Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 10 -- My Big Campus -- Safe Student Collaboration and Communication

Safe Student Collaboration and Communication: An Educational Community with Filtering, Monitoring

Today's guest blogger is Mike Gorman with Southwest Allen County Schools.

Have you been searching for a safe place that allows students to collaborate and communicate over classroom topics while still allowing administration the opportunity to monitor student activity? How about a spot that allows students to upload, download, store, and even submit assignments for feedback and grading. Does providing a virtual room that facilitates student discussion of school related curriculum using you tube video, websites, documents, and a rich library of resources compel you to keep reading? Better yet, students collaboratively writing a document though the sharing of that document with an entire group might be something that would fit into your 21st century classroom. Of course all of these features allowing facilitation of this great learning opportunity inside a closed community would interest any teacher… wouldn’t it? How about opening up parts of this closed community to parents, other classrooms, experts, or the entire web whenever you as the teacher wish? Would you like to give your students the ability to blog, write a wiki, and maintain a learning wall? Are you interested in having a portal for entire course content complete with SMS and email feeds to make announcements, a resource area for all of the course content, a calendar that stores all the important course dates, and that merges with a student owned calendar containing all of their courses? Most important… was it mentioned it was free? Do you want something better than free? How about a place that has filtering, monitoring, and reporting of student activity as a built-in feature? Introducing My Big Campus, a learning community that is free, filtered, monitored, and truly student centered. Take a look at this informational video about My Big Campus and you will want to continue to explore and consider ways to implement it in your school.

My Big Campus really has a social networking-type look with the needs of education and the classroom under the hood. My Big Campus makes it easy to collaborate with peers using features like real-time chat, messaging, group discussions, wall posts, and much more. This community allows a safe avenue to allow student messaging, wikis, and blogs. Most recently, My Big Campus has even incorporated the feature of shared documents. It is easy to upload, access, and share files on My Big Campus. Students will no longer need flash drives and can get to their work anytime and anywhere. Tens of thousands of educationally-relevant YouTube videos, documents, blogs, websites and other resources that may have been blocked can now be accessed through a resource library. If the video or web site is not already there then the teacher can add it. Possibly the best feature enables teachers and administrators to easily monitor and control school content and users’ activity, messages, and file uploads. My Big Campus can generate reports of all activity, possible suspicious activity, and even activity that has been deleted! This can go a long way towards helping today’s digital natives understand digital citizenship. Teachers and administrators decide what access students will have, and have the ability to turn off any or all activity with the push of a button.
  • Activity - great collaborative tool and can also be turned on and off for specific users and groups.
  • Edutalk - twitter like feature that is available to teachers. It allows educators to network with other professionals in their building, district, and beyond.
  • Conversations - acts like email and can be tailored to meet classroom needs. Conversations can be kept within the school or district campus and it may be set up for teacher to teacher, student to teacher, teacher to student, or could allow students to contact both teachers and students.
  • School Work - allows teachers to create, store, and assign classwork. There is even the ability to grade assignments and facilitate a variety of quizzes.
  • Your Stuff - like a locker or file cabinet where teachers and students can upload, store resources, and download from any place at any time using almost any device.
  • MBC Documents allows teachers and students to collaboratively work together on shared documents. MBC Documents gives all users the features of a word processor, with storage in the “cloud.”
  • Calendar - features allows all users to create calendars and have those calendars populated by groups/classes they belong to.
  • Blog - allows anyone to set up their own blog in a safe environment.
  • Groups - Teachers can also set up Groups to manage their classes, extra-curricular activities, and projects. The graphic below provides a quick look… followed by an explanation of how Groups are used in My Big Campus.
As you can see above, a group can contain a Home Page that might provide a project overview, a class syllabus, or an extracurricular statement. There is an area for Announcements that can be pushed out to group members’ individual calendars. Discussions, is a great area to allow students to discuss and reflect with each other. This area can include videos, web pages, and readings to facilitate learning both during and after school hours. The Chat area can be turned on and off at teacher discretion, but could provide a unique opportunity for meeting and collaboration. Perhaps one of the most powerful areas is Pages. Subpages can even be created off of the main page and can be assigned to groups and students to encourage a group project, web site, wiki, or blog. In the Resources area teachers can place items from their main library or the main library of My Big Campus. These resources can be any type of file, web site, or multimedia. There is also a group Calendar and a complete listing of all Members of the group.

You will discover that not only are there great resources, such as access to the entire video collection of the Khan Academy, but also an excellent class management system based on safe and monitored student collaboration and communication. There are two types of free accounts available to educators. The standalone version (Freemium) of My Big Campus is perfect for single teachers, project-based learning activities, professional networks, or group projects. The integrated version of My Big Campus is a district-wide solution that provides access to the Educational Resource Library content without risk of over-blocking, as well as cross-district sharing and collaboration, and additional management and reporting features. The integrated version is available to all of Lightspeed’s filter customers. Freemium users do not have to be Lightspeed customers and can do almost everything regular users can do (filtering and reports may be more limited). For a matrix comparing the two versions of My Big Campus, please visit

The Challenge

Are you using My Big Campus in your classroom? Do you see a use for My Big Campus in your classroom? Share your experiences and your plans with others.


  1. With so many options out there for collaboration and communication, I would really appreciate hearing what classroom teachers are finding valuable in this comprehensive LMS. What features make it a must?

    1. The ability to set different policies for different age levels and school buildings.

    2. Michelle, here are my top 10 reasons for loving My Big Campus. Item #6 is the best reason I can think of for joining the site:

  2. I agree with your blog.I think that's a great idea to safe student collaboration and communication.Thanks for the great tips.!!

    1. I read above information It's nice information to share with us.

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