NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ847843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
Changing Course Management Systems: Lessons Learned
Smart, Kathy A.; Meyer, Katrina A.
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v28 n2 p68-70 2005
During 2003, the North Dakota University System began to be concerned about the cost of supporting multiple course management systems. Since 1997, the 11 NDUS institutions had used 9 different course management packages, including one homegrown product (HTMLeZ) and such proprietary products as Blackboard, WebCT, and e-College. The University of North Dakota (UND), for example, uses both Blackboard and HTMLeZ. During the fall of 2003, a system-wide committee including faculty, technical staff, and CIOs from all 11 campuses was formed to evaluate moving the North Dakota University System (NDUS) to one CMS. While this effort went forward, staff at UND's Center for Instructional and Learning Technologies wondered what might happen if the 300 faculty who used Blackboard needed to transfer their courses to a new CMS. This concern generated a search for research from other institutions that were studying a move to another CMS or had done so. Several CMS providers claim to provide accurate transfer of course materials from another CMS, although such claims do not appear to have been tested by conducting a course-to-course conversion. After several months of deliberations, the NDUS selected Desire2Learn as the system-wide CMS. Thus, Desire2Learn became their target CMS product, and the research questions became the following: (1) Would all course content of a Blackboard course convert to Desire2Learn?; (2) If course material converted and for those portions of the course that did convert, how intact and accurate would the content be? In other words, was anything lost in the conversion/transition, or was any material garbled or otherwise made unintelligible or inaccurate?; and (3) How would faculty assess the ease of Desire2Learn, and would they be willing to convert their courses and use another system? The lessons individuals can learn from this exploratory study are: (1) Institutions and systems seeking to save money by consolidating with one CMS need to factor in the time and effort of faculty who will need to review, correct, and revise content once the course has been converted. Since this preliminary examination revealed half of the course might not convert to the new CMS, the decision by institutional leaders to move to a new CMS represents a real cost to the faculty member, department, and college; (2) Institutions and systems need to investigate and evaluate the conversion tools of potential CMS products; (3) CMS providers need to improve and market their ability to convert material from one CMS to their own product, since this could well be an important selling point to institutions already invested in a particular product; (4) These considerations also may apply to the new, emerging world of free or open source CMS products; and (5) Despite the work of fixing partially converted courses, faculty were not averse to trying a new product, and they felt students would be willing to change too. (Contains 2 figures and 8 endnotes.)
EDUCAUSE. 4772 Walnut Street Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80301-2538. Tel: 303-449-4430; Fax: 303-440-0461; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota; New York; North Dakota; Wisconsin