Strategies of LMS Implementation at German Universities

Strategies of LMS Implementation at German Universities

Carola Kruse (Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany), Thanh-Thu Phan Tan (Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany), Arne Koesling (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany) and Marc Krüger (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0011-9.ch306
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Abstract

In Germany, a learning management system (LMS) has become an everyday online tool for the academic staff and students at almost every university. Implementing an LMS, however, can be very different depending on the university. We introduce some general aspects on the strategies at German universities on how to implement an LMS. These aspects are mainly influenced by two main approaches, the top-down and bottom-up approach, which determine the decisions and actions on different levels at the university. In order to show how the strategies are carried out, we are presenting three case studies from universities based in the German federal state of Lower Saxony. We are going to reveal that both approaches play a part in each strategy, however differently weighted. It becomes clear that networking and collaboration plays a crucial role, not only concerning the technical development of the LMS software but also in organisational and educational terms.
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Two Approaches Of Lms Implementation In German Educational Institutions

The use of new media, including LMS, was at least until 2004 rather subject to time-limited projects at many universities in Germany (Kleimann & Wannemacher, 2004). Although there already existed initiatives to fold up technology enhanced learning (TEL) activities within universities some years before (e.g. “NewMediaNet”1 at the University of Freiburg), besides projects, the continuous use of new media was narrowed to single departments. This becomes apparent in the succeeding nationwide calls for project proposals issued by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (in short BMBF) “Neue Medien in der Bildung” and “Neue Medien in der Bildung 2”. As the first call demanded project proposals for single eLearning-units (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, 2000), the BMBF recognized that it did not go any further than that: no processes were initiated to implement eLearning structures into the universities. For that reason the second call demanded project proposals to integrate eLearning into the universities sustainably (DLR, 2009). TEL related systems were operated due to the interests and the engagement of single persons and in some cases attracted larger user groups. But those bottom-up approaches were limited since they were not reflecting the needs of the university as a whole. However, particularly around that time, some universities already identified the potential of new media and launched activities to provide centralized services for the use of TEL systems. Often an LMS is implemented as a starting point for TEL at university. While the selection of an appropriate LMS can be done by extensive evaluations and strategy considerations of technical aspects like costs, performance, adaptability to corporate identity and usability aspects within this top-down strategy, a broad acceptance of the chosen solution regarding all concerned user groups (teachers, students) cannot be predicted safely in advance.

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