(Full Disclosure: I am a My Big Campus Coach, which means I'm paid to train districts on the uses of the site.)
Valentine's Day is almost here. Since love is in the air, I surmise now is the perfect time to highlight the top 10 reasons why I love My Big Campus.
10. Student adoration. My students love MBC. I relish hearing kids squeal, "This is cool!" It happens every time I introduce a group to the site or conduct a lesson on it. Learners enjoy interacting with me and each other in ways that can't be duplicated on paper.
9. MBC developer Lightspeed Systems. Internet filtering firm and MBC developer Lightspeed Systems seeks, listens to, and integrates end-user ideas to improve its learning management system. Upgrades happen all the time.
8. Multiple features and limitless possibilities. MBC doesn't skimp on amenities: Blogs, wiki-like pages, document sharing, Facebook-style wall posts, discussion boards, unlimited file storage for Lightspeed customers (2GB for "Freemium" accounts), 100 MB maximum uploads, private messaging, VOIP (think Skype), SMS, filtered YouTube access, online quizzes, resource library, calendar, topical groups, professional collaboration, topic trending, and monitoring.
7. Filtering, Tracking, and Recording. Blog posts, wall posts, uploads, and private messaging are recorded. Even deleted items are archived and are just a mouse click away. Posts are filtered for language. Inappropriate words are kicked out. A flesh-tone filter processes all images to ensure unsuitable pictures aren't published. MBC staff and school-district personnel can review all content.
6. MBC the Training Ground. Critics argue students should be allowed to publish on the open web. Digital footprints, they maintain, should be developed early. I counter a different point. Many of my students have endured rough lives. It's a daily struggle helping these kids view education in a positive light. Abstract concepts like a digital footprint don't concern them. As with all youngsters, my students live in the now - not the future. Therefore, they possess very little, if any, trepidation of how their current online actions will affect later opportunities - such as college and job prospects. MBC offers me the ability to coach learners on word choice and post content. When student work is suitable, I can set MBC to publish endeavors on the open web. As a teacher, I'm called to protect students - sometimes from themselves.
5. Verification. Teachers entering MBC through free accounts are authenticated - period. Lightspeed ensures all teachers within MBC are working educators in actual schools. Students aren't allowed to create their own accounts - meaning no ghost accounts. Since all members are verified, there is no anonymity in MBC.
4. Granular Control. MBC is controlled through policies. Districts set the policies for their teachers and students.
3. SIS Integration for New Users. Though district users can be entered into MBC manually, importing students directly from a SIS is no sweat. Bring in 100 students or 100,000 harnessing minimal effort.
2. Free Membership. All districts employing Lightspeed's Internet filter already have unlimited access to MBC and its features. They need only contact Lightspeed for details on setup and staff training. Teachers or IT administrators who desire a test run can join the site for free.
1."Bob" has my back. Everybody needs a friend. "Bob Campus" is mine. For all but four hours a day, he answers questions, monitors activity, and provides students a safe online friend. In addition, Bob tutors learners on netiquette and advises district administrators of possible student problems on MBC.