Managing Courses Defining Learning: What Faculty, Students, and Administrators Want

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The use of Learning/Course Management Systems (L/CMSs) has exploded in higher education. Recently, these authors served as editors for a book, "Course Management Systems for Learning," which explored current L/CMS design and usage by documenting best practices, research, standards, and implementations. Although the final section of the book addressed future designs, for these authors this project raised additional questions not only about the next L/CMS design but also about the next generation of e-learning environments--that is, the complete set of technology tools that students and faculty members will need for support of their day-to-day learning, teaching, and research, whether in face-to-face, online, or hybrid courses. In order to answer these questions, the authors undertook a research study that involved interviews with faculty, scientists, librarians, students, and administrators, who were asked to list the top three advantages and the top three shortcomings of L/CMS, as well as the top three features that they felt would be most useful in the next generation of e-learning environments. The views of faculty, students, and administrators regarding the advantages and shortcomings of current L/CMSs fell into three key areas: compatibility and interoperability, usability, and smartness/dumbness. In envisioning a future e-learning environment, the stakeholders talked about desired features in the areas of smart systems, environment, archives and storage, multimodal/multimedia communication channels, collaboration tools, and mobile computing. (Contains 1 figure and 7 notes.)

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