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Curriculum software is also known as course-ware or course management software. This type of software has two primary audiences: course instructors and students. Course instructors use curriculum software to build their lesson plans, keep track of assignments, quizzes, and tests. Students who are registered in online courses use this type of software to access their course work and communicate with the instructor.
There are four primary modules in curriculum software: student management, course management, marking, and reporting. All four aspects are used together to provide a comprehensive tool for managing courses. Some software products also offer other modules for program administrators, with extensive reporting functionality and the ability to track issues and response times.
Student management in curriculum software includes keeping track of courses the student has completed, prerequisites, past performance, and course registrations. Some programs include the ability to manage the student's account, outstanding tuition, and fees assessments. Other programs keep these two aspects of student management separate.
The course management aspect is the most heavily used of all the modules. This tool is used to create all the different lesson plans, store recorded lectures, and provide access to lecture notes, required readings, and additional reference material. Online students submit their assignments through this tool and can be required to complete online tests and quizzes through this module.
Recording students' individual marks, tracking the class average, and determining the primary areas of strength and weakness within the class are all completed in the marks module. This module is not available to students, and can often be tied directly to the course management module. When an assignment is marked, the marks module is automatically updated, at the same time the assignment is returned to the student.
Reporting is required for both the individual course instructor, as well as the department head or section supervisor. Administrative staff can also access this module to determine the number of students registered in a course, level of interaction with the instructor, overall performance, dropout rate, and more. This type of data is required for long-term planning, determining tuition fees, and deciding if there is sufficient interest to continue to offer the course.
The field of curriculum software has expanded significantly in the past five to eight years, in parallel with the increased popularity of online learning. There is a significant amount of administration associated with teaching, and curriculum software is designed to increase the efficiency and transparency of the entire process for the instructor, student, and administrator.
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