After two iterations of our CMMC Essentials, class we have decided to move away from Microsoft Teams and onto Google Classroom.

We simply could not reliably predict the UX for our learners on Microsoft Teams. For example, if a guest entered a meeting from their Teams, they could not use the chat feature during a meeting. Only f you copied the meeting url from the calendar, pasted it into a different browser, and then selected “open in Teams app” would guests receive access to the chat.

We also do not know if a user has downloaded the app or only enters class through the browser based versions. Those experiences end up different. That never works for teaching. You want to spend your time on the content and not doing two different version of tool tutorials.

File sharing became impossible. You record a meeting and it is uploaded to Stream. By default Guests can’t see Stream. You have to download the video and then reupload it to Teams for guest access. PITA. Same with files. Am I in teams, Sharepoint, O365? Got messy quick.

If I have an SME booked for an hour I do not want to ten trying to share files.

Then we do not know the feature sets or how these features work on Teams. At our university we have five different levels of Teams all on one tenant. We can choose from:

  • Staff
  • Professional Learning Community
  • Class
  • Other

Each one has nuanced, role-based access settings that nobody really knows. We have asked. Well—first you have to try to figure out who to ask.

For a small company, Teams will work as a training platform. At our University, nested in a State IT system, connected to our Active Directory, we just did not have enough control to flip radial buttons. Getting features turned on and off requires untangling webs of committees and shared governance.

Moving to Google Classroom

screenshot of google classroom

Therefore, Dr. Tucker, Dr. Lancor, and I decided to shift to Google Classroom. Our university keeps an instance so we can train teachers on Google Workspace apps. Schools no longer use or teach Microsoft Products until you get to College. Local school districts demand teachers are trained in the Google ecosystem.

We reached out to all of our alumni and future students, and everyone seem pleased with the change. People do not like Microsoft Teams when compared to Slack and Discord. A majority actually noted a bit of relief after having used Google Classroom with their children during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Most know the platform already.

I do not like the inability to add images to Google Classroom materials. Pictures help, but I am sure Google saves on file size, bandwidth and improves accessibility (or does it hurt it??…maybe accessibility compliance) without images.

We still provide students with an account on Cocoon Data’s Safe Share if they want to share IP or keep their SSP off our University’s Google Instance.

What does this mean for an LTP?

Nothing. We write curriculum LMS agnostic. You will have it delivered in HTML/Word/PDF and SCORM. We follow a simple instructional design rule of content frames.

A content frame works by constraining design. We only get a set of boxes to put stuff in:

  • Overview
  • Essential Questions
  • Objectives
  • Videos
  • Read Tasks
  • Write Tasks
  • Participate Tasks

Every module gets laid out using the exact same content frame. Predicatable navigation projects student satisfaction and learning.

Our teacher guides use the lesson plan template CMMC-AB. If you purchase the optional teacher handbook you have a copy of the student textbook, with teaching tips and lessons for delivering the material in three different modalities

  • Asynchronous Online
  • Synchronous Online
  • Hybrid
  • Face to Face

You will also know all of the content you recieve comes compliant with the American Disability Act and Section 508.

Most importantly, you will know the courses elicit evidence of knowledge growth against our course objectives, which have undergone two protocols of content validation with subject matter experts. Every module will contain a pre and post test that is conditionally released to students through Safe Share or your LMS.

We also move far beyond the traditional recorded Power Points. In our classes, community is the curriculum. You will receive tips on holding discussions for the modality of your choosing. In addition to this, you will receive a library of pre-edited discussions we have already conducted with the best people in cybersecurity. Every module does include a slide deck with speaker notes for the Instructors most comfortable with that toolkit.

Our assignments move far beyond the traditional multiple choice test. Sure, we use some quizzes, but we want students learning by doing. Every lesson plan follows a scaffold of read, write, do. We set an active purpose for our readers, have them synthesize new learning in their writing, and then apply what they learn through a performance assessment.