Basecamp is a popular project management tool that is often used by businesses to organize projects. At the University, we used it in the training department in a variety of ways such as to request help on projects (like asking a team member to proofread a training storyboard) and to share status/progress updates. After leaving that department, I didn’t plan on continuing to use it because there are other tools that are free. While Basecamp certainly isn’t the most expensive project management tool, their pricing models didn’t fit into my educator budget. Then I learned about their Basecamp for Teachers program which makes Basecamp free for educators! That brought me happily back to Basecamp. Today, I’m sharing with you 5 Ways educators can use Basecamp for teaching.
But first, a few basics. With Basecamp, you organize different topics, groups, etc.. by Projects. Within each Project, you can upload Files, create To Do Lists, have Discussions, and create Notes. Now that we have that straight, let’s get started!
1. Create a Project to Plan and Organize your Lesson Plans
I’m currently teaching two courses each semester (two sections of Microsoft Word in the fall, two sections of Microsoft Excel in the Spring, and in the summer, a Computer Bootcamp course for incoming freshmen and a section of Microsoft Excel. I create a Project for each different class (i.e. one for Word, one for Excel, etc..) to hold my lesson plans. I typically create a new note for each lesson, though I sometimes upload Word documents instead. Any extra files that I know I want to load into our learning management system I also store in the class lesson plan project as well. This helps me keep everything together. I typically include dates and tags with each file so I can see which year/semester the lesson was used, as well as a tag with the section name/number of the course.
2. Create Basecamp Projects for each of your Classes.
I haven’t tried this yet, but you could also create Basecamp Projects for each of your students and add your students as members of the project. This would be great to use particularly if you do not have a learning management system to use with your students. Since we do, and I actively use it, I haven’t tried this yet. Some ways you could use this, however, are creating To Do Lists with dates for your students, adding Files to share, and posting class announcements in Discussions.
3. Create Basecamp Projects for Student Groups
Do you lead any student groups? I used to be the class student advisor for two different organizations when I taught at the high school level – BPA, a group for students taking Business courses and the School Newspaper. Basecamp would have been great for these groups because all content related to the groups could be housed in the project. It would have eliminated all the different emails coming and going to myself and various group members as everything could be in the group. I would have loved to use the To Dos when we were working on projects with deadlines! Everything would have been so much more organized.
4. Create Basecamp Projects for Committee Work
Committee Work – I feel like I could add another post just for how Basecamp could be used to help manage Committee Work! I’m presently on the Middle States Steering Committee and we are in the midst of putting together or self-study document, essentially a big report that discusses pretty much every aspect of our school – from services provided to students, to how we develop curriculum, to how we manage finances. Basecamp has been awesome for helping us keep track of what parts of the report are complete, and what parts are outstanding (and who is responsible for them).
5. Create Basecamp Projects for Teaching Administrative Tasks
There are many administrative tasks that are related to teaching that used to make their way onto one of the many post-it notes of lists I had strewn about my desk, i.e. about my monthly report which is due at the beginning of each month. One reminded me that I had to write the report, another reminded me that I had to gather data and create charts; other post-its focused on checking in with teachers who teach in courses that I’m the course leader for (and remembering what we last talked about and how I committed to helping with a various project). You get the picture. After I created a Basecamp project for administrative tasks I found myself to be so much more organized. This project is particularly useful because I’m able to clearly see what I’m committed to and if there are any upcoming due dates I have to keep track of.
Learn more about how you can use Basecamp for free by visiting their website.
Have you used Basecamp before? Would you consider using it to help you with your teaching?