Louisiana State University (LSU) has a great story to tell about using the cloud to build a state of the art course management system (CMS), and it is an effort involving teachers, students and administration.
The school realized that it needed to consolidate two CMSs that they were using, one a Blackboard-based system and the other internally created and managed, in order to gain maximum efficiency and sustainability. In order to be sustainable, the CMS had to consider:
– The software development cycle
– The resources necessary to finance and maintain the CMS during this lifecycle
– The ability to evolve the CMS to meet ever-changing demands
– The ease of feature development during the lifecycle
After a lengthy review of systems in the marketplace, LSU picked the open-source tool Moodle, hosted by vendor Moodlerooms. The school picked Moodle for its sustainability, flexibility for customization, as well as its interoperability, allowing LSU’s IT staff to tie the application directly into legacy systems.
Only a year after its adoption and the conversion of 5,000 courses into Moodle, LSU saw dramatic increases in CMS usage (140% increase), training and support usage (including a 40% increase in instructor participation) — and all within its previous budget. What’s more, LSU has been able to continually tweak its CMS, due to the open-source nature of Moodle.
One thing I’d advise LSU to do, however, is to keep a close eye on its hosted CMS. Whether we’re talking about Moodle or Blackboard or any other system, it’s crucial to make sure that the system is up and running smoothly for your students, faculty and staff to access. Monitoring services, such as Monitis, can provide load testing services and valuable, timely notifications to warn you when a system or app is down.