Managing Classes With Basecamp

Basecamp, the excellent online project management platform, has started generously giving teachers free accounts.

As I work in a school that doesn’t maintain a VLE or LMS or even any means for systematically organising learning electronically, Basecamp is quite appealing. Basecamp isn’t designed for organising eLearning courses or providing the ability to submit and mark student work. It is, however, a very intuitive means of organising projects and, if you look at teaching a class as a project, then there’s no reason why it can’t be used to enable better teaching and learning.

As an experiment, I’m going to use Basecamp for two of my classes: Year 13 A-level Media Studies and Year 9 English class. Each offers a different challenge. The Media Studies class should immediately work effectively with Basecamp as – at the moment – it’s primarily about setting a series of deadlines for coursework and enabling the sharing of documents, tasks and discussion. I already like the clarity with which I can set deadlines which are immediately visible and also sent to students by email. The English class is studying A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so the set-up of the project in Basecamp and it’s use by a younger group may be a lot different.

I also think that Basecamp is a powerful means of organising school departments – treating the running of a department as a project in itself – as well as interventions (or any other short-term project).

The outcome for this is for me to develop a better understanding about how to use project management tools to improve my organisation of classes electronically. My first question is: is there anything that I do as a teacher or manager that isn’t a project?