that the most effective learning path for most students is a structured, step by step, path. A 'free for all' on the computer makes learning a hit and miss affair. And it makes assessing the educational worth of each program an impossible task.

The impact of the Computer Managed Learning System on each sector of the education community

The Computer Managed Learning System will be acclaimed by all parties who have a stake in the education process....

For Students, computers are a natural tool because they:

For Teachers the CMLS: For School Principals and Management the CMLS For Governments the CMLS

The features of the system in summary

Author: Steven Smith, Dynamic Computer Solutions, 38 Greenhill Road Wayville, South Australia 5034

Please cite as: Smith, S. (1994). The Computer Managed Learning System. In J. Steele and J. G. Hedberg (eds), Learning Environment Technology: Selected papers from LETA 94, 314-315. Canberra: AJET Publications.

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