Asynchronous Tools

Learning Management Systems

The Learning Management System (LMS) is also considered an asynchronous tool. It has become so much a part of my experience as a student of Athabasca University that I forgot it was even a separate technology to be discussed. The various options and functionality of different LMS systems are vast, and not all professors make use of every possible add-on. As the systems become more robust, it is becoming increasingly more likely that an instructional designer (along with the subject expert) could use a number of apps within the LMS to create a unified and meaningful workspace without having to utilize a mishmash of outside tools.

I've included here some screenshots from the Desire2Learn platform used at my work, under the brand "Fanshawe Online" or "FOL". In my professional life FOL is used both as a professor, and as an employee. Our organization uses FOL to create training courses and licensing requirement workshops and testing. This has been tremendously helpful as we no longer need to attend mandated scheduled training times and can work around our busy schedules to complete the modules on our own.

As a professor I've become quite adept at using the features in FOL and look forward to finding out what functionalities have been added while I've been away on sabbatical! It seems there is always a new way to work with the LMS to provide better flexibility, access and activities for students. One of the most recent features I really love is the push-technology that allows students to be notified by text message whenever I make an update to the course site. Students love it too!


Asynchronous tools have been around for a very long time, yet their relevance remains. As collaborative and communication tools, email still provides a simple, accessible and mobile way to stay connected with classmates and informed. Along with list servers and email lists, email creates the means for a professor to quickly and efficiently update students or make changes to course material can be achieved.

Here are a few screenshots which aim to illustrate how frequently the members of our small group communicated using email. There were too many messages in total to actually capture them all, but this series spans the duration of the course.

List Servers

When beginning to read about List Servers, I thought I had no idea what they were. Then I realized I've been using them for quite some time as a member of the Child & Youth Counsellors Network. Signing up for the list server is a simple as going to and filling out the form.

This list server is maintained by an active group of professional Child & Youth Counsellors around the world and has become a main portal for resource sharing, professional consultation, celebration and education. In my classes I've directed students to join the group in order to help them become more aware of their professional role and to begin developing their own professional contacts.

The artifacts on this page are linked to the learning objectives for Unit 3. To see the complete list of objectives, click here: