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I kindly invite you to contribute to new book “Learning Management Systems: Metrics, Standards, and Applications” to be published by IGI Global. The main goal of this edition is to present high quality research by the leading experts on the state-of-the-art Theory, Technology and Applications for online as well as hybrid educational environments.

Project Overview
Currently, non-for-profit and for-profit academic institutions function as exclusively online training or degree granting facilities, while others enrich their traditional curriculum with online and hybrid courses. As the e-Learning market continues to grow, the choice of available stand-alone software modules as well as “software as a service” packages has been growing accordingly. Moreover, the development of learning management systems and related technologies goes hand in hand with the development of new method of course delivery and corresponding instructional design methodologies.

In this increasingly competitive environment, administrators and faculty confront a difficult problem of choosing an appropriate learning management system that fits their budget, technical resources, curriculum, and profile of the student body. The problem is complicated further by the intrinsic connection between the choice of LMS and a variety of instructional design models and modes of course delivery, such as “pure” online, hybrid, and asynchronous/synchronous courses.

Target Audience
The book is intended to be a source of consolidated information for administrators, faculty, instructional designers, course developers and businesses on the available technological solutions, instructional design methods, metrics, and standards in the area of online education. It will contain vital practical information, case studies, and conceived as a manual for all involved in the e-Learning environment. 



Chapter Title

Learning Management System Evaluation and Selection: A case study of the University of Massachusetts System methodology for the Learning Platform Review


Koutropoulos, Apostolos - University of Massachusetts Boston

Masson, Patrick - UMass Online

Henderson, Stefanie - UMass Online


These days educational technology goes hand-in-hand with pedagogy when it comes to teaching and learning. At the center of our collection of tools that we label as educational technology, especially in online-only courses, is the Learning Management System (LMS). Compared to other newer technologies, such as blogs and wikis, the selection and implementation of an LMS requires more in depth evaluation due to the rework costs associated with making an initial poor choice. Learning Management choice goes beyond a simple comparison of the availability of various tools in the various LMS candidates. This case study examines the process by which the UMass Online consortium chose an LMS was to replace their, at the time, End-of-life LMS. In this case we describe the Learning Platform Review process which drove our decision making, the rationale behind this process, and the outcomes. This LPR process is based on agile methodology and it was the first use case for the LPR for the UMass Online consortium; we therefore also include a post-modem analysis, what we learned and or what we would have done differently.

Elaborated chapter idea

Choosing an LMS isn't a small thing. Very few institutions start from square one these days, there is always some legacy system to work with, be it another LMS, a student information system, or some other integral database. Picking an LMS is also not about picking features, as might be the case with other educational technology products, because when it comes down to it, all learning management systems have a common core of functions including grade books, learning modules, assignments and discussion forums.  So then, what does one look for in a learning management system?

The answer, of course, will depend on an institution-to-institution basis.  Factors that go into such a decision include factors such as how user friendly an LMS is, how well does it integrate with your existing systems, overall cost, how responsive the company is, and the upgrade cycle of the product. Some learning management systems have free versions that instructors can use to test drive; Moodlerooms, rSmart, Blackboard and Instructure are examples of this. Others vendors do not.

This chapter is not about a comparison of current learning management systems on the market. The idea behind this chapter is to provide a framework, a process, which institutions, and fellow technologists, managers, and instructional designers, can use and adapt to undergo their own learning platform review and choose the learning management system most appropriate for their organization. We'd like to use our experience in agile methodology, which we gained by choosing our new LMS in 2011,  as a way of helping others in the same situation. We believe that the time is now right for this type of a publication because Blackboard Vista and Blackboard Angel are end-of-life products, and more and more institutions will be looking for new learning management systems to adopt.

Proposed Chapter Sections

  • Introduction
    • about the consortium
    • choosing a new LMS
    • introduction to agile methodology
  • Our process
    • Introduction to our discovery process
    • our User Stories
    • systems testing and evaluation
    • vendor demonstrations and Q&A
    • the open source options
    • final choice
  • Post-Mortem
    • reception of the process on the campuses
    • reception of the process at the consortium level
    • what worked well
    • points of improvement
    • lessons learned
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Elaboration on Chapter Sections  & Assignments.

Chapter Section/sub section

Things to include/write about

Who is doing the writing




// About the Consortium



// Choosing a new LMS



// Introduction to Agile Methodology



Our Process



// Introduction to our Discovery Process



// Our User Stories



// Systems Testing & Evaluation



// Vendor Demonstrations and Q&A



// The Open Source Option



// Final Outcome






// Reception of the Process on Campuses



// Reception of the Process at the Consortium Level



// What Worked Well



// Points of Improvement



// Lessons Learned







Anything you cite in the body of the text goes into the bibliography

AK / Pat / Stef


  1. Hello everyone,

    I'd like to invite people to post comments about what they would like to see in this book chapter - especially in the post-mortem section :)

  2. I switched the title around from "Learning Management System Selection and Evaluation," to "Learning Management System Evaluation and Selection." Interestingly, I think this title strikes right to the point of the whole approach (attempt) with the LPR. Many organizations (or perhaps their constituents), whether intentionally or not, may appear to select an LMS (or other enterprise applications) and then introduce, promote, or even sell that selection through the evaluation. This may not be a conscious effort, nor nefarious, however traditional approaches limit the ability of an organization to equally assess all options, often by the evaluation processes employed.

    I hope we will be able to articulate this in the chapter.

    1. This is an interesting comment (and true in certain respects!). I think we can work it into our introduction.

  3. How do you want to manage the writing. Maybe build out the outline, e.g.:

    • Concept
      • Definition
      • Relevance
      • Example(s)
      • Application
      • Outcome

    Then add language to support main points outlined?

    I am open for any approach.

    1. I setup a Google Doc to hash out some ideas (link removed for now)

      I've put in all of our sections, some links to public LPR documents on Confluence that readers might want to reference, and I've put in some dummy text in these sections.

      I can add some ideas on here (confluence) on what I think should be included in each section and we can go from there. Luckily, there is lots of documentation on confluence.

      1. Why not just write it right here (or on a child page)?

        1. My one concern is that the book publisher wants something that hasn't been published before.  If we work out the actual text in an open forum, does that constitute prior publishing?

          Once the book is published, we can publish the text of the chapter here, but while we're working on it, might we run into trouble? Hmmm.... I don't know.  Thoughts? I'd be happy to work on it here if others think that we won't run into problems :)

          1. OK, I have created a new child page called "Chapter Draft" that only you, Stef and me can access. That should be good.