Learning Management System (LMS)
- Blackboard / WebCT / Moodle etc
LMS are setup on an institutional basis. They organise students in groups according to their enrolments in classes or courses. This provides students, lecturers and teaching assistants or markers with a shared platform for document exchange and communication. Common uses of LMS are to provide students with access to teaching material, to communicate with the class and facilitate discussion among students, and to assist assessment in form of quizzes and assignments.
Students need to be informed before enrolment of the use on an LMS for the course so they can ensure that they have the required level of access to a computer and the internet.
Assuming that the LMS are available on an institutional level, the individual lecturer has the advantage of an electronic work and communication space that their institution provides and guarantees and to which all students enrolled, and only these, have access. Electronic exchange of documents and messages means instant delivery to anyone, regardless of time or location. This is important for distance students and also internal students, who might not always be able to attend face-to-face settings. LMS can be used on various levels, from just making material available to more involved learning designs, for all types of courses from pure distance to blended and face-to-face.
As with any system an initial investment to familiarise oneself with its tools is required although most institutions offer in-house training and support.
Most tertiary institutions have a LMS already available. It is possible to install a LMS (like Moodle) oneself yet this will require considerable effort for setup and maintenance of student data.