Curriculum Mapping

Is LCMS+ an approved vendor for the Curriculum Inventory report?

Yes. LCMS+ has been an approved vendor since the inception of the CI project. We have built in all the business rules of the reporting process, which means any errors in your data can be spotted and fixed before pushing your report to the AAMC. We offer a push-button process for you to review and submit your own CI data, but typically we will meet with each client school prior to the reporting period each year to walk through your curriculum data and make sure everything’s ready to go.

Can we use LCMS+ to map to EPA's?

Yes. While most schools are still piloting the definition of EPAs (Entrustable Professional Activities), LCMS+ has already built that framework into our architecture. The EPAs are not required as part of the Curriculum Inventory report, but they may help you get a clearer picture of how well-prepared your students are for residency and practice.

Can LCMS+ accommodate more than one set of competencies?

Yes. You can define multiple competency sets in LCMS+, and competencies are mapped to your program objectives. So if you develop a new set of competencies, you simply have to map that new set to your objectives. Then everywhere those objectives have already been mapped, those elements will also inherit the new competency set across your whole curriculum.

Can LCMS+ help us determine what we should actually be mapping?

If you’re coming off working with spreadsheets or text documents, the idea of mapping objectives, session objectives, competencies and themes across your entire curriculum is probably not a pleasant thought. But the structure of LCMS+ is built to make that mapping process much easier to manage. While we are not subject matter experts, we have seen a lot of different schools tackle the challenge of curriculum mapping and can offer you excellent guidance and support as you begin the mapping process or look at revising your curriculum.

Course Management

Can I roll over courses in LCMS+?

Yes. The LCMS+ course rollover function lets you copy all of the data from a previous instance of a course into a new instance. This preserves goals and objectives, course materials, faculty and staff assignments and other key data that used to be entered manually. Virtually all curricular elements can be cloned or rolled over, including exams, linked events and small group assignments. LCMS+ also features management functions to allow course coordinators to more easily adjust the course after rollover, including a Course Checklist to quickly verify the status of the new course.

Can LCMS+ handle all the small group events we work with?

Yes. LCMS+ offers a robust small group management function that gives staff administrators broad control and flexibility to create and manage small group assignments. Once established, the structure of these small groups can be rolled over to future courses and events. Tools for “linked events” allow materials to be shared across multiple instances of the same event (lab sessions, for example.) Students will only see their particular small group events on their calendar, but staff can manage small groups quickly and easily.

Does LCMS+ have a search engine built in?

Yes. LCMS+ offers full-text search and can index any text-based document that is uploaded to the system. This includes MS Word and PowerPoint files, spreadsheets, weblinks and PDFs. LCMS+ also searches the curriculum based on session objectives, the name and description of course and events, meta-data assigned to course content and specific keywords assigned to events. Search results link back to the source to show you where that element is utilized. Current search filters include program, academic year, school year, course master and theme.

Does LCMS+ offer a lottery tool?

Yes. LCMS+ provides a lottery system that allows users to rank-order their preferences from a defined list of courses. The system then allocates space in the courses based on the student’s rank-order, and it will randomly select from the pool of equal rank-orders in the case of over-subscription.

Our lottery module also has a first-come, first-serve option, called a signup sheet, to augment the rank-order functionality. Students will see both the signup sheets and lotteries in the reminder window each time they log in to the system for ease of access.

Does LCMS+ offer discussion boards?

Yes. LCMS+ offers robust discussion boards to facilitate student and faculty communication:

  • Discussion boards can be public or private. If set as private, specific instructors and/or students can be added to a discussion, and post updates/reminders can be sent.
  • Discussion boards include a WYSIWYG editor to allow rich text formatting.
  • Instructions can be attached at the top of a discussion.
  • When new posts are added, you can elect to send automated email reminders to students and/or faculty who are assigned to a discussion.
  • Faculty can click a student’s name from the list of assigned students to see all posts made by a selected student.
  • Faculty/staff can grade student participation in a discussion by assigning an “exam discussion.” Scores from such discussions can then be exported to the Gradebook.
Can we send email or announcements from within LCMS+?

Yes. The LCMS+ messaging system is tied into the curriculum so that announcements can be created from a course or event and will be directed to only the student and/or faculty and staff in that event. However, messaging options are highly flexible: additional users and groups can be added to any announcement, and any existing users or groups can be removed. Announcements can be sent internally and/or sent by email, and can include documents and links to external materials.

If any new (unread) announcements exist for a particular user, they will pop up in a reminder window whenever the user logs in. A history of all announcements is maintained so a user can view all posts sent or received. Unlike email, announcements also allow administrators to know which users have actually been exposed to an announcement.

