Learning Management System Evaluation and Selection: A Case Study of the University of Massachusetts System Methodology for the Learning Platform Review

Learning Management System Evaluation and Selection: A Case Study of the University of Massachusetts System Methodology for the Learning Platform Review

Apostolos Koutropoulos (University of Massachusetts Boston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3930-0.ch002
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


Educational technology goes hand-in-hand with pedagogy when it comes to teaching and learning. At the center of our collection of educational tools, especially those in online-only courses, is the Learning Management System (LMS). Compared to other newer technologies, such as blogs and wikis, the selection and implementation of an LMS requires more in-depth evaluation due to the higher re-implementation costs associated with making an initial poor choice. LMS choice goes beyond a simple comparison of the various tools available in the various LMS candidates. This case study examines the process by which the UMassOnline consortium chose an LMS to replace their end-of-life LMS. In this case we describe the Learning Platform Review process that drove our decision-making, the rationale behind this process, and the outcomes. This LPR process is based on agile methodology, and it was the first use case of the LPR for the UMassOnline consortium; we therefore also include a post-modem analysis, what we learned, and what we would have done differently.
Chapter Preview


About the Consortium

At the time of this undertaking, the consortium was entering its tenth year of existence. UMassOnline was created in 2001 to bring together high quality online courses offered by each individual UMass campus. The goal set forth by UMassOnline was to meet the online educational needs of, not only, learners local to Massachusetts, but also of national, and international learners, by offering accredited educational programs via internet based educational tools.

From a consortial point of view, UMassOnline didn't just aim to be a clearinghouse for courses and degree programs offered by the individual campuses. The aim was to provide the technology required to successfully implement online courses including LMS, Student Information Systems (SIS), Web 2.0 Collaboration tools such as Wikis; as well as other technologies such as single sign-on, course evaluation systems, and cutting edge learning technology initiatives, such as mobile learning. These are facilitated by their internal NIFTI (Needs Identification Framework for Technology Innovation) process.

At the time of its establishment, the various campuses were using many different LMSs, including Prometheus, used by UMass Boston and UMass Amherst; WebCT Campus Edition 4 used by UMass Dartmouth; IntraLearn used by UMass Lowell; and a home-brewed system called “COURSES” used by the UMass Worcester Medical School.

In 2003, UMassOnline approached the campuses with a proposal to come together and select one LMS that they could all use. This process was a fruitful one, and it resulted in the evaluation and selection WebCT Vista 3 as the LMS that consortium members would use. While the migration from the various LMSs was a bit rocky, for at least for some campuses, the consortium has gone through a number of successful updates, and had, at the time of the beginning of this new LMS evaluation and selection process, successfully updated to Blackboard Vista 8. Over the years UMassOnline has expanded their constituents to not only include the five UMass campuses, but also ten other area colleges and universities.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: