Course Management Systems
Course management systems are the enterprise resource planning tools of the
classroom, managing everything from curriculum, assignments, examinations, group
projects, grades, to general classroom communications. These tools are growing
in sophistication. Moreover, like most enterprise software, CMS is eyeing distant
shores. Home of campus records both in the administration building are both
academic and personal. More and more, CMS developers are looking to tie together
the academic and administrative enterprise with modules and extensions for such
features as data analysis, enrollment, and targeted messaging.
Angel from CyberLearning Labs
CyberLearning Labs offers Angel, an easy-to-use, practical course management,
and collaboration portal solution. Angel is designed so that instructors with
little or no training can quickly develop online course materials, exercises,
and tests, pulling in material from files, complex images, sets of Web pages,
content developed in other CMSs, and publisher-developed content. Lessons can
include some or all of these content types. The HTML editor FASTpage publishes
new content directly to the Web—recognizing spelling errors as well as
scientific and mathematical symbols. The upload utility recognizes zipped files
and offers to unzip them—eliminating another step for the user.
Normal and advanced modes accommodate all levels of user experience. In addition
to its course management functions, Angel also serves as a portal and communication
tool. Users can customize their Web space with bookmarks, calendars, and task
lists. School-wide, group, and individual posting options are inherent in the
Contact:CyberLearning Labs, Indianapolis, IN; (317)
Blackboard’s Content Management Solution
Blackboard’s Content Management Solution offers a new level of functionality,
beyond the learning management system most users are familiar with. The focus
is on creating, reusing, and presenting digital content. The central component
of the Content Management System is the Core Content Repository, which stores
linkable, reusable content objects, controls access to these objects, and provides
scalable, robust features for effectively managing them. A browser-based interface
(like Internet Explorer) allows users to browse, access, and share content,
as well as search, link, and reuse content created by themselves or others.
Searching and collaboration tools are inherent to the product, as are controls
over security, access, permissions, and bandwidth settings. The four crucial
aspects of the system are: Learning Content Management, for sharing and reusing
single files or large volumes of content assets; ePortfolios, allowing students
and faculty members to assemble, present, and share information online for documenting
academic growth, career evaluation, and course preparation; Virtual Hard Drives,
for storage; and Library Digital Asset Management, which creates an interactive
environment for faculty to search, access, and incorporate digital library resources
in course preparation.
Contact:Blackboard, Washington, D.C., (202) 463-4860;
As an integrated product and service provider, eCollege focuses on a comprehensive
package of services, software, and technology for full online programs. eCollege
tailors its Course Management System and Program Administrative System solutions
to each customer’s requirements. However, the basic eCollege package includes
a campus portal system, eCollege’s course management system, an online
evaluation component, continuously available help desk support, and administrative
This year, eCollege announced several new advancements. ExamGuard, an integrated
secure browser developed with Questionmark technology. ExamGuard allows students
to launch an exam within a secure browser without having to leave their course
in order to do so.
The latest version of eCollege’s course management system is eCollege
AU+, which includes such unique course management features as an assignment
dropbox and equation builder. The dropbox is a series of baskets into which
students deposit their work. Offering multiple baskets that are integrated with
the gradebook allows instructors to more easily review, comment, and grade from
a single location in the platform. The equation builder, developed on Design
Science’s WebEQ technology and integrated into the eCollege AU+ system,
enables users to build and edit mathematical equations directly through the
course-authoring environment with one-click access. In other words, there’s
no longer a need to build the equations in a different application and then
import them into the course management software.
New eCollege AU+ Authoring enhancements enable faculty to hide certain content
from student view, print or save threaded discussions offline, and determine
exactly when to display and withdraw announcements on the course home page.
Also, new this year is an enhanced eCollege Gradebook, the Company’s first
full Microsoft .NET implementation. The eCollege Gradebook is closely integrated
with all aspects of an online course for highly efficient and convenient grading
and instructor feedback.
eCollege also announced the next generation of its Program Administration
Solultions (PAS). Enrollment reporting is available offline via Microsoft Excel
for dynamic analysis and distribution of the data; messaging (including file
attachments) can target users by organization (e.g., region, campus, school,
department, program, etc.); and reporting data is displayed with enhanced navigation
in a paged format for ease of use.
Contact: eCollege, Denver, CO; (888) 884-7325; www.eCollege.com.