Does LCMS+ offer a dropbox functionality?

Yes. LCMS+ allows you to create an unlimited number of dropbox -like folders in any event, and there are options to specify dates of availability and passwords. Faculty can view a list of students who have uploaded the assignment, as well as a list of those who have not yet uploaded the assignment, and messages can be sent to the non-compliant students.

LCMS+ also includes a grading and comment mechanism with the ability to push out the grades to our course-based Gradebook tool. Documents can be graded and the commented version of the document can be returned to the students via a delivery mechanism that is private and linked only to the student.

Content Management

What kind of content management tools does LCMS+ offer?

LCMS+ gives you the ability to upload virtually any type of image, content or media files. Courses, events, exam questions and responses may contain an unlimited number of images and multimedia resources. LCMS+ is LTI- and SCORM-compliant.

In LCMS+, materials are stored in both the main course screen and the event screens. Material that is applicable across the entire course (for example, a syllabus)  is normally posted in the course screen, while the actual content for an event should be posted directly to that event. Materials can also be distributed via course announcements.

What kinds of restrictions can we place on materials in LCMS+?

You can hide or reveal access to content or assignments by specifying date ranges of availability, adding password protection, or marking material as deleted or as “faculty only.” You can also restrict access to specific users or groups. LCMS+ gives you option to time-release content, including the ability to make materials available within a particular session (eg, 15 minutes after an event begins, or 5 minutes before the event ends).

At your discretion, students can easily be given access to course materials across all four years. This is helpful, for example, if you want to allow your fourth-year students to review the current first-year materials (rather than the material that was available in their first year, which may be outdated). LCMS+ has a very flexible tool for granting access to non-enrolled students that can be set at the course, event and document level. So you can open up as much of your curriculum as you wish, while at the same time securing any elements you need to restrict.

Can students access content in LCMS+ on iPads or other tablets?

Yes. LCMS+ offers electronic document distribution (DD) which provides a flexible delivery platform to allow download of curricular materials for an entire semester with the touch of a single button on an iPad. This gives students a significant advantage over systems used at many institutions that require materials to be downloaded one file at a time.

To do this, LCMS+ converts all text-based content to PDFs (the original format remains intact). LCMS+ then runs through content every 55 minutes, finds new material and updates the search indexes. It then converts these materials from their native format to a PDF and pushes them to a WebDav staging server where students can download in real time, any time.

Assessment

What evaluation tools does LCMS+ offer?

LCMS+ offers 360-degree evaluations with the ability for administrators to review, modify, summarize and push student evaluation results to the gradebook. Different degrees of anonymity can be configured for evaluation reporting.

What exam tools does LCMS+ offer?

LCMS+ can deliver traditional exams, TBL events, and clinical skills assessment and can simultaneously accommodate 200 students or more. The system also includes modules for leading post-exam discussions based on the exam, as well as for conducting TBL exams including electronic scratch-off forms with a grading mechanism based on the number of choices required to reach the correct answer. LCMS+ offers many tools for feedback and monitoring exams, including a histogram that shows in real time which questions have been answered and whether those answers are correct or incorrect. LCMS+ also gives you the ability to re-score, eliminate questions and create multiple correct answers on the fly.

LCMS+ also offers many tools for monitoring exams in real time, showing you things like:

  • The number of students eligible to take the exam
  • The number who have not yet started
  • The number who are currently taking the exam
  • The number who have answered all questions in the exam
  • The number who have actually submitted the exam

In addition, a histogram shows in real time which questions have been answered and whether those answers are correct or incorrect. Plus you can see a detailed report of any given student’s responses in real time, at any time.

Can we create a question bank in LCMS+?

Yes. Course directors can search through all questions that have been created in the system to build a customized question bank for their course, and can also add new questions directly into the system. This customized question bank is then available for all exams created within the course. There is also an option that lets faculty create questions based on their lecture, and these questions are sent directly to the course question bank.

LCMS+ offers you multiple question bank options:

  • Faculty can create questions after an event, and these questions become part of the question bank for the course.
  • Course Directors / Staff can, on a per-course basis, gather questions from the entire body of questions and copy them into a course-specific question bank. The bank is available to all sections of the course in all years.
  • Course Directors / Staff can create new questions and add them to the question bank.
  • Editors for a given exam can select questions from the course question bank on any exam for the course.
  • Questions may also be pushed directly from exams back into the question bank for future use.
  • Randomized questions and responses can be created.
What kinds of question types are available in LCMS+?

