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7 Things You Should Know About LMS Alternatives

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A traditional learning management system (LMS) provides a set of tools to manage learning resources, administrative functions, assessments, and grading. Alternatives to conventional LMSs include social bookmarking tools, document sharing applications, social networking sites, timeline tools, and media options available in the cloud. Institutions or individual faculty increasingly use various combinations of these and other resources to support their unique learning environments and goals and to perform all of the functions of a traditional LMS tool.

The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.

In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know About…" briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.

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To the possible downsides listed, one might add: potential problems with accessibility of resources. Whereas the university is very likely to consider web accessibility of an adopted LMS in the selection process, if individual faculty membes are choosing cloud resources on their own, it is unlikely that they appreciate the access issues raised until an accomodation request surfaces, and until then, silent exclusions will occur.