Jenzabar Learning Management System
Part of its Internet Campus Solution, which also includes portal and administrative
components, the Jenzabar Learning/Course Management System offers powerful and
easy-to-use course management tools for supplementing courses and tools for
one-stop academic life management for students.
Features include a personal
calendar (pre-populated with course information); group areas for enhanced course
interaction; easy customization and management of course content; easy upload/download
of electronic documents including syllabi, text handouts, PDFs, audio and video
file formats, and images; discussion Forums for asynchronous communication;
chat rooms for real-time collaboration; grade book and attendance tracking;
and online test creation and administration. Also, Jenzabar’s Course Management
features password-protected, 24/7, single-login access.
Contact: Jenzabar, Cambridge, MA; (877) 526-0222; www.jenzabar.com.
SCT Luminis Product Family
The SCT Luminis product family is the market-leading family of platform, portal,
content management, and data integration products for higher education. Through
new SCT Luminis data integration technologies, clients can more easily integrate
their choice of learning management system with their SCT administrative system.
The SCT Luminis Platform III also includes its own set of course tools that
are integrated at the data and application level to help institutions streamline
communications, simplify eLearning, and create customized forums that enable
campus groups to interact and collaborate online. SCT Luminis Course Studio
includes course calendars, restricted chat, message boards, and photos. New
functionality includes automatically populated course e-mail lists, file sharing,
targeted announcements, and the ability to delegate authority over course resources
to class participants beyond the professor.
Contact: Jenzabar, Cambridge, MA; (877) 526-0222; www.jenzabar.com.
SCT PowerCAMPUS is an administrative system designed to support the unique needs
of smaller institutions. SCT PowerCAMPUS is now IMS compliant, enabling clients
to export information about courses and students from the SCT PowerCAMPUS system
to any learning management system that is IMS compliant. SCT PowerCAMPUS also
provides its own course tools. The enhanced course manager allows faculty to
copy media files and grading activities from one course section to another course
section that they teach. An enhanced grade book allows faculty to set up grading
schemas by activity type with an average scale or a total points scale. For
example, faculty can define that quizzes count for 30 percent of the final grade.
The grade book also allows faculty to view statistical information such as the
average, standard deviation, variance, or high and low grades for each course
activity, as well as the midterm and final grades.
Contact: SCT, Malvern, PA; (800) 223-7036; www.sct.com.
WebCT Campus Edition 4.1
This latest version of the popular course management system from WebCT offers
new features and functionality designed to make Campus Edition even more user
Version 4.1 includes new course design wizards, providing step-by-step
guides that walk faculty and course designers through the completion of common
course tasks, including setting up their course Homepage, Syllabus, Organizer
Pages, Content Modules, Discussions, Mail, Calendar, and Chat. The look of the
product is new as well. Version 4.0 has been updated throughout and controls
have been grouped and positioned to facilitate easier access and more efficient
course design. Additionally, the designer interface has been divided into tabs
that clearly separate the student and the designer views, making it easier to
design and preview courses.
WebCT Campus Edition 4.0 makes it possible to create content modules offline
using applications such as Microsoft FrontPage and Microsoft PowerPoint, and
to directly import these objects into WebCT, with all of their structure and
linking intact. Learning objects, including both content modules and the assessment
suite, can also be tagged and exported for storage or re-use. WebCT Campus Edition
4.0 includes an HTML Editor with spell-check, providing course designers with
"What You See is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) content creation and editing
capabilities, making it easier than ever to create and maintain content within
the WebCT course environment.
Now with version 4.1, instructors can import ePacks into their existing courses
without over-writing their own content, which gives instructors the flexibility
to move between publisher content and their own materials.
Contact: WebCT, Lynnfield, MA; (781) 309-1000; www.webct.com.
Unicon Academus Course Management
Academus Course Management is built as a uPortal application and delivers the
framework, software, and services needed to establish a complete online campus—powering
instructional delivery and tracks the online learning experience as an integrated
component of the Academus Suite. Academus puts course participants in control
of their own learning experiences—including an intuitive console of learning
channels and a user-friendly interface. Academus Course Management provides
utility, control, and automates the administration of learning events from the
initial assessment to the final report. Built on the uPortal open standards
framework, from JA-SIG, Academus provides a scaleable and flexible Web-based
solution—tested for compliance with the provisions of the Americans with
Disabilities Act Section 508.
Contact: Unicon, Chandler, AZ; (480) 926-2368; www.unicon.net.