Question types in LCMS+ include true/false, multiple choice, matching, multiple select, free text (essay), and short answer with pre-defined range of correctness. Randomized questions and responses can also be created, and new question types can be added as required. We also offer customizable templates for multiple choice questions. In addition, LCMS+ offers electronic scratch-off forms for TBL events.

For question control, LCMS+ allows students to scratch off options for elimination and to flag questions for review, which can be filtered in several ways. We also provide a visual map of questions for quick navigation through a large exam. We are currently implementing a tool to disallow backtracking.

LCMS+ can randomize the order of questions and/or responses within questions, on both a per-user and per-exam basis.

What kinds of exam reporting does LCMS+ offer?

LCMS+ offers many reports based on assessment data, including a sophisticated point bi-serial item analysis for each exam and multiple feedback screens for students across a course. In addition, all exam questions can be linked back to objectives and their related competencies for improved accreditation reporting.

Questions and exams can be tagged with categories, and reports can be generated to show how well students are doing by category across all their exams in a given year. This can help expose student weakness in categories that would be otherwise be masked by the overall score on an exam.

Exams can be set up with a number of feedback settings, such as:

  • No feedback
  • List of questions answered
  • List of questions answered + response
  • List of questions answered + response + correctness
  • Option to generate a customized PDF document that can be downloaded by the student or emailed to them.

In addition, super-immediate feedback (SIF) is an option that allows students to see feedback on questions and answers as they are taking an exam. SIF helps you turn the exam system into a learning tool so your students don’t just see the correct answers – they can actually understand why their answers were right or wrong.

Does LCMS+ have a gradebook?

Yes. The LCMS+ Gradebook is a course-based tool that allows for the automatic upload of scores from exams, folders and other tools. Results can also be uploaded from third-party assessment tools.There is also a tool for the manual entry of score results.

Assessments can be grouped by category, and both exams and categories can be assigned weighted, raw or percentage values. These values (and the actual scores) can be used to generate a grade based on a grading matrix that you can define. Administrative users can combine Gradebooks for all sections of a course to view performance in a given year for all students.

Technical

What is the system architecture of LCMS+?

LCMS+ is built on a LAMP stack, using PHP, MySQL, javascript and AJAX running on Linux servers. The server platform is Fedora or RedHat Linux and the database backend is the standard version of mySQL that ships with RedHat Linux. We can set up ODBC connections and other external access options.

What are the system requirements for LCMS+?

LCMS+ works on any current desktop operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux) running a current version of any major browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE, Opera). LCMS+ is delivered entirely by browser and does not require flash, java, or any other browser add-ons.

Can LCMS+ integrate with central authentication (SSO)?

Yes. LCMS+ can authenticate against its own user database as well as Shibboleth, ActiveDirectory (AD), LDAP, CAS, OpenID or other open authentication systems. All users also have local accounts on the system but can only use those accounts once a local password has been configured.

Guest users can be added to the system; these users can bypass your central authentication and authenticate directly against LCMS+. This feature is specifically supported to allow for quick access by visiting faculty and students.

Setting up central authentication is typically done as part of the implementation process, and multiple authentication methods can be accommodated. LCMS+ is a member of the InCommon Federation.

Can LCMS+ integrate with our registrar system?

Yes. As part of the implementation process, LCMS+ can integrate with registrar or student information systems to develop an automated feed of users, courses and registrations that can run on a nightly basis. But we understand that registrar systems sometimes aren’t built to accommodate the special ways your complex curriculum works – so we’ve built in tools for you to manage those feeds in a a way that works for you.

Can we host LCMS+ in our own server farm?

We provide cloud hosting through Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it has been proven to offer lower total cost of ownership for our client schools. We administer all servers and establish daily, weekly and monthly backup processes. Cloud hosting also allows us to monitor server performance more closely and address any issues more quickly than is possible in an internally-hosted environment.

What other security settings can we control?

In addition to user-based security restrictions, LCMS+ offers a CSP utility to customize cross site scripting and security options within the LCMS+ application. Our CSP module meets the CSP 2.0 standard. Click here for more detail.

License Models

Can we 'graduate' from the mapping-only model to the enterprise model?

Yes. Many schools begin with the mapping functionality and then elect to move to the enterprise model after their first year with LCMS+. With the enterprise model, students and other stakeholders can take advantage of the calendar, content management tools, gradebook functionality and other capabilities that will help you manage your entire educational program.

Can we license other modules separately?

We do license a Mapping-Only version of LCMS+ because some schools are focused exclusively on revising their curriculum mapping process. But we do not license other parts of the system separately, because all the modules of LCMS+ are built to work together to give you the most complete picture of your curriculum. The more you do in LCMS+, the easier it will be to understand and address areas of challenges – and see evidence of growth – across your entire program.