The Reader


Fall 2007  Page 14

Online Learning Management System Review 

The Background

In Spring of 2001, the Los Rios District undertook a search for a Learning Management System (LMS) to support online and hybrid courses.  Through the district-wide Educational Technology Committee, a review of available systems resulted in the purchase of a software license for Blackboard, which would come to be known as the Blackboard / Los Rios Online system. 

The availability of the system and the trend toward online, hybrid, and web-enhanced education have resulted in very rapid growth and tremendous user load on the current system. 

►  In Spring 2001, there were 31 course sections using Blackboard.  This number has grown to 2,345 course sections in Spring 2007. 
  Student enrollments have risen from 8,950 in Fall 2001 to 73,144 enrollments in the system in Spring 2007. 

The Present Situation

Rapid growth has led to challenges in maintaining a stable LMS.  In Spring and Summer 2007, students and instructors experienced pronounced system instability.  The college Blackboard coordinators, Los Rios Information Technology staff, and related deans have been working continuously to stabilize the system.  Because LMS performance problems have reached an unacceptable level, these groups have recommended that Blackboard be evaluated for its continued viability.

The Los Rios Educational Technology Committee has commissioned a review of learning management systems to identify a system that will best serve the needs of our students.  A summer 2007 task force has developed a list of technical criteria for such a system, and has narrowed the field to the following potential systems:

■   Blackboard (hosted locally, the current configuration)
■   Blackboard ASP (hosted by Blackboard)
■   ANGEL Learning
■   Desire2Learn
■   eCollege
■   Moodle
■   Sakai

How You Can Help

An intensive review is scheduled for October and November.  Faculty and staff interested in serving on this LMS Task Force should contact their senate president.  Please consider contributing to this important effort.  Your SCC Blackboard coordinators, Melissa Green and Jory Hadsell, will continue to provide information concerning this process as it progresses.

Get the latest information and updates regarding the Blackboard system from the SCC Blackboard Blog:  Log on or subscribe today!